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Rockefeller, Robber Baron Or Captain Of Industry? Essay, Research Paper

Rockefeller, Robber Baron or Captain of Industry?

John D. Rockefeller was the first billionaire in the United States. He owned

Standard Oil Company, and was the main person to organize the oil industry. When he

was young, the company he was working for at the time sent him to oil country. He

checked everything out and reported back to the company that, as far as he could tell,

there was no future in the oil industry. Little did he know that in a short time he would

be investing in the oil industry. Before he knew it he owned twenty five refineries and

was making a lot of money. He donated five hundred thirty million dollars of the money

he made to medical research. John Rockefeller was a good business man who gave back

to the community and was definitely a captain of industry.

Some people don’t agree that Rockefeller was such a good person, infact there are

people who would probably call him a robber baron. This opinion isn’t totally

unfounded, like any businessman, John wasn’t perfect. He bought out other oil

companies until he had a monopoly on the oil industy. When monopolies were banned

by the government he formed a corporation which was basically a loop hole in the

monopoly law. He got rebates from the railroad company and special rates for

transporting his oil. He hired spies to get inside information on his competition. Any

competition that wouldn’t be bought out was driven out of business because he could

lower his prices more than anyone and still make a profit. Then, after he drove out

competition he jacked up the oil price. Calling Rockefeller a robber baron wouldn’t be

totally unfounded.

Rockefeller did many things that would categorize him as a captain of industry.

He improved the oil business in a lot of different ways. One very important thing he did

was organize the oil industry by investing money in it and making production more

efficient. When he had established himself in this business he began to hire chemists to

find uses for parts of the oil that weren’t used after it was refined. This eventually

eliminated waste because all of the oil was being used for something. John also offered

service outlets so customers could get help or make complaints if they needed to do so.

Rockefeller exhibited many qualities of a captain of industry in the way that he improved

the oil business.

One important thing that is a defining quality of a captain of industry is that they

give back to the community. Rockefeller definitely did that. He has been called one of

the greatest philantrhopists of all time. Of the over one billion dollars he made in the oil

industry, he gave more than five hundred thirty million of it to charitable organizations

and foundations. He gave the largest donations to the General Education Fund, the Laura

Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, and the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. He

even gave back to the companies that he bought out. They all received stock shares in

the Standard Oil Company, so they weren’t completely up the creek without a paddle.

Philanthorpy is a definite quality in a captain of industry and there is no doubt that John

Rockefeller posessed that quality.

John D. Rockefeller showed that he was a captain of industry by being a good

business man and an excellent philanthropist. He was one of the primary people

involved in organizing the oil industry. There was virtually no waste product in the

refinement process of oil because he found uses for the left overs. He gave huge amounts

of money to various charities and foundations. Although he did have his flaws, all the

good things he did definitely outweighed the bad ones. Without John D. Rockefeller the

oil industry and the world would not be where they are today.


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