Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The True Story of Standard Oil

By Rich Kozlovich

For many years I have been aware that the traditional stories about John D. Rockefeller and the breakup of Standard Oil of New Jersey were misleading and in point of fact largely false. This has always been a story that fascinated me for a number of reasons. But the one that we need to do is understand this whole "monopoly busting" historical account correctly; which has much deeper implications than most seem to realize. We have learned the propaganda, not the reality of these central planning schemes that Teddy Roosevelt gave impetus to when he became president on 1901. Utilizing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act he became the ultimate "Trust Buster"; yet he was a failed investor and economically incompetent at worst and at best unqualified to tell the nation how it's businesses should be run.

I have no delusions about Rockefeller. He did things in his life that I consider contemptible, but this Standard Oil story is one that really needs to be told truthfully, because the true story is the one that every entrepreneur, every politician, every economics major, every bureaucrat, every attorney, every law school student, every judge and every kid in the nation needs to learn and understand.

I hate installments. I want to read the whole story at once; therefore I have waited to post these links until all five parts were published. Please take the time to read and think about what is actually being said, why it is being said, and since this information has been available for so long; why did it take this long to do it and why do people still quote those who have painted an entirely false picture of this major character and company in American history.

I can say clearly that he was a man of vision. He had great business skills, but it was his ability to see farther, deeper and wider than everyone else (and his ability to surround himself with like minded people) that created this dynamo of industry. Famous pest controller Chuck Steinmetz once told me; “There are only two things you need to be successful in business; brains and guts and you can hire brains". In Rockefeller’s case he had both. But without vision neither would have mattered.
“But Standard’s most important asset was Rockefeller, followed by his close associates. Rockefeller’s ambition for the expansion of the business was only growing, and he talked with Henry Flagler morning, noon, and night about possibilities and plans. Reflecting on the company nearly fifty years later, Rockefeller recalled: “We had vision. We saw the vast possibilities of the oil industry, stood at the center of it, and brought our knowledge and imagination and business experience to bear in a dozen, in twenty, in thirty directions.’ ”

The Supreme Court ruling against Standard Oil is the direct result of Progressives in Congress passing complicated irrational laws that deprive Constitutional rights to its citizens. Just because we don't like the outcome doesn’t mean that it should be illegal. This “terrible” monopoly did wonders for the economic health of the nation. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Supreme Court’s decision against Standard Oil was a gigantic leap toward judicial fiat and the evisceration of the Constitution. The Constitutional rights of the citizenry were all now in jeopardy. In short the courts could now make laws and the Congress could ignore the Constitution. Yet they never claimed that Standard hurt the nation's economy or made the poor suffer. The price of oil stayed very low and stable all during those years, which hadn’t been the case before Rockefeller took control; and this allowed the nation’s manufacturers to properly plan and grow accordingly.

From this start we have ended up with all of these “outcome” based laws and rulings that demand equal outcome regarding economics, race, gender and sexual preferences. They feel that they now have the right to “fix” the outcome of anything they don’t like. It is my opinion that the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was one of the worst acts of aggression against this nation’s citizenry by their own government, and the Supreme Court ruling was one of the most outrageous justifications of unending power grabbing by a government that came to rule through regulations forced on the nation by activist courts. Is this fixable? I don’t know, but I do know one thing; we are facing the consequences of epidemic and rampant regulation by an incompetent bloated government. There is nothing like a good epidemic to get things started.

Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company (Part I: The Fallacious Textbook Story)

Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company (Part II: The Phenom)

Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company (Part III: The Missing Context of Standard’s Rise to Supremacy)

The Real History of the Standard Oil Company (Part IV: Pioneering in Big Business)

Capitalism Vindicated: The Real History of Standard Oil (Part V: Lessons)


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