Which Essay Did Andrew Carnegie Write

Originally titled simply “Wealth” and published in theNorth American Review in June 1889, Andrew Carnegie’s essay “The Gospel of Wealth” is considered a foundational document in the field of philanthropy. Carnegie believed in giving wealth abroad during one’s lifetime, and this essay includes one of his well-nigh famous quotes, “The homo who dies thus rich dies disgraced.” Carnegie’s message continues to resonate with and inspire leaders and philanthropists around the earth.

Download a PDF Copy of “The Gospel of Wealth”

“The Gospel of Wealth”

By Andrew Carnegie

The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, then that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship. The atmospheric condition of homo life have not only been changed, but revolutionized, inside the past few hundred years. In one-time days there was little difference between the dwelling, clothes, food, and surround of the chief and those of his retainers. The Indians are today where civilized man then was. When visiting the Sioux, I was led to the wigwam of the chief. It was simply like the others in external appearance, and even within the difference was trifling between information technology and those of the poorest of his braves. The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the modify which has come with civilization. This alter, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial. It is well, nay, essential for the progress of the race, that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refinements of civilization, rather than that none should exist so. Much meliorate this great irregularity than universal squalor. Without wealth in that location can be no Mæcenas. The “skilful quondam times ” were not good one-time times. Neither master nor servant was as well situated and then as to-solar day. A relapse to onetime weather would exist disastrous to both—not the least so to him who serves—and would sweep away civilization with it. Merely whether the change be for good or ill, it is upon united states, beyond our power to alter, and therefore to be accustomed and made the best of. It is a waste material of fourth dimension to criticize the inevitable.

Information technology is easy to run into how the change has come. One illustration will serve for nigh every phase of the crusade. In the manufacture of products we accept the whole story. It applies to all combinations of human manufacture, equally stimulated and enlarged by the inventions of this scientific age. Formerly articles were manufactured at the domestic hearth or in small shops which formed part of the household. The principal and his apprentices worked side by side, the latter living with the master, and therefore subject to the same conditions. When these apprentices rose to be masters, at that place was lilliputian or no change in their mode of life, and they, in turn, educated in the same routine succeeding apprentices. There was, essentially social equality, and even political equality, for those engaged in industrial pursuits had then lilliputian or no political voice in the State.

“The poor enjoy what the rich could not before afford. What were the luxuries take become the necessaries of life. The laborer has at present more comforts than the landlord had a few generations ago.”

Only the inevitable event of such a mode of manufacture was crude manufactures at high prices. Today the globe obtains commodities of excellent quality at prices which even the generation preceding this would have accounted incredible. In the commercial world similar causes have produced like results, and the race is benefited thereby. The poor enjoy what the rich could not before afford. What were the luxuries accept get the necessaries of life. The laborer has now more comforts than the landlord had a few generations agone. The farmer has more luxuries than the landlord had, and is more richly clad and ameliorate housed. The landlord has books and pictures rarer, and appointments more creative, than the King could and so obtain.

The price we pay for this salutary change is, no doubt, great. We gather thousands of operatives in the factory, in the mine, and in the counting-business firm, of whom the employer can know piddling or nothing, and to whom the employer is little improve than a myth. All intercourse betwixt them is at an stop. Rigid castes are formed, and, as usual, mutual ignorance breeds mutual distrust. Each caste is without sympathy for the other, and set up to credit annihilation disparaging in regard to it. Under the police of competition, the employer of thousands is forced into the strictest economies, among which the rates paid to labor effigy prominently, and often there is friction between the employer and the employed, between capital and labor, between rich and poor. Human society loses homogeneity.

The price which club pays for the law of contest, like the price information technology pays for cheap comforts and luxuries, is also smashing; just the advantage of this police are also greater yet, for it is to this law that we owe our wonderful material development, which brings improved atmospheric condition in its train. But, whether the law be beneficial or not, we must say of it, as we say of the change in the atmospheric condition of men to which we have referred: It is hither; we cannot evade it; no substitutes for information technology have been found; and while the law may exist sometimes difficult for the private, it is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in every department. Nosotros accept and welcome therefore, equally conditions to which we must accommodate ourselves, keen inequality of environment, the concentration of business organisation, industrial and commercial, in the hands of a few, and the police force of competition between these, as beingness not simply beneficial, but essential for the future progress of the race. Having accepted these, information technology follows that there must be peachy scope for the practice of special ability in the merchant and in the manufacturer who has to conduct affairs upon a great scale. That this talent for organization and management is rare among men is proved by the fact that it invariably secures for its possessor enormous rewards, no matter where or under what laws or atmospheric condition. The experienced in affairs ever rate the MAN whose services can be obtained as a partner equally non only the showtime consideration, merely such as to return the question of his capital letter scarcely worth considering, for such men soon create capital; while, without the special talent required, capital soon takes wings. Such men become interested in firms or corporations using millions; and estimating just simple interest to be fabricated upon the capital invested, it is inevitable that their income must exceed their expenditures, and that they must accrue wealth. Nor is in that location whatever centre ground which such men can occupy, because the dandy manufacturing or commercial concern which does not earn at least involvement upon its upper-case letter soon becomes bankrupt. It must either go forward or fall backside: to stand even so is incommunicable. It is a condition essential for its successful operation that it should be thus far profitable, and fifty-fifty that, in add-on to involvement on capital, it should make profit. It is a law, as certain as whatsoever of the others named, that men possessed of this peculiar talent for affair, nether the gratis play of economic forces, must, of necessity, soon exist in receipt of more revenue than can be judiciously expended upon themselves; and this constabulary is as beneficial for the race as the others.

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Objections to the foundations upon which lodge is based are not in order, because the status of the race is amend with these than it has been with any others which have been tried. Of the result of whatever new substitutes proposed we cannot exist sure. The Socialist or Agitator who seeks to overturn present conditions is to be regarded equally attacking the foundation upon which civilization itself rests, for civilisation took its commencement from the 24-hour interval that the capable, industrious workman said to his incompetent and lazy swain, “If g dost non sow, thou shalt not reap,” and thus ended primitive Communism by separating the drones from the bees. One who studies this subject will before long be brought face to confront with the decision that upon the sacredness of holding culture itself depends–the right of the laborer to his hundred dollars in the savings bank, and every bit the legal right of the millionaire to his millions. To these who propose to substitute Communism for this intense Individualism the answer, therefore, is: The race has tried that. All progress from that vicious 24-hour interval to the present time has resulted from its deportation. Not evil, but good, has come to the race from the accumulation of wealth by those who have the power and energy that produce it. Only even if we admit for a moment that information technology might exist better for the race to discard its present foundation, Individualism,—that it is a nobler ideal that human being should labor, non for himself alone, but in and for a brotherhood of his fellows, and share with them all in common, realizing Swedenborg’s thought of Heaven, where, as he says, the angels derive their happiness, not from laboring for self, only for each other,—even admit all this, and a sufficient answer is, This is non evolution, just revolution. Information technology necessitates the irresolute of human nature itself a work of eons, fifty-fifty if information technology were good to modify it, which nosotros cannot know.

It is not practicable in our twenty-four hours or in our age. Fifty-fifty if desirable theoretically, it belongs to another and long-succeeding sociological stratum. Our duty is with what is practicable now; with the next step possible in our mean solar day and generation. Information technology is criminal to waste our energies in endeavoring to uproot, when all we tin profitably or possibly accomplish is to bend the universal tree of humanity a footling in the direction most favorable to the product of good fruit under existing circumstances. Nosotros might every bit well urge the devastation of the highest existing type of homo considering he failed to reach our ideal as favor the destruction of Individualism, Private Property, the Police of Aggregating of Wealth, and the Constabulary of Competition; for these are the highest results of human experience, the soil in which social club then far has produced the all-time fruit. Unequally or unjustly, perhaps, as these laws sometimes operate, and imperfect equally they appear to the Idealist, they are, nevertheless, like the highest type of man, the best and most valuable of all that humanity has yet accomplished.

Nosotros start, then, with a condition of diplomacy under which the best interests of the race are promoted, but which inevitably gives wealth to the few. Thus far, accepting conditions as they be, the situation can be surveyed and pronounced good. The question then arises,—and, if the foregoing be correct, it is the only question with which we accept to deal,—What is the proper style of administering wealth after the laws upon which civilization is founded have thrown it into the hands of the few ? And information technology is of this great question that I believe I offer the truthful solution. It will be understood that fortunes are hither spoken of, non moderate sums saved by many years of effort, the returns on which are required for the comfortable maintenance and education of families. This is non wealth, but only competence which it should be the aim of all to acquire.

There are but three modes in which surplus wealth can be tending of. Information technology can be left to the families of the decedents; or it can be bequeathed for public purposes; or, finally, it can be administered during their lives by its possessors. Under the first and second modes most of the wealth of the globe that has reached the few has hitherto been applied. Allow us in turn consider each of these modes. The first is the most injudicious. In monarchical countries, the estates and the greatest portion of the wealth are left to the starting time son, that the vanity of the parent may exist gratified by the thought that his proper name and title are to descend to succeeding generations unimpaired. The condition of this grade in Europe to-day teaches the futility of such hopes or ambitions. The successors have become impoverished through their follies or from the fall in the value of land. Fifty-fifty in Slap-up Britain the strict police force of entail has been found inadequate to maintain the status of an hereditary class. Its soil is rapidly passing into the hands of the stranger. Under republican institutions the division of belongings among the children is much fairer, merely the question which forces itself upon thoughtful men in all lands is: Why should men leave smashing fortunes to their children? If this is done from affection, is information technology not misguided affection? Observation teaches that, generally speaking, it is not well for the children that they should exist so burdened. Neither is it well for the state. Beyond providing for the wife and daughters moderate sources of income, and very moderate allowances indeed, if any, for the sons, men may well hesitate, for it is no longer questionable that groovy sums bequeathed oftener work more for the injury than for the adept of the recipients. Wise men will soon conclude that, for the all-time interests of the members of their families and of the country, such bequests are an improper employ of their means.

It is non suggested that men who accept failed to educate their sons to earn a livelihood shall bandage them adrift in poverty. If whatever man has seen fit to rear his sons with a view to their living idle lives, or, what is highly commendable, has instilled in them the sentiment that they are in a position to labor for public ends without reference to pecuniary considerations, then, of class, the duty of the parent is to see that such are provided for in moderation. At that place are instances of millionaires’ sons unspoiled by wealth, who, being rich, still perform great services in the customs. Such are the very salt of the earth, as valuable equally, unfortunately, they are rare; still it is not the exception, but the rule, that men must regard, and, looking at the usual result of enormous sums conferred upon legatees, the thoughtful human must before long say, “I would equally soon leave to my son a curse as the almighty dollar,” and admit to himself that it is non the welfare of the children, simply family pride, which inspires these enormous legacies.

As to the second mode, that of leaving wealth at decease for public uses, it may be said that this is only a means for the disposal of wealth, provided a human is content to expect until he is dead before it becomes of much good in the earth. Noesis of the results of legacies ancestral is not calculated to inspire the brightest hopes of much posthumous skillful existence accomplished. The cases are not few in which the real object sought by the testator is not attained, nor are they few in which his existent wishes are thwarted. In many cases the bequests are so used as to become only monuments of his folly. It is well to retrieve that it requires the do of non less power than that which caused the wealth to use it then equally to be really beneficial to the community. Likewise this, it may fairly be said that no human is to be extolled for doing what he cannot help doing, nor is he to be thanked past the community to which he simply leaves wealth at death. Men who leave vast sums in this mode may adequately exist thought men who would not have left it at all, had they been able to take information technology with them. The memories of such cannot exist held in grateful remembrance, for there is no grace in their gifts. Information technology is not to be wondered at that such bequests seem so mostly to lack the blessing.

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The growing disposition to tax more and more heavily large estates left at expiry is a auspicious indication of the growth of a salutary modify in public opinion. The State of Pennsylvania now takes—subject to some exceptions—i-tenth of the belongings left by its citizens. The budget presented in the British Parliament the other twenty-four hours proposes to increase the death-duties; and, virtually significant of all, the new tax is to exist a graduated one. Of all forms of taxation, this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper utilise of which for – public ends would work skillful to the community, should be made to experience that the customs, in the form of the country, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at decease the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire’south unworthy life.

It is desirable that nations should get much farther in this direction. Indeed, it is hard to ready bounds to the share of a rich human being’s estate which should become at his death to the public through the agency of the land, and by all means such taxes should be graduated, beginning at naught upon moderate sums to dependents, and increasing rapidly as the amounts slap-up, until of the millionaire’s hoard, as of Shylock’s, at least

“The other half
Comes to the privy countinghouse of the land.”

This policy would work powerfully to induce the rich man to attend to the administration of wealth during his life, which is the end that society should always have in view, every bit beingness that by far nearly fruitful for the people. Nor need it be feared that this policy would sap the root of enterprise and render men less anxious to accrue, for to the class whose ambition it is to leave great fortunes and exist talked about after their death, it volition attract even more than attending, and, indeed, be a somewhat nobler ambition to take enormous sums paid over to the land from their fortunes.

At that place remains, then, just one mode of using great fortunes; merely in this we have the true antidote for the temporary diff distribution of wealth, the reconciliation of the rich and the poora reign of harmonyanother ideal, differing, indeed, from that of the Communist in requiring only the farther evolution of existing conditions, not the full overthrow of our culture. It is founded upon the present most intense individualism, and the race is projected to put it in do by caste whenever it pleases. Nether its sway we shall have an platonic land, in which the surplus wealth of the few will become, in the all-time sense the property of the many, considering administered for the common good, and this wealth, passing through the hands of the few, can exist fabricated a much more than stiff strength for the elevation of our race than if it had been distributed in small sums to the people themselves. Even the poorest can be fabricated to see this, and to concord that dandy sums gathered by some of their swain-citizens and spent for public purposes, from which the masses reap the master do good, are more valuable to them than if scattered among them through the form of many years in trifling amounts through the course of many years.

If nosotros consider what results flow from the Cooper Plant, for example, to the best portion of the race in New York not possessed of means, and compare these with those which would take arisen for the good of the masses from an equal sum distributed by Mr. Cooper in his lifetime in the form of wages, which is the highest form of distribution, being for piece of work done and not for charity, we can course some estimate of the possibilities for the improvement of the race which lie embedded in the present law of the accumulation of wealth. Much of this sum if distributed in small-scale quantities among the people, would have been wasted in the indulgence of appetite, some of it in excess, and it may be doubted whether even the part put to the best employ, that of adding to the comforts of the dwelling house, would have yielded results for the race, every bit a race, at all comparable to those which are flowing and are to flow from the Cooper Institute from generation to generation. Allow the abet of fierce or radical alter ponder well this thought.

We might even go and so far every bit to take another instance, that of Mr. Tilden’s bequest of five millions of dollars for a free library in the urban center of New York, but in referring to this i cannot help proverb involuntarily, how much better if Mr. Tilden had devoted the last years of his own life to the proper administration of this immense sum; in which case neither legal contest nor whatever other cause of delay could have interfered with his aims. Only let u.s.a. assume that Mr. Tilden’s millions finally become the ways of giving to this city a noble public library, where the treasures of the world independent in books will be open to all forever, without coin and without price. Because the adept of that role of the race which congregates in and around Manhattan Isle, would its permanent do good take been better promoted had these millions been allowed to broadcast in small sums through the easily of the masses? Even the well-nigh strenuous advocate of Communism must entertain a dubiety upon this subject. Near of those who think will probably entertain no dubiety whatever.

Poor and restricted are our opportunities in this life; narrow our horizon; our best work virtually imperfect; but rich men should be thankful for one inestimable boon. They have it in their power during their lives to decorated themselves in organizing benefactions from which the masses of their fellows will derive lasting advantage, and thus dignify their own lives. The highest life is probably to be reached, not past such imitation of the life of Christ as Count Tolstoi gives united states, only, while blithe past Christ’south spirit, by recognizing the changed conditions of this age, and adopting modes of expressing this spirit suitable to the changed conditions under which nosotros live; still laboring for the skilful of our fellows, which was the essence of his life and teaching, but laboring in a different mode.

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“This, and so, is held to exist the duty of the human of Wealth: Beginning, to set an example of minor, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance.”

This, then, is held to exist the duty of the man of Wealth: First, to set an case of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and later on doing then to consider all surplus revenues which come to him but equally trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly spring as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the communitythe man of wealth thus becoming the mere agent and trustee for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.

We are met here with the difficulty of determining what are moderate sums to go out to members of the family; what is modest, unostentatious living; what is the test of extravagance. There must be unlike standards for dissimilar conditions. The answer is that information technology is as impossible to proper noun exact amounts or deportment as it is to define good manners, good gustation, or the rules of propriety; but, nevertheless, these are verities, well known although indefinable. Public sentiment is quick to know and to feel what offends these. So in the case of wealth. The rule in regard to good taste in the dress of men or women applies hither. Whatever makes one conspicuous offends the canon. If any family exist chiefly known for display, for extravagance in home, table, equipage, for enormous sums ostentatiously spent in any form upon itself, if these be its master distinctions, we have no difficulty in estimating its nature or culture. And then as well in regard to the use or corruption of its surplus wealth, or to generous, freehanded cooperation in good public uses, or to unabated efforts to accumulate and hoard to the last, whether they administer or bequeath.

The verdict rests with the best and most aware public sentiment. The community will surely judge and its judgments will not often be wrong.

The all-time uses to which surplus wealth can be put have already been indicated. These who, would administer wisely must, indeed, be wise, for 1 of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity. Information technology were better for flesh that the millions of the rich were thrown in to the body of water than then spent equally to encourage the slothful, the drunken, the unworthy. Of every g dollars spent in so called charity to-day, it is likely that $950 is unwisely spent; so spent, indeed as to produce the very evils which it proposes to mitigate or cure. A well-known writer of philosophic books admitted the other twenty-four hour period that he had given a quarter of a dollar to a man who approached him as he was coming to visit the firm of his friend. He knew nothing of the habits of this beggar; knew not the use that would be fabricated of this money, although he had every reason to suspect that it would be spent improperly. This homo professed to be a disciple of Herbert Spencer; yet the quarter-dollar given that night will probably work more than injury than all the money which its thoughtless donor volition ever be able to give in true charity will benefit. He only gratified his ain feelings, saved himself from annoyance,and this was probably i of the most selfish and very worst actions of his life, for in all respects he is most worthy.

In bestowing charity, the principal consideration should be to assist those who will help themselves; to provide function of the means by which those who desire to improve may practice so; to give those who desire to use the aids by which they may rise; to assistance, merely rarely or never to practise all. Neither the private nor the race is improved by almsgiving. Those worthy of help, except in rare cases, seldom require assistance. The actually valuable men of the race never do, except in cases of accident or sudden change. Every one has, of course, cases of individuals brought to his own knowledge where temporary assistance tin can do genuine skillful, and these he volition non overlook. But the amount which can be wisely given by the individual for individuals is necessarily limited by his lack of cognition of the circumstances connected with each. He is the just true reformer who is as conscientious and every bit broken-hearted non to aid the unworthy as he is to aid the worthy, and, perhaps, even more than and then, for in alms-giving more injury is probably done by rewarding vice than by relieving virtue.

The rich human is thus almost restricted to post-obit the examples of Peter Cooper, Enoch Pratt of Baltimore, Mr. Pratt of Brooklyn, Senator Stanford, and others, who know that the best ways of benefiting the customs is to place within its reach the ladders upon which the aspiring can risingparks, and means of recreation, by which men are helped in torso and mind; works of fine art, certain to give pleasure and improve the public sense of taste, and public institutions of diverse kinds, which will amend the general condition of the people; in this way returning their surplus wealth to the mass of their fellows in the forms best calculated to do them lasting skillful.

“The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”

Thus is the problem of Rich and Poor to exist solved. The laws of accumulation will exist left free; the laws of distribution complimentary. Individualism will go along, but the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; intrusted for a flavour with a dandy part of the increased wealth of the customs, simply administering it for the customs far better than it could or would have washed for itself. The best minds volition thus accept reached a phase in the development of the race which it is clearly seen that in that location is no style of disposing of surplus wealth creditable to thoughtful and earnest men into whose hands it flows save by using it year by year for the general good. This twenty-four hour period already dawns. Merely a little while, and although, without incurring the pity of their fellows, men may die sharers in neat business organization enterprises from which their capital cannot be or has not been withdrawn, and is left chiefly at death for public uses, however the man who dies leaving behind many millions of available wealth, which was his to administrate during life, volition laissez passer away ” unwept, unhonored, and unsung,” no affair to what uses he leaves the dross which he cannot accept with him. Of such as these the public verdict will then be: “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”

Such, in my opinion, is the true Gospel concerning Wealth, obedience to which is destined some solar day to solve the problem of the Rich and the Poor, and to bring “Peace on earth, among men expert will.”


This essay was originally published in the
Northward American Review
(as “Wealth”), Vol. CXLVIII, June 1889. Information technology was reprinted in Andrew Carnegie,
The Gospel of Wealth and Other Timely Essays, ed. Andrew C. Kirkland (Cambridge, Mass.: 1962).

Which Essay Did Andrew Carnegie Write

Source: https://www.carnegie.org/about/our-history/gospelofwealth/#:~:text=Originally%20titled%20simply%20%E2%80%9CWealth%E2%80%9D%20and,in%20the%20field%20of%20philanthropy.

Originally posted 2022-08-04 09:49:32.

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