Socialism And Capitalism In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

876 Words4 Pages
Capitalism can become corrupt. This is exactly what Upton Sinclair is trying to argue in his novel, The Jungle. Sinclair makes a strong case for Socialism, describing why capitalism is bound to fail. Instead of having the desired effect of making the world aware of Socialism, his tactics of muckraking and yellow journalism to expose the conditions in the meatpacking facilities took the world by storm. Sinclair’s vivid depictions of life in the Chicago stockyard changed the world in 1906, but it did not bring Socialism into the public eye as he had hoped; instead, it ushered in new regulations and standards in the food industry, but those regulations still are not enough to stop the corruption of meatpacking companies. The central…show more content…
Workers in Packingtown were subject to conditions similar to slavery. Sinclair describes the situation explaining that “they were tied to the great packing machine, and tied to it for life” (Sinclair 94). Most of the workers could not escape the grasps of the Beef Trust, a monopoly on the beef industry that was above even the law. They were forced to work in dangerous and filthy conditions, earning barely any compensation for their work. All of the workers were seen as “cogs in the great packing machine,” replaceable and cheap (Sinclair 74). By objectifying their workers as simply moving parts to a machine, employers could find moral high ground in the poor and inhumane working conditions, and they could replace old and damaged “parts” with new ones without so much as thinking about what they had done for that worker. Sinclair hoped to promote Socialism with these depictions, spending the last few chapters of the book detailing how Socialism could fix all of the problems detailed in the beginning. His ideas of “‘Communism in material production, anarchism in intellectual’” were never realized in the United States (Sinclair 291). He believed that people should be given equal resources and then allowed to have as much intellectual gain as they wanted. The general public did not respond to this argument. They saw the problem in a different perspective, blaming not capitalism but
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