Gary North on current economic affairs and investment marketsGary North -- Specific Answers
HomeContact MeTell a FriendText SizeSearchMember Area
Gain immediate access to all of our current articles, the question-and-answer forums, dozens of free books, and article archives. Click here for details on how to join.

About This Site
Academic Gaps
Articles
Capitalism and the Bible
Christian Economics
Clichés of Protectionism
College Finances
Debt Management
Ellen Brown: Critique
Federal Reserve Charts
Gary North's Free Books
Get Published Here!
Gold Price & My Report
Keynes Project
One Lesson
Price Index (U.S.A.)
Questions for Jim Wallis
Remnant Review
Social Security/Medicare
Sustained Revival
Tea Party Economist
U.S. Debt Clock
Yield Curve
Your YouTube Channel
Gary North's Miscellany
Advertising
Blogging
Budgeting for Wealth
Business Start-Up
Career Advancement
Digital Tools
Education That Works
Evernote: Free Notes
Federal Reserve Policy
Fireproof Your Job
Goal-Setting for Success
Great Default
Inheritance Strategies
Insurance
International Investing
Investment Basics
Job and Calling
Keynesian Economics
Leadership
Marketing Case Studies
Obamanomics
Precious Metals
Real Estate
Retirement
Safe Places
State of the Economy
Stocks and Bonds
Study Habits
Video Channel Profits
Members' Free Manuals
Our Products
Contact Me
Help
Tell a Friend
Text Size
Your Account
My 100% Guarantee
Privacy Policy
Terms of Use


This site powered by MemberGate

Historical Error #24: "Robber Baron" Capitalists Raised Prices and Reduced Quality in the Late 19th Century.

Gary North
Printer-Friendly Format

Ellen Brown repeats the Left-wing myth of the exploiting corporations of late 19th-century America.

In 1934, these international bankers and businessmen were labeled the "Robber Barons" by Matthew Josephson in a popular book of the same name. The Robber Barons were an unscrupulous lot, who "lived for market conquest, and plotted takeovers like military strategy." John D. Rockefeller's father was called a snake-oil salesman, flimflam man, bigamist, and marginal criminal -- never convicted but often accused, of crimes ranging from horse theft to rape. He once boasted, "I cheat my boys every chance I get, I want to make 'em sharp." Once the Robber Barons had established a monopoly, they would raise prices, drop the quality of service, and engage in unfair trading practices to drive other firms out of business.[Web of Debt, p. 117]

First, Rockefeller's father was not a robber baron. His son spent his life trying to overcome the embarrassment of his father's unscrupulous actions and ideas, which he saw had led to his father's poverty.

Second, Josephson was not an historian. He was a poet. He wrote for literary magazines. He graduated from college in 1920. Not until 1934 did he write anything on economic history. He was a far leftist, a member of what was later called the Communist front. He was an apologist for Stalin. This is not conjecture. It is well-known. In Reviews in American History, an academic journal published by Johns Hopkins University Press, a book review of a biography of Josephson makes clear his pro-Stalinist position.

Third, his book has been subjected to half a century if detailed criticisms from economic historians. A good analysis of Standard Oil was published three decades ago by Lawrence Reed, then a college professor, now the head of the Foundation for Economic Education, a free market educational organization. He showed that Standard Oil lowered prices and constantly improved products. He quoted Professor D. T. Armentano.

Between 1870 and 1885 the price of refined kerosene dropped from 26 cents to 8 cents per gallon. In the same period, the Standard Oil Company reduced the [refining] costs per gallon from almost 3 cents in 1870 to .452 cents in 1885. Clearly, the firm was relatively efficient, and its efficiency was being translated to the consumer in the form of lower prices for a much improved product, and to the firm in the form of additional profits.

Accuracy in Media, a conservative educational organization, has summarized the woeful ignorance of textbook writers. They promote views identical to Ellen Brown's.

Today's history textbooks typically depict the Industrial Revolution in the United States as a period dominated by "robber barons"--unscrupulous businessmen who earned vast fortunes on the backs of weary workers and naïve consumers.

Challenging this view is Dr. Burt Folsom, a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Too often, he says, textbooks fail to distinguish between what he calls "economic entrepreneurs"--self-made industrialists whose hard work and ingenuity helped make the United States the superpower it is today--and "political entrepreneurs"--well-connected businessmen who used their political clout to extract money and privileges from taxpayers while contributing little to economic progress.

History shows that economic entrepreneurs routinely outperform their government-subsidized counterparts, Dr. Folsom says, but historical examples of this principle are frequently excluded from today's textbooks.

The question of free enterprise versus government intervention is not a new one. "If we go back … 160 years ago, to the 1840s, we see in the United States a tremendous debate on whether or not we should use the government in the area of developing our economy," Folsom told students last month at Accuracy in Academia's annual Conservative University conference.

The debate was between the government-subsidy proponents -- led by Brown's hero, Henry Clay (the Whig Party) -- and the Jacksonians (the Democratic Party).

For my reply to her response, click here:

http://www.garynorth.com/public/7216.cfm

For a detailed critique of Ellen Brown's economics, go here:

http://www.garynorth.com/public/department141.cfm


Printer-Friendly Format
 Tip of the Week
Sign up for my free
Tip of the Week
Verification Characters:    Type     C  X  T  6  W     here   


Tip of the week archives
On what this icon
means, and how it
can help you,
click here
 Q & A Forums
General Q&A Forum
Advertising and Resumés
Affiliates
American History Topics
Backyard Food Gardening
Banking and Politics
Blog Sites and Web Sites
Books Worth Reading
Bumper Sticker Slogans
Business Forum
Buying Smart
Christian Service Forum
College -- The Cheap Way
Copywriting
Education Alternatives
Food Storage
For Women Only
Fukushima
GNC Benefits
GNC Testimonials
Gold and Silver
Great Default Forum
Health and Diet
Health Insurance
Homeschooling
Investments Forum
Iran War
Job, Calling, and Career
Leadership Development
Legacy Building
Less Dependent Living
Local Political Action
Non-Retirement Forum
One Good Idea
Police State
Privacy
Public Speaking
Real Estate Forum
Remnant Review Forum
Safe Places Forum
Taxation Policy
Typographical Errors
Video Production Basics

 Archives
Reality Check
 Discussion Forum
Search Discussion


Recent Forum Posts
• Buying pipelines at the next crash
• RE:Concierge Doctor
• Discover Bank 0.9% APR?
• getting out of the euro
• Amazing Dollar Strength
• Stuck in 401K. Help!
• Currency Wars
• Need Any Adjustments?
• What is the third question?
• What to do with my IRA funds?
• 529 plans
• XAU/AAU -- Your thoughts?
• Nasdaq hits 5000... finally
• Structured Settlement Annuity Investing
• How can governments default ?
• Are real estate agents driving this phenomenon?
• Intro to Real Estate
• best-and-worst-m arkets-for-rent al-returns
• Establishing a rental farm away from where I live
• 9 out 10 Most Expensive Cities are in California
• Moral standards and renters
• Malls Fill Vacant Stores With Server Rooms
• Refinancing
• Mentorship
• Multi owner family property
• Investment home in Reno?
• Books on Real Estate
• SF Bay Rental market highest in USA
• Selling vs. Renting
• No income tax states.
• Time to leave America while you still can ?
• Impact Fees for New Florida Residents
• New Hampshire and Florida
• Ecuador and PR
• Survivor library
• Missle Silo converted to Condos
• Does the South suck?
• Moving TO the US?
• No City for Old People
• Will you die getting to your bug out location?
• teaching English overseas - some questions
• The state with the most Liberty
• Switzerland and Firearms
• On "Zip Code Searching On The Web"
• Crash Course in becoming an Expat
• Why is this fantasy world stuff?
• One change could help saving for retirement
• Forced retirement - lump sum - legal work
• Moving Retirement Funds
• Sudden Wealth Advice
• Sudden Wealth Advice
• Question on Traditional Pensions
• advice on how do I interact with my older parents?
• Do You Sincerely Want to Be Rich? Why?
• Req. For No 401(k)/Other Pensions via Relocatio
• Cashing out 401K to pay student debt?
• SS @ 62 and still working
• Desolation or Prosperity?
• I take it Retirement Armageddon is not available
• Post Retirement Career
• New business opportunity
• Is this the future of public schools in America?
• Depression of the Boomer Era
• The world is getting better
• Get Rich with Inner City Schooling?
• New Evidence on Napping and Memory
• Seth Godin's Startup School Podcast
• Digital Money Crossing the Border
• WWI YouTube History Channel
• WWI YouTube History Channel
• Article on habits
• Hybrid thinking
• How To Get Rich
• Wrecking Crew/Swampers
• How long before we don't need human truck drivers
• Apply 80/20
• Good Recruiting wins Championships = $$$
• Meeting with the State
• Family earns $1 Million from YouTube vids
• Customer Service and Ethics Still Rule?
• Business Loans Question
• The life value of a customer ?
• If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You know?
• Want to start a business but never go through
• Westward Ho, Chik Fil A!
• Another Chik-Fil-A good deed
• Corporate Taxation.
• deleted
• Product Pricing
• Video Mailer