Andrew Carnegie and The Rise of Big Business

Andrew Carnegie and The Rise of Big Business.


Discuss about America Firsthand, and the book Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business?


Andrew Carnegie was a peasant boy in Scotland and their family was not well off. The parents were not in well paying jobs and life in Scotland was demanding and it reached a point of being intolerable (Walsh6).This made them to move to America in search of better opportunities to just make ends meet because there were no guarantees of better opportunities there either. He was a hard working and determined boy who started working in the lower ranks at the age of twelve but later on rose to be one of the wealthiest men in the world. The dream of moving from rags to riches was clearly seen in him. As mentioned in his book it was a true manifestation of the dreams validity (Walsh3).

This dream was as exemplified by author Horatio Alger in his books. Despite being in abject poverty, Andrew believed in courage, honesty and hard work. He resembled many migrants who the only jobs they got were low ranking and the wages were very low. Finally he propelled against adversity and gained a lot of wealth and honor and finally realized the American dream. His courage and honesty entrusted him to most of his superiors in the work place and this made him gain a lot of experience which he later transferred to his steel company and the results were excellent. He was able to transfer his managerial capabilities to his own company and this clearly shows the experience he had gained (Walsh33). When Carnegie and his parents migrated to America they knew that life will not be so smooth and would not be so different from their homeland. The migrant workers were treated the same way especially the ones who had no education like Carnegie. The wages they were paid were extremely low. The working conditions in most of the industries were pathetic and this called for somebody who must be fully dedicated to the job to withstand those conditions. They worked for very long hours throughout the week as there was no off duty.  This experience therefore called for somebody who had a restless drive to succeed (Walsh52) to withstand these conditions and emerge victorious. The amounts they were paid could not guarantee access to basic services like education and training. This is because there was no time to spare throughout the week due to the long working hours and low wages.

But despite all this Carnegie was very determined to eradicate poverty and enjoy urbanity (Walsh52). He managed to find time and educate himself in the evenings after work because he realized that without an education it was difficult to rise in the workplace and get a higher wage. He found out that a higher wage was the only guarantee to rise in the ranks, get a good pay and be able to invest in other areas like stocks and boost returns which can be invested in other ventures. This worked for him perfectly as he was able to invest and make a lot of money in the stock market through selling stocks and bonds (Walsh67). He showed strong business acumen in the speculation of stocks and bonds and this gave a lot of profits which were reinvested to further accumulate more money.

This shows a person who was thirsty of success and despite all these successes he never thought he had reached climax. The thought of where he had come from continually made him work even harder.

His charismatic personality (Walsh52) made him be able to rise more than his fellow migrant workers and establish his own company. This was no mean achievement to a migrant who came looking for casual jobs and finally establishing a global leader in the steel industry. This was mainly due to his realization that the managerial abilities he had acquired working in the rail industry will be of utmost importance. He believed in quality performance of duties and he therefore hired the best and paid them well because as he puts it there is no labor so cheap as the dearest in the mechanical field (Walsh109). He produced very good quality products that were unrivalled in the market. His competitors were not able to outdo him in the market because he had taken time to understand the market dynamics and his market share was competitively guarded. He could produce at the lowest costs and rely on the huge market thereby benefitting from economies of scale and make huge profits. He was able to assert his dominance in the trade by securing very big and huge contracts like the one signed with Rockefeller (Walsh169).

He executed his strategies with immense zeal leaving no room for the small firms to compete with his products and this clearly shows a person who was willing to crush adversity through determination in his dealings something that lacked in the other migrants. Majority treated America as a foreign land and they had a mentality of just being employed as junior workers in the industries. Due to their lack of foresight they were not able to rise from their poverty due to lack of creativity and desire to rise in their careers. Most of them remained rooted to their entry points in the work place because they never wanted to take risks like Carnegie did. They feared loosing their low incomes to invest in areas like stocks and bonds.

The rise of Carnegie was extraordinary and it couldn’t be compared to a typical migrant. Majority of the migrants remained rooted in their positions at work as laborers and very few rose to any management level. But despite the conditions he was able to set his targets and worked towards achieving them. He had a clear mind on what he wanted and his respect and value of intellectual rather than material achievements (Walsh138) made him prosper to the highest levels of his days. He never wanted to remain in the lower ranks and that’s why he made efforts to further his education because he knew he could employ that knowledge to manage personal businesses and make him leap all the profits. His ability to also make his choices carefully and analytically (Walsh109) made him make a choice of establishing a firm in the same industry where he had worked since coming as a migrant. This made sure that his managerial abilities will still be applicable in his own company because he understood the market and the industry well having worked in it for many years. This worked exemplary well for him and not many migrant workers could think that they could establish their own companies in the foreign land. This was also a person who never forgot where he had come from (Walsh163) despite his enormous achievements. He took advice carefully and also assisted many worthy causes. He never oppressed his workers like it was earlier when they had migrated and valued a vibrant and enthusiastic workforce.

Many people normally find themselves in very tough situations and are afraid of making decisions. Carnegie is worth emulating because the achievements he made in his time are still out of reach to many even today, more than a century later. He was not afraid of taking risks which are still prevalent today. Many employees in companies resign to fate and they never climb the corporate ladder because they do not want to further their education may be due to lack of time but we should learn from this man that time is never there its we to create it. We should be ruthless and loyal (Walsh207) to achieve our aspirations and desires. The desire also to acquire relevant skills that we can employ even in our self started ventures is also important. The skills we acquire should be tried in many fields and we should not fear moving forward. This man left his home country not because America had irresistible offers (Walsh6), but because he knew given a chance he can make it. This can only be possible to those who embrace hard work, determination, courage and honesty in the pursuit of those interests. This will ensure one learns a lot from colleagues in the workplace and one gains valuable experience in his field of specialization. One will be assured of climbing the ladder through promotions and good pay that will enable one invest in other ventures and finally the benefits will be witnessed by all(Walsh163)

Works cited

Walsh, G. History of Andrew Carnegie, Pabook Libraries,2006.


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Andrew Carnegie and The Rise of Big Business