The Jungle took place 100 years ago. We have come a long way, and a change would not be easy. I believe controled capitalism would be the best way to aid the most people.
Programs like welfare, medicare and medicade would, be set up (although, not the way they are today). Jurgis and his family always fall on hard times during the winter. People get sick, they don’t have enough food or clothing and they cannot get to work. These social programs would hopefully mend these problems.
Government angencies (this is a dangerous part, because bureaucrats screw things up, and corruption is not uncommon) should be set up, such as the FDA, in order to preserve the quality of food. Jurgis unknowingly buys impure food. He buys sausages with potatoe paste, which has no nutritional value. This causes people to get sick in the long run. Another way of preventing bad food, would be to pass legislation like the Food Act.Order now
Another problem faced in the Jungle is the problem of money. The wages are so low, that Jurgis can barley keep alive. They are paid the bare minimum, which should not be the minimum wage. A minimum wage should be set, that allows for small expenses like a movie or extra food. Also, children (14 is my begining work age) should be paid the same amount as men (this applies to women as well).
The workers have no way of retaliating against the packers. Unions don’t work because there is always someone who is willing to do the job for less. The workers need some sort of government induced way of negotiating with the packers.
The reason they are paid so low is because they are expendable. The government should start worker programs like the WPA (from the depression). They could build roads and bridges, which are badly needed in Chicago anyway. The Stalkyards would benifit from this because they would have an easier time transporting goods in the town.
Most of these programs have a socialist point of view, but can only be executed by a capitalist economy. In socialism, there is no cause for advancement, and there is no way to become bigger and better. This is the exact problem that Jurgis faces, because he cannot advance, and make more money. Socialism doesn’t take into account workers abilities, so a veteran meat hacker gets paid as much as a newbie, which is unfair.
There is a lot of proof that these ideas would work. Things like the WPA, FDA and Food Act were passed. Minimum wage was established, and welfare became a reality. Just on a side note, a world war would help the American economy because we have yet to be attacked in the last 100 years. The American economy soars after world wars (the roaring 20’s and the 50’s).