Galbraiths views on the position of poverty conflict significantly with Carnegies article on the gospel of wealth. Galbraith seems to be advocating for the poverty-stricken individuals whose position is a result of factors that are mostly beyond them (Peach, 2008, p. 29). On the other hand, Carnegie acknowledges and appreciates the state of the economy that separates the rich and the poor, claiming that the situation is inevitable and cannot be changed (Carnegie, 2013). He also praises the changes that have resulted to the distinction between the poor and the rich, terming it beneficial and a result of civilization. This essay aims at discussing these two views from the perspectives of each, Galbraith and Carnegie, and attempting to critique each from the perspective of the other. It is without a doubt that Galbraith would criticize some of Carnegies ideas. One would be Carnegies belief that proper administration of wealth that binds the rich and poor in a harmonious relationship is a problem. He advocates for survival for the fittest. On the other hand, Galbraith advocates for equality for all, such that no one lacks on basic needs while others have excess (Peach, 2008, p. 30). Galbraith would also criticize Carnegies belief that the current social and economic situation of inequality cannot be evaded or changed. In his view, Galbraith expresses a belief that if the poor are empowered by people outside their circle, through education and provision of opportunities, the gap can eventually be closed.
Carnegies laws of competition and accumulation explain how the economy works. Under these laws, only those who fit best will survive in the economy since there is much friction among the players such as labor and capital, employer and employee, the rich and the poor (Carnegie, 2013). The good thing is, this competition results in improved products and material development. The law of accumulation demands that wealth must be accumulated through the making of profits for an investment to stand. An operation can either move forward or fall back. Judging from Galbraiths view, certain modifications could be made to these laws that will ensure that a majority benefit. For instance, in the case of insular poverty, specific individuals who demonstrate potential can be picked and empowered to participate in the economic activities as others. Some of the poverty-stricken people are capable of competing but are limited by lack of resources to kick-start them.
Carnegie believes that the problem of this age is the proper distribution of wealth that binds the rich and the poor in a harmonious relationship. To distribute excess wealth, Carnegie proposes the mode of administering it to the many through the hands of a few such that it elevates purposes of the race other than being distributed in small sums to individuals (Carnegie, 2013). A good example is the Cooper Institutes case. On this, Galbraith could agree on Carnegies idea. This can be a solution to the insular poverty where a whole community is poverty-stricken. Such kind of distribution mode would ensure that better public facilities are elevated, and every member of the community can access them. Distribution to individuals would expose the wealth to the possibility of wastage since most of these people lack the expertise to manage it.
In summary, the idea of poverty and wealth concerning the rich and the poor is a controversial topic. Some advocate for the poor to be assisted while others think that this inequality needs to exist to encourage competition. Both arguments are valid to a certain degree, and the resultant views can be combined to provide a comprehensive solution.
Carnegie, Andrew. "The gospel of wealth." (2013).
Peach, Jim. "Galbraith and the problem of uneven development." Journal of Economic Issues 42.1 (2008): 25-35.
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