Thursday, June 2, 2011

Andrew Carnegie - Rags to Riches

The story of Andrew Carnegie is a story of a man who went from rags to riches. Carnegie was born in Dunfemline, Scotland on November 25, 1835. Will Carnegie, Andrew's father, was a weaver. When steam-powered looms are incorporated into the weaving industry in Scotland, Andrew's father found himself strapped for cash. The family moved to the United States in 1848, and created a life in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. While many American families were working in factories to make a living, Andrew Carnegie's father refused, continuing his weaving career. This kept the family in poverty.

Andrew Carnegie's first job was working as a bobbin boy in a textile mill. He made $1.20 per week, before starting work in a factory, taking care of the steam engine and boiler. This job earned him $2.00 per week. When Andrew Carnegie was fifteen years old, he got a job working in a telegraph office. He started out as a messenger, and then moved up to an operator. He earned $20 per month. Three years after he started working at the telegraph office Thomas Scott, supervisor of the Pennsylvania Railroad, hired Carnegie as a personal clerk, earning himself $35 a month.

During this time, he began investing money in different businesses. Andrew Carnegie invested in such industries as oil fields, ironworks, and companies that made train cars. In 1865, he quit the job as head of the Western Division, and invested his time and money into the steel business. He opened his own steel mill with a plan in mind. "Watch the costs," he said, "and the profits will take care of themselves." To do this, he cut consumer and production prices and paid employees very little. He made millions with this plan, before selling his business in 1901 at the age of sixty-six.

In 1889, Andrew Carnegie published "The Gospel of Wealth." In this, he argued in favor of laissez-faire by relating it to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. He stated that while competition may be hard, it is best for society because it ensure that only the best will survive.

Before Andrew Carnegie died on August 11, 1919, he began giving his money away to charities, libraries, colleges, and peace causes. Millions of dollars were given away to worthy causes. His explanation is quoted,

"he who dies rich, dies disgraced."

Andrew Carnegie was a man who truly went from rags to riches in the span of a lifetime.

Source: /andrew_carnegie_rags_to_riches_pg2.html?cat=37

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