Review of Samuel Bostaph's Andrew Carnegie: An Economic Biography. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2015, 125pp

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Abstract

Samuel Bostaph, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Dallas, has written an Austrian-flavored biography of Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), one of the most important figures associated with the rise of big business in America. Contrary to the factual detail pertaining to Carnegie’s rags-to-riches life characteristic of existing voluminous biographies, Bostaph’s rendition is not only a concise account running merely 120 pages but also an “economic biography.” The objective is to provide a “fuller economic portrait” of the Scottish-born steel magnate and philanthropist “than has previously been drawn” (p. 8) by focusing not simply on the man but on the economic actor. More precisely, Bostaph argues that Carnegie is best understood as a Kirznerian entrepreneur, whose alertness to profit opportunities and early adoption of innovations allowed him to build a vast industrial empire, with both positive and negative effects for economic coordination in the American economy of the late nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-146
JournalJournal of the History of Economic Thought
Volume40
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2018

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