Andrew Carnegie rationalized his notoriously low wages… in a speech dedicating one of his 2,800 libraries in Pittsburgh in 1895;
“The plan suggested does not commend itself as justifiable or wise, because there are higher uses for surplus wealth than adding petty sums to the earnings of the masses. Trifling sums given to each every week or month – and the sums would be trifling indeed – would be frittered away, nine times out of ten, in things which pertain to the body and not to the spirit; upon richer food and drink, better clothing, more extravagant living, which are beneficial neither to rich nor poor.”
Carnegie’s view of working class struggles… is as cruel as it is ignorant. His description better fits what the upper class did with surplus wealth– there is nothing wrong with a family man wanting better clothes for his children, or a sturdier roof over his head. Carnegie’s philanthropy must be observed with a critical eye.