The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie was published in 1889 while the article of Henry Lloyd, Wealth against Commonwealth was published in 1894. The two articles came at a period of industrial revolution in America. Carnegie dominated the steel industry, and this made him one of the richest men in America, together with other well-known industrialists like Vanderbilt and Rockefeller. In his views, Carnegie became convinced that entrepreneurs like him should spend much money to help the ordinary poor people in the society, and this formed the Gospel of Wealth. The period when Carnegie wrote the article was also the time of the huge rise in big business in America. The industrial revolution only helped a few people who amassed immense wealth. There existed many dissenting opinions on the monopoly practiced by the industrialists, and numerous people could not get the opportunity to venture into a big business during this period. Based on the monopoly of wealth, Lloyd expressed his views on this matter and deliberated the social consequences this act would generate in the society.
To analyze the Gospel of Wealth effectively, it is essential to comprehend Carnegie’s views about capitalism. The free market capitalism and the industrial revolution had just created large scales of production as well as exponential growth in profits. Thus, Carnegie trusted that such system made sure the most talented and smartest entrepreneurs to accumulate more wealth than anybody in the history of America. Nonetheless, this inferred that wealth and power were just in the hands of a few, and the gap between the poor and the rich had broadened considerably. The inequality was so disturbing to Andrew Carnegie. He started his article regarding the issue of economic disparity and even wondered how he might fix the matter. Eventually, he realized that capitalism would solve the problem even though the divide between the poor and rich was huge, the poor appeared somewhat better than earlier days. He considered the solution not to be systems such as communism in arresting the matter; rather the solution would be men just like him. Because Carnegie himself was rich, he trusted that rich people should distribute some of their wealth to the poor. Customarily, property was given in two significant ways; passing it to heir’s especially after death or even bequeathing to the public also after death. Having a background from Europe, Carnegie ostracized money given to families always squandered by the heirs who lack brains or real talents. Thus, when money is left in such hands after death, there was no promise that it would be used appropriately. Carnegie judged that rich men must distribute their wealth to the public when they are still alive to eliminate cases of ill usage of funds. Carnegie also supported the tax inheritance to inspire the wealthy to involve in some philanthropy while alive. He further stated that wealthy men like him possessed exceptional capabilities of hard work, organization, and intelligence and thus would perform the best role in distributing wealth to the public.
Alternatively, Lloyd argued that the massive wealth of monopolies was immoral against the commonwealth of the individuals. He viewed that, by having extreme monopolies, the rich are capable of regulating every form of their business so that they stand a chance to continue getting excessive profit. Legally, business owners are permitted to lower production and upsurge prices so that they sustain an increased demand for the products. Thus, Lloyd appealed to the audience by exposing the harmful consequences of monopolies in the society. Lloyd says, “They are gluttons of luxury and power, rough, unsocialized, believing that mankind must be kept terrorized (32).” In this statement, he trusted that those who engage in monopolistic activities are wicked and does not care about the ordinarypeople but themselves. In fact, they are not striving to improve the overall product of the society; rather they are just engrossed in changing their livelihood. The time when the wealthy individuals thrived on the notion of survival for the best, Lloyd revealed selfish interests drove them. Thus, this was historically significant since it came out when the United States of America had just eliminated one huge evil of slavery and Lloyd inferred that extreme monopolies were even worse than slavery. These arguments were essential and presented genuine reasons why absolute monopolies can be very dangerous to the public and exposed the rich for what they kept on using for getting richer.
In conclusion, the two articles were essential during industrial revolution and rise of big business in America since they addressed the questions of greed in the society. Carnegie himself was rich, but the nature of economic disparity between the rich and the poor did not impress him. He opted to use his wealth while he was still alive to influence the lives of the public. Similarly, Lloyd addressed the issue of extreme monopolies in the society, a tool used by the wealthy to remain richer. The government has used the Lloyd concept in controlling greed in the society.
Carnegie, A. (1889). The gospel of wealth. The North American Review, 183(599), 526-537.
Lloyd, H. D. (1894). Wealth against commonwealth.New York: Burned Books Publishing.