Unethical Business Practices During The Gilded Age

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The Gilded Age is defined as the time between the post-Reconstruction era and World War 1 in which the U.S population and economy grew quickly, however, there was a lot of political corruption and corporate financial misleadings. The reforms of the Progressive Era resolved many of the alleged problems during the Gilded Age such as unethical business practices, tainted food supply and poor and unsafe conditions for factory workers. During the Gilded Age, captains of industries like John D. Rockefeller supposedly used “unethical” business practices. They cooperated with other companies like the Railroad Companies which allowed them to transport their products around the country at a lower price compared to other companies consequently selling…show more content…
People were forced to consume contaminated food especially meat on a daily basis. This gave birth to many diseases such as food poisoning and liver failure. They did not have any other options because there were no laws prohibiting the sale of spoiled food. Soon enough, in 1906, Federal Food and Drug Act was passed. One of the key things this act did was embargoing the sale of any food or drug which has been adulterated or misbranded (4). It also had relatively severe punishments for not abiding by the law. It states, “ any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and for each offense shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not to exceed five hundred dollars or shall be sentenced to one year's imprisonment, both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court, and for each subsequent offense and conviction thereof shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars or sentenced to one year's imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.” (4). This made sure shops and restaurants raised their standards and double check the quality of food they’re supplying to the customers. On the other hand, the book “Jungle” claims that there was no difference between regular and ‘premium’ meat since they came out of the same batch (5). Fortunately, this claim no longer remains effective, due to the passing of the…show more content…
They had horrible working hours and usually had to work six days a week or maybe even seven. In some cases, laborers had to work from 3am till 7pm. The Government took notice and addressed this issue in the International Labor Congress in which representatives demand a reduction on working hours (6). Another issue that was addressed was the fact that workers had no health insurance if they suffered from any injuries while doing their jobs. The representatives called for factories to treat the lives and limbs of their workers as sacred and help pay for the injuries (6). This provided better working hours and safe conditions for the factory workers. People argue that the factory owners sent thugs to interrupt labor unions and government did little to protect the laborers. However, when the Antitrusts Acts were passed, it stated that nothing contained in the Antitrust Laws shall be constructed to forbid the existence and operation of labor organizations (7). This proves that the Federal Government tried to intervene and help the laborers. Sooner or later, factory workers got what they wanted with the help of the reforms during the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era did resolve some of the alleged problems of the Gilded Age such as unethical business practices, unethical food supplies and unsafe and poor working conditions for factory workers. Without the Government taking action
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