Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wealth Against Commonwealth, Henry Demarest Lloyd, 1894


Henry Demarest Lloyd is arguing that the extreme wealth of monopolies is bad for the commonwealth of the people.  He explains that by having a monopoly, they are able to control all means of their business in order to profit themselves. Business owners are legally allowed to reduce production and increase prices in order to sustain a high demand for their product. Lloyd appeals to his audience through pathos by exposing the negative side of monopolies. He states that “they are gluttons of luxury and power, rough, socialized, believing that man must be kept terrorized.” With these words he is implying that those who run monopolies are evil men who don’t care about anyone but themselves, that they are not looking to improve the greater good of the community but are only interested in improving their own livelihood. During a time when successful people thrived on the idea of survival of the fittest, Lloyd exposes them for what they truly are—selfish. This is historically significant because it arose right after the US had gotten rid of one significant evil (slavery) and Lloyd implies that monopolies are no better than it, just not as cruel. I think that Lloyd’s argument is very convincing. He gives real reasons on why monopolies are detrimental to the general public and exposes them for what they really are, a way for the rich to keep getting richer.

4 comments:

  1. Nice summary. I agree with your summary 100%. Monopolies were bad for society and greed often took control for the evil. This monopolies only look after themselves, being selfish enough to not think about others trying to survive in the same industry, hint when Lloyd refers to "fittest", he is talking about survival of the fittest. Lloyd also talks about how our if civilization is destroyed, it wont be by the barbarians from below, but by the barbarians from above. I think he was refering to the wealth and power of those people. He goes on to talk about how the wealth would go on to destroy their neighbor in gaining more wealth. Lloyd even says that their is enough wealth for everyone to enjoy and live a comfortable life, but again this is where greed comes into play and those people with power will not think about anyone, but themselves. Like you stated, Llody implies that monopolies are no better than slavery, just not as cruel. Thus, the society is corrupted and the "fittest" will remain the powerhouse until something is done and Lloyd has supported this in his document.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great summary. Lloyd pointed out that the “fittest”, those who run these monopolies are greedy and power-hungry. They are bad for society and don’t care for the average person. These big business men were allowed to manipulate production to maximize supply and demand. They controlled political parties and used their wealth to influence legislation to their benefit. This summary reflects Lloyds views of how these big businesses were only interested in increasing their profits and securing wealth for their own families. They cared little for their communities. He is very convincing in expressing how their actions are evil and not much different from the evil of slavery. He exposes out how monopolies are detrimental to the general public. Exposing the evils of monopolies is why they are no longer allowed to operate in America today.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good job summarizing the text and connecting it to social Darwinism. Henry Demarest Lloyd wrote his arguments against monopolies and big business during the Gilded Age, but they are still relevant today. If it was not for references to his time period, Wealth Against Commonwealth could easily have been written in the last few years. Over 100 years later, we are still dealing with corrupt and greedy big business. In 2001, Enron, a company involved in several industries, was caught using accounting methods that constituted fraud. In 2007, the housing bubble began to burst. The public has blamed the greed of banks and stockholders for the resulting economic situation. Since then we have suffered foreclosures at alarming rates, over 50 bank closures including the national bank Washington Mutual, skyrocketing unemployment rates, worldwide economic crises, and more. Since Henry Lloyd’s time, our government has become more involved in regulating business in order to prevent big business greed, but regulating big business today is complicated by big business’ financial support of government representatives. I believe greed in business will always be a problem as long as owners, CEOs/CFOs/COOs, and major stockholders put their financial wealth over the wellbeing of the commonwealth.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great job on analyzing the reading I thought your summary was very well written and showed a great understanding of the text. It actually helped me to understand the reading better. I completely agree with everything that you said in your summary, especially what you said about monopolies being a way for the rich to continue to get richer. I fully agree with Henry's opinion on it all. Everything he says makes an obvious point. I think his argument was very convincing and probably to an emotional toll on some people. Especially how he compares it to the evils of slavery and says it's no better than that. I feel that Henry was completely right in everything that he said about the "fittest" and their greed to get richer. Overall I feel that your summary was very good and I agree with it a hundred percent.

    ReplyDelete