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“The Gospel of Wealth” shares the views on wealth and capitalism of one of the richest men in American history.
About Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest men in the 19th century America. He was a mogul in the steel industry and a renowned philanthropist.
“The Gospel of Wealth Summary”
Today, we live in a capitalist society.
If the system is functioning the way it is supposed to, it separates the working and the wealthy class.
When captains of industry create business opportunities that provide job openings for the public and generate profit, they fulfill their responsibilities.
Financial success allows leaders in various fields to enjoy luxuries that exceed anything that a laborer may imagine.
However, we must not look at this separation as something bad – on the contrary if reflects the advancement of society and growth.
Why do we say this?
Well, a capitalistic system lowers the prices of products, while at the same time improving their quality, and thus making them affordable to everyone.
Of course, there are people who want to go back in the days of greater equality, but returning to those days would be a disaster.
It is a fact that today’s working class has access to some products that not even rich people could get a century ago.
However, economic expansion has a dark side: there is a big price to pay, especially in the area of interpersonal relationships.
The gap between employers and employees is widening and is filling up with mistrust.
Employers no longer recognize employees, since it is impossible to have direct communication with hundreds of them.
As a result, the interpersonal dynamic is deteriorated.
Wages being the primary source of dispute between employers and employees widens the gap even more. This is a result of the law of competition which forces business owners to cut their expenditures.
However, although it does have such drawbacks, this law has a positive aspect: it acts as a guarantor of future expansion and growth.
It is true that individuals may suffer, but society in whole benefits from this system.
Key Lessons from “The Gospel of Wealth”
1. The Law of Competition
2. Distribution of Wealth
3. For Society’s Benefit
The Law of Competition
The law of competition allows extraordinary people to achieve great results, and thus encourages individual ambition and accomplishment.
Capitalism has proven far superior to other systems, allowing people with different skills and abilities to find their economic level, and discouraging artificial boundaries.
Distribution of Wealth
The capitalistic system provides opportunities for any member of society, but only the most privileged amass a vast excess of wealth that exceeds what they need for leading a comfortable life.
They have three options for distribution of this surplus:
- Pass it on as an inheritance after their death.
- Fund institutions and projects posthumously.
- Allocate resources while they are alive.
For Society’s Benefit
The only truly beneficial way to reallocate resources is to ensure that the maximum number of people have felt the benefit.
In other words, the goal of allocating surpluses should be creating a system that will ultimately improve the life of the average citizen.
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“The Gospel of Wealth” QuotesOf every thousand dollars spent in so-called charity today, it is probable that nine hundred and fifty dollars is unwisely spent. Click To Tweet In bestowing charity, the main consideration should be to help those who will help themselves. Click To Tweet No man is to be thanked by the community to which he only leaves wealth at death. Men who leave vast sums in this way would not have left it at all had they been able to take it with them. Click To Tweet What is the proper mode of administering wealth after the laws upon which civilization is founded have thrown it into the hands of the few? Click To Tweet By taxing estates heavily at death the State marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire’s unworthy life. Click To Tweet