Ida Tarbell

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pages: 1,106 words: 335,322

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow

business cycle, California gold rush, collective bargaining, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, endowment effect, family office, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Santayana, God and Mammon, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, New Journalism, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, passive investing, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, profit motive, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, The Chicago School, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, white picket fence, yellow journalism

Lyon, Success Story, p. 213. Tarbell, All in the Day’s Work, p. 202. Yergin, The Prize, p. 102. IMT, B 1/14 T-057, letter from J. M. Siddall to Ida Tarbell, August 6, 1903. Brady, Ida Tarbell, p. 145. Ibid., p. 143. IMT, B 1/14, letter from J. M. Siddall to Ida Tarbell, n.d. The American Magazine, November 1910. RAC, Inglis notes, 4.12, “Reminiscences.” IMT, B 1/14, letter from J. M. Siddall to Ida Tarbell, June 15, 1903. Ibid. Ibid., letter from J. M. Siddall to Ida Tarbell, October 26, 1903. Tarbell, All in the Day’s Work, p. 234. Ibid., p. 235. Ibid. Ibid., p. 236. McClure’s Magazine, August 1905.

Ibid., p. 83. Ibid., p. 99. Brady, Ida Tarbell, p. 91. The World, n.d. [1905]. Lyon, Success Story, p. 146. Ibid., p. 117. Ibid., p. 199. Ibid., p. 152. Steffens, The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens, p. 361. Ibid., pp. 392–93. Tarbell, The History of the Standard Oil Company, p. ix. IMT, “Documents to Be Catalogued,” letter from W. W. Tarbell to Ida Tarbell, April 14, 1893. Tarbell, All in the Day’s Work, p. 45. Ibid., p. 207. Brady, Ida Tarbell, p. 123. Ibid., p. 129. Ibid., p. 130. Destler, Henry Demarest Lloyd, p. 353. Brady, Ida Tarbell, p. 132. Twain, Mark Twain’s Correspondence with Henry Huttleston Rogers, p. 478.

The Philadelphia Ledger, July 21, 1905. RAC, III 2.Z B46, “Interview with John D. Rockefeller, Jr.” Stasz, The Rockefeller Women, p. 232. IMT, B 1/14 T-053, letter from J. M. Siddall to Ida Tarbell, April 28, 1903. Ibid. IMT, “Documents to Be Catalogued,” letter from J. M. Siddall to Ida Tarbell, April 30, 1903. IMT, B 2/14, letter from J. M. Siddall to Ida Tarbell, n.d. IMT, B 1/14, letter from J. M. Siddall to Ida Tarbell, September 22, 1903. IMT, “Documents to Be Catalogued,” T-066, “Memo of Interview with Frank Rockefeller, January 22, 1904.” Rugoff, America’s Gilded Age, p. 162. Swanberg, Pulitzer, p. 187.


pages: 422 words: 104,457

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin

AltaVista, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, Chelsea Manning, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Graeber, Debian, disinformation, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Garrett Hardin, GnuPG, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Ida Tarbell, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, medical residency, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, prediction markets, price discrimination, randomized controlled trial, RFID, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, security theater, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, Steven Levy, Tragedy of the Commons, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

After Lavabit shut down: Jon Callas, “To Our Customers,” Silent Circle Blog, August 9, 2013, http://silentcircle.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/to-our-customers/. The Riseup collective posted: Riseup.net, “Riseup and Government FAQ,” accessed August 20, 2013, https://www.riseup.net/en/riseup-and-government-faq. 9. INTRODUCING IDA Ida Tarbell was: Kathleen Brady, Ida Tarbell: Portrait of a Muckraker (New York: Seaview/Putnam, 1984). Some studies show that avoiding: Jeffrey T. Hancock, Michael T. Woodworth, and Saurabh Goorha, “See No Evil: The Effect of Communication Medium and Motivation on Deception Detection,” Group Decision and Negotiation 19, no. 4 (July 2009): 327–43.

As I triple-checked that I was backing up my e-mails onto my hard drive and into my encrypted cloud service, I thought about how absurd my privacy journey was becoming. I was hoarding all my data in case of an apocalypse. And even more strangely, the apocalypse seems to be right around the corner. I was turning into a data survivalist. 9 INTRODUCING IDA Ida Tarbell was an investigative journalist who exposed the abuses of the Standard Oil Company at the turn of the twentieth century. She is also my alter ego. Creating a fake identity was a key part of my strategy of data pollution. In cases where I couldn’t avoid a dragnet, most likely when buying things or logging in to websites, I would try to contribute Ida’s information to the dragnet rather than my own.

But I wasn’t looking for perfect; I just wanted to force the trackers to put some effort into tracking me specifically, rather than sweeping up data about me effortlessly. I chose Ida because she is part of a generation of journalists that I admire. Known as “muckrakers,” investigative journalists such as Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair exposed the underbelly of the industrial revolution, from monopolistic price gouging by the trusts to working conditions in slaughterhouses. Their work led to laws that reined in the worst excesses of the era. I believe that today we are at a similar turning point. As our nation shifts toward an information economy, there are few laws policing the booming industry giants and few governmental or nonprofit institutions with the technical savvy to police the information economy.


pages: 128 words: 38,847

The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age by Tim Wu

AltaVista, barriers to entry, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, corporate raider, creative destruction, Donald Trump, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, open economy, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, The Chicago School

United States, 370 U.S. 294 (1962). 55 “excessive concentration of economic power”: “The Political Content of Antitrust,” Robert Pitofsky, University of Pennsylvania Law Review 127 (1979): 1051. 58 “tend to tilt toward the wishes of corporations”: “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, Perspectives on Politics 12 (2014): 3. 59 “was like a general who”: “John D. Rockefeller, A Character Sketch,” Ida Tarbell, McClure’s Magazine, July 1905. 60 “‘But we don’t want to sell’”: The History of the Standard Oil Company, Ida Tarbell, Macmillan Company, 1904. 61 “there was no more faithful baptist”: The History of the Standard Oil Company, Ida Tarbell, Macmillan Company, 1904. 61 “A man always has two reasons”: The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance, Ron Chernow, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990. 62 “his party included, characteristically”: The Great Pierpont Morgan: A Biography, Frederick L.

Quite a feat for a man born poor, to a father who was little more than a confidence man. Once upon a time, in the late 1860s, “the Standard” had been just a mid-sized Cleveland operation with no particular technological advantages over its rivals. It did, however, have the strategic genius of Rockefeller and his particular talent for industry conquest. As journalist Ida Tarbell would write of him, Rockefeller “was like a general who, besieging a city surrounded by fortified hills, views from a balloon the whole great field, and see how, this point taken, that must fall; this hill reached, that fort is commanded. And nothing was too small: the corner grocery in Browntown, the humble refining still on Oil Creek, the shortest private pipe line.

Roosevelt, as we’ve said, was determined to demonstrate that government was sovereign over even the mightiest corporations, even Standard Oil. But Roosevelt was politically savvy enough to understand that he needed an angle. His opportunity was created by the publication, in 1904, of a sensational and widely read history of Standard Oil in McClure’s magazine by reporter Ida Tarbell. The History of the Standard Oil Company, nineteen parts in total, was a product of extensive reporting, and it told the full story of both Standard Oil’s rise to power and its quashing of threats to its rule. Carefully researched and written in a balanced fashion, yet dark in its implications, the series reached a large audience and provoked national outrage.


pages: 1,445 words: 469,426

The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial exploitation, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, cuban missile crisis, disinformation, do-ocracy, energy security, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, fudge factor, Ida Tarbell, informal economy, joint-stock company, land reform, liberal capitalism, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old-boy network, postnationalism / post nation state, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Thomas Malthus, Yom Kippur War

Lamoreaux, The Great Merger Movement in American Business, 1895-1904 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), chap. 7; Kathleen Brady, Ida Tarbell: Portrait of a Muckraker (New York: Seaview/Putnam, 1984), pp. 120-23 ("great feature" and "new plan of attacking"). H. H. Rogers complained to Ida Tarbell that he could not understand how Harper's could have published William Demarest Lloyd's Wealth Against Commonwealth, as he "had known Harry Harper socially very well." Tarbell's own theory was that "it was the very desire to keep the Standard Oil people out of society that had something to do with the Harpers publishing that book." Interview with H. H. Rogers, T-004, Tarbell papers. [5] Brady, Ida Tarbell, pp. 115 ("holding people off'), 110 ("playing cards"), 123 ("Well, I'm sorry"); Tarbell, All in the Day's Work, pp. 19, 204 ("Pithole"), 207 ("Don't do it")

[12] Goulder, Rockefeller, p. 223 ("wise old owl"); Nevins, Study in Power, vol. 1, pp. 331, 326 ("expose as little"), 157 ("wonder how old"), 337 ("anxiety"), 328 ("ten letters"); vol. 2, p. 427 ("unemotional man"); Ida M. Tarbell, The History of the Standard Oil Company (New York: McClure, Phillips & Company, 1904), vol. 1, pp. 105-06. [13] Vinnie Crandall Hicks to Ida Tarbell, June 29, 1905, T-020 and Marshall Bond to Ida Tarbell, July 3, 1905, T-021, Tarbell papers ("Sunday school" and "Buzz"); Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences, pp. 25-26; Nevins, Study in Power, vol. 2, pp. 84 ("dentist's chair"), 91-95 ("poulets" and "life principle"), 193-94 ("best investment" and "spare change"); William Manchester, A Rockefeller Family Portrait, from John D. to Nelson (Boston: Little, Brown, 1959), pp. 25-26; Flynn, God's Gold, pp. 232-35, 280

With the issue of trusts firmly on the table at McClure's, Tarbell considered undertaking her own investigation. The obvious target was the Mother of Trusts; she decided to take it on. Making a pilgrimage with McClure to a mud bath at an ancient spa in Italy, she won his approval. So Ida Tarbell began the research that would eventually topple Standard Oil. Life is not without its ironies, and the book that emerged from Tarbell's research would stand as the final revenge of the Oil Regions against their conquerors. For Ida Tarbell had grown up in the boom-and-bust communities of the Oil Regions. Her father, Frank Tarbell, had gone into business as a tank maker just months after Drake's discovery, and in the 1860s had done rather well, setting himself up, for a time, in the great boom town of Pithole.


pages: 283 words: 81,163

How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present by Thomas J. Dilorenzo

banking crisis, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Hernando de Soto, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit, means of production, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Money creation, Norman Mailer, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Tax Reform Act of 1986, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, wealth creators, working poor, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

There was never any threat that these “horizontal mergers”—the combination of two firms that are in the same business—would create a monopoly, for Standard Oil had literally hundreds of competitors, including such oil giants as Sun Oil, not to mention its many large competitors in international markets. One of Rockefeller’s harshest critics was journalist Ida Tarbell, whose brother was the treasurer of the Pure Oil Company, which could not compete with Standard Oil’s low prices. She published a series of hypercritical articles in McClure’s magazine in 1902 and 1903, which were turned into a book entitled The History of the Standard Oil Company, a classic of antibusiness propaganda.25 Tarbell’s writings are emotional, often illogical, and lacking in any serious attempt at economic analysis.

According to this theory, a “predatory firm” that possesses a “war chest” of profits will cut its prices so low as to drive all competitors from the market. Then, when it faces no competition, it will charge monopolistic prices. It is assumed that at that point no other competition will emerge, despite the large profits being made in the industry. Journalist Ida Tarbell did as much as anyone to popularize this theory in her book on Standard Oil, in a chapter entitled “Cutting to Kill.” To economists, however, predatory pricing is theoretical nonsense and has no empirical validity, either. It has never been demonstrated that a monopoly has ever been created in this way.

Standard Oil became much less efficient as a result, to the benefit of its less efficient rivals and to the detriment of consumers. Standard Oil’s competitors, who with their behind-the-scenes lobbying were the main instigators of the federal prosecution, are (along with “muckracking” journalists like Ida Tarbell) the real villains in this story. They succeeded in using political entrepreneurship to hamstring a superior market entrepreneur, which in the end rendered the American petroleum industry less competitive. The prosecution of Standard Oil was a watershed event for the American petroleum industry.


pages: 589 words: 128,484

America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve by Roger Lowenstein

bank run, Bear Stearns, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, central bank independence, Charles Lindbergh, corporate governance, fiat currency, financial independence, full employment, Ida Tarbell, Long Term Capital Management, Money creation, moral hazard, old-boy network, quantitative easing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Upton Sinclair, walking around money

In a perceptive senior thesis submitted at Harvard six decades later, Michael Rockefeller, the senator’s great-grandson, would write that “it became easy for Aldrich to conceive of legislation as being primarily a problem of consultation with the economic aristocracy followed by the application of personal authority.”* Aldrich generally ignored public criticism, believing that the Rhode Island machine shielded him from the vicissitudes of politics. But he was foolish to be so cavalier about his reputation. The American public was developing an appetite for scandal; journalists such as Ida Tarbell were writing hard-hitting articles exposing corruption in politics and unscrupulous behavior in business. American magazines had previously catered to a literary audience, but scandal sold better, and with technological innovations such as glazed paper made from wood pulp, publishers were able to cut prices and reach a mass audience.

With an eye on the unforgiving harvest calendar, Perkins concluded gloomily, “There seems to be a general feeling that we are likely to have a pretty serious time next Fall.” CHAPTER FOUR PANIC A panic grows by what it feeds on. —WALTER BAGEHOT Who is to be Mr. Morgan’s successor? —IDA TARBELL IN THE FALL OF 1907, America suffered the worst breakdown in the history of the National Banking system. Overnight, banks were stripped of reserves and the country was plunged into a severe depression. Cash (or its equivalent in gold) was all that people wanted, and cash vanished from circulation due to people’s very attempts to secure it.

Thomas, the retired president of the New York Stock Exchange: UNTERMYER: When Mr. Morgan gave the word, did that change the panic conditions? THOMAS: It certainly had a very decided effect upon relieving the situation. UNTERMYER: Then, it rested with one man to say whether the panic should go on or should end, did it? Spurred by Untermyer, the journalist Ida Tarbell zeroed in on one of the system’s weakest links: the New York Clearing House. Tarbell claimed that this private bankers’ club was “exercising power which it had been gradually gathering to itself.” It was ill equipped to provide security. Its authority was citywide, not national; it was not even universally subscribed to within New York and it dispensed its powers arbitrarily.


pages: 667 words: 149,811

Economic Dignity by Gene Sperling

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, corporate governance, David Brooks, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, disinformation, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, full employment, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, guest worker program, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, independent contractor, invisible hand, job automation, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, liberal world order, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, mental accounting, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, obamacare, offshore financial centre, payday loans, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, speech recognition, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Toyota Production System, traffic fines, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, War on Poverty, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

The reforms and investigations would go beyond workplace safety to address low wages, long hours, unsanitary conditions, and child labor, with the adoption of thirty-six new laws at the city and state levels that eventually served as models for other states and for the New Deal’s labor laws in the 1930s.40 Perkins later said that the legislation in New York was a “turning point” in “American political attitudes and policies towards social responsibility,” and described the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire as “the day the New Deal was born.”41 Later, in her role as secretary of labor, Perkins led the agency to create the Bureau of Labor Standards in 1934, the first permanent federal agency established primarily to promote safety and health for workers. This was the predecessor of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was created in 1971. IDA TARBELL: SMALL BUSINESSES UP AGAINST A MONOPOLY Another way economic domination can undercut a basic sphere of dignity is when entrepreneurs and small business owners are crushed under brutally unfair, unchecked monopolistic practices. To be clear, there is nothing wrong in a free-market economy with any company being outcompeted by a rival that makes a better widget, or the same widget at a better price.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong in a free-market economy with any company being outcompeted by a rival that makes a better widget, or the same widget at a better price. Yet a basic underpinning of economic freedom has long been that competition between sellers of goods and services is driven by price, quality, and fair opportunities—not by arbitrary, brute power. Ida Tarbell was a fourteen-year-old eyewitness to the ruin that took over her once prosperous hometown in the oil-rich region of western Pennsylvania in the early 1870s when it received “a blow between the eyes”42 when small business owners like Tarbell’s father found themselves victimized by Standard Oil’s brute monopolistic practices.

Desmond sees a direct relation to aspects of work life today: Modern-day workers are subjected to a wide variety of surveillance strategies, from drug tests and closed-circuit video monitoring to tracking apps and even devices that sense heat and motion. . . . But it’s only the technology that’s new. The core impulse behind that technology pervaded plantations, which sought innermost control over the bodies of their enslaved work force.94 FINANCIAL DOMINATION: FROM IDA TARBELL TO ELIZABETH WARREN AND THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU Ensuring that Americans can participate in the economy without domination and humiliation should never be an issue limited only to people in their roles as workers. How people are treated in their roles as small business owners or as consumers trying to care for or invest in their family’s well-being and future will always be an essential component of economic dignity.


pages: 324 words: 93,606

No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy by Linsey McGoey

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, American Legislative Exchange Council, Bear Stearns, bitcoin, Bob Geldof, cashless society, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, effective altruism, Etonian, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Ford paid five dollars a day, germ theory of disease, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Ida Tarbell, impact investing, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school choice, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, urban planning, wealth creators

He fought for years to secure a charter that would permit him to establish the Rockefeller Foundation. Time and again, the US Congress rejected his overtures, citing concern for the public welfare and objections over the manner in which Rockefeller had amassed his fortune. Published in McClure’s Magazine in the early 1900s, a series of articles by the journalist Ida Tarbell exposed decades of corporate espionage, price-fixing, bribery, and the creation of bogus companies to disguise illegal activities. In 1909, the Department of Justice launched an antitrust suit against Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Senator Robert La Follette denounced Rockefeller as the ‘greatest criminal of our age’.2 Philanthropic foundations at this time were viewed as mere outposts of profit-seeking empires, only cosmetically different from the corporations that had spawned them, a convenient way for business magnates to extend their reach over domestic and foreign populaces.

At the urging of his son, he created, in 1902, the General Education Board, which sought to improve educational opportunities ‘without distinction of race, sex, or creed’. His dismay at poverty and his belief in human equality only renders more troubling his role in exacerbating the social and economic inequalities that he seemed to deplore.51 The Justice Department’s anti-trust suit against Rockefeller’s company was launched after Ida Tarbell’s investigation into Rockefeller’s company was serialized in the popular McClure’s Magazine and later collected in her bestselling volume, The History of the Standard Oil Company. ‘Very often people who admit the facts, who are willing to see that Mr. Rockefeller employed force and fraud to secure his ends, justify him by declaring, “It’s business”’, Tarbell commented after her book was published.

., 703. 42Lester Frank Ward, ‘Plutocracy and Paternalism’, Forum (November 1895), 303. 43For a comprehensive account of Ludlow and its effects on American business practices, see Andrea Tone, The Business of Benevolence: Industrial Paternalism in Progressive America, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 19. 44Quoted in Inderjeet Parmar, Foundations of the American Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), 38. 45Tone, The Business of Benevolence, 117. 46Inaugural address (1913), see millercenter.org; Wilson’s ‘first message to Congress’, quoted in Phillips, Wealth and Democracy, 47. 47Robert Arnove and Nadine Pinede, ‘Revisiting the “Big Three” Foundations’, Critical Sociology, vol. 33 (2007), 390. 48Ibid., 391. 49Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London: Routledge, 2001), 159–63. 50Chernow, Titan, 191. 51Levenick, ‘The Rockefeller Legacy’. 52Steve Weinberg, Taking on the Trust: How Ida Tarbell Brought Down John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008), 225. 53Ibid., 233. 54Chernow, Titan, 468. 55Ibid. 56Quoted in Samuel Crowther, ‘Henry Ford: Why I Favour Five Days’ Work with Six Days’ Pay’, World’s Work (October 1926), 613–16. 57See Tone, The Business of Benevolence. 58Corporate release quoted in Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate (New York: Public Affair Books, 2001), 37. 59Quoted in Thomas Conley, Toward a Rhetoric of Insult (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 104. 60Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews, 172–3 see also Victoria Saker Woester, Henry Ford’s War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012). 61Pankaj Mishra, ‘Watch This Man: Review of Civilisation: The West and the Rest’, London Review of Books, 3 November 2011, 10–12. 62Peter Frumkin, ‘He Who’s Got It Gets to Give It’, Washington Post, 3 October 1999, B01; See also Joel Fleishman, The Foundation: A Great American Secret–How Private Money is Changing the World (New York: Public Affairs Books, 2007). 63Dowie, American Foundations, 12. 64Zunz, Philanthropy in America, 198. 65Ibid. 66Dowie, American Foundations, 13. 67Quoted in Chrystia Freeland, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (London: Penguin, 2012), 263. 68Ibid. 69Dowie, American Foundations, 13. 70John Simon, ‘The Regulation of American Foundations: Looking Backward at the Tax Reform Act of 1969’, Voluntas, vol. 6, no. 3 (1995), 243–4. 71There have been some important developments in the field of US charity regulation, but none on the same scale as the 1969 Tax Reform Act.


pages: 801 words: 209,348

Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American ideology, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, oil rush, peer-to-peer, pets.com, popular electronics, profit motive, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

Still, American culture must be credited for encouraging the exact form of behavior that maximized this national advantage. “On every rocky farm, in every poor settlement of the region, was some man whose ear was attuned to fortune’s call, and who had the daring and the energy to risk everything he possessed on an oil lease,” wrote Ida Tarbell. With this influx of men, along with Drake’s technique, “oil poured forth in floods.” Tarbell’s father was such a man. He was a schoolteacher in Iowa visiting the roots of his childhood in Erie County. One visit to the oil region pointed to a new career. But her father did not look to speculate on an oil lease.

Or the price would have fallen to such a degree that the barrel rental and transportation costs ate up all the profits. The ability to thrive in such a climate, to be repeated in plenty of other oil regions over the decades, gave the successful American oilman that rough-hewn, swaggering reputation: “They loved the game, and every man of them would take his last dollar on the chance at striking oil,” concluded Ida Tarbell. To her there was something heroic in the character of such men, both winners and losers, and their willful and enthusiastic participation in this rugged, wild form of individualistic capitalism. But Tarbell was also one of the great critics of industrial capitalism, and her preamble of the early days of oil was a setup to contrast earnest men like her father with the prime object of her criticism.

Over forty-five days, twenty-two of the twenty-six Cleveland refiners agreed to be acquired by Rockefeller. This acquisition spree would one day become the source of much dispute as to what pressure the sellers felt and whether fair prices were paid, but the indisputable fact is that the vast majority of Cleveland refineries sold out to Standard Oil within an alarmingly short time frame. To Ida Tarbell this was Standard Oil’s original sin that tainted all future achievements. Rockefeller often defended the transactions by saying that he offered stock in Standard Oil to anyone who preferred equity, which many did; those who chose to take stock instead of cash became overwhelmingly wealthy. Regardless of the perspective, Standard Oil, within a few short weeks, took its daily refining capacity from less than two thousand barrels to over ten thousand barrels, approximately 20 percent of the industry’s capacity.


pages: 514 words: 153,092

The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes

anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Ida Tarbell, invisible hand, jobless men, Mahatma Gandhi, Plutocrats, plutocrats, short selling, Upton Sinclair, wage slave, Works Progress Administration

The first year out of office counted most in earnings for ex-presidents, and he was determined to make his own worth it. He also headed down to New York from time to time—the next year, for example, he would join Irita van Doren, a literary editor, along with Governor Roosevelt, Thomas W. Lamont of Wall Street, William Woodin (a financier), Ida Tarbell (the journalist), Henry Morgenthau Sr., and others in serving on the welcoming committees for the Indian poet Sir Rabindranath Tagore. As for Tugwell, he certainly noted the crash; his thoughts about the economy were already dark. He was worried about the prospects for his father, who was expanding his business, working with a few small banks.

P. Morgan, would announce the creation of an additional committee to recognize Russia. Another group of women also signed a recognition petition that went to the president—signers included Mrs. Lorado Taft, Paul Douglas’s new mother-in-law, and Jane Addams of Chicago, as well as Amelia Earhart, Ida Tarbell, and Irita van Doren in New York. It was not yet clear whether Roosevelt would actually act, but it was clear that he would take the idea of recognition far more seriously than had Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, or even Wilson’s secretary of state, Bainbridge Colby. Meanwhile, as a cultural accompaniment to the political theme of the Forgotten Man, Warner Brothers was readying a film for the inaugural year, titled Gold Diggers of 1933.

The headline describing the meeting replicated headlines from the Hoover years: “Leaders with a Program for National Recovery to See Roosevelt Today: Cooperation Is Aim.” Donald Richberg was also pushing for cooperative planning. Just as back in 1932, Roosevelt seemed to be receptive to the planning idea. Was charity the answer? In the autumn he had called for a nationwide charity drive: the names on the benefit lists were reported to include Lillian Wald, Ida Tarbell, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, Mrs. Roosevelt, Mrs. Dwight Morrow, and “Wendel L. Willkie.” At a press conference on the fourth day of January, the ambivalent president told reporters that he was thinking about renewing cooperation between government and business. Sensing ambivalence, Roosevelt scripted his way forward: “Don’t write the story that I am advocating the immediate reenactment of the NRA.


pages: 482 words: 149,351

The Finance Curse: How Global Finance Is Making Us All Poorer by Nicholas Shaxson

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, airline deregulation, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, Etonian, failed state, falling living standards, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, forensic accounting, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, high net worth, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, land value tax, late capitalism, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Money creation, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Savings and loan crisis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, transfer pricing, two and twenty, wealth creators, white picket fence, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

This conflict is at the heart of the finance curse. The Theory of Business Enterprise came out in the wake of what was then, and may still be, the most impressive feat of investigative journalism in world history. This was an exposé of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly by the journalist Ida Tarbell, who uncovered a conspiracy and cartel the likes of which the world had never seen. Rockefeller, she revealed, was a master of Veblenite sabotage, rigging markets in the production and distribution of oil and its refined products, buying or elbowing out rivals in a ruthless and sometimes violent quest to build an America-wide monopoly.

We hear it when the BBC wheels out know-nothing bankers or City pundits to applaud the latest merger-driven rise in the stock market, or the latest deregulatory or tax-cutting gift to the City of London, or a surge in banker bonuses or private equity activity, as if these things benefit Britain.14 To the extent that these profits are extracted from the veins of our economy, these soaring profits are all signs of economic malaise, not health. As Veblen famously put it, ‘business sagacity reduces itself in the last analysis to the judicious use of sabotage’. Veblen and Tarbell were often pilloried by their contemporaries, yet they have both been repeatedly proved correct. After her exposé of Standard Oil, Ida Tarbell was vilified by sections of the media. ‘The dear girl’s efforts … are pathetic,’ wrote one academic. She and her followers were ‘sentimental sob sisters’, wrote another. Rockefeller called her Miss Tar Barrel, a socialist and ‘that misguided woman’. She pretended to be fair, he said, but ‘like some women, she distorts facts … and utterly disregards reason’.

As Watson put it, ‘A repeated theme throughout pretty much every chapter of the 900-page Wealth of Nations is that productive labour is good and should be encouraged, whereas unproductive labour is bad and should be discouraged. We wouldn’t have a finance curse if we really did live in Adam Smith’s world.’ 6. From Steve Weinberg, Taking on the Trust: how Ida Tarbell brought down John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil, W.W. Norton & Co., 2008, pp.219–20. Rockefeller defended himself by arguing that he had found a solution to the tragedy of the commons, where too many oilmen were drilling on the same bounteous oilfield, leading to overproduction and mayhem in oil prices. 7.


pages: 585 words: 151,239

Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

A striking number of America’s most important social institutions—from the universities of Chicago and Stanford to the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations—were created by men who were born within a few years of each other in the 1830s. These outsize figures have attracted outsize opprobrium. Ida Tarbell accused them of being “robber barons.” Teddy Roosevelt dubbed them “malefactors of great wealth.” Henry Adams described Jay Gould as “a spider” who “spun huge webs, in the corner and in the dark.” A popular Broadway show called Morgan “the great financial Gorgon.” There is some justification for this hostility: people seldom achieve great things without being willing to ride roughshod over the opposition.

(His business partner Henry Flagler’s favorite quotation, which he kept displayed on his desk, was “Do unto others what they would do unto you—and do it first.”) This allowed him to produce more oil at a lower cost than any of his competitors. He systematically eliminated those competitors by either inviting them to join his Standard Oil Company, which he founded in 1870, or, if like Ida Tarbell’s father they refused to sell, driving them out of business. “The Standard was an angel of mercy,” he said, “reaching down from the sky and saying ‘Get into the ark. Put in your old junk. We’ll take all the risks.’”4 By the late 1870s, firms in his alliance controlled more than 90 percent of the country’s oil business.

The Progressives’ greatest achievement was to encourage a change in American attitudes to government. Before they got to work, Americans were optimistic about business and cynical about government. A couple of decades later, Progressives had persuaded a significant number of people that the opposite was the case. Muckraking journalists exposed the dark side of America’s leading tycoons: Ida Tarbell published a nineteen-part magazine series in McClure’s Magazine arguing that Standard Oil’s rise had been produced by “fraud, deceit, special privilege, gross illegality, bribery, coercion, corruption, intimidation, espionage or outright terror.” Louis Brandeis, the “people’s attorney” and future Supreme Court justice, polemicized against “the curse of bigness” and banks that gambled with “other people’s money.”


pages: 653 words: 155,847

Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes

Albert Einstein, animal electricity, California gold rush, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Copley Medal, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Dmitri Mendeleev, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, flex fuel, Garrett Hardin, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, nuclear winter, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Simon Kuznets, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Vanguard fund, working poor, young professional

The record is rich with human stories, a cast of characters across four centuries that includes such historic figures as Elizabeth I, James I, John Evelyn, Abraham Darby, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Newcomen, James Watt, George Stephenson, Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, Herman Melville, Edwin Drake, Ida Tarbell, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Enrico Fermi, Hyman Rickover, the coal barons of old Pennsylvania, and the oil barons of California and Saudi Arabia—to name only some of the more obvious. Whole oceans of whales enter the story, the oil of their bodies lighting the world. Petroleum seeps from a streambed, and a Yale chemistry professor wonders what uses it might have.

Drake’s well was a pumper, not a gusher. Uncle Billy Smith had attached an ordinary hand-operated well pump to the drill casing on that first Monday after the strike while Drake scouted barrels. “They had to begin with so simple and elementary a matter as devising something to hold the oil,” writes Ida Tarbell, the Titusville native and contemporary reporter. “There were not barrels enough to be bought in America, although turpentine barrels, molasses barrels, whiskey barrels—every sort of barrel and cask” were put to use.2 Townsend, a shrewd businessman, soon bought a Titusville cooperage—a barrel factory—to profit meeting the demand.

“Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush,” Hardin warned, “each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”34 The ruin in the case of Oil Creek oil production was less depletion than environmental destruction of the valley through which Oil Creek flowed and the waterways adjoining and downstream. When Ida Tarbell was three, in 1860, she moved with her family into what she calls a “shanty” on a tributary of Oil Creek so that her father, a carpenter, could make wooden oil tanks for the burgeoning trade. She grew up in Venango County, attended high school in Titusville, and saw the negligence that the law of capture encouraged.


pages: 596 words: 163,682

The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind by Raghuram Rajan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, business cycle, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, data acquisition, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, deskilling, disinformation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial repression, full employment, future of work, global supply chain, high net worth, household responsibility system, housing crisis, Ida Tarbell, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial cluster, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Money creation, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

The most important was antitrust or competition law, which prohibited collusive practices in industry as well as the formation or continuation of corporate structures that might substantially reduce competition. In the choice between protecting property rights and preserving competition, antitrust law came down firmly on the side of competition. One of the biggest initial targets was Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Between 1902 and 1904, Ida Tarbell, the daughter of one of the oil producers who had been squeezed by Rockefeller in Oil Creek, wrote nineteen articles in McClure’s Magazine exposing “The History of the Standard Oil Company.” Tarbell, a dedicated investigator who pierced through the mass of seemingly impenetrable corporate structures and deals, detailed how Standard Oil had achieved its dominance.

As new technology and global markets give firms enormous economies of scale, large firms can get even bigger and more productive as a matter of course. This gives them huge resources to influence the political process, something my colleague and frequent coauthor, Luigi Zingales, writes about in his perceptive book A Capitalism for the People. Writing in the early 1900s, Ida Tarbell was appalled that despite their efficiency, Rockefeller’s managers felt the need to stifle the competition. We should similarly be concerned that despite their productivity and advantages stemming from size and access, some of the largest corporations still try to alter the system to shield themselves from competition or taxes.

Brands, American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865–1900 (New York: Anchor Books, 2011). 11. Brands, American Colossus. 12. Ron Chernow, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., 2nd ed. (New York: Vintage Books, 2004); Brands, American Colossus. 13. Chernow, Titan. 14. Ida Tarbell, The History of the Standard Oil Company, vol. 1 (Glouchester, MA: Peter Smith, 1904), 65, cited in ibid., chapter 8. 15. Chernow, Titan. 16. Chernow, Titan. 17. Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, rev. ed. (1847, 1982), 109, cited in John E. Roemer, Free to Lose: An Introduction to Marxist Economic Philosophy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988), 112. 18.


How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Albert Einstein, British Empire, fear of failure, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Ida Tarbell, Mahatma Gandhi

They warned him he must either retire or die. He retired. But before he retired, worry, greed, fear had already wrecked his health. When Ida Tarbell, America's most celebrated female writer of biographies, saw him, she was shocked. She wrote: "An awful age was in his face. He was the oldest man I have ever seen." Old? Why, Rockefeller was then several years younger than General MacArthur was when he recaptured the Philippines! But he was such a physical wreck that Ida Tarbell pitied him. She was working at that time on her powerful book which condemned the Standard Oil and all that it stood for; she certainly had no cause to love the man who had built up this "octopus".


pages: 401 words: 115,959

Philanthrocapitalism by Matthew Bishop, Michael Green, Bill Clinton

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Bob Geldof, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, business process outsourcing, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Dava Sobel, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, don't be evil, family office, financial innovation, full employment, global pandemic, global village, God and Mammon, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Ida Tarbell, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Live Aid, lone genius, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, mass affluent, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Singer: altruism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, working poor, World Values Survey, X Prize

The philanthropists also adapted this mechanism as a way to create a perpetual charitable legacy while ensuring that the money would be used only for the donor’s intended purpose, even after death. It was this mechanism that Rockefeller revived in 1901 with the creation of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University). In 1904, the pioneer of investigative journalism (or “muckraking,” as it was known at the time), Ida Tarbell, published her sledgehammer attack on Rockefeller, The History of the Standard Oil Company, which alleged that his fortune was based on “fraud, deceit, special privilege, gross illegality, bribery, coercion, corruption, intimidation, espionage or outright terror.” Tarbell acknowledged Rockefeller’s generosity, although she gave him no credit for it.

Roosevelt, who spouted anti-Mellon rhetoric as he introduced a massive extension of state welfare in the New Deal. While the primary targets of populists during these periods of plutocracy have been the fortunes of the wealthy and the ways they made their money, there has been plenty of controversy over the integrity of their philanthropic efforts. In the early twentieth century, as crusading journalist Ida Tarbell railed against all things Rockefeller, including his charity, foundations were criticized for their support for academic studies of the underlying causes of poverty and racism. In Congress, the Walsh Commission on Industrial Relations, fearful of Rockefeller’s use of his own foundation to investigate the causes of the industrial dispute that in 1914 sparked the “Ludlow massacre” at one of his companies, recommended limits on the size of foundations for fear that otherwise they would “manipulate the economy and . . . influence public opinion.”


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, disinformation, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, James Carville said: "I would like to be reincarnated as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.", John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, Money creation, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, risk free rate, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, salary depends on his not understanding it, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

But their immense personal wealth was as much the product of financial manipulation as of productive activity. At the beginning of the twentieth century the power of the robber barons was abruptly checked. The ‘muckrakers’ – hostile journalists – exposed some of the excesses of financial capitalism directed towards industrial monopoly. Ida Tarbell engaged in a sustained campaign against Rockefeller’s Standard Oil.29 Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle (1906), which described Midwest meat-packing plants, is still a literary classic.30 The term ‘muckraker’ was coined – not disapprovingly – by Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican who had unexpectedly become president following the assassination in 1901 of the benignly probusiness William McKinley.

The social tensions that had been suppressed when consumption was growing faster than incomes were no longer contained. Public opinion turned against banking and finance, reflected in the Occupy movement and the surge in popularity of fringe political movements. A century after Upton Sinclair and Ida Tarbell the tradition of the muckraker was revived. A new generation of journalists sought to expose corporate and – especially – financial malpractice. When the internet journalist Matt Taibbi described Goldman Sachs as ‘a giant vampire squid, sucking money from wherever it finds it’,45 the description quickly went viral.


pages: 1,073 words: 314,528

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Black Swan, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, defense in depth, desegregation, disinformation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, endowment effect, Ford paid five dollars a day, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Herbert Marcuse, Ida Tarbell, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, lateral thinking, linear programming, loose coupling, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mental accounting, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Torches of Freedom, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, unemployed young men, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise, 2 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940). 4. Ibid., 433. 5. Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform (New York: Vintage, 1955), 216–217. 6. The book made up of her articles is still in print: Ida Tarbell, The History of the Standard Oil Company (New York: Buccaneer Books, 1987); Steven Weinberg, Taking on the Trust: The Epic Battle of Ida Tarbell and John D. Rockefeller (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008). 7. Yergin, The Prize, 93. 8. Ibid., 26. 9. Chernow, Titan, 230. 10. Steve Watts, The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century (New York: Vintage Books, 2006), 16; Henry Ford, My Life and Work (New York: Classic Books, 2009; first published 1922). 11.

Planning in the form of a predetermined schedule, clear instructions, and constant supervision would bring great rewards: “Errors are prevented instead of being corrected. The terrible waste of delays and accidents is avoided. Calculation is substituted for guess; demonstration for opinion.”9 Brandeis was by no means the only figure in the progressive movement to see Taylor as the answer to a rationalist’s dream. The investigative journalist Ida Tarbell praised Taylor as one of the creative geniuses of the time, contributing to “genuine cooperation and juster human relations.”10 Science offered a way to circumvent the powerful conflicts that threatened to tear industrial society apart and a way to promote the general good out of the tangle of clashing sectional interests.

Meanwhile, with remarkable attention to detail, using superior intelligence and communications, and keeping track of markets and competitors on an increasingly global scale, Standard Oil kept its prices down and its hold on the market secure. Through all this it “treated the federal government as a meddlesome, inferior power.”4 In the end, Rockefeller’s nemesis proved to be a writer called Ida Tarbell, whom we met in the previous chapter as a champion of Frederick Taylor. As it happened, her father had struggled in the early oil business against Standard Oil and suffered as a result. This gave an edge to her reporting. The opportunity came because she was on the staff of McClure’s Magazine, a progressive “muckraking” journal, which had decided to make the trusts its main target.5 Tarbell got a break with an introduction to one of Rockefeller’s lieutenants, who became a key source of information.


The Hour of Fate by Susan Berfield

bank run, buy and hold, capital controls, collective bargaining, friendly fire, Howard Zinn, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, new economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, the market place, transcontinental railway, wage slave, working poor

He could wheedle, bargain, and bully, but he still had to wait for Congress to vote on legislation. And then he had to trust the courts to enforce it. The bill proposed7 by Stephen Elkins, a Republican senator from West Virginia, to end railroad rebates faced little resistance. The railroads’ practice of favoring large companies had infuriated farmers and small business owners for years. Ida Tarbell’s groundbreaking investigation into Standard Oil’s power and corruption exposed how crucial obtaining those discounts—called “Rockefeller’s rebates”—was to the company’s success. By 1903, though, big customers demanded cash rebates that cost the railroads millions. They were ready to back a government solution to an expensive problem they couldn’t fix on their own.

It was a vague statement open to interpretation but good enough for Archbold. He gave Bliss the money, in thousand-dollar bills. Roosevelt was furious. He accepted corporate donations, however large, as long as they didn’t seem to compromise him. But taking money from Standard Oil could. Once Ida Tarbell had revealed its economic and political power, people expected legal scrutiny to follow. It would begin with Cortelyou’s Department of Commerce and Labor. “We cannot73 under any circumstances afford to take a contribution which can be even improperly construed as putting us under an improper obligation,” Roosevelt wrote to Cortelyou on October 26.


pages: 519 words: 148,131

An Empire of Wealth: Rise of American Economy Power 1607-2000 by John Steele Gordon

accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buttonwood tree, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, failed state, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, global village, Ida Tarbell, imperial preference, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, margin call, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Money creation, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, postindustrial economy, price mechanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Savings and loan crisis, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Yom Kippur War

It is perhaps a coincidence that Rockefeller and Gates were just about the same age, their early forties, when they became household names and the living symbols of a new and, to some, threatening economic structure. The image of Standard Oil that remains even today in the American folk memory was the product of a number of writers and editorial cartoonists who often had a political agenda to advance first and foremost. The most brilliant of these was Ida Tarbell, whose History of the Standard Oil Company, first published in McClure’s magazine in 1902, vividly depicted a company ruthlessly expanding over the corporate bodies of its competitors, whose assets it gobbled up as it went. That is by no means a wholly false picture, but it is a somewhat misleading one.

Sometimes, especially if the owners of the refinery being acquired had executive talents that Standard wished to make use of, the price was a generous one. Further, the seller had the choice of receiving cash or Standard Oil stock. Those who chose the latter—and there were hundreds—became millionaires as they rode the stock of the Standard Oil Company to capitalist glory. Those who took the cash often ended up whining to Ida Tarbell. None of this, of course, was illegal, and that was the real problem. In the late nineteenth century people such as Rockefeller, Flagler, Carnegie, and J. P. Morgan were creating at a breathtaking pace the modern corporate economy, and thus a wholly new economic universe. They were moving far faster than society could fashion, through the usually slow-moving political process, the rules needed to govern that new universe wisely and fairly.


pages: 196 words: 57,974

Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

affirmative action, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, business process, Charles Lindbergh, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, double entry bookkeeping, Etonian, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, industrial cluster, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, market bubble, mittelstand, new economy, North Sea oil, race to the bottom, railway mania, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Politicians also slowly succumbed to popular pressure to break up the empires of the “malefactors of great wealth.” The 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act broke new ground by defining monopolies but failed to set out many ways of punishing or preventing them (and was used against the unions). Public opinion demanded more. In 1902, Ida Tarbell, the first great muckraking journalist, began a nineteen-part exposure of Standard Oil in McClure’s magazine, arguing that the company’s rise had been accomplished by “fraud, deceit, special privilege, gross illegality, bribery, coercion, corruption, intimidation, espionage or outright terror.” Meanwhile, up in Boston, “the people’s attorney,” Louis Brandeis, skewered Morgan over his stewardship of the New Haven Railroad.


pages: 568 words: 174,089

The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills, Alan Wolfe

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American ideology, anti-communist, Asilomar, collective bargaining, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, full employment, Ida Tarbell, Joseph Schumpeter, long peace, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, one-China policy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, Thorstein Veblen, Vilfredo Pareto

Lest all this be thought merely a whimsical fad, not truly reflecting the ideological desert and anxiety of the executive world, consider sympathetically the style of conduct and the ideology of Owen D. Young—late president of General Electric—who serves well as the American prototype of modern man as executive. In the early twentieth century, we are told by Miss Ida Tarbell, the typical industrial leader was a domineering individual, offensive in his belief that business was essentially a private endeavor. But not Owen Young. During World War I and the ’twenties, he changed all that. To him, the corporation was a public institution, and its leaders, although not of course elected by the public, were responsible trustees.

Of the remainder, girls’ schools, whose job is also relatively well defined, accounted for almost 30,000 more. Forty thousand odd were in co-educational schools, largely day schools. Some 20,000 were in the schools for boys, the group that particularly desires self-justification.’26 * See SEVEN: The Corporate Rich. * ‘… In his inside circle of business and legal associates,’ Ida Tarbell has noted of Owen D. Young, ‘while everyone agrees that he would make a “great president,” there is a feeling that he is too valuable a public servant where he is, to be, as one man put it to me, “spoiled by the presidency” … He has other admirers that intimate as much: Will Rogers who wants to keep him “to point to with pride”; Dr.


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Nixon triggered the end of the Bretton Woods system, Parag Khanna, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, two and twenty, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

In fact they facilitated central management. By 1896 Rockefeller was worth some two hundred million dollars, twice the fortune of Vanderbilt at his death twenty years earlier. Rockefeller’s business tactics had not escaped critical notice. A devout Baptist, he recoiled at the hardhearted reputation he had acquired, especially the way Ida Tarbell depicted him in a popular muckraking magazine series. Following the advice of a public relations consultant, Rockefeller increased his giving to Baptist churches and began funding medical schools. Having embarked on a new career as a philanthropist at the age of fifty-seven, Rockefeller sponsored the idea of matching funds, where he would contribute to a project only if others did.

Those vivid descriptions stuck in readers’ minds. Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act and a Pure Food and Drug Act the same year as The Jungle’s publication in 1906. States also began to legislate to protect workingwomen and children. Civil service reform curbed the rampant municipal corruption of this so-called Gilded Age. In 1902 Ida Tarbell enthralled the reading public month after month with a serialized history of Standard Oil, a tale every bit as fascinating as the adventures of Captain Kidd, with Rockefeller operating with the same moral compass as the pirate had. The public gained access to the shenanigans, shady deals, and sinister manipulation that went into Rockefeller’s oil monopoly.


pages: 208 words: 69,863

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

airport security, Bob Geldof, City Beautiful movement, desegregation, Frank Gehry, gun show loophole, Ida Tarbell, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Upton Sinclair, white picket fence

Calling his agenda the “square deal,” he achieved an unprecedented happy medium between the demands of labor and capital, settling a coal strike in 1902 in which he forced the owners to raise wages and stick to a maximum nine-hour workday, but prevented the workers from forming a union. (Nobody was entirely happy, but compared to the bloody strikes of the 1890s, it was an innovation in that nobody got killed.) Roosevelt also coined the term “muckrakers” to describe the crusading journalists like Ida Tarbell, who had taken on the monolith of Standard Oil, and Upton Sinclair, whose book The Jungle detailed the horrors of the meatpacking industry. Roosevelt acted on the abuses they brought to light, pursuing dozens of antitrust suits and signing into law the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. I think Roosevelt’s soft spot for the underdog in Washington was the influence of New York City — his aristocratic upbringing here and its resultant noblesse oblige.


pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Bear Stearns, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business cycle, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, Ida Tarbell, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta-analysis, money market fund, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Taylorism was embraced by some of the leading intellectuals of the Progressive Era. In 1910, Louis Brandeis, “the People’s Lawyer” and future Supreme Court justice, wrote, “Of all the social and economic movements with which I have been connected, none seems to me to be equal to this in its importance and hopefulness.” Ida Tarbell, the journalist whose investigative pieces in McClure’s magazine helped pave the way for the breakup of the Standard Oil trust, was another champion of Taylor’s techniques. Taylorism was going to replace hunch and habit with scientific precision. In his classic biography of Taylor, Robert Kanigel writes that Taylorism promised “not just science, but science wrapped in the flag of mathematics.”


pages: 252 words: 72,473

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic bias, Bernie Madoff, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, carried interest, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, disinformation, Emanuel Derman, Financial Modelers Manifesto, housing crisis, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, Ida Tarbell, illegal immigration, Internet of things, late fees, mass incarceration, medical bankruptcy, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price discrimination, quantitative hedge fund, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Rubik’s Cube, Sharpe ratio, statistical model, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working poor

Armour and Co. dispatched cans of rotten beef by the ton to US Army troops, using a layer of boric acid to mask the stench. Meanwhile, rapacious monopolists dominated the railroads, energy companies, and utilities and jacked up customers’ rates, which amounted to a tax on the national economy. Clearly, the free market could not control its excesses. So after journalists like Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair exposed these and other problems, the government stepped in. It established safety protocols and health inspections for food, and it outlawed child labor. With the rise of unions, and the passage of laws safeguarding them, our society moved toward eight-hour workdays and weekends off.


pages: 627 words: 89,295

The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy by Katherine M. Gehl, Michael E. Porter

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, David Brooks, deindustrialization, disintermediation, Donald Trump, first-past-the-post, future of work, guest worker program, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, Menlo Park, new economy, obamacare, pension reform, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Upton Sinclair, zero-sum game

McClure, 1904) declared that even more to blame than the political bosses were the members of the public who benefitted from the corruption and, more shameful still, those who did not benefit but remained apathetic, complacent, or cynical. For more, see Frank Norris, The Octopus: A Story of California (Leipzig, Germany: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1901); Ida Tarbell, The History of the Standard Oil Company (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1901); Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (New York: Doubleday, 1904); Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities (Bloomingdale, IL: McClure, Philips, and Co, 1904); David Graham Phillips, “The Treason of the Senate,”Cosmopolitan, 1906.


pages: 290 words: 85,847

A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next by Tom Standage

active transport: walking or cycling, autonomous vehicles, car-free, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, City Beautiful movement, Clapham omnibus, congestion charging, coronavirus, COVID-19, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Ford paid five dollars a day, garden city movement, Ida Tarbell, Induced demand, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Joan Didion, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbiased observer, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, wikimedia commons, Yom Kippur War, Zipcar

In part this was because Standard Oil and its allies, keen to protect their own sales, argued that a repeal would cause an increase in drunkenness. But in 1906 proponents of repeal finally achieved a breakthrough. A series of articles about the anticompetitive practices of Standard Oil published by Ida Tarbell, a muckraking journalist, prompted the government to investigate. And President Theodore Roosevelt indicated his support for repeal as a means of weakening the oil monopoly. The “Free Alcohol” law passed in May 1906 abolished the excise on denatured alcohol from January 1, 1907. Hopes were high that this would lead to a surge in alcohol production.


pages: 422 words: 89,770

Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges

1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbine, corporate governance, deindustrialization, desegregation, disinformation, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, hive mind, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, Ida Tarbell, illegal immigration, independent contractor, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Lao Tzu, Pearl River Delta, post scarcity, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, working poor, Works Progress Administration

The Reverend Josiah Strong’s declamation “that Christ came not only to save individual souls, but society” turned churches into temperance societies, labor halls, and soup kitchens. Salvation could be achieved through human agencies. The Social Gospel secularized traditional Christian eschatology and fused it with the utopian visions of material progress embraced by the wider liberal class. The years before World War I had offered hope to liberal reformers. It was Ida Tarbell who in 1902 exposed the ruthless business practices of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil in McClure’s Magazine. Her series, later published as a book, fueled a public outcry against Standard Oil. It was an important factor in the U.S. government’s antitrust actions against the Standard Oil Trust, which eventually led to its breakup in 1911.


The Internet Trap: How the Digital Economy Builds Monopolies and Undermines Democracy by Matthew Hindman

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, bounce rate, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, disinformation, Donald Trump, fault tolerance, Filter Bubble, Firefox, future of journalism, Ida Tarbell, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telescope, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, lake wobegon effect, large denomination, longitudinal study, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Metcalfe’s law, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, New Economic Geography, New Journalism, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, performance metric, price discrimination, recommendation engine, Robert Metcalfe, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, Stewart Brand, surveillance capitalism, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Chicago School, Thomas Malthus, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Yochai Benkler

Your love, support, and patience are a constant gift, and they made this book possible. March 2018 Washington, D.C. THE INTERNET TRAP 1 Rethinking the Attention Economy The American Beauty rose can be produced in its splendor and fragrance only by sacrificing the early buds which grow up around it. —John D. Rockefeller, Jr. on trusts, quoted in Ida Tarbell’s The History of the Standard Oil Company In early 2000, Google conducted one of its first online experiments. The result was a disaster. Google’s mistake started with a simple question: How many results should it return per search query? The young company had always given users ten results, because that was what previous leader AltaVista had done.


America in the World by Robert B. Zoellick

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Corn Laws, coronavirus, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, foreign exchange controls, hypertext link, Ida Tarbell, illegal immigration, immigration reform, imperial preference, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, linear model of innovation, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Nixon triggered the end of the Bretton Woods system, Norbert Wiener, Paul Samuelson, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty

Yet he preferred to face problems when they ripened. In 1915, he wrote Edith Galt that, “I never had had any patience with ‘ifs’ and conjectural cases. My mind insists always upon waiting until something actually does happen and then discussing what is to be done.”7 In 1916, the president told the journalist Ida Tarbell, “It bores me to have men waste my time in general terms. What I want to know is how it is to be done. I am never interested until the point is reached….I am not interested until a practical method is proposed—that is, I suppose that in government I am a pragmatist: my first thought is, will it work?”

A day later, a deranged man assassinated the president.14 Neither Teddy Roosevelt nor William Howard Taft took much interest in tariff policy. The party politics were too dangerous. Taft worked to enact a reciprocity agreement with Canada, but Canadians rejected the accord in a 1911 referendum. Trade and Progressivism Progressives pressed the trade debate in new directions. Ida Tarbell, the muckraking journalist, decried the higher prices paid by working families. She argued that tariffs imposed an unfair tax burden on consumers of shoes, clothes, food, and coal. Her colorful accounts revealed that tariffs were the grease of corrupt politics and special interests. Others contended that tariff distortions promoted monopolies and industrial concentration.15 Woodrow Wilson coupled the Progressives’ call for fairness and reformed government with Democratic Southerners’ long opposition to high tariffs.


pages: 827 words: 239,762

The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff McDonald

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, compensation consultant, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, deskilling, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, eat what you kill, family office, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, global pandemic, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, impact investing, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, Kōnosuke Matsushita, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Menlo Park, new economy, obamacare, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, pushing on a string, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Tragedy of the Commons, union organizing, urban renewal, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

The draw of Taylorism was that it might help bring about a value-neutral, or scientific, solution to what was at that point becoming a national emergency of sorts, the so-called labor problem. If everyone were paid precisely what they were worth, then no one had cause for complaint. Labor would get its due; management would solve a problem. Win-win. Even muckraker Ida Tarbell, no fan of management, bought into the Taylor ethos, going so far as to describe him as a “creative genius.” Taylor’s heyday ended just five years after he became HBS’s marquee attraction. In 1914, when his followers screwed up a time study at an armaments plant, it led to a strike, which led to congressional hearings, which led to the U.S. government effectively banning time study of work at federally owned plants.

“The economic power in the hands of the few persons who control a giant corporation is a tremendous force which can harm or benefit a multitude of individuals, affect whole districts, shift the currents of trade, bring ruin to one community and prosperity to another,” wrote Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means in The Modern Corporation and Private Property, their seminal portrait of the corporate economy of the time.2 While class conflict was still front-and-center in the national debate, that debate had at least become a little less heated than it had been in previous decades. “The eighties dripped with blood, and men struggled to get at causes, to find corrections, to humanize and socialize the country,” Ida Tarbell wrote in her 1939 memoir, “for then as now there were those who dreamed of a good world although at times it seemed to them to be going mad.”3 In 1910, those men were gaining power: that year, fifteen unionists were elected to Congress. While Social Darwinism had reigned during the Gilded Age, the Progressives were ascendant in the mid-teens.


pages: 273 words: 34,920

Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values by Sharon Beder

anti-communist, battle of ideas, business climate, corporate governance, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, Herbert Marcuse, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, invisible hand, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Powell Memorandum, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, risk/return, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, spread of share-ownership, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Torches of Freedom, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, two and twenty, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, young professional

So-called muckraking journalists effectively exposed the corruption, exploitation and inhuman working conditions by which the majority of the great corporations had prospered. Magazines such as McClures, Everybodys, Cosmopolitan, Colliers and The American carried exposés of big business activities. Authors such as Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbells, Tom Lawson, Gustavus Myers and others revealed the realities of the power of these corporations.7 The respect once commanded by those who owned and headed these corporations was progressively eroded as the ruthless exploitation involved in building up THE FREE MARKET GOSPEL 3 their empires was disclosed.


pages: 409 words: 105,551

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, Chris Fussell

Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Black Swan, butterfly effect, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chelsea Manning, clockwork universe, crew resource management, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, Ida Tarbell, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, job automation, job satisfaction, John Nash: game theory, knowledge economy, Mark Zuckerberg, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nate Silver, Pierre-Simon Laplace, RAND corporation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban sprawl, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Biographer and historian Robert Kanigel writes that “by the late 1920s, it could seem that all of modern society had come under the sway of a single commanding idea: that waste was wrong and efficiency the highest good, and that eliminating one and achieving the other was best left to the experts.” Journalist Ida Tarbell went so far as to argue, “No man in the history of American industry has made a larger contribution to genuine cooperation and juster human relations than did Frederick Winslow Taylor. He is one of the few creative geniuses of our time.” • • • In the decades since, Taylor’s star has dimmed.


pages: 436 words: 114,278

Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices by Robert McNally

American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Bretton Woods, collective bargaining, credit crunch, energy security, energy transition, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, Ida Tarbell, index fund, Induced demand, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, joint-stock company, market clearing, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price discrimination, price stability, sovereign wealth fund, transfer pricing

In periods of oversupply, he could raise storage costs or limit storage availability, leaving hapless drillers with little choice but to throttle back production. FIGURE 1.2 Annual ranges of monthly U.S. crude oil prices, 1859–1911. Sources: Derrick’s, vols. I–IV; API, Petroleum Facts and Figures (1959). © The Rapidan Group. Ida Tarbell described Rockefeller’s influence over crude oil prices as at times dictatorial. “[B]y virtue of [Standard’s] monopoly of the business of refining and transportation of oil,” Tarbell concluded, the trust “had been at times almost the only buyers in the market, and at such times had been enabled to dictate and establish a price for crude oil far below its actual value.”116 As biographer Ron Chernow noted, Tarbell overstates Rockefeller’s influence: “We must retire one common canard about Rockefeller: He didn’t set crude oil prices through blanket edicts.”117 It is impossible to know if technology, law, or patterns of oil production and demand would have developed toward a more stable oil business in the absence of Rockefeller.


pages: 395 words: 118,446

The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, Martha Banta

Albert Einstein, Donald Trump, Frederick Winslow Taylor, greed is good, Ida Tarbell, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the market place, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair

Instead, Veblen’s negative remarks anticipate the attacks launched in 1918 by Cyril Briggs, editor of the radical black journal The Crusades, against ‘the blond beast’—the bloodthirsty, ape-like predator of the ‘mongrel’ European race. The Theory of the Leisure Class is not, however, a ‘penny-dreadful’ piece of sensationalism determined to entertain the general reading public through calculated shock-values. Nor does it fall under the category of the (excellent) journalistic exposés of the era, such as Ida Tarbell’s scorching indictment of the Standard Oil Company and John D. Rockefeller’s rapacious rise to power. Veblen’s book follows the model of scholarly analysis that casts its intelligence over an entire social system. In a tone that is sharp but not shrill, Veblen names no names and singles out no specific villains.


pages: 384 words: 112,971

What’s Your Type? by Merve Emre

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, card file, correlation does not imply causation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, God and Mammon, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, index card, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, late capitalism, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, p-value, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Socratic dialogue, Stanford prison experiment, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce

Although he had also graduated from Michigan Agricultural College, Baker had long since abandoned the silence and sterility of the laboratory to get his hands dirty on the front lines of investigative journalism. As a staff writer at McClure’s Magazine, he had made his reputation as one of the nation’s fiercest crusaders for social justice—a “muckraker,” Teddy Roosevelt would sneer—and now, along with his fellow muckrakers Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens, he had purchased American Magazine, a culture and lifestyle publication that had great need for new, outspoken columnists. Upon meeting Isabel and hearing Katharine expound on her theories of baby training, he felt inspired to offer her a steady job. “It occurs to me that you might be willing to give us some idea of your methods in training Isabel,” he wrote to Katharine.


pages: 354 words: 118,970

Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, basic income, Bear Stearns, Bernie Sanders, Black-Scholes formula, buy and hold, capital controls, computerized trading, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Ida Tarbell, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, Performance of Mutual Funds in the Period, Peter Thiel, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Savings and loan crisis, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, the strength of weak ties, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, universal basic income, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor

Back in 1832, when Andrew Jackson vetoed the charter of the Second Bank of the United States (a precursor to the Federal Reserve Board), he gave this justification: “When the laws undertake … to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, mechanics, and laborers—who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government.” Decades later, during his three unsuccessful campaigns as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan often sounded this note. So did muckraking economic crusaders like Henry Demarest Lloyd and Ida Tarbell, the scourges of the Standard Oil trust. So did Woodrow Wilson, under the tutelage of Louis Brandeis, in his successful campaign for president in 1912. So, occasionally, did Franklin Roosevelt. But after the Second World War, this kind of economic liberalism had almost disappeared from liberal thinking and national political rhetoric.


pages: 288 words: 16,556

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

Alvin Roth, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market design, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, profit maximization, quantitative easing, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, self-driving car, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Steven Pinker, tail risk, telemarketer, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Market for Lemons, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

But the desire, if followed through logically, seems to put us in a lifelong loop in which we do that which often does not appear inspiring, with no clear moral vindication, no clear end, no final judgment. John D. Rockefeller Sr., himself the son of a small-time huckster and bigamist, was a ruthless, take-no-prisoners aggressor in his business life. In her 1904 book The History of the Standard Oil Company, Ida Tarbell made a scandal of his business practices.7 But in his later life he became a philanthropist in the mold of Andrew Carnegie. His actions in business may have appeared sleazy, but his life had a noble conclusion, including his founding of the Rockefeller Foundation, the University of Chicago, and Rockefeller University.


pages: 482 words: 122,497

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank

affirmative action, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, disinformation, edge city, financial deregulation, full employment, George Gilder, guest worker program, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, P = NP, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Telecommunications Act of 1996, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, War on Poverty

Frank captures a quality of exuberant bullying in those of his conservative subjects he knows well enough to identify individually, rather than categorically.” —The New Yorker “Compelling.” —The Baltimore Sun “Frank’s new book is a more determined work of exposé, in the muckraking tradition of Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell. Frank writes with the delighted outrage of an authentic satirist. The book repays reading just for its portrait of Abramoff. . . . Entertaining.” —The New Republic “Readers entranced by the vivid prose and sweeping themes of Kansas won’t be disappointed.” —The American Prospect “Entertaining and engaging.”


pages: 456 words: 123,534

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris

air freight, American ideology, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, clean water, colonial exploitation, computer age, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, if you build it, they will come, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, lone genius, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, refrigerator car, Robert Gordon, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, undersea cable

But the broader story that Rockefeller’s Standard Oil won its position by “secret railroad rebates” and other illegal monopolistic practices has little basis. The United States had no laws against railroad rebates or monopolies when Rockefeller was building his business, and claims by the contemporary muckraker Ida Tarbell and many subsequent Rockefeller biographers that they were “against the common law” are not supported even in the Supreme Court’s 1911 decision breaking up the company. John D. Rockefeller. This portrait of Rockefeller was painted when he was in his fifties and at the height of his powers.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, Ida Tarbell, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the sewing machine, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, undersea cable, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management

Ford provided legal staff to help workers buy houses; had a medical team of ten doctors and 100 nurses to provide health care, especially to injured workers; and arranged for language training of immigrants. But there was no toleration for the non-American customs of immigrant workers, and 100 of them were fired for taking a day off from work to celebrate the Eastern Orthodox Christmas. The reformer Ida Tarbell visited the community, planning to expose the oppressive Ford system, yet concluded, “I don’t care what you call it—philanthropy, paternalism, autocracy, the results which are being obtained are worth all you can set against them.”88 A broader historical view of real wages is provided in figure 8–7, which plots real wages of production nonsupervisory workers against real GDP per hour, both expressed as index numbers with 1940 equal to 100.

Diseased or spoiled beef, as well as adulteration and contamination of milk, were addressed by the initial Food and Drug Act of 1906 and subsequent legislation, as discussed in chapter 7. The 1906 act was a remarkably rapid legislative response to the appalling conditions in the Chicago stockyards described in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. What Sinclair revealed about the inner workings of the stockyards was matched by Ida Tarbell’s muckraking exposé of John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil monopoly.70 Rockefeller was described as “the ‘victim of a money-passion’ that drove him to get ahead by any means possible, however dishonorable.”71 The 1890 passage of the Sherman antitrust legislation led twenty-one years later to the Supreme Court decision to break up the Standard Oil trust.


pages: 497 words: 143,175

Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies by Judith Stein

"Robert Solow", 1960s counterculture, activist lawyer, affirmative action, airline deregulation, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, desegregation, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial deregulation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invisible hand, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Martin Wolf, new economy, Nixon triggered the end of the Bretton Woods system, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-industrial society, post-oil, price mechanism, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Savings and loan crisis, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, union organizing, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yom Kippur War

Presidential hopeful Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson summoned representatives of the leading oil companies before his subcommittee in January 1974 and accused the oilmen of misleading the public, creating a false crisis, obtaining “obscene profits,” and being disloyal for honoring the Arab boycott and not supplying the United States Armed Services.29 Not since the days of Ida Tarbell were oilmen raked over the coals in this manner. But the Democrats were as divided as the Republicans when it came to a program. Some advocated rationing, consumers in the eastern states liked the low prices produced by price controls, producers in the southwest wanted higher prices, others proposed a national corporation to explore for oil, and a few wanted to raise taxes on gasoline.


pages: 426 words: 136,925

Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America by Alec MacGillis

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Bernie Sanders, call centre, carried interest, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, death of newspapers, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, edge city, future of work, global pandemic, high net worth, housing crisis, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, jitney, Lyft, mass incarceration, McMansion, new economy, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, San Francisco homelessness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, white flight, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

“one of the most feature-full and disruptive technology platforms”: Orban, Ahead in the Cloud, xxv. “I see parallels in Amazon’s behavior”: Rana Foroohar, “Amazon’s Pricing Tactic Is a Trap for Buyers and Sellers Alike,” Financial Times, September 2, 2018. reminiscent of the railroad giants: For more, see Ida Tarbell’s classic History of the Standard Oil Company (New York: McClure, Phillips and Co., 1904). more than 9 million square feet: Jonathan O’Connell, “Loudoun Rivals Silicon Valley for Data Centers,” The Washington Post, October 28, 2013. projecting a 40 percent increase: D. J. O’Brien, “Region Likely to See Continued Growth in Data Center Industry,” The Washington Post, September 6, 2013.


Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government by Robert Higgs, Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.

Alistair Cooke, American ideology, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, creative destruction, credit crunch, declining real wages, endowment effect, fiat currency, fixed income, foreign exchange controls, full employment, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, income per capita, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, price discrimination, profit motive, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Savings and loan crisis, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration

Apart from the purely economic pros and cons of the trusts, their corruption of the legal and political systems provoked widespread outrage. Here was the most common grist for the muckrakers' mill. In widely circulated magazines, including McClure's, Collier's, and Everybody's, crusading journalists such as Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, and Ray Stannard Baker spotlighted the shady deals, illegal actions, political hanky-panky, and assorted unethical practices of railroads, meat-packers, insurance companies, and various other large corporate businesses in league with venal public officials. Steffens exclaimed: "He is a self-righteous fraud, this big business man.


pages: 514 words: 152,903

The Best Business Writing 2013 by Dean Starkman

Asperger Syndrome, bank run, Basel III, Bear Stearns, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, computer vision, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, factory automation, fixed income, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, late fees, London Whale, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Parag Khanna, Pareto efficiency, price stability, Ray Kurzweil, San Francisco homelessness, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, tail risk, the payments system, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, wage slave, Y2K, zero-sum game

This time, reading over the issue, McClure noticed his (soon-to-be-famous) staff had delivered three monumental articles, all on a common theme: the lawlessness and corruption permeating bedrock American institutions. Lincoln Steffens had exposed mob-style rule of Minneapolis’s political machine (as he would for St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and other American cities); Ida Tarbell had documented the underhanded methods John D. Rockefeller had used to build the Standard Oil monopoly; and Ray Stannard Baker told a chilling tale of union-sponsored thuggery. “We did not plan it so,” McClure said in a last-minute editorial. With that single issue, a new form of American journalism—known as muckraking—was born.


pages: 547 words: 172,226

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, BRICs, British Empire, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, household responsibility system, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, invention of movable type, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, Paul Samuelson, price stability, profit motive, Rosa Parks, Scramble for Africa, Simon Kuznets, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, working poor

In 1906 Roosevelt coined the term muckraker, based on a literary character, the man with the muckrake in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, to describe what he regarded as intrusive journalism. The term stuck and came to symbolize journalists who were intrusively, but also effectively, exposing the excesses of Robber Barons as well as corruption in local and federal politics. Perhaps the most famous muckraker was Ida Tarbell, whose 1904 book, History of the Standard Oil Company, played a key role in moving public opinion against Rockefeller and his business interests, culminating in the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. Another key muckraker was lawyer and author Louis Brandeis, who would later be named Supreme Court justice by President Wilson.


pages: 614 words: 174,226

The Economists' Hour: How the False Prophets of Free Markets Fractured Our Society by Binyamin Appelbaum

"Robert Solow", airline deregulation, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, greed is good, Growth in a Time of Debt, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, low cost airline, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, Nixon triggered the end of the Bretton Woods system, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Savings and loan crisis, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, starchitect, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus

Louis Brandeis, one of the great advocates for the preservation of small business, told Congress in 1911, “I think we are in a position, after the experience of the last twenty years, to state two things: In the first place, that a corporation may well be too large to be the most efficient instrument of production and of distribution, and, in the second place, whether it has exceeded the point of greatest economic efficiency or not, it may be too large to be tolerated among the people who desire to be free.” See “Control of Corporations, Persons, and Firms Engaged in Interstate Commerce,” Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce, November 29, 1911, 1174. 9. Standard Oil was famously portrayed as a predatory monopoly by the muckraking journalist Ida Tarbell, who was raised in the Pennsylvania oil fields and whose father, a small-time oilman, was driven from business by Rockefeller. The Supreme Court, in ordering the company’s dissolution, accepted Tarbell’s characterization; historians and economists continue to debate whether Rockefeller was a superior businessman or a cheat.


pages: 678 words: 160,676

The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again by Robert D. Putnam

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, collective bargaining, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, different worldview, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, financial deregulation, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Herbert Marcuse, Ida Tarbell, immigration reform, income inequality, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, mega-rich, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, MITM: man-in-the-middle, obamacare, occupational segregation, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, trade liberalization, Travis Kalanick, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

Though her pieces were never published in white-run Progressive magazines of the day, Wells joined the ranks of many Progressive journalists who worked to expose the hypocrisy and brutality of the Gilded Age. Lincoln Steffens uncovered rampant corruption in city politics, Jacob Riis used photojournalism to lay bare the inhumane living conditions in urban tenements, Ida Tarbell exposed the excesses of John D. Rockefeller’s monopolistic Standard Oil company, Upton Sinclair took on the abuses of the meatpacking industry, and Ray Stannard Baker covered both brutal crackdowns on striking workers and racism in the South. Known as “muckrakers,” these writers produced vivid portraits of the human cost of exploitative and unjust systems, fueling a moral awakening that inspired countless activists and reformers, and stirred the public to take action on the most pressing issues of the day.


pages: 603 words: 186,210

Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West--One Meal at a Time by Stephen Fried

Albert Einstein, British Empire, business intelligence, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, City Beautiful movement, disinformation, estate planning, glass ceiling, Ida Tarbell, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, indoor plumbing, Livingstone, I presume, Nelson Mandela, new economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, refrigerator car, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional

By year’s end, health officials finally declared an all-out war, but without medicinal weapons they could only resort to increased fines for spitting and, in some cities, a ban on kissing and “all forms of petting.” Many people, including many celebrated patients, survived the illness: among them Charlie Chaplin, Ethel Barrymore, Jackie Coogan, Lon Chaney, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr., journalist Ida Tarbell, opera prima donna Ganna Walska, and, at the beginning of baseball season, Babe Ruth. But more than a hundred thousand Americans did not survive. And unlike previous epidemics, which mostly struck in cities, this one killed in even the most remote territories: More than 10 percent of the entire Indian population of the Northwest was wiped out.


pages: 772 words: 203,182

What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . And What Other Countries Got Right by George R. Tyler

8-hour work day, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bear Stearns, Black Swan, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Bolshevik threat, bonus culture, British Empire, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, compensation consultant, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, independent contractor, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, lake wobegon effect, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, Money creation, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Savings and loan crisis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Roosevelt helped guide this rejuvenation of traditional American values and thereby became a transformational president: “Franklin Roosevelt was one of those rare individuals who had a significant impact on history, but his leadership explains less about the changes the United States underwent in the 1930s than does a fundamental shift in the values of the American people.”5 Building on reformers including President Theodore Roosevelt, Ida Tarbell, and Upton Sinclair, the recrafting of American capitalism by Franklin D. Roosevelt placed the US economy on a trajectory toward family capitalism. In calling on the “angels” in each of us, Roosevelt reawakened the frontier mindset of Americans to look beyond their own lives to broader concerns, such as the value added to society by expansive public education.


pages: 944 words: 243,883

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll

addicted to oil, anti-communist, Atul Gawande, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, disinformation, energy security, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Ida Tarbell, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, kremlinology, market fundamentalism, McMansion, medical malpractice, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart meter, statistical model, Steve Jobs, two and twenty, WikiLeaks

At its peak Standard Oil controlled 90 percent of the American oil market. From its early days it attracted the same kind of opposition that would shadow Exxon a century later—muckrakers, journalists, trustbusters, and other American factions suspicious of concentrated industrial power. The muckraker Ida Tarbell’s nineteen-part McClure’s Magazine series, published in 1904 as the book The History of the Standard Oil Company, attacked the corporation’s power but acknowledged the strengths of its scientific culture: “From the beginning the Standard Oil Company has studied thoroughly everything connected with the oil business.


Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan; Richard Holbrooke; Casey Hampton

Albert Einstein, Bolshevik threat, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, facts on the ground, financial independence, Ida Tarbell, land reform, Monroe Doctrine, Scramble for Africa, trade route, traveling salesman, union organizing

The list was prescient.7 The Supreme Council also faced intense scrutiny from the public. In the weeks leading up to the start of the proceedings, hundreds of journalists had arrived in Paris. The French government created a lavish press club, in a millionaire’s house. The press, men mainly but also including a handful of women, such as the great American muckraker Ida Tarbell, were ungrateful. They sneered at the vulgarity of the décor, and the Americans nicknamed it “The House of a Thousand Teats.” More important, the press complained about the secrecy of the proceedings. Wilson had talked in his Fourteen Points about “open covenants openly arrived at.” As with many of his catchphrases, its meaning was not clear, perhaps not even to Wilson himself, but it caught the public imagination.8 Wilson certainly meant there should be no more secret treaties, such as those that he and many others saw as one of the causes of the Great War, but did he mean that all the negotiations would be open for public scrutiny?


pages: 913 words: 299,770

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

active measures, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, American ideology, anti-communist, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, death of newspapers, desegregation, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, friendly fire, full employment, God and Mammon, Howard Zinn, Ida Tarbell, illegal immigration, jobless men, land reform, Mercator projection, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Savings and loan crisis, Seymour Hersh, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, very high income, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration

It was a time when even a self-exiled literary figure living in Europe and not prone to political statements—the novelist Henry James—could tour the United States in 1904 and see the country as a “huge Rappacini garden, rank with each variety of the poison-plant of the money passion.” “Muckrakers,” who raked up the mud and the muck, contributed to the atmosphere of dissent by simply telling what they saw. Some of the new mass-circulation magazines, ironically enough in the interest of profit, printed their articles: Ida Tarbell’s exposure of the Standard Oil Company; Lincoln Steffens’s stories of corruption in the major American cities. By 1900, neither the patriotism of the war nor the absorption of energy in elections could disguise the troubles of the system. The process of business concentration had gone forward; the control by bankers had become more clear.