Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Did John D. Rockefeller Start From Nothing or Help from Government?

rated by 0 users
This post has 19 Replies | 3 Followers

Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,028
Points 51,580
limitgov Posted: Mon, Dec 3 2012 1:49 PM

Did John D. Rockefeller start out from nothing?  Or did he recieve help along the way from government intervention?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
Female
Posts 260
Points 4,015

Looks to me like he never got anything but crap from the government.  Wikipedia article made me laugh, check out this quote by his father: "I cheat my boys every chance I get. I want to make ‘em sharp."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,028
Points 51,580

Well, I'm trying to find out the truth.  There seem to be alot of lies about history from the state and other sources.

And it seems like, the powers that be want us to believe the story went like this:

rockefeller, morgan and carnegie got rich, honestly,  using the free market.  But, the free market, had some shortcomings, so government came in and fixed them.

but the truth feels like rockefeller, etc got rich using government intervention. 

and the powers that be want to confuse everyone, so instead, they say they got rich off the free market, but they still did it in a bad way.

it leaves everyone really confused.

 

I'm starting to believe it may be impossible to become a huge multimillionaire in a pure free market.  but to confuse everyone, lets say thats the only way to become a multimillionmaire AND government will do its best to prevent that unfairness.

this leaves everyone confused. 

if, we could find the truth on how Rockefeller, Morgan and Carnegie really made their money, this would lessen the confusion.  Specifially, early on in their careers.   Specifically, Rockefeller, since it is said, he built his empire from nothing...unlike Morgan, who came from the House of Morgan.

 

Theory only goes so far with people.  We need examples.  Rockefeller, Morgan and Carnegie are the powers that be example of free market being bad.  But, if the truth is that these men made their money, even from the begining by using government to help them, then, their whole story they are trying to feed everyone (ex. Men Who Built America) is destroyed and seen for what it is.  Lies.

 

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
Female
Posts 260
Points 4,015

I don't see Rockefeller as that kind of lesson at all.  If anything, it looks to me like he was too "sharp" for his competition.  Bad on them.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 24
Points 645

vanderbilt created rockefeller.  Then rockefeller turned into a beast and went over vanderbilt. of course vanderbilt was subsidized to build railroads and shipping (im just assuming all railroads were subsidized back then, thus creating the over expansion of the railroads and the recession)

*ill go into a little more detail.  Vanderbilt wanted exclusive rights to someone to fill his railroads with oil.  There was a lot of competition and vanderbilt felt if he could get a small business owner to have an exclusive agreeement then he would win.  So vandy looked for who he thought had the potential to fill his railroads.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745

I don't know about Vanderbilt making Rockefeller (haven't read that).

From what I understand, SO was a primarily free-market company. I did read mentions of their patents being quite important, but I doubt we'll ever be able to know exactly how important. The tariff also might have helped them control US markets.

See here for info on SO:

http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Standard_Oil

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,028
Points 51,580

"The tariff also might have helped them control US markets."

Why?  The tariff should have helped all American oil companies, not just standard oil, right?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,028
Points 51,580

If you create an oil company and start pumping oil out of the ground and selling it and making alot of money, then wouldn't others do the same?

IN a free market, you cannot stop others from doing that, can you?  Did Rockefeller somehow stop others from pumping oil out of the ground?  Did he stop others from buying land and pumping oil out of it?

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 24
Points 645

rockefeller dropped oil prices by over 300% in about 20 years.  He also was privileged to the economy of scales since he owned so much.  smaller businesses cant compete because rockefeller wasnt charging a max price, he was charging the lowest price that he believed the most people would buy at.  

If you are looking for something on rockefeller in terms of government intervention, im positive he had TONS of patents, but i dont know if that had anything to do with it in the 1800s.  It certainly played a major part in the 1900s though.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 639
Points 11,575
cab21 replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 4:36 PM

if one can buy and sell land without homesteading the land, that sounds like help from the government.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 113
Points 1,685
RagnarD replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 4:45 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vw6uF2LdZw

This is mostly about Vanderbilt, but also mentions that SO was built to 65% of the worlds oil market with no subsidies. 

I speculate that companies significantly subsidized early on will ride the easy money and never be efficient enough to keep a major market share.  But companies that are efficient enoughto take a large market share then come under the eye of government, then collude to protect themselves and end up using government to their benefit. 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745

Cab21 - SO bought land from other owners. Typically on very good terms, too.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 88
Points 1,455
idol replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 11:50 PM

Those "Robber Barons" are wonderful examples of the free market - which is exactly why statists do everything in their power to discredit them by comparing them to someone in poverty at the time and asking why they couldn't just pay them more, or give them a job, etc. Vanderbilt is an excellent example of someone building roads without government. Rockefeller significantly reduced the price of oil for everyone. Ford built affordable cars and paid his workers high wages in return for their superior abilities. (Those high wages took on a whole other myth, that of wages "enough to buy back the product" which I will not get into). 

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 496
Points 8,945

haha ford didnt employ superior humans!  He reinvented automobile production making it much more efficient.  Thus the wage increase was due to capital goods making the employee more productive.

Eat the apple, fuck the Corps. I don't work for you no more!
  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 88
Points 1,455
idol replied on Tue, Dec 4 2012 1:26 AM

If he is the one who improved production, he was, at least at the time where he was paying his workers the highest wages, a monopolist on this improved production. In other words, there was no bidding process where companies bid up employees because of the value they add. If Ford's employees were no better than Joe Shmoe's employees, we would have to assume that Ford would try to pay them as much, or maybe a little more, as Joe Shmoe, but not much more because then he's losing money for no reason. On the other hand, because he was the only one paying these high wages I am guessing that that is for some other reason besides altruism. That reason is that a higher wage attracts the best workers.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 639
Points 11,575
cab21 replied on Tue, Dec 4 2012 1:56 AM

the rockefellers donated land to the government for national parks, so that shows buying and selling unused land where noone has homesteaded anything.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745

If Ford's employees were no better than Joe Shmoe's employees, we would have to assume that Ford would try to pay them as much, or maybe a little more, as Joe Shmoe, but not much more because then he's losing money for no reason.

Actually, I think that Ford's employees were significantly better paid than the employees of competing companies (According to my macro text).

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,028
Points 51,580
limitgov replied on Tue, Dec 4 2012 12:39 PM

"Those "Robber Barons" are wonderful examples of the free market

What if that is not true.

What if these devils, always take lies and mix in some truth to confuse people.

 

What if the truth is Rockefeller, Morgan, etc are sleezy and used unlawful things (including government) to build their empires and wipe out their compeition.

And what if the lie is that they used the free market to build their empires.

So, to confuse everyone and take control of both sides of the argument, lets take some truth....they were sleezy and mix in some lies, they used the free market to build their empires and wipe out their competition.

 

Now, all of a sudden, people are too busy taking sides, to look at the whole truth.  They bicker over pieces of truth and lies.

 

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 88
Points 1,455
idol replied on Tue, Dec 4 2012 12:44 PM

Wheylous:

If Ford's employees were no better than Joe Shmoe's employees, we would have to assume that Ford would try to pay them as much, or maybe a little more, as Joe Shmoe, but not much more because then he's losing money for no reason.

Actually, I think that Ford's employees were significantly better paid than the employees of competing companies (According to my macro text).

 

Right, they were, so my point was that he must have had some reason for paying them so much, and I think the reason that makes the most sense is that he wanted the best workers available.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745

Or there is the theory of efficient wages (I don't mean supply and demand).

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (20 items) | RSS