Let me be the first to say that capitalism is fantastic.
Capitalism helps a civilized society progress forward with innovation, wealth, and health.
The more money funneled into innovation, the faster and greater the creation.
More money into a growing society, the faster it advances.
As firm believer in not believing the root of all evil is money; I believe money can SOLVE problems that NOT having money can cause and being a capitalist(running a successful business) is the ultimate way to solve those woes.
….I also believe in that fine line between greed and super greed; you know, the type of super greed were you hurt people to line your pockets.
Sadly, that line got covered up by the sands of time.
Through America’s history of capitalism you’ll read impsiring stories of poor shclubs picking themselves out of poverty to achieve high levels of succes…..
….And horror stories filled to the brim with craziness.
All the way from owners not wanting to pay living wages(for whatever reason), to working conditions that would make hell itself dripping wet with envy.
And yeah, you can make the argument that workers aren’t entitled to a companies wages no matter how much that company makes BUT that argument is for another time.
The Homestead Strike. A Dark Moment In America’s History.
Andrew Carnegie started his steel mill in the late 1880’s and during this time unions were popping up.
Working conditions were bad and pay…..
…..well pay sucked.
Just imagine working 12 to 16hr days without lunch, a break and a few pennies per hour.
Yeah. You’d be pissed.
When Carnegie started his mill he appointed Henry Frick(A huge douchebag if there every was one) in charge of operations.
Frick seethed at the mention of unions. He was known for using hardball tactics against unions and ball busting strikes.
Heck he was known for that sort of stuff at his coal business.
This hardball tactics was the reason Carnegie hired Frick to run his plant.
Carnegie have Frick free reign to do whatever was necessary to fight the union and run the mill.
July 1891 Collective bargaining negotiation began and Frick saw this as a HUGE way to break the union.
Steel was having a great year. Profits were up and so was demand.
So it was only fair the steel workers asked for a pay increase.
The negotiations went on till June 29 1892 until Frick had enough and locked out the union and its workers.
The workers decided to strike.
The strike was ugly.
The workers kept the plant closed and Frick had devised plans to bring in the Pinkertons.
That was a disaster.
The Pinkerton’s tried to sneak in but were caught by the workers.
A firefight broke out between the guns for hire and the steel workers.
2 were killed and eleven were wounded on the workers side; 2 were killed and 12 were wounded on the Pinkerton’s side.
The ugliness didn’t stop there.
The situation had gotten worst. The firefight between the workers and Pinkertons continued until the guns for hire crew surrunded.
The Pinkerton’s left the site wounded and bloodied.
And then the state militia was called in.
General George R Snowden arrived with more than 8,000 soldiers. He made it clear that he sided with the owners and the production company.
He told the union workers that they were breaking the law and he wasn’t gonna put up with any more shenanigans.
More than 4,000 soldiers surrounded the plant, broke up the up the strikers, and restarted production.
A truck load of nonunion workers were brought in(many were black) to get the production off the ground and rolling.
And of course with racial tensions being high, rioting broke out in the mill.
The destruction of public property, criminal trespassing, the riot; despiste the workers being in the right and wanting a wage increase; the strike played right into Fricks hands.
Because of the aftermath and the power of the press, Frick earned sympathy and public support.
And it didn’t help that there was an assassination attempted on Frick’s life.
After the plant reopened Carnegie told Frick that he didn’t want union workers employed with the steel mill.
Frick jumped for joy and purged the entire workforce(no matter how skilled they were) of union workers.
Between 1892 and 1907 wages got cut 1/5th and hours shot up even if there was waves of massive profits.
“We will never have serious labor trouble again. We had to teach our employee’s a lesson. And we have taught them one they will never forget.” -Henry Clay Frick.
For the next 40 years, there would be no presence of a union in the steel industry.
Wage increases, work hours, working conditions, all of these were made by management and they had UNLIMITED run to do whatever they wanted; without ethics, labor laws, and without any sense of morality.
It would take another 40 years before labor laws would catch up to the labor industry.
Thanks For The History Lesson Demetrio But What Does That Got To Do With Us Entrepreneurs?
There are two things that are bad for the heart.
Running up stairs, and stepping on people.
In John Carlton’s book Secrets of A Marketing Rebel, Uncle John mentions the wrath of Lady Fortune. Take advantage of people and your success is short lived and that successful business you built will come crumbling down like a sand castle.
As a business owner, belive it or not, you have a responsibility.
You have to do good for you and for your customers.
You know their deepest fears and strongest desires.
Their souls are in your hands. And your customers are giving you money to solve their problems.
Give back when you hit it big. It’s good for the soul and Lady Fortune will thank you.
Because in the end, it’s just better for business.
Till Then, Stay Hungry,