Socialism versus Capitalism in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair Essays

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Socialism versus Capitalism in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Even before the beginning of the twentieth century, the debate between socialists and capitalists has raged. In The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, he portrays capitalism as the cause of all evils in society. Sinclair shows the horrors of capitalism. In The Gospel of Wealth, by Andrew Carnegie, he portrays capitalism as a system of opportunity. However, both Carnegie and Sinclair had something to gain from their writings; both men had an agenda. Capitalism and socialism both have advantages and pitfalls; when capitalism is adopted using certain socialist ideals, a truly prosperous society exists. A major theme of The Jungle is socialism as a remedy for the evils of capitalism.
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Sinclair sees capitalism as a system in which the wealthy exploit the working class for their material benefit. In chapter 28 when Ostrenski, a staunch socialist, is introduced Jurgis is transformed into the socialist way of thinking. Ostrenski tells Jurgis that his condition of poverty is not the result of his action or destiny; it is the result of him being oppressed by the wealthy merchants in Chicago. However, in a socialist society the plight of the working class s addressed. In chapter 31, Nicholas Schliemann is introduced. Schliemann is a socialist leader who acts as a voice for Sinclair in the novel. Schliemann claims once the public owns the means of production (socialism), inefficiencies will be eliminated. Thus, the working class will have to work less, in better conditions, and be paid more for their work. In the last few chapters of the novel, the story is abandoned. It turns into a socialist manifesto designed to show the evils of capitalism and illuminate how socialism can rectify those evils. In " The Gospel of Wealth" Andrew Carnegie sings the praises of the capitalist system. Carnegie came from poor background and turned himself into one of the largest industrial tycoons of the day. According to Carnegie everyone had an individual responsibility to, as well as the opportunity to rise, thus poverty should be temporary. The "Gospel of Wealth" argues that someone that has initiative, works hard and has ability should be able

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