Does the life of Andrew Carnegie support or counter the philosophy of Social Darwinism?

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The life of Andrew Carnegie both supports and counters the philosophy of Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism refers to the concept of survival of the fittest. With this concept, those who are strong and able to make adjustments will survive. Those who are strong will overrun those who aren’t as strong and cannot make adjustments.

Andrew Carnegie was ruthless in some of his business activities. He would buy out the competition that couldn’t compete with his businesses. This allowed him to control industries such as the steel industry. Many competitors were forced out of business or to sell their businesses to him.

Andrew Carnegie also believed the wealthy had an obligation to help the less fortunate, though. Andrew Carnegie donated a lot of money to provide people with opportunities to help themselves. For example, he funded the construction of many libraries to help people become more educated. Andrew Carnegie didn’t believe in giving handouts to the less fortunate. He believed in providing them with opportunities to improve their situation in life. This runs counter to the concept of survival of the fittest.