Who is the current day Andrew Carnegie
100th anniversary of Andrew Carnegie's deathThe man who hated laziness
"Man must have a god - but the accumulation of wealth is one of the worst idols. Nothing is more undignified than the worship of money."
When Andrew Carnegie wrote these lines in a letter to himself in 1868, he was 33 years old and had an income of $ 50,000 a year, roughly a million by today's standards.
"When I am 35 I will retire."
The Civil War that killed nearly 600,000 Americans has been over for three years. And which turns out to be a "godsend" for businessmen like Andrew Carnegie. For $ 300 he buys a replacement soldier who goes to war for him, while he himself speculates on the stock market in railroad bonds.
Carnegie will not retire at the age of 35, but will make a fortune over the next three decades that is equal to that of the three richest men in America today - combined.
A feeling for the steel industry and a strict catalog of principles
He owes this wealth above all to his instinct for the new steel industry and a strict catalog of principles, which will keep him climbing the ladder of success and which will later motivate him to donate a large part of his money for philanthropic purposes.
"The rich man has the following duties: He should lead a modest, inconspicuous life, demonstrate neither pomp and extravagance. In addition, he should fulfill the legitimate wishes of the people who depend on him to a certain extent. In addition, he should all additional income merely as a trust fund consider which he must dutifully manage in such a way that they bring the greatest possible benefit to the community. "
Birth in simple but solid circumstances
That wealth and property oblige, as he expounded in his essay "The Gospel of Wealth", 1889, may be a consequence of his childhood. Andrew Carnegie was born in 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland, in simple but solid circumstances, his father Weber, his mother a seamstress. However, machines are increasingly replacing the parents' manual labor, the family becomes impoverished and emigrates to the USA. At the age of 13, Andrew earns 1.20 dollars a week in a cotton factory, he works his way up despite poor schooling, also because the manager and politician Thomas Alexander Scott supports him.
"Follow the example of those who know that the best way to benefit the community is to put up a ladder for the aspirant to climb - free libraries, parks, and recreational opportunities that keep people physically and mentally healthy can refuel, works of art that bring joy and refine the public's taste, and public institutions of all kinds that improve the general situation of the people. "
The individual should earn happiness
Andrew Carnegie is an opponent of imperialism and knows the ideas of communism, but he rejects the equal treatment of all because the individual should earn his happiness. He despises the rich, who feast and have fun, as well as the lazy and parasites. His social ideal does not differentiate between rich and poor, but is based on morality and diligence.
"The only true reformer is the one who tries carefully not to help the unworthy but to help those who deserve it."
With his speculative profits from the railroad bonds, he builds his first steel mill in Pittsburgh. As early as 1880 he was producing 10,000 tons of steel per month, the city tripled its population, the air is black with soot, the rivers dead from industrial toxins - and Carnegie is getting richer.
In 1901, at the age of 65, he sold his company for $ 480 million; he was the third richest man in the United States. It finances the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York, libraries and schools, gives money for art, science and research and international peace.
"The man who dies rich dies in shame"
When Andrew Carnegie died of pneumonia on August 11, 1919, he donated almost 80 billion dollars according to today's calculations. Despite his resolutions, he dies a rich man.
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