Socialism is a form of governance in which political and economic ideologies rest on the concept that the society as a whore should have the responsibility to regulate production, distribution as well as exchange. This means that the power over these activities is not vested over individuals or bodies but rests on the entire society.
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This is contrary to capitalism in which the economic processes of production, distribution and the final exchange of commodities are controlled by individuals or business entities for the sake of making profits.
A review of the text The Jungle has some elements of the two systems. This question thus seeks to establish the grounds on which the text promotes socialism as opposed to capitalism. The capitalist economic system, being controlled by individuals or even entities that are profit oriented, is characterized by the problem of consumers being at risk of exploitations by the players in the economy.
The entities in their bids to maximize on their profits will for instance be driven by the need to minimize on their expenditures in the entire production and delivery process while at the same time maximize on their revenues.
Socialists condemn the capitalist system on the ground that the capitalists are not actively involved in the economy but on the contrary exploit workers and consumers for their economic gains (Blacksacademy 1).
The negative effects of the capitalist form of government are identified to be one of the themes that the writer of the book dwelt on. A variety of expressions as expressed in the book are basically geared towards offering a criticism of the capitalist system that was associated with a lot of ill on the people. The writer was particular on issues that portrayed the system as “inhuman, destructive, unjust, brutal, and violent” towards workers (Sparknotes 1).
The level of greed that is realized on the side of the capitalist is even manifested in the manner in which production processes are undertaken under unhealthy conditions because the capitalists owes no responsibility to either their workers or even consumers of their products. The writer then brings in the concept of socialism to as a perfect solution to the problems that people were facing under capitalism.
The final presentation of socialism as a way out thus indicates the author’s motive to promote socialism. He put the two systems on either side of the extremes. While he viewed capitalism as a harm and a form of evil to the people, he unveiled socialism as a perfect solution for the problems that people were facing (Sparknotes 1).
The extensive criticism of the capitalist system by the writer is evident in a grater potion of the book through quotes that were directly aimed at attacking the ills of the capitalist system. It majorly exposed the sufferings that people went through in the hands of the capitalists.
The quote “and for this, at the end of the week, he will carry home three dollars to his family, being his pay at the rate of five cents per hour- just about his proper share of the million and three quarters of children who are now engaged in earning their living in the united states” (Sinclair 68) was for instance an illustration of low pays that forced parents to send their minor children to work.
The quote is about a young kid who was forced to look for work in order to earn for a living. The tough economic condition that faced the people in this particular case forced a parent to seek a priest in altering the kid’s age on documents so that he could appear older and obtain a job.
It was the hard economic situation posed by the capitalists that pressed parents so hard to an extent that they had to use their kids for extra earnings (Sinclair 68).
Another Quote, “here was a population, low class, mostly foreign, hanging always on the verge of starvation” also expressed the oppressive conditions that the people lived in (Sinclair 100). The system is again relayed as irresponsible and does not offer sufficient salaries to its workers. The low wages together with lack of job opportunities thus forced people to keep up with poor conditions.
The quote, “they were beaten, they had lost the game, they were swept aside” as expressed by the writer in relation to the economic hardship that people went through also illustrate the ill nature of the capitalist system that subjected people to suffering (Sinclair 129).
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The text is thus a basic critique of the negative side of capitalism and offers socialism as an alternative to the suffering that capitalism has subjected people into. It is thus in full support of socialism as a way to save the people (Sinclair 100).
The plight of immigrants as illustrated in the text
Immigrants refer to people who move from their original country into another country with the main aim of acquiring permanent residence in their new country. Hard economic situations in native countries or regions play an important role in immigration of individuals to other countries that are perceived to have better conditions (Brainy 1).
Immigration also formed a center of focus of the writer through the book. The people who are considered under the book were a group of individuals who moved into the country from Lithuania.
The immigrants were driven by the notion that they would be able to get a better life in terms of employment conditions and wages and by the dream of having a happy life that they could not afford in their native country.
The immigrants can also be said to have been driven by the overall perception of America that is viewed as a land of justice in which people are justly rewarded for their efforts in work.
Contrary to their expectations, the immigrants arrive in the United States to find an extreme level of exploitation in workplaces. The immigrants came face to face with the fact that the land was full of “moral corruption, crime, and graft enabled one to succeed materially” (Sparknotes 1).
The evil of capitalism which are exposed in the text with respect to the treatment of workers who represents immigrants reveals to a great extent the plight of the immigrants as per the text. The living condition that the individuals were subjected to was actually short of what the immigrants had expected in America. The quote, “here is a population, low class and mostly foreign” directly shows the way in which the immigrants lived (Sinclair 100).
The author’s representation of the level of suffering that was characterized by economic strain forcing people to the extent of starving gives an illustration of what the immigrants went through. According to the presentation, the immigrants were subjected to conditions that were not sufficient to sustain their well being.
Even though some jobs were available, there was the issue of low wages that was hardly enough to sustain the workers. Butterly and Sherpherd defined starvation as the state in which an individual lives on insufficient food for the body. Such experience has impact on health especial if an individual is to at the same time work (Butterly and Sherpherd 30).
Apart from the poor living condition that the immigrants were forced to adopt due to economic factors, they were also subjected to harsh working conditions. As Sinclair explained it, the immigrants had no choice about their work environment. He for instance argued that the immigrants were compelled do such works.
The phrase “it was stupefying, brutalizing; it left her no time to think, no strength for anything” (Sinclair 129) also explains the plight of the immigrants (Sinclair 129). They were thus overworked by their employers and at the same time subjected to degrading jobs all at wages that were just but peanut. The workers pay was at the discretion of the capitalist employers who were utterly oppressive.
This was before legislations such as the “fair labor standards act” were enacted to protect workers (Jobs 1). The lives of the immigrants was also described through the phrase that “they would stir beneath the burden that lay upon them” (Sinclair 129), an indication that the immigrants were neglected by the government to their own suffering (Sinclair 129).
Why the text was influential in changing the practices at the meat packing industry
The publication of the ‘Jungle’ formed a basis for changes in the meat industry. This section establishes the significance of the book to the changes. The author, in attempt to reveal the nature of the industries made a lot of illustrations. Expressions such as “a man could run his hands over these piles of meat and sweep off handful of dried dung of rats” for example relayed the filthy state of the industries (Sinclair 128).
The lack of concern to correct such hazards was also expressed by the fact that “the man who did the shoveling did not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one” (Sinclair 128). The poor hygiene in the industries was also reflected in the fact that workers had no place for cleaning their hands prior to meals and were washing their hands “in the water that was to be ladled into the sausage” (Sinclair 128).
These exposed the conditions to the public leading to outcry. It is actually reported that the book is what led to legislations that were enacted in the year 1906 such as the food and drug act. It therefore directly influenced the changes that were felt in the meat industry (FSDI 1). The book drove socialists to rise for changes in the industry following its publication (Students 1).
List of important quotes from the text
Though the whole book is geared towards revealing the suffering that the people went through and the fact that their hope lied in socialism, there are some quotes that outstandingly expressed the writer’s point of view. The following phrases systematically reveal the opinion of the author:
- “But no, their bells were not ringing for him-their Christmas was not meant for him, they were simply not counting him at all. He was of no consequence –he was flung aside, like a bit of trash, the carcass of some animal” (Sinclair 154)
- “They had dreamed of freedom; of a chance to look about them and learn something; to be decent and clean, to see their child grow up to be strong. And it was al gone—it would never be! (Sinclair 129)
- “Why could they find no better way to punish him than to leave three weak women and six helpless children to starve and freeze? That was their law that was their justice! (Sinclair 154)
- here was a population, low class, mostly foreign, hanging always on the verge of starvation” (Sinclair 100)
- “Connor, the boss of the loading gang! The man who had seduced his wife-who had sent him to prison, and wrecked his home, ruined his life! He stood there, staring, with the light shining full upon him.” (Sinclair 277)
All the above quotes reveal suffering directed to some group of people. The quotes significantly make a direct contribution to the theme of the book that revealed the capitalist system as a harsh and inappropriate one against the dream of America. Such extracts offers the basis of the author’s main presentation.
Blacksacademy. Durkheim’s account of socialism. Blacksacademy. Web.
Brainy. Definition of immigration. Brainy Quote, 2011. Web.
Butterly, John and Sherpherd, Jack. Hunger: The Biology and Politics of Starvation. Lebanon, NH: UPNE. Print.
Jobs. Workers’ rights- wages and hours. State University, 2011. Web.
Sinclair, Upton. The jungle. Charleston, SC : Forgotten Books, 1935. Print.
Bookrags. The jungle study guide. Bookrags, 2011. Web.
Sparknotes. The jungle. Spark Notes, 2011. Web.
FSDI. Agency history. FSIS, 2007. Web.
Students. Report: the jungle. Sabrinma, 2007. Web.