Friday, December 01, 2006

The Cost of Advancement

We've been discussing how Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller built great fortunes through hard work and determination. We've also considered that their fortunes came at the great expense of competitors, customers and workers.

After Reading Howard Zinn's Ch. 11 (p. 253-299) what are your thoughts on the costs of advancement and the tycoons of the late 19th century who helped to improve the nation?

Are they ruthless robber barons who only care about making a profit? Or are they great businessmen who do contribute positively on society?

Use examples of what we've read and what we've discussed to support your claim.

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20 comments:

Derrick said...

Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, I believe were both buisnessmen. They did what they had to do to collect the most money. I believe if they could have workers working for free they would have worked them for free. They both started off at mostly unimportant jobs such as a bookkeeper and a telegraph clerk. But they worked their way up to owning a multi-million dollar business. Their workers were working for the minimum amount legally possible. This meant Carnegie and Rockefeller were getting more money to themselves.

{[ still got to finish the last couple of pages but i wanted to post on here before i forgot ]}

Ivan said...

I think that Rockerfeller and Carnigie were just buisnessmen. They didnt care about anything else except money. They did what they had to do in order to make that money. They made secret agreements with other companies, made trusts with them, paid their workers real low wages and examined how they could reduce their costs so they could save some money. They used charities to cover up who they really were so that they wouldnt have a bad public image. In a way they might have deserved all this money because of their hard work and all but people suffered because of their hard work. Even though they did do some good they were just business men.

adonis said...

I think both Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were both great buisness men but in a bad way. They both tried to do anything to make a profit. After starting off having bad jobs, they both great jobs to make theirselves make big corporations. They did stuff to cover up what they were really doing like charities. They also paid the workers low money and worked real hard. They did this to save money, they also tested the workers by keeping lowering the money to be greedy. But I think people do this today.

sujal said...

i do not agree with what Adonis said about Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller being a "great buisness men in a bad way". i do not think there is anything bad in being a great buisness men and doing anything to make profit. And also they didnot just keep the money for themselves as they contributed to the society in various ways. They were just great Buisness men and one cannot be judge them by the way they do buisness.

Andrea! said...

Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller weren't very good people.They did things that were wrong, but they did help advance society. Rockefeller, the guy with all the oil, supported many other buisnesses. His oil was shipped and that meant that the railroad companies got money and then they could have money to pay their workers so they could build more railroads. It was one big chain that lead to a boost in the economy which was very good in the reconstruction to depression era. It was exactly what they needed.

Anonymous said...

asian name...
well Bob, i think their a little bit of both, being the "weigh things from every angle" person i am. They were busniess people who did what they had to to make it to the top and become the best, but in the process they cheated, were untrust worthy, and treated the ones under them unfairly. Im mostly for the fact that they did others unjustice for themselves and the joy of personal profit.

asha said...

I do think they were great business men who contributed alot to the US. They might have had some bad morals and only thought about themselves and making money, but to me thats apart of what made them such good business men. IF they would have sat and thought about all the bad things happening to people so they could get rich, they wouldn't have made nearly as much money as they did. they did what they needed to to be rich.

Yeah, they did give to cherity, but they were expected to, for good business. and yeah, they did dirty wronge thing, but it was for their business and for them to make money. and they did it and did it well.

They were good business men who would do whatever it took to be sucessful in the business. whatever it took

asha said...

although......they were bad people, they were good business men

PHUONG! said...

Andrew Carnigie and John Rockerfeller were great business men.
Thats basically what business men do, care for their image and their companies, and expand their corporations.
The manipulated other smaller companies and used charities and events as a cover up for their wrong doings.
I love their scheming, and they are my idols... well not really but.. their way of life are a bit inspiring and motivating.

Human said...

John D. Rockefeller was just trying to make some money. He did what was needed to be done to keep his business running and successful. All he was was an average guy who came up big. I would not consider them as bad humans but just humans who did their jobs.

Leonard said...

These two men were a little bit of both so i will call them ruthless businessmen. I will call them that because they acted very ruthless to get to the top but they did their ruthlessness in a great businessmen way. When they got to the top the started to help out with their wealth, but that could of easly been guilt money. This guilt could of came from the way they bearly paid their workers. Don't get me wrong they did contribute much to help society but they also did their share of hurting it as well.

Kevin said...

I agree with Phuong. There is definitely something to be said for their work ethic and their motivation. They are quite inspiring.

I'm from the school that all human advancements comes with some sacrifice. Whether it be new technology that eliminates jobs, or ridding the world of a ruthless leader causing many deaths. In this case it was the blood and sweat of many hardworking individuals. But Rockefeller and Carnegie are to be commended for helping the United States become the economic super power it is today.

Joe said...

Rockefeller and Carnigie, like everyone else has said, were fantastic businessmen. But that doesn't make them good people. In fact, being a good businessman doesn't really entitle you to the label of a good person at all. They were both liars, they cheated their workers out of money, and donated to charity as if they cared all along. Again, America honors some of the biggest hypocrites in history. I do have to acknowledge that their businesses contributed greatly to the horrible state the economy was in at the time. In all honesty, I'm amazed at what I read in Zinn's book. But then again, they're not that much different from most business titans today.

Pharone said...

These men were no doubt great businessmen, they had it all money, power, and RESPECT. But how they rose to that status isnt somthing they should brag about.
They lied, stole, and kept secrets.
They went about building their empire the wrong way. but over all they were great businessmen and sometimes in the real world thats just what you have to do!
Dont get me wrong though i am in no way condoning their actions, i'm simply sayin they did what they had to do in order to get by in life.

Naveed said...

Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller really both are great buisnessmen. Although they did not pay their employees as much atleast they employed them. Even though the tactics they used seemed wrong, they atleast gave most of their money back to charities. The donated money could have been used as a cover up, but atleast they had the right mindset to give it away to charity. They were just smart business men who happend to make a lot of money.

Chris said...

I can safely say that every living thing on earth has two things in common; they want to survive and they must die at some point. Every animal does everything it does to survive. And in the american society, you can better survive when you have money. Carnegie and Rockefeller are no different than the alpha male of a wolf pack. They are under better circumstances to survive than the rest of the pack.
Although I do not agree with every action these men took to get what they had, I do agree with surviving, which is what these men did great.
So how can you call someone ruthless when they are only surviving? Some has to be the richest, the strongest, the aplha.
Yes it was wrong to have deals with railroad companies and such and such. But who's the bad guy; the man with money or the man who accepts money from him knowing that it will put someone else's company out of business and cost many people there jobs?

Amy N. said...

I think they were both smart buisnessmen and did what they had to do to make a living.

Jasmine said...

I think that Andrew Carnegie and Rockefella did have little contributions, while at the same time were all acout business. They helped by opening museums and like libbraries and other useful businesses. However, they were all about getting money and helping them selves and therir business grow. Even though in a way it was a little selfish, if you look at society today and the government that WE "support", can't you say the same thing about them today? It's something to thing about. All they're really after is the money, especially us, tax payers.

quntesa said...

all of you are liars, yall no he cheated people out of their money why would yall back them up.you gotta put it this way, what if yall waz their back then would yall like to get yall money takin away from yall. x-actly didn't thank so.

buy viagra online said...

They did this to save money, they also tested the workers by keeping lowering the money to be greedy. But I think people do this today.

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