Where Ideologies Clash: Galbraith vs. Carnegie Essay example

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Where Ideologies Clash: Galbraith vs. Carnegie
Wayne Eternicka
Nicolet Area Technical College

Where Ideologies Clash: Galbraith vs. Carnegie
All men are created equal – that is, unless you subscribe to Andrew Carnegies ideas put forth in the 1889 essay “The Gospel of Wealth.” Carnegie (2010) wrote that some people are “unworthy” while others are “the highest type of man, the best and most valuable of all that humanity has yet accomplished” (p. 395). 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
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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

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