Comparison of Carnegie v. Bloomberg

A captain of industry is defined as a business leader whose means of amassing a personal fortune contributes positively to the country in some way. Andrew Carnegie and Michael Bloomberg, while from different centuries and industries, are both considered to be captains of industry. Andrew Carnegie immigrated to America when he was 13 years old. He worked in factories and for the railroad. He made his fortune by developing a more economical way to make steel. He eventually retired and devoted himself to helping people.

Michael Bloomberg, born and raised in America, paid his college tuition with loans and worked as a parking attendant. Michael made his fortune in information technology. Michael has donated millions to public health. While both men lived in different centuries, and made their fortunes in very different industries, they are similar in that both wanted to help people with their wealth and have the same big heart.

Andrew Carnegie’s Business Career

Andrew Carnegie started off as a poor Scottish boy and immigrated to America in 1848.

He had a poor education, but his family strongly believed in books and in learning . His job when he came to America was a messenger boy for a telegraph office at the age 14. In 1851, he was promoted telegraph operator. Carnegie worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad while working as an assistant and telegrapher for Thomas Scott. While working for Thomas he learned about railroad industry. In 1859, he was promoted as superintendent at the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1875, he open his first steel plants in Pennsylvania and in 1889, he started his Carnegie Steel Companies.

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He then began purchasing steel mills around the country and ammassing his personal fortune. In an effort to cut costs at one of his mills, the workers hours were increased and wages were decreased. The six day workweek and twelve hour shifts led to a strike at the mill. Several workers lost their lives and the tragedy was associated with his name until his death. Although Carnegie is considered by some to be a robber baron, which means that he amassed his personal wealth using questionable means, his philanthropic efforts later in his life make him a captain of industry.

Michael Bloomberg –  a Captain of Industry

Michael Bloomberg is a modern day example of a captain of industry. In contrast to Andrew Carnegie’s meager beginnings, Bloomberg was born into a lower middle class Jewish American family. As the son of Bill, a bookkeeper, and Charlotte, one of a minority of women who earned a college degree, higher education was important to Bloomberg. He attended Johns Hopkins University earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering followed by earning his graduate degree in business from Harvard University. After a failed attempt to join the US military, Bloomberg began working on Wall Street for Salomon Brothers Inc. as a trading room clerk. Bloomberg worked his way up to director of the firm’s computer operation division where he recognized the firm’s in-house system had flaws. He immediately began working on creating a new design. Before he could present his design to the firm, Salomon Brothers Inc. merged with Phibro Corporation and Bloomberg was let go with severance pay. Bloomberg used his $10 million severance to launch his own computer systems firm, Innovative Market Systems. Innovative Market Systems had several successes with their proprietary computer systems and gained major clientele such as Merrill Lynch. Several years later Innovative Market Systems became Bloomberg L.P. In the early 1990’s Bloomberg created the Bloomberg News Service. Together Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg News Service became the world’s largest financial news and data companies. In 2001 Bloomberg became the mayor of New York City and uses much of his fortune to support political figures that share his views, causing some people to compare him to a modern day robber baron. However, Michael Bloomberg has become known as one of New York City’s most generous philanthropists.

Although from different centuries Bloomberg and Carnegie donated much of their wealth to philanthropic efforts.Carnegie donated ninety percent of his wealth to others. Including donating to libraries for better resources for students. Carnegie stated publicly that he believed it was the moral obligation for the rich to give away their fortunes. Similarly, Bloomberg donated 1.8 billion to his alma matre John Hopkins University to create funding to help low income and moderate income students. He has contributed to multiple foundations and community projects, most recently donating $50 million to help fight the opioid addiction crisis in America. Both these business leaders believed in using their fortunes to help others and better the country, the definition of a captains of industry.

There are many differences between the two men. The key difference that stands out to me is where they focus their philanthropic efforts. Carnegie’s charities focus on education and word peace while Bloomberg’s are less focused and include art, politics, environment, public health and government innovation.

In conclusion, even though these captains of industry lived in different eras, they were both very influential to our nation. They were considered both captains of industry and robber barons, amassing great fortunes sometimes through questionable means, and donating their vast wealth to charities that better others and our country. From education and world peace to the arts and politics, our country is better because of these two men and their philanthropic efforts.

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Comparison of Carnegie v. Bloomberg. (2022, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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