Themes in American History: Capitalism, Slavery, Democracy

Blog Post #1 Fulcher

From the text, written by Fulcher, we gain a deeper understanding of the history of capitalism, the pros and cons, and its lasting effects on society and the economy. There are different forms and types of Capitalism; they each affect how the world operates. Futcher describes the three forms with a detailed historical background to explain his points. We first are made aware that capitalism sparked in the early 1600s with Merchant capitalism which is one of the early forms of capitalism. Merchant capitalism established international competition. Futcher then explains the second form of capitalism, Capitalist production, by illustrating how James M’Connel and John Kennedy blossomed in the cotton industry. Within this industry came harsh labor conditions which lead to strikes and protest movements. Lastly, Financial capitalism- investing in things such as stocks, which has grown in popularity over the years.
Futcher concludes with how each form of capitalism “involves (s) the investment of money to make a profit”. (page 14) Recently there has been a peak of interest in stock markets, investing, and learning more about the economy in general. It is interesting to see how capitalism and trading goods grew from the 1600s to now and all of the changes that have occurred all the way. What’s fascinating to me in the chapter is how the concept of employees started, from abused wage laborers, who were mainly children, to paid and protected employees. Of course, there are still unfair jobs but it is not as much as before. One key difference is that people are not working in harsh unfair conditions for long periods. There are now laws and organizations preventing business owners from doing so. Back then you were just a slave getting paid the bare minimum. All of these roles are significant to the growth of capitalism. How can we continue to change the rules of capitalism?

One thought on “Blog Post #1 Fulcher”

  1. A good start—you identify the three epochs or phases of capitalism Fulcher describes; but what were some of the historic changes or developments that drove each of these transitions? I agree that among the most important changes have been the eradication of slavery and, eventually, of laws passed to prevent child labor and other forms of highly exploited labor and the evolution of workers’ protections and rights. But it sounds naive to suggest that these things no longer exist (even slavery could still be said to exist, although it is illegal almost everywhere). So-called sweatshop labor is a huge problem in the clothing and technology industries, especially in the developing world, where countries may not have the same protections that U.S. workers have. Even in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West, laws can be ignored, and many observers claim that conditions for workers in less highly-skilled fields have gotten worse, not better, over the last few decades.

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