How did Taylorism influence the socialist movement?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Taylorism probably helped the socialist movement to some degree.  Taylorism and socialism were at their peak influence in the United States at about the same time.  Taylorism would be likely to help socialism because it would have made workers less happy with their working conditions.

Taylorism was at the peak of its influence in the US around 1910.  Taylorism was a system in which all the movements of a worker’s job were carefully analyzed.  The analysis would point to places in the process where time could be saved.  This allowed each worker to produce more goods in the same amount of time. 

Taylorism would have made workers unhappy.  The system would have increased the degree to which they felt that they were merely machines in the eyes of their employers.  Because Taylorism was designed to make them work as fast as possible in as uniform a way as possible, it would have made them less happy with their jobs.

Socialism peaked in the US around 1912.  Around that time, socialists managed to win a number of elections in the United States.  For example, they won election for the mayoralty of Milwaukee and they elected a US Representative from Wisconsin in 1910.  We can argue that some of the popularity of socialism at the time was due to the fact that workers resented Taylorism and were more drawn to socialism as a result.  Thus, we can argue that Taylorism influenced the socialist movement by making it more popular for a time in the US.

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