How did Capitalisim Undermine Traditional Social Systems in Nations?

To What Extent Did Capitalism Undermine Tradional Social Systems in Industrially Developed and Undeveloped Nations?

In European society, there were 3 classes that were based on a person’s job, education, and financial status. “The wealthy elite constituted only 5 percent of the population but controlled between 30 and 40 percent of its wealth. (Duiker – 7) “Common bonds were created between the wealthy and the aristocrats. The sons of wealthy bourgeois families were admitted to the elite schools dominated by the children of the aristocracy. This educated elite assumed leadership roles in the government and the armed forces. Marriage also served to unite the two groups. Daughters of tycoons gained titles, and aristocratic heirs gained new sources of cash. When the American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt married the Duke of Marlborough, the new duchess brought $ 2 million (European = approximately $10 million American) to her husband.” (Duiker – 7)

“The upper middle class included professionals in law, medicine, and the civil service as well as moderately well-to-do industrialists and merchants. The middle class also consisted of business managers, office workers, engineers, architects, accountants, and chemists. At the lower end of the middle class were the small shopkeepers, traders, manufacturers, and prosperous peasants. Their chief preoccupation was the provision of goods and services for the classes above them.” (Duiker – 7, 8)

“The working classes constituted almost 80 percent of the population of Europe. In rural areas, many of these people were landholding peasants, agricultural laborers, and sharecroppers, especially in Eastern Europe. Only about 10 percent of the British population worked in agriculture. In Germany, there was 25 percent of the British population that worked in agriculture.” (Duiker – 8)

“At the top of the working class were skilled artisans in such traditional handicraft trades as cabinetmaking, printing, and jewelry making. The Industrial Revolution, however, also brought new entrants into the group of highly skilled workers, including machine tool specialists, shipbuilders, and metalworkers. Many skilled workers attempted to pattern themselves after the middle class by seeking good housing and educating their children.” (Duiker – 8)

“Semiskilled laborers including such people as carpenters, bricklayers, and many factory workers, earned wages that were about two-thirds of those of highly skilled laborers. At the bottom of the hierarchy stood the largest group of workers, the unskilled laborers. They included day laborers, who worked irregularly for very low wages, and large numbers of domestic servants. One of every seven employed persons in Great Britain in 1900 was a domestic servant.” (Duiker – 8)

Capitalism made a different impact on people in different society classes. The Upper class continued to have the most authority and power in the community. The Middle class was affected by having the important jobs in the area. The Lower class had to work long days to provide for their families with small amounts of money. Women were treated differently from men in the villages. Men had more power and authority. While women worked simpler jobs or stayed at home and did housework.

During the Industrial Revolution, many changes occurred in the areas of social systems for the working class. There were many new opportunities in life available for women. “Women began to work as clerks, typists, secretaries, and salesclerks.” (Duiker - 8) However, “most women had to keep their traditional roles of taking care of the children, cooking food, and cleaning the house.” (Duiker – 8) “The less fortunate had to remain as domestic servants or pieceworkers in sweatshops.” (Duiker – 9)

These changes showed how capitalism made a significant difference in traditional social systems. Women were finally getting treated with a little more dignity and respect in public aspects of the community. Women now had a little more say in what occurred in how businesses were handled.

Social changes were being noticed throughout the world. There was evidence of “industrialization which led to urbanization” (Duiker – 17) in South America. “Buenos Aires had 750,000 inhabitants by 1900 and two million by 1914. Buenos Aires was ¼ of Argentina’s population and made up 53% of Argentina’s overall population.” (Duiker – 17) This evidence shows that capitalism played a major role in the growth of cities not located in Europe.

Political and economic changes were also noticed in Latin America. “The various Latin American societies were ruled by colonial officials appointed by monarchical governments in Europe.” (Duiker – 16) “The growth of the Latin American economy came largely from the export of raw materials. Economic modernization in Latin America simply added to the growing dependence of the region on the capitalist nations of the West.” (Duiker – 16) This evidence shows that capitalism played an important part in the development of economic and political aspects of communities in Latin America.