Carnegie’s (2010) belief in social Darwinism and “survival of the fittest” (p. 393) seemed to convince him that because he had achieved wealth, he was the most fit or qualified to determine the best distribution for it. However, Carnegie’s ideas on wealth distribution do not address many societal problems, especially poverty. Poverty was better addressed by John Galbraith (2010), Harvard economics professor and John F. Kennedy advisor, who had differing views on wealth distribution (pp. 405-415).
Because Galbraith had a more compassionate view toward all people, he would likely criticize Carnegie’s ideas on distribution of wealth and modify Carnegie’s investments in the public sector. Galbraith’s overall view was also more true to the gospel than Carnegie’s views as expressed in “The Gospel of Wealth. ” Galbraith’s (2010) more compassionate view can be seen by the focus of his essay “The Position of Poverty” which expresses his direct concern over poverty in America, his ideas on distribution of wealth, and his fundamental difference from Carnegie’s outlook (pp. 05-415).
Galbraith aimed his attention straight at poverty. “It [poverty] cannot be excused,” and “It is not annoying but it is a disgrace” (Galbraith, 2010, p. 415).
Galbraith (2010) explains “People are poverty-stricken when their income…falls radically behind…the minimum necessary for decency” (p. 409).
In current times we often observe that many members of our society receive less than other members regardless of whether they are no less deserving. In contrast, there are some who have ownership over assets and earn income that they may not be deserving of. The distributive balance is upset and wealth distribution today can thus be seen as a social injustice. This injustice that is becoming more ...
And it continues, “The provision of…a basic source of income [to maintain decency] must henceforth be the first and the strategic step in the attack on poverty” (Galbraith, 2010, p. 13).
Conversely, Carnegie (2010) is shown to be out of touch with the true needs of the people of his time by the way he characterized what he considered to be the major problem: “The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and the poor in harmonious relationship” (p. 391).
He doesn’t mention poverty, healthcare, or even jobs when defining the major problem, nor does he list them as he continues.
Carnegie left out these fundamental problems, and while harmony between the rich and the poor may have been high on his personal list, it was probably not the preeminent thought of people living through that time period (Jacobus, 2010, p. 389).
Harmony between classes isn’t argued against by Galbraith, but he sees the deeper problem of people struggling with poverty. People who are struggling may not care if they can sit in a free library that Carnegie built when they are unable to live in a home or send their children to school in decent clothes.
Galbraith made statements that these people struggling with poverty should in no way be overlooked. The perceptive Galbraith (2010) stated that the U. S. , being a wealthy country, “no longer has a high philosophical justification for callousness” (p. 412).
Concerning callousness, Carnegie seems to have adopted “survival of the fittest” as his personal philosophy to justify it. Carnegie (2010) referred to the law of competition and wrote “It is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in every department” (p. 93).
He seemingly gives no attention to those less fit in society who may need help. In fact, he later adds “In bestowing charity, the main consideration should be to help those who will help themselves” (Carnegie, 2010, p. 400).
These ideas of Carnegie’s would be considered flawed by Galbraith concerning anyone who might be unable to help themselves. These ideas wouldn’t sit right with him since his more charitable position toward those in poverty listed ways to directly help them.
Poverty occurs in most parts of the world. Nevertheless, the more serious and problematical poverty takes part in the third world and the southern parts of the globe. First of all, we have to clearly define the word 'poverty'; . In a broad sense, it means that people within this 'poverty'; region are poor or have a lower average income per capita than other regions. To a deeper approach, we refer ...
Galbraith (2010) detailed both case poverty and insular poverty and discussed how society might help each (p. 413).
Galbraith’s more comprehensive outlook would definitely find criticism of Carnegie’s distribution of wealth where he might donate pipe organs to churches but refuse charity to families struggling with basic needs or left in a lifestyle considered indecent by the community. Galbraith focused on decency and human dignity. His choice to seek decency for the poor demonstrates greater investment in compassion, and a greater understanding that some can not help themselves.
Leaving this demographic out of a distribution model would be unconscionable in Galbraith’s eyes. Though Galbraith would disagree with the general distribution of wealth Carnegie spoke of, an area where the philosophies of Galbraith and Carnegie might partially overlap is their shared conviction that money should be donated to the public sector. Galbraith, however, would probably modify Carnegie’s strategy. Carnegie was benevolent in donations to the public sector, extraordinarily so, but within a narrow scope that fell within his overall philosophy.
Carnegie (2010) wrote that “ the rich man is thus almost restricted to… benefiting the community [by placing] within its reach the ladders upon which the aspiring can rise” which he outlined as parks, means of recreation, works of art, and public institutions (p. 401).
In the realm of public institutions, Carnegie donated 2,509 public libraries while he was alive (Jacobus, 2010, p. 389).
While these projects might be flashy enough to satisfy a Machiavellian (2010) viewpoint that a leader should do enough to avoid being hated (p. 50), they do little to satisfy problematic areas of society.
Astutely, Galbraith (2010) addressed these problematic areas and surmised we need to “invest more than proportionately in the children of the poor community” (p. 413).
To do this, in addition to public institutions and parks, Galbraith (2010) recognized the need for efficient mass transportation in poor communities, quality health care services, ample housing with housing standards, and adequate law enforcement (p. 413).
In “Black Men and Public Spaces” Brent Staples reveals his experiences with different individuos in all kind of public areas. Staples talk about how people stereotype black men as a violent and dangerous individuals because of their appearance and the color of their skin. In the past when black men was associated with the word murderer or thieves or rapist or all kind of bad things people were ...
If we look at these ever-present needs and realize the U. S. is an affluent enough society to meet them, we realize Carnegie may not have been as fit a person at distributing wealth as his public persona would indicate.
Carnegie’s essay is now probably included in collegiate literature because he was a wealthy man; Galbraith’s essay is now probably included in collegiate literature because it stands on strong, morally-compassionate ideas. Galbraith would likely have chosen to redistribute wealth in a compassionate way that attempted to remove the environmental factor that causes certain “islands” of the population to remain poor and unproductive, paying special attention to the opportunities of the children in that area.
Even further, he [Galbraith] ( 2010) proposed solutions for those who have no means to contribute to the productivity of society: the sick, the handicapped, the mentally ill (p. 413).
All this leads to my final point: Galbraith’s ideas for distribution of wealth in America were truer to Christian compassion than Carnegie’s self-proclaimed gospel. As mentioned, Galbraith (2010) had a plan that would help those experiencing poverty as a result of a factor in their community and even had a plan for those instances of case poverty caused by factors such as mental illness, alcoholism and inability to fit into the workforce (p. 13).
Galbraith’s plan to help victims of case poverty included help for those who could not help themselves. Galbraith’s plan seems to fall in line with a story from classical, sacred literature. A classic reference most people consider instruction on demonstrating compassion is the Biblical story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37, King James Version).
In this story, several people ignore the needs of a man who was attacked, wounded, stripped naked, and left for dead.
A Samaritan man, finding him, tended to his wounds and took him to an inn, paying for the cost of his stay. The account written about the wounded man makes no mention that he was especially qualified to receive help. It doesn’t say he was especially motivated, intelligent or had any special talents. It seems that the Samaritan man had compassion on the man primarily because of his need. The wounded man represents someone who would be helped by Galbraith’s ideology, but not by Carnegie’s.
Andrew Carnegie was often noted as saying, The man who dies rich dies disgraced. (The American Experience: Andrew Carnegie). Unlike many of the other captains of industry at the time, Carnegie was well known for his numerous contributions to charity. Carnegie believed that the rich had a moral obligation to society. In 1889 he wrote The Gospel of Wealth, in which he said, This, then, is held to be ...
This gaping hole in Carnegie’s (2010) desire to help is demonstrated in his writing where he constantly articulates a contrast between “valuable” people and “unworthy people” (pp. 395-401) and writes “It were better for mankind that the millions of the rich were thrown into the sea than so spent as to encourage the slothful, the drunken, the unworthy” (p. 400).
Going even further, he railed against a man who gave a beggar a quarter, calling it one of the “very worst actions of his life” (Carnegie, 2010, p. 400).
Carnegie (2010) also wrote “In bestowing charity, the main consideration should be to help those who will help themselves” (p. 400).
And so, those who cannot help themselves are largely left out of any distribution of wealth that Carnegie approved of because they are considered unworthy. This idea of worthiness and valuable people is repeatedly outlined in Carnegie’s essay. “Neither the individual nor the race is improved by alms-giving. Those worthy of assistance, except in rare cases, seldom require assistance,” he wrote (Carnegie, 2010, p. 401).
We can infer that if Carnegie passed by the wounded man in the Samaritan story, he might interview the victim to see if he was a valuable-enough person to receive help. After looking at the contrast in the ideologies of Galbraith and Carnegie, we can deduce that Galbraith’s approach to distribution of wealth better exemplifies the compassion we are shown in the gospel story of the good Samaritan, helping those who cannot help themselves. So if all men were created equal, as stated earlier, they should all be equally worthy to receive assistance when in need, especially if they can’t help themselves.
Carnegie’s forthright classification of many people as being unworthy to receive assistance isn’t just shocking in light of the sensitivities American culture has in 2012, it puts his ideas at odds with Galbraith whose ideology is probably more commonly accepted today. Galbraith’s emphasis on human dignity would not agree with Carnegie’s views toward distribution of wealth, deeming more money necessary to help the impoverished. Galbraith would agree with Carnegie to invest in the public sector, but would likely shift the resources to more greatly benefit the underprivileged.
In Britain today there is great inequality particularly in wealth. Is this a good or bad feature of society? It could be argued that the inequality in society today particularly in wealth is acceptable. In society the divide between rich and poor is necessary because we need the poor and un-educated people to perform the menial work e. g. cleaning, tillers, bus drivers, street sweepers etc. The ...