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My latest read is MEET YOU IN HELL by Les Standiford -- a bi-biography of Carnegie and Frick, their initial partnership, their eventual enmity . . .. until, close to death, Carnegie sent a missive up the Ave., inviting Frick to meet with him.
Frick read, crumpled the letter and threw it back at its messenger, declaring, Tell Carnegie "I'll meet you in hell!"
Oh, the wonderful age before nanny-regulation by the government. The soaring growth of the country's fortunes (held by so few individuals), the benefits (dividends, etc.) thereof disseminating to the populace-at-large . . . . for the interims between the rather continual collapses of contrivances and collusions and conspiracies of the controllers of capital -- so few. (such as Carnegie & Frick, Rockefeller and Flagler, Mellon, Morgan, Vanderbilt . . . . . who were able to maintain their millions the while the "economy" wiped-out.
On page 30% (I'm reading this on a Kindle), it tells of Vanderbilt's plans to build a railroad across Pa. to Pittsburgh that would be competition for the Pennsy RR (which had been Carnegie's employer for awhile). "Things looked good for Carnegie, who didn't care whether he ended up doing business with Vanderbilt's new South Pennsylvania Line or with George Roberts, then the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. With two competitors for his business, he knew he would find a lower rate with one or the other."
" . . interests larger than his own took a hand in the matter ,. . . " JP Morgan brokered that "Vanderbilt would give up his charter for the South Pennsylvania Line in exchange for the New York-to-Buffalo line that, when completed, would have gone into competition with Vanderbilt. " The considerable work already completed on the So. Pa. line was shut down immediately -- work that had cost some 2,000 lives and many millions of dollars invested. Tunnels, road gradings, bridge stanchions and all were abandoned for a half century until they were utilized in the construction of the Pennsyl-
But the really fascinating, ironic, actually hypocritical concern here is that Andrew Carnegie "even went so far as to address the Pennsylvania legislature in the spring of l889, decrying the lack of meaningful rail competition in the state,
and calling for the formation of a governmental commission that would oversee the establishment of a fair rate schedule. [text hi-liting mine]. "It was an amazing speech, coming as it did from a champion of the laissez-faire approach to business regulation , ,, , " (quotes from Meet You In Hell, op.cit.)
Pejoratives appropriately applied above (such as hypocritical) beside the point, the point that Carnegie realized and was presenting was that with no control other than private-sector privateering procedures, laissez-faire becomes capitalism-cannibalism!! The feasts of the fetes of uncontrolled big business come to be each other -- their investors losing perhaps all though the principals without principles, maintaining their mansions and means -- principalities.
And any survey of conditions for the workers prior to govenrment inter-involvement and even intercession, reveals that for the absolute laissez-faire servings of surfeit, the deprivation of adequacy though excess of exhaustion were the fare of the rank and file, the miners and puddlers and brakemen and mill girls and even child laborers.
At least for the "situation-moment", the ultimate laissez-fairer, fair or not to others, Andrew Carnegie realized that there was a need for some kind of control , oversight, jurisdiction, even legislation . . . . for the benefit of big business and its barons . . . . even if others and other economic aspects would only be secondary concerns.
Government governance, now so degraded by being termed “Nanny”, has always
been a requisite part of the complex system of capitalism wherein the actual system
is the infrastructure that mines, makes, transports, warehouses, stocks . . .and buys the products. Without that dimension integral in the socio-economic process, we’d have
but “Feudalism with its nepotism considerably cut-off.”
Of course, without the capitalists, we’d have but barter of basics and basals.. The entrepreneurs, capitalists, conglomerists, absolute requisites in our modern market.
But the public-sector which private-capital funded the elections of is of ultimate
Necessity to prevent greed from re-growth as gerrymandering goal of the “gold”.