Tag Archives: robber barons

For Consideration: Robber Barons

Souce: Cafe Hayek

Contrary to popular myth, the so-called “robber barons” were reviled not by consumers because they raised prices but by competitors because they lowered prices. John D. Rockefeller drove the prices of kerosene and other products made from petroleum down. Cornelius Vanderbilt drove the price of steamboat transit down. A&P founder George Gilman, with help from George Huntington Hartford, drove the prices of groceries down. James J. Hill drove the quality-adjusted price of long-distance rail transportation down. Gustavus Swift drove the price of meat down. Andrew Carnegie drove the price of steel down. James Buchanan Duke drove the prices of cigars, cigarettes, and most other tobacco products down. Richard Sears and Aaron Montgomery Ward drove the prices of consumer dry goods down. Henry Ford drove the prices of automobiles down.

Not surprisingly, business owners complain (moralize really) about competitors who lower price for the consumer.