Socialism as in labor organization, regulation of the economy (by anti-trust law, etc) as in social programs that provide safety nets from retirement to healthcare.
Gilded Age capitalism main feature is the power of economic control being consolidated into the hands of the few capitalists that rise to Carnegie level types of control. This is exactly where we are heading. I’ll get into this using the gig/disruption economy and even contrast it to an Industry that was very analogous in the 1930’s: Hollywood.
The very fact that you don’t see mass media as being in a dangerous zone is alarming to me. This is not a Republican-Democrat or Red-Blue issue, this is an issue that involves anyone touched by today’s economy.
In the 1930’s, Hollywood studios controlled both the means of production and the means of distribution. Eventually, this was deemed monopolistic (reality monoposony but whatever) and the studios had to give up their hold over movie theaters. After this happened, the studios lost their exclusive hold on power in the industry and a lot of changes for the better occurred.
In today’s world, the means of production are increasingly being consolidated (ie. Disney buying all those studios, Time buying Warner, NBC buying Universal, etc). I hope we both can agree on this.
The traditional ways of distribution are also consolidated as well. (Disney buying ABC/ESPN etc, Comcast buying NBC-Universal, Time-Warner buying CNN and other properties of that nature.) I hope, again we can agree on this.
In the recent past there has been disruption of this market by Block Buster and later Netflix and other streaming services. People began to “cut the cable” and such by consuming product in different ways.
The laws and regulations at the time of the disruption actually encouraged this and the companies such as Netflix gained market.
Unfortunately, the laws and regulations have been weakened to the point where this disruption has been/is being subsumed by the traditional businesses. Net neutrality laws are being changed, Upstream and Downstream consolidation is being allowed (ie ATT buying Time-Warner, Comcast buying NBC-Universal) to the same level of control that the studios had in the 1930’s.
Disney created content will only be allowed to be seen via Disney owned outlets (once their contract with Netflix expires next year) … ATT created content will only be shown through ATT outlets and if these upstream and downstream arrangements are allowed to survive, Comcast and others like Sinclair will follow.
This is happening throughout the gig economy. Uber and Lyft disrupted the taxi industry which was good but now they using their power to consolidate both upstream and downstream both within the car transportation industry and without … they both are trying to merge with scooter, bikes and motorcycle ride-sharing companies. Social Media companies are continually gobbling up any potential disrupters - Snapchat, Youtube and others are being consolidated in multiple ways.
I see Amazon expanding upstream and downstream (sometimes both) as well as laterally in its home market as bad. (the upstream and downstream part is bad). Controlling the product from production to consumption is Standard Oil Trust territory - each decade since Reagan we have gotten closer to re-achieving the economy as it once existed during the Gilded Age.
Here is an article highlighting how the growth upstream and downstream is providing Amazon with growing profits faster and is representing more of their total … awesome if you are a shareholder or Jeff Besos.
“Leaving the shop behind” is just like the Hollywood studios leaving movie making behind and getting most of their revenues from movie theaters in the 1930’s.
I’ve touched on all of this and it is discussed in a lot of studies related to the Millennial workplace - from the decline of retirement security and the subsequent reliance on Social Security for this generation to the consolidation of mass media companies impacting entertainment.
Socialistic controls on capitalism, relating to many of the Roosevelt programs of the 1930s and the Great Society protections enacted in the 1960’s and 1970’s and most importantly, the spirit of the muckraking reforms of the turn of the 20th century are needed, now more than ever.
Instead we see protections being stripped and control being removed.
I’ve showed directly how monoposonies contribute directly to lower economic growth. I’ve also talked about the increasing consolidation of fewer and fewer entities in markets such as mass media limit the ability of labor to offer their services elsewhere. Showing that the current businesses have the upper hand over other inputs such as labor is as easy as looking at the most recent Supreme Court decisions and the existence of “Right to Work” laws and the way the gig economy has forced workers into the type of employment that they are in (Free-lance, independent contractor, etc).
The fact that this is an issue for the majority of workers involved in the 21st century American economy is seen today, mostly at the local and state levels. Such laws as are being passed in Seattle for Nannies, New York working on social supports for free lance individuals and even minimum wage laws are attempts to shift some of the economic power away from the few that currently hold it to a wider more diverse population in our society.