The progressive movements of the 1900s differ from the modern progressive movements in various ways. The progressive movements of the 1900s sought to engage the federal government in eradicating unfair trade practices and curtail corruption. The modern progressive movements have been unable to eliminate unfair trade practices. Per Rodgers, politicians are funded by wealthy individuals who insist on keeping low tax rates on capital gains and corporate profits (380). As a result, wealthy households enjoy massive profits at the expense of workers. Unlike the progressive movements of the 1900s that sought to eradicate corruption, modern progressive reformers have been unable to suppress powerful corporate interests responsible for corruption.
History is not repeating itself but is echoing with modern issues. It is reported that during the Progressive Era of the 1900s, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Wisconsin sought to change the influence that money had on politics and the monopolization of crucial sectors of the economy like oil and railroads (Tyson and Mendonca n.p.). Similarly, today, the western states are spearheading the change to restore democracy and address the changing economic paradigms. California, for instance, is attempting to address issues affecting the entire nation. Per Tyson and Mendonca, California is pursuing an aggressive carbon-reduction initiative and is adopting political reforms in the form of citizen-based redistricting (n.p.). The roadmaps preferred by reformers of the Modern Progressive Era may yield the desired outcomes, albeit in the long term.
The big banks should be broken up to prevent future economic meltdowns. The economic recession of 2008 was primarily caused by the decision of big banks to advance money to people who could not pay it back (Nelson, and Katzenstein 365). In this case, the loan system precipitated the housing crisis that adversely affected the economy. These decisions were made by big banks that monopolized the financial sector. Lehman Brothers, one of the dominant banks, and an economic denominator collapsed leading to an economic recession (Nelson, and Katzenstein 370). Thus, to avoid a future catastrophe and economic meltdown, big banks should be broken up so that the economy does depend only on few financial institutions.
Nelson, Stephen, and Peter, Katzenstein. “Uncertainty, Risk, and the Financial Crisis of 2008”. International Organization, vol. 68, no. 2, 2014, 361-392.
Rodgers, Daniel. “Capitalism and Politics in the Progressive Era and in Ours”. The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, vol. 13, no. 3, 2014, pp. 379-386.
Tyson, Laura, and Lenny, Mendonca. “The Birthplace of America’s New Progressive Era”. Gulf Times, February 19, 2019. https://m.gulf-times.com/story/622731/The-birthplace-of-America-s-new-progressive-era. Accessed September 5, 2020.