first broadcast in series: The View from London: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00mvfvb
interestingly, for England, they’re saying the gap hasn’t been this great since the Victorian era . . . in the US, they’re citing the age of the Robber Barons . . .or the Gilded
great example of the differing view of those ‘barons’:
This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of wealth: First, to set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; … and, after doing so, to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer… to produce the most beneficial results for the community—the man of wealth thus becoming the mere trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.”
—From “Wealth,” by Andrew Carnegie, North American Review (1889)
“Law? Who cares about the law. Hain’t I got the power?”
—Comment alleged to have been made by Cornelius Vanderbilt, when warned that he might be violating the law
and how true: which of those 2 names has a history of philanthropy
Allthough Vanderbilt had not engaged in philanthropy at all until that point in his life, through his new wife’s influence, he perpetuated his name through a gift of one million dollars to Nashville’s Central University. One million dollars may not sound like a lot of money, but in the 1870’s it was. Using a conversion ratio of 260, based on the gross domestic product per capita then and now, the one million dollars was essentially equal to $260 million in today’s terms. The Nashville Central University would become, and to this day still is, the prestigious Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
During his lifetime, Carnegie gave away over $350 million.
Many persons of wealth have contributed to charity, but Carnegie was perhaps the first to state publicly that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes. In 1889, he wrote The Gospel of Wealth, in which he asserted that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one’s family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community.
His philanthropic interests centered around the goals of education and world peace. One of his lifelong interests was the establishment of free public libraries to make available to everyone a means of self-education. There were only a few public libraries in the world when, in 1881, Carnegie began to promote his idea. He and the Carnegie Corporation subsequently spent over $56 million to build 2,509 libraries throughout the English-speaking world.
Carnegie set about disposing of his fortune through innumerable personal gifts and through the establishment of various trusts. Each of the organizations established by Andrew Carnegie has its own funds and trustees and is independently managed.
Mitt Romney: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/11/mitt-romney-gives-million_n_924414.html (mostly to LDS)