Unmasking Capitalism in Steinbeck´s The Grapes of Wrath

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In 2008, Rudra Sabaratnam, the CEO of the City of Angels Medical Center, committed health care fraud when he attempted to extort money from Medicare and Medi-Cal. He was wealthy, yet, his greed for more money led him to cheat the taxpayer-funded healthcare programs of millions of dollars, depriving the people who actually need the help and money. The greed that Sabaratnam had was partly caused by the profit seeking capitalist system. The desire for wealth in capitalist society leads to corruption and causes a divide between the rich and the poor, so perhaps a system that supports equality and fairness is a better choice. The Eastern-European expression,“Capitalism is man exploiting man; communism is just the opposite,” summarizes one of the …show more content…
In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck describes the bank as “something more than men...It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it” (pg 43). By describing the bank as a monster, Steinbeck expresses his idea that the structure of capitalism is inhumane. Steinbeck stresses the idea that men who are controlled by capitalism are so focused on making money that, in the end, their greed controls them. The little farmers “lost their farms, and they were taken by the great owners, the banks, the companies,” because greed for money pushed the bank and companies to go against the common people (pg 364). The greed that is ingrained in capitalism is exemplified as the bank forces the farmers off their land but is also evident in the way large corporations work to lower fruit prices to get rid of small landowners. Steinbeck paints capitalism in a negative light, by exemplifying the cruelty of the bank and the greed of the large corporations.
By presenting how the rich landowners and businessmen take advantage of the migrant workers and pit them against each other, Steinbeck reveals the harsher facets of capitalist society and the obstacles that the migrants face within it. The migrants had lost almost everything with the bank reclaiming their lands, and, yet, they face more hardships at the hands of wealthy capitalists. Before they even start their journey, greedy salesmen take advantage of them by selling them…