The period from 1865 to the 1930s included a variety of processes in the country’s economy, which the government tried to control. The commonly accepted principle of non-interference started to be altered to more strict interference since laborers and businessmen asked the government to support them. The government began to promote labor unions, suggested fixed wages and prices, and attempted to regulate businesses. Overall, from the late 1800s to the end of the 1930s, increasing government interventions and regulations of business tended to help the overall economy and the common workers.
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One of the greatest positive examples of government intrusion was concerned with the railroads. In 1862, Congress offered very strong financial support to the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad companies (Schultz, 1, ch. 17-1). The construction was closely associated with the increased incentives for building infrastructure, which enabled faster transportation of information and goods to large markets. The second issue that testified the positive effect of increased government regulations was Taylor’s (2) 1911 suggestion of the principles of scientific management. Under that approach, time-saving and rational methods of industrial production were explained. Moreover, Taylor (2) also emphasized that not only industries but also laborers could benefit from that type of management.
Another example was from the 1920s when unions combined their forces with management with the aim of enhancing industries’ productivity. As Jacoby (3) remarks, those endeavors were focused on the improvement of the work-life balance of the laborers. While union-management cooperation was not adopted to the extent it had been expected, Jacoby (3) still emphasizes that those attempts gave a start to positive changes in the economic sector. The fourth example is related to Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s. In particular, in 1933, such organizations as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were established (Schultz, 1, ch. 22-3a).
The organization’s chief administrator gave preference to public work projects rather than direct payments. As a result, one of the most beneficial innovations promoted by the FERA was the employment of the unemployed. The CCC had a similar mission: it employed male workers aged 18-25 to build and repair national park buildings, forest service sites, and highways (Schultz, 1, ch. 22-3a).
Although there is much evidence of the positive effect of industrialization and the regulations that appeared with its advent, some may disagree and say that innovations had a detrimental impact. It is possible to consider this view as a viable one since, according to Leonard (4), economic reforms of the Progressive Era tended to promote eugenics. Since the eugenic theory was based on the principle of inequality, it is acceptable to agree with the viewpoint opposing the positive outcomes of governmental involvement.
Legacy and Impact Today
Many types of government economic programs that were introduced during the period between 1865 and 1930s gave way to the normative elements of the present-day economic structure. My aspired profession, which is compliance manager/auditor, is not an exception. Compliance management involves a thorough analysis of a company’s activity with the aim of avoiding ethical and legal breaches in its work. Thus, it is possible to argue that the New Deal had a positive effect on the development of regulations related to auditing. In particular, New Deal legislation was associated with arranging and sustaining some standards for wages and other work issues. Therefore it is viable to conclude that current work practices in compliance management and auditing take their start from the New Deal legislative innovations.
- Kevin M. Schultz. 2018. HIST: Volume 2: U.S. History since 1865. 5th ed.
- F. W. Taylor. 1911. The Principles of Scientific Management. Web.
- S. M. Jacoby. 1983. Union Management Cooperation in the United States: Lessons from the 1920s. Web.
- T. C. Leonard. 2009. American Economic Reform in the Progressive Era: Its Foundational Beliefs and their Relation to Eugenics. Web.