Why the Government Should Regulate Big Business


During the time of the Progressive Era, workers had almost no rights when it came to their job. They couldn’t easily negotiate their working hours, the conditions the worked in were awful, they made very little money and, at times, had to make their children work just to be able to pay for food. The reason factory working conditions were so bad, is that the government refused to step in because they believed that they shouldn’t regulate business. The politicians that did want government regulation of business were usually paid off by large corporations to vote against any laws and bills that could cost the businesses money. I believe that the government should be intervening in business for many reasons, and here are just a couple.

In the time that the government wasn’t regulating businesses, the businesses were having their workers work anywhere from ten to fourteen or more hours. The workers couldn’t complain about it or they would be fired on the spot. There was virtually no way for employees to negotiate with their boss or manager because the workers knew that they could be replaced if the employer didn’t like their offer. The workers needed the  amount of money they earned from working to be able to eat, so they were incredibly unlikely to complain or try to negotiate.

Workers didn’t complain because if they did they would be fired, and then they wouldn’t have money to eat. Even though they would work many hours per day, they barely made enough to live on, and in some cases, they didn’t make enough to live on. The government hadn’t set any minimum wage laws, so the employers were able to pay them as little as they wanted to. Many factory workers lived below the poverty line and couldn’t do anything about it because they needed what little money they had to eat. In many cases, workers had sent their children to factories to work because they needed the money for daily living expenses.

The experiences of these factory workers was terrible. With many throughout years of working sustaining injuries and others even dying from the unsafe conditions of the factories, and the governments job being to protect and serve the people, it’s absolutely ridiculous that the government didn’t do anything about it sooner. I believe that the government should be interfering with businesses because of these reasons. It’s because of government intervention that we no longer have such bad poverty in this country.

11 thoughts on “Why the Government Should Regulate Big Business

  1. How sad it is to think that there was a time where workers for the most part, had absolutely no rights. A period in time where young children had to work in order for their families to be able to afford food and a place to live with their family. I still find myself in disbelief, that not only was this allowed and going on but that the government wasn’t stepping in and sticking up for the people who felt as though they did not have a voice to make a change. This time period gave the business owners satisfaction and the upper hand as they could completely control their employees.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. It definitely gives important details and paints a picture of this particular time period.

    1. I agree, I still stand in disbelief that, from a moral standpoint, business owners of this time could be so ruthless in their employment system. A system that stripped many workers of their rights. Nonetheless standing and denouncing unions, preventing workers from gaining the voice they were constitutionally granted. Adding in the child workforce and underpaid workforce made of minorities, women and children, this was just a terrible time to work pretty much anywhere in the country that left you out of a managerial position.

  2. It’s terrible to imagine that everyone in the family, especially the kids, had to enter the workforce to help support their family. Instead of getting an education, families had to work countless hours just to get food on the table. There were absolutely no rights back then and thankfully this has changed so much, education is very important for children. Great blog!

  3. Working during this time period was defiantly a struggle which you have provided very good examples to support. The fact that women and children had to work with next to no rights or support from their employees is absolutely appalling. i do think that because of what those people went through and the fight they put up to get rights and start unions in the work force is very beneficial to us in today’s work places.

  4. I really enjoy how your blog is focused on an opinion and supported by facts. It provides a different perspective which helps me understand the material. I also agree that businesses should be regulated by the government, and frankly it is a good think they are. During the Progressive-era (and even today) businesses’ main focus is to earn a profit. Some businesses do not even care about anything else, just as long as they make money. It is clear that factory owners didn’t have their employees best interest in mind with the harsh working conditions they condoned. Especially having child labor present in their business. After the Progressives fought to have government intervention within businesses these working conditions are no longer legal. One reason why I am glad the government regulates businesses is for the food I eat. Imagine not having the FDA and businesses being allowed to process their food in the most unhealthy ways (although some still do).

  5. It must have been terrible back then if the workers weren’t able to stand up for themselves. It must have been really bad if many workers wanted socialism over capitalism. Now though, things have changed for the better, because we now have more government regulation of businesses. We now have things such as a minimum wage law, which makes sure that workers are paid accordingly, and because of these things, our country is better off.

  6. It’s crazy to think how working conditions could’ve changed sooner if these politicians wouldn’t have accepted bribes and voted for the laws or bills that they wanted changed. I too agree that the government should be intervening in these corporations. Fourteen-hour days just don’t even seem humane so it’s important that the work hours were regulated and can now be negotiated with employers. You’re right, their money was so scarce that they didn’t complain or speak up, especially if they wanted to eat!

  7. I could not imagine a world where I had to go to a job every day, in harsh conditions, for little money. Today, I go to a job with excellent working conditions, knowing that I am guaranteed a yearly raise in wage as long as I complete the requirements of my job. I am also more than welcome to try and negotiate a higher wage at any point in time. The harsh conditions and wages that were being made back then were often not even enough to support a family, let alone live a comfortable life. It is mind blowing to know that this was normal for so many families and there was nothing that could be done.

  8. I really enjoyed how you wrote the blog and how you really supported what you were saying from facts from the book. It is sad to think that back in that time I working man could work a 10-14 hour day in horrible conditions and still make barely enough to support their family. I couldn’t imaging having to send by eight year old to their factory job instead of letting them go to school and be a kid. The textbook talked about how immigrant children were more likely to be hired for a job than the parent because they were able to speak English. The children workers were so common back then because the employers were able to pay them less, and when it came to working in mines the children were able to fit into the smaller areas that the adults weren’t able to get to. It is heartbreaking that the government did nothing at all to fight to end child labor even when it was brought to their attention. The reason the government did not step in at all when it came to the work place is because the big corporations handled to much of the economy. I agree with you that the government should(‘ve) interfered with the factories and other big business and I like how you explained why you believe they should.

  9. It is interesting to think whether or not, given the times of course. Due to the country’s pursuit of the highest profits possible. But as time went on I am sure the government would have stepped in. Especially knowing the awful conditions those kids worked in. But great post! Well done.

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