A movement in the mid 1800s that consisted of rich men becoming the new American hero.
Because of a laissez-faire thought, trusts were established as the dominant force in the economy and society.
The new hero was the image of a person struggling, working, and then winning and becoming rich and famous.
This brought in a new wave of literature called "Pluck and Luck" stories. This included the famous Horatio Alger stories. Alger articulated this success cult with his stories of young street boys taken in and becoming rich.
This movement was also supported by Social Darwinism.

The response to this movement was the labor movements invloving the National Labor Union, The Knights of Labor, and the American Federation of Labor.
The Gospel of Wealth is an essay written by Andrew Carnegie in 1889 describing his views on the administration of wealth, not the accumulation of wealth as widely assumed.

He claims that there are three ways surplus wealth can be disposed of: It can be left to the family, it can be bequeathed for public purposes, or it can be administered during their lives by its posessor.

He denounces the first way as arrogant and injudicious by claiming that it ruins the character and usefulness of those to whom it is given, and gives the example of the failed aristocracy in Europe.

The second way of leaving wealth at death to public purposes is flawed because then the posessor of wealth only becomes useful to society upon his death. Carnegie supports a large estate tax to "mark the condemnation of the selfish millionair'es unworthy life."

He states that the third way is the most efficient-- with the wealth of the few eventually becoming the property of the masses, in the form of the wealthy choosing for the good of the many.

He argues that this gospel echos Christ's words-- that this gospel would allow the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
An expression of Herrenmoral pervasive in American life whereby wealthy people are viewed as being virtuous because of their money, once the common wisdom, but now confined mostly to middle-managers who read Stephan J. Covey and idolize Donald Trump. Under this view, money is a sign of God's favor (as it was to the Puritans), an expression of prudence, thrift, intelligence, and sound and honest dealing with others, and a wellspring of the gentler virtues through its ability to liberate self and others (mostly wives and daughters of the lucky man) from dull toil, enabling them to engage in artistic and charitable pursuits beyond the dirty business of working.

In its prime (the 1890's through the 1920's) wealth also was a sign of temperance (you don't get rich by spending it on booze) and chastity (which keeps you from having to support mistresses, bastards, doctors, and other complications) as well, and was easily extended to college sports (victory on the gridiron -- a sign of dedication, good sportsmanship, and the like -- is a prelude to sound dealings in the cutthroat market). In this, the position of stockbroker easily becomes elevated to a kind of priesthood, where the account manager becomes a mediator between the individual investor and the mighty forces of The Market (none of these people ever heard of Charles Schwab). Anyone who isn't rich, in this view, is so because they've made other plans -- the spendthrift, the dreamer, the drunkard, etc. and as such, should be considered with pity at best and disgust at worst and should be treated as one would an unruly child.

For a concrete refutation of these theories, see the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the career of Bill Gates.

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