The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie
Industrialization brought great wealth to America, but the price was quite high. The growing extremes of poverty and wealth that were being exhibited at the end of the 19th century, caused some to seek ways to make possible a just and humane society, while others sought justification for the emerging social order. The gospel of success was preached, promoting the idea that America was the land of opportunity and that hard work led to success. Social Darwinism was used to provide a scientific explanation for why some acquired great wealth while others barely survived. Rags-to-riches stories presented a picture of the opportunities that were available to all, and the success of the self-made man.
In order to prepare for this discussion forum:
Review and identify the relevant sections of Chapter 19, that support your discussion.
Review background information on the works of Horatio Alger Jr. , and read one of his short stories : Ragged Dick , available on this linked site.
Read this selection from Andrew Carnagie’s the Gospel of Wealth on this link.
Read this brief selection on Social Darwinism, written by Herbert Spencer, 1857, who applied Darwin’s theories of evolution to society. He also coined the phrase “survival of the fittest.”
After you have completed your readings post your response to ONE of the topics in the following question:
How would you respond to someone who presents you with the arguments proposed by Social Darwinists, OR the stories written by Horatio Alger, OR Carnagie’s Gospel of Wealth (choose ONLY ONE of these), to explain the success or failures of individuals in the society? What evidence would you use to support your position? For this discussion, you must first identify and present their arguments, and then your counterargument. As you collect your information for this discussion you should keep in mind the opportunities that were available to many, but also the climate of racism that permeated parts of the American society and the legalized discrimination that existed.
In order to earn the full 100 points (100%) for this assignment, you must:
Directly and completely answer at least ONE question. Please make sure that you clearly indicate which question you have chosen to discuss. Clearly and accurately explain your answer based on factual information contained in the assigned readings. (80 points)
Students must respond to at least one fellow student’s posting explaining the reason(s) for their agreement or disagreement, with the arguments that have been presented, in order to get full credit for the discussion. (20 points)
When posting your response to a fellow student’s comment, please try whenever possible, to select the question that you did not address for your discussion.
Make sure that all statements are supported with facts from the reading selections.
The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie
According to Andrew Carnegie, people lack the necessary knowledge required to administer wealth in manners that may support the relationships between the rich and the poor. He argues that people were equal in the past years and did not identify their clothes, food, and shelter by their richness. The arguments presented in the “Gospel of Wealth” indicate that the success of individuals depends on other people. This can be achieved through the disposal of wealth by the wealthy through inheritance or investment in public facilities.
The success of individuals depends on the success of their predecessors. Children born in wealthy families tend to inherit wealth unlike the poor. As such, the inheritors can be guaranteed of financial resources that may lead to success. However, it is also important to note that the inheritors may fail to manage the wealth well thus leading to their failures.
On the other hand, an individual can attain success through the goodwill of the wealthy in the society. It occurs when the rich leave wealth at death for public uses to benefit the community. As such, an individual can achieve success because of the availability of the required resources. However, in some cases, the people close to the deceased may use the wealth for their personal gains leaving the community to suffer as before.
The main argument presented by Carnegie is the lack of proper
knowledge of the distribution of recourse. According to his claims, people can
benefit from each other by ignoring differences in their clothes, food, and
houses because of their financial abilities. An individual can achieve success
through the disposal of wealth by the wealthy. However, they can also fail when
wicked people intervene during the distribution of the wealth.
Camegie, A. (2007). The gospel of wealth. Retrieved from http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2007/09/andrew-carnegie.html