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Andrew Carnegie, World Making and the Logic of Contemporary Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

Gordon, Jillian and Harvey, Charles and Maclean, Mairi (2010) Andrew Carnegie, World Making and the Logic of Contemporary Entrepreneurial Philanthropy. In: 14th Annual Conference of the European Business History Association 2010, 2010-08-26 - 2010-08-28, University of Glasgow. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the relationship between the business and philanthropic endeavours of world-making entrepreneurs; asking why, how and to what ends these individuals seek to extend their reach in society beyond business. We present an original model of entrepreneurial philanthropy which demonstrates how investment in philanthropic projects can yield positive returns in cultural, social and symbolic capital, which in turn may lead to growth in economic capital. The interpretive power of the model is demonstrated through analysis of the career of Andrew Carnegie, whose story, far from reducing to one of earning a fortune then giving it away, is revealed as more complex and more unified. His philanthropy raised his stock within the field of power, extending his influence and helping convert surplus funds into social networks, high social standing and intellectual currency, enabling him to engage in world making on a grand scale.