Big business, wealth inequality, populist anger at the “elites

This unit has great significance for us today… big business, wealth inequality, populist anger at the “elites”, a feeling that government does not serve the people, but rather wealthy interests.

The overview videos posted in this module, along with the textbook, provide an excellent introduction and the context needed for this module. With that understanding, analyze these documents in the light of our own time. How are the problems and questions of this historical period like our own today, or not? Refer to the overview video sources posted in this module as needed. There are four documents to analyze.

1. Select two sources of your choice from our reader here:

2. Select two sources of your choice from our reader here:

Follow the example of an evaluation posted in Canvas and refer to the checklist of the requirements as you write up your evaluation. There is no specific word count, rather, focus on analyzing each source and questions with specific details and facts according to the directions.


topic 4: 4. Exploring How the Issues of the Industrial Age Relate to Modern Times
This unit has great significance for us today, as the problems and questions of the industrial age still resonate in our society. From big business to wealth inequality and the populist anger at the elites to the feeling that government policies serve only the wealthy interests, these issues are not foreign to us. In order to gain a better understanding of the implications of these issues, this module provides an excellent introduction and context
Wealth inequality in contemporary society has been a source of contention for many years. According to SB Hager and J Baines in their 2020 article published in Politics & Society, the growing influence and power of big business has been a major contributor to widening economic disparities. The authors point out that in the wake of economic deregulation and globalization, big businesses have been able to accumulate unprecedented wealth, while the average worker has seen a decline in their wages, job security, and economic mobility. This has resulted in a situation in which a small number of people, typically wealthy business owners and executives, control most of the wealth and resources in society, while the majority of people struggle to get by. Hager and Baines suggest that these conditions are particularly damaging to marginalized communities and minority groups, who often lack access to the same resources and opportunities that are available to those with the most wealth. In conclusion, it is clear that the power of big business has had a dramatic impact on wealth inequality in contemporary society, and that further action must be taken in order to ensure that everyone has an equal chance to achieve economic success.
Populist anger at elites has become increasingly visible in recent years. This is especially true in politics, where the rise of populist movements can be seen in countries like the United States, the UK, and India. According to K Wahl-Jorgensen (2018), this is a result of a perceived disconnect between the elites and the general public. They argue that the elites have become more distant and aloof, leading to a sense of alienation and distrust among the general public. This alienation has been further exacerbated by neoliberal policies, which have resulted in economic inequality and a feeling of injustice among those who are not part of the elite. As a result, many people have become angry and resentful of the elites, leading to a rise in populist movements which challenge the status quo. The rise in populism is thus a direct result of a growing disconnect between the elites and the general public, as well as a discontent with neoliberal policies which have exacerbated economic inequality.
M Gilens and BI Page’s research in the journal Perspectives on Politics in 2014 provides a comprehensive analysis of how government policies serve wealthy interests and neglect the needs of the people. The research shows that wealthy individuals and interest groups are more likely to be successful in their efforts to influence public policy because they have greater access to government officials and resources. This is due to their ability to donate large amounts of money to political campaigns and lobby for specific policies. Even when public opinion is taken into account, wealthier individuals and interest groups are still more likely to receive favorable policies than the general population. This means that the needs of the people are often neglected in favor of wealthy interests. Gilens and Page’s research suggests that government policies are increasingly serving the interests of the wealthy and neglecting the needs of the people, which has far-reaching consequences for the quality of life and level of inequality in society.
This unit has demonstrated the relevance of the past to the present. By analyzing four documents on big business, wealth inequality, populism, and government power in the Gilded Age, we have been able to better understand these same issues in our own time. We have seen that despite time passing, some things have remained. Populist anger against the elites, the feeling of powerlessness against big business, and the struggle to overcome wealth inequality are struggles that continue to this day. It is important to recognize the common threads between the people of the Gilded Age and those of today, and to continue to analyze our current conflicts and issues in the context of the past.
Work Cited
“Unfair advantage: Workers’ freedom of association in the United States under international human rights standards.”
“The Conflict Between Collective Bargaining and Unemployment Insurance.”
“Right of Economic Strikers to Vote in NLRB Elections.”




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