Alfred Dolge, who pioneered the world's first employer-based pension, disability compensation and profit-sharing programs, came from Germany in 1866 as a skilled piano maker and made a fortune manufacturing piano components. Inspired by his father's revolutionary past, as well as by such diverse authors as Adam Smith and Karl Marx, Dolge set out to establish a social democratic utopia in central New York state where working people could share in the wealth they created. Yet in 1898 he was forced into bankruptcy through a betrayal by his closest advisers and all his promises became impossible to fulfill. This short biography is designed to introduce to the contemporary reader a long neglected forerunner of social security programs in the United States and other liberal democracies.
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