What are the duties of the wealthiest man in America? Andrew Carnegie was the industrial icon of the American Dream, and a perfect inspiration of “rags-to-riches”.
The extent to how ethical his practice was is still up for debate. This once-impoverished Scottish immigrant, businessman, and philanthropist used steel, oil, rails, and telegraphy in the Industrialization era as tools to changing the community. Through outstanding his competition, Carnegie acquired extreme wealth, which was dedicated for peace progression and community development, therefore nominating him as a “Captain of Industry”.Andrew Carnegie’s business-conducting strategies were ethical and common amongst his industry counterparts; however, what contrasts Carnegie with his competitors is his tendency to assist the community, inclusive to all races and social classes, with his explosive riches. He made cheap and widely accessible steel, and frequently incorporated innovations and replaced equipment on plants.
While A.C. lived by the beliefs of Social Darwinism and capitalism, he also encouraged the wealthy to use their profits for aristocratic purposes, and was a role model for modern day industry leaders like Bill Gates (2). Carnegie was recognized as a giver by donating 90% of his wealth to the American people. Being that A.C. was an immigrant who found success, he was empathetic for education systems that adhered to immigrants like himself, particularly those from Africa and Cuba, and tended to be against supporting schools that were religiously affiliated and simply needy people (1). As for the blueprint of these universities and such, the central building was used as a library to serve as a basis for basic learning and resources.
Andrew Carnegie had a personal desire to build up smaller, hometown schools as opposed to the larger and run-of-the-mill ones (1). His $350 million also went into music halls, educational grants, nearly 3000 public libraries, pension funds, and scientific development through the Carnegie Institution.However, from another perspective, Carnegie was only capable of bettering America by abusing the rights of the working class. Working conditions such as toxins, simplified working uniforms, and insufficient training on heavy machinery cost many employees their jobs, or even their lives. Many working class families were below the poverty line despite men putting in 12 hours per week, and wages were congruent with the oscillation of market prices. As the gradient of economic inequality broadened, unions formed to protest the plummeting wages and multiplicity of working hours.
Laborers received no breaks on their shifts, and only got Independence Day off out of the whole calendar year. Despite respecting the spirit and determination of protesters, Carnegie shut down unions as they interfered with productivity and resulted in violence (2) Carnegie proved himself a coward by putting Henry Frick in the position to end labor unions, which was extended to the Pinkertons, who together were combatted by 10 thousand protesters. The Homestead Strike is the pinpoint in Carnegie’s timeline where we must consider his worth as a captain of industry. While it is true that A.C.
had a lot on his plate, he had basically retired at 30 years old, leisurely wrote books and vacationed, all while having conscious awareness that his employees were injured on a job that was overly demanding, and under-rewarding (2).Being that America’s working class of the Industrialization Era formed the backbone of the country, Carnegie was able to transform struggle into exponential growth. Carnegie’s construction still benefits people today, but the blue-collar workers are the ones to have gratitude for. Had he not sacrificed his employees, people today wouldn’t be able to enhance their education, faith, or beliefs as wholesomely or effectively, therefore his perpetual generosity leaves the footprint of a “Captain of Industry”.