World Business Leaders: Andrew Carnegie


Steve Myersco and Marina Santee tell the story of Andrew Carnegie. He was a very wealthy man when he died in 1919. And he used his money to make big differences in the United States and Scotland.

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Transcript


Voice 1

Hello and welcome to Spotlight. I'm Steve Myersco.

Voice 2

And I am Marina Santee. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

He was born into a poor family in Scotland. He grew up to be one of the richest men in the world. But he chose to give much of his money away. Before he died he gave away more than 350 million dollars.

Voice 2

This is one of a group of Spotlight programmes about some of the world's most famous business leaders. Today's programme is all about Andrew Carnegie.

Voice 1

Andrew Carnegie's life is a story of riches that are hard to imagine. But the story begins with nothing. Carnegie was born in 1835 in Scotland. He lived in a town called Dunfermline. His father was part of a movement for workers' rights, called the Chartists. The family had very little money. Most of the people in Dunfermline worked in cotton mills. These factories made cloth from cotton. But machines were being used more and more in the cotton industry. And these machines took the place of many workers. People lost their jobs and so had little money. When Carnegie was 12 years old he moved with his family to the United States.

Voice 2

The family joined a small community of Scottish settlers in the area that is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At first they continued to work in the cotton trade. Andrew Carnegie started working in the cotton mills. But he wanted something better.

Voice 1

Carnegie went to school at night while working during the day. He read lots of books. The United States was developing very quickly. The 1840s was a good time to open a new business. New industries were starting all the time. Before long Andrew Carnegie got a job with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He worked in a telegraph office. He sent messages along wires to other cities in the USA. Here he learned things that would help him a great deal in later life.

Voice 2

Carnegie used his money wisely. He invested his money in some of the new industries of America. First was the sleeping car. This was a train that had beds in it. The passengers could save time by travelling overnight while they slept. Then Carnegie invested his money into bridge building, iron and steel.

Voice 1

By the age of 35, Carnegie was earning 50,000 dollars a year. He was ready for a big move into steel making. He started the J. Edgar Thomson steel works in Pittsburgh in 1873. This steel works used the latest technology from Britain. It produced high quality steel at a low price.

Voice 2

However, in the 1890s the economy began to suffer. Many men lost their jobs. Carnegie survived by cutting the cost of steel production. He was not afraid to stand up to any workers who opposed his plans. One of his factories was in Homestead in Pittsburgh. Here, the workers formed a trade union. A trade union is a group that protects the workers' rights. The workers went on strike in 1892. They refused to work until they were paid more. Carnegie's factory manager, Henry Frick, wanted to break the strike. He ordered a private army of 300 men to come in to the steel works by boat. The private army was called the Pinkerton Guards. They landed their boat near the factory during the night. The strikers saw them and opened fire. There was a fierce gun battle. Seven strikers and three guards were killed.

Voice 1

Historical records are not clear about how directly Carnegie was involved. It is not clear if he made the decision to use force. During the crisis he spent some of the time in Scotland. Henry Frick has to take some of the blame. But Carnegie was responsible for the company as a whole.

Voice 2

After hearing of such events you may imagine that Carnegie was a mean man. But he did care about the progress of his workers. He also had strong opinions about what to do with his wealth. These opinions probably came from his father. He believed in altruism. This is when a person acts purely in the interests of another. Carnegie's father believed it was a good thing to encourage altruism.

Voice 1

Andrew Carnegie wrote down his ideas about wealth in a magazine called the "North American Review". His writing became known as the ‘gospel of wealth'. There is a rare sound recording of Andrew Carnegie reading from the Gospel of Wealth. As you can hear, the quality of the sound is not very good. But it is interesting to hear the real voice of this famous man. The recording was made about a hundred years ago.

Carnegie

"This then I hold to be the duty of the man of wealth. First to set an example of modest, unostentatious living"

Voice 1

Because the sound is not clear I will now ask Nick Page to bring us the words of Andrew Carnegie.

Voice 4

‘It is the duty of the man of wealth to set an example of simple living. He should not make a big public show of his wealth. He must provide moderately for his family. He must provide only for their everyday needs. After doing so the wealthy person should consider all surplus money as money to be used for the good of the community. This is a clear matter of duty for the wealthy person.'

Voice 2

Carnegie did not just write about helping others. He also followed his own teaching. When he was 65 he retired from his work. He spent the last 18 years of his life giving his money away. He believed it was shameful for someone to die rich. In total he gave away almost 90 percent of all his wealth. He paid for libraries, schools, universities and theatres. Many of these are named after him, and still exist today. Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth also stands as a clear call for the rich to help others.

Voice 1

In another programme in this series we will look at another famous business leader - Bill Gates. He is one of the richest people in the world today. But he is now following the example of Andrew Carnegie - and giving much of his money away too.

Voice 2

The writers of this programme were Peter Laverock and Steve Myersco. The producer was Steve Myersco. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. You can hear this programme again and read the script on our website at www.radioenglish.net. The programme is called ‘World Business Leaders: Andrew Carnegie'. Thank you for join us for today's Spotlight. Until next time, goodbye.

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Question:

What would you do if you were wealthy? Would you give any of your money away?

Comments


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Skender
said on February 11, 2012

Carnegie is a well known name. I have heard about another Carnegie who wrote some books on social life, how to make friends, how to be successful and famous, etc. Thanks Spotlight tonight I learn about another Carnegie, who was not just a wise man, but a wealthy man and generous too. Thank you Spotlight broadcast.

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knight2888
said on February 18, 2012

He is a rich man and he also helped a lot of people. I like him and his jobs a lot.

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kenhieuloilam
said on May 30, 2019

We love our work in life. Success brings us much joy in life. We love everyone. Everyone happy is our happiness. We learn and train to live to be good persons. We learn and train to be mature and successful. Wealth may be helpful to us. Wealth is relative. We love our work in life. Success brings us much joy in life. There are many beautiful good things in life. We live to be good persons.

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Honneur
said on May 30, 2019

If I was a wealthy man, I probably give a big part of my money to my daughters. Then I could voyage around the world, me and my wife, alone. I would like to help my country education, building modern libraries and supplying them whit thousands of books and equipments.