Why is socialism seen as being so horrible?
Companies could do as they pleased, workers had no rights to organize for better conditions, and when they attempted to do so, Federal troops were sent in to stop them. They faced truly brutal and in many cases inhumane conditions, rampant child labor, no workers compensation for injury or death, highly unfair wages, highly unsanitary and unsafe workplaces, price gouging, etc.
There were huge monopolies that prevented new businesses, highly unethical business practices occurred on a daily basis,great fortunes were built on the backs of thousands of people who worked for slave wages, and the vast majority of the wealth belonged to only a select few, while almost half the nation was in poverty.
History shows us what pure unrestrained capitalism leads to, and frankly it is not pretty. Yes the companies of the gilded age brought the United States untold wealth, power, and productivity, but it was at the cost of the quality of life for just about everyone.
It was with the populists at the dawn of the 20th century and their socialist ideals that eliminated child labor and put children into schools, made workplaces safe and sanitary, regulated the quality food and drugs so that they were safe to consume. They initiated workman's compensation, created the first labor unions to fight for higher wages. They created government regulation of prices so that companies could not price gouge their customers. They created anti-trust laws so that small business could take root and provide niche services. The government established wilderness preserves, national parks and monuments, national forests, environmental protection regulations that are the sole reason America still has its great forests and wild areas.
It was the socialist ideas and government regulation of businesses that essentially saved us from ourselves and our insatiable greed.
When government regulations were relaxed in the 1920's we had a short boom followed by the great depression. To get ourselves out of that FDR gave us the New deal with all its social benefits, but it took Hitler threatening to take over the world to get our economy back on track.
So, why then, is socialism so horribly feared and despised in America? Our quality of life is largely dependent on the fights for socialist ideals that previous generations fought for. It doesn't make much sense to me, so could someone please explain it to me.
Becare: any evidence for that claim? socialism is about distributing wealth, not putting unqualified people into positions of power.
Bkosmo: Yes, I am aware of many of those thing, however i am also aware that we are running on a fiat currency, and thus money only has the value we assign to it. And with a fiat currency, debts can be eliminated simply by all parties agreeing that there is no more debt.
Ghuyt: heh, perhaps socialism will be our utopia once our robot overlords take control. I also personally humans are incapable of running a fair and incorruptible government.