The Gospel of Wealth and Other Timely Essays (Anglais) Broché – 28 janvier 2013
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The book would have been ideal for the people of "Occupy Wall Street," and by facebook, I tried to recommend it. I hope, if and when the movement reemerges, they will take it into consideration. I highly recommend it.
The very first thing I would like to point out is that this is NOT a Socialist doctrine, nor does it relate to that concept in any way, shape, or form. Those who feel that it is have missed the point entirely. Those of every persuasion need to read this book. One might ask that if this is not Socialist, or Communist, then what is it? What you will find by reading this may surprise you.
First of all, Carnegie warns of the rich spoiling their children, leaving them unearned wealth as inheritance, and leaving them their business simply because they are their children, but without any qualifications. The first can spoil and destroy them, not knowing what to do with their unearned wealth by basking in luxury. The second is that should he leave his children to head his established business, whatever it might be, they have a chance of destroying it by not knowing how to run it, and lacking the creativity to let it grow. The children must be educated and trained to run the business, to have an interest in it, and to want it to grow beyond what the founder, their fathers, have established. Also, children must learn the value of the dollar and earn their way up. If they are not qualified, the business, and wealth, should be left to someone else. A warning to the businessmen of today.
The main topic here, though, is to use the wealth to benefit society as a whole, and this is needed today, in times of economic crisis and debts, more than ever. This does not mean giving money to any person who has his hand out. Carnegie did not believe in handouts, or a welfare state. Everyone, he believed, must work for a living, unless severely disabled. Carnegie did recommend giving to charities that help the less fortunate. He also advised to be selective about what charities to support. The book does warn against scams, and this is especially true today as it was back then.
The way to use wealth to benefit society would be to contribute what society needs or could use to benefit the public. If a town doesn't have a library, one should donate and build one with his own money, not the government's. This could apply to community centers, public swimming pools, parks, walkways, bike paths, and today, since the government is short on cash, roads and bridges. By this, I mean that if a wealthy man owning a business or corporation lives in a small town that needs a new bridge or roadway or other form of infrastructure, perhaps he should donate and built it himself to benefit the town, rather than wait for the government to do it. This is a problem in our society today, depending to the government to supply all our needs, and this is why we are in such massive debt.
Other ways are to build hospitals, invest in research and development in new technologies, and new products that will make society as a whole even more prosperous. Education is a major investment, in college and universities, as are new academic disciplines.
Greed is no doubt prevalent in our society today, and that is a major problem. Many businessmen acquire unearned wealth at the expense of others, and hoard it away, only to acquire more. When taken into consideration, these people cannot even begin to spend the money they have, and they want more, more, more, only to let it sit on its ass. This is a big problem in this country and this explains our crisis. In other countries, many take the money and reinvest it. That is what we need to do if we are to get this country moving again. In spite of the debt, the U.S. has a lot of money, just sitting there in a vault doing nothing. Should all that money be reinvested in new industries, new technology, education, new products, this country as a whole would rise again as a major world power. This would also produce even more wealth. We are declining right now, but we have the money to pull us out if we use it wisely.
This book, these essays were written in the early twentieth century, around 1910, but the book, and its meaning, is timeless. This is a book that should be in every business office, big and small, from Wall Street to Main Street. This book is truly a "Gospel of Wealth" for it warns of the dangers of wealth if use foolishly, but also extolls the benefits if used wisely.
Andrew Carnegie's most famous contribution of his donations is the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City. He has also donated libraries to towns across the U.S., and pipe organs to churches all over the world, at their own request after hearing to one he donated in Scotland, when he retired. He also left an inheritance for his children to live out the rest of their lives comfortably, but stopped there. His grandchildren had to start over again, much to their benefit.
This is a short book consisting of only a few essays, but they all go together, as a few more essays from other compilations Carnegie has written. His works should be revived for all to read, for these are classics well worth reading, and remembering.