Altruist Or Egoist Andrew Carnegie

Topics: Philanthropy, Andrew Carnegie, Altruism Pages: 7 (2888 words) Published: March 20, 2015
While Andrew Carnegie’s “legendary” monetary and welfare contributions to the American society and the communities of English roots and heritages is the epitomic embodiment of philanthropic endeavors, the exploits were unequivocally the emanation of egoistic manifestations.

1. Philanthropy is not altruistic
The reality of philanthropy is that it is, at least in part, about creating a good feeling, leaving a legacy, feeling part of a community, fulfilling personal aspirations, and the confidence-boosting knowledge that through these actions one can somehow change the world. The vehicle for these goals is a cause that will somehow benefit humanity. Even those with deeply sensed and conscious altruistic motives are effectively providing some self-validation for themselves, to assure that they “sleep better at night”. As confessed by some of the most seasoned philanthropists, for whom philanthropy was now their primary pre-occupation, their philanthropy was having the “opposite effect”. They felt better about themselves, their lives, and consequently slept just fine. Often, the philanthropist doesn’t make the decision to give until there is a building to put “her”name on or another naming opportunity to establish recognition in perpetuity. The decision could often be based on the admiration of others or a deep sense of self satisfaction. This is because philanthropy is not altruistic. Rather, it is the confluence of altruism with egoism. Philanthropy is where selflessness and self-centeredness meet. Legacy of Andrew Carnegie was “immortalized” in numerous monuments as follows: A statue erected in his birthplace to acclaim his bequest for the social betterment of his native town in Scotland through the establishment of The Carnegie Dunfemline Trust in 1903 which also maintains Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum Stained Glass Window dedicated to him in the National Cathedral despite him being a long-standing atheist with dominant scientific evolution world view but nonetheless became devoted to Presbyterian Christian belief in his later life The prominent establishment of a total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries of public and university libraries systems throughout the United States, Britain, Canada and other English-speaking countries was a special driving interest and project of his after being inspired by a visit and tour he made within the monumental city mansion of one businessman philanthropist, Enoch Pratt which also housed a free public library; he was so deeply impressed that he frequently made proclamation “Pratt was my guide and inspiration”

2. Philanthropy is driven by utilitarian agenda of reciprocity It is not uncommon to hear the reasons people give for doing philanthropic acts implying underlying reciprocity related motives; for instance, the donor of a new campus building cited wanting to give back to this place that did so much for him or her or a benefactor’s hope for the ghetto’s kids to “grow up and be successful and do the same for someone else.” These are familiar sounding claims which infer to the central importance of reciprocity, of “giving back,” as a motive for giving, and even as a key philanthropic value. The form of reciprocity connected to philanthropy is often indirect whereby the benefits received are repaid to a third party, other than their benefactors, in serial reciprocation. Serial reciprocity is described as “pass it on,” or “one good turn deserves another,” or “don't pay me back, do something similar for someone else instead.” Reciprocity offers potent motivation for philanthropy, equivalent to an ethical virtue similar to gratitude and the “Golden Rule”, a moral norm that serves to keep the chain of good works going in a society, or a cultural value celebrated as part of the conception of what is good about a society. Hence, “Norm of reciprocity” denotes duty essential for stable and harmonious social systems. People will often feel uncomfortable until they are able to...
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