WORSTALL! Please expound . . .
Carnegie and Rockefeller also were philanthropists, like Bill Gates. But they built that on anti-competitive and monopolistic enterprises. I actually "admire" Bill Gates for creating a defacto monopoly in the modern era. So, is the free exercise of monopoly worth it for the X% of actors who will turn philanthropic?
And what about companies that have social responsibility at their core? Ben and Jerry's perhaps?
What are the economic drivers? What makes it possible or not?
This is a fellow (*company, his heirs) who/that *could have gone on to buy Singer, or invested heavily in Westinghouse, etc. Was the greater good in worrying about his employees? or would the profits from the profitable mill, by the free power source, have been better used in creating wealth for investors and them/himself?
It's both a specific example and a generalized philosophical viewpoint.
Are today's companies ignoring their employees' needs to the detriment of their own future?