Anti-capitalist capitalist Carnegie’s dinosaur peace plan


This video from Pittsburgh in the USA says about itself:

13 February 2017

Paleontologist Matt Lamanna was live from the Big Bone Room at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in January! Matt discusses the famous Diplodocus carnegii, becoming a paleontologist, and more!

Both the museum and the big Jurassic Diplodocus sauropod dinosaur mentioned in this video are named after Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) from the USA, one of the richest men in the world a century ago.

Apart from being interested in dinosaurs, Carnegie was also an atypical capitalist: an anti-capitalist capitalist. He understood that capitalist competition leads to its opposite: capitalist monopolies, like his own Carnegie Steel. He thought these private monopolies should be replaced by socialism (while not managing his own businesses in a way consistent with socialist ideals).

There were other anti-capitalist capitalists; often among the most innovative and creative of businesspeople.

Belgian American inventor Leo Baekeland became a millionaire, but preferred socialism to capitalism.

Prominent British industrialist Robert Owen played a major role in utopian socialism.

Alfred Nobel was another example. He wrote an anti-capitalist theatre play. Nobel invented dynamite; but later, in 1895, founded the Nobel Peace Prize for people who had contributed to “the abolition or reduction of standing armies”.

Like Alfred Nobel, contrary to many capitalists, especially capitalists profiting from wars, which included Nobel and Carnegie, Carnegie opposed wars. He was a member of the Anti Imperialist League, like, eg, leftist author Mark Twain. That League opposed, eg, United States colonial war in the Phillipines.

One of Carnegie’s plans to promote peace was using Diplodocus carnegii, nicknamed Dippy the dinosaur.

On 11 April 2017, at Groningen university in the Netherlands, Ilja Nieuwland will present his PhD thesis: The Colossal Stranger. A Cultural History of Diplodocus carnegii, 1902-1913. See here.

According to Nieuwland’s book, in 1905-1913, Carnegie had eight plaster copies of ‘Dippy’ made, shipping them to musea in Europe and Argentina. He hoped this would lead to contacts between various governments and himself, causing world peace.

Unfortunately, these dinosaur copies did not prevent World War I starting in 1914.

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