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

By -- August 31, 2011 1 Comment

[Editor Note: This five-part series by Mr. Epstein, originally published in The Objective Standard, revisits the Standard Oil Trust controversy on this the 100th anniversary of the breakup of the Trust. Part I reviewed the flawed textbook interpretation of Rockefeller’s accomplishment; Part II sketched the rise of Standard Oil and defended the free-market practice of rebating.

The 1870s was a decade of gigantic growth for the Standard Oil Company. In 1870, it was refining fifteen hundred barrels per day—a huge amount for the time. By January 1871, it had achieved a 10 percent market share, making it the largest player in the industry. By 1873, it had one-third of the market share, was refining ten thousand barrels a day and had acquired twenty-one of the twenty-six other firms in Cleveland.

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

By -- August 29, 2011 15 Comments

[Author’s Note: This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that found Standard Oil guilty of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. As punishment, the world’s largest and most successful oil company was broken into 34 pieces.

Ever since, Standard Oil has served as the textbook example of why we need antitrust law–in the business world in general and in the energy business in particular. The Court’s decision affirmed a popular account of Standard Oil’s success, first made famous by journalists Henry Demarest Lloyd and Ida Tarbell. In the absence of antitrust laws, the story goes, Standard attained a 90% share of the oil-refining market through unfair and destructive practices such as preferential railroad rebates and “predatory pricing”; Standard then leveraged its unfair advantages to eliminate competition, control the market, and dictate prices.

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

By -- September 2, 2011 2 Comments

[Editor Note: This five-part series by Mr. Epstein, originally published in The Objective Standard, revisits the Standard Oil Trust controversy in this the 100th anniversary of the breakup of the Trust. Part I reviewed the flawed textbook interpretation of Rockefeller’s accomplishment; Part II sketched the rise of Standard Oil and defended the free-market practice of rebating. Part III examined the missing context of Standard Oil’s rise to dominance. Part IV was on Standard’s pioneering innovations as a big business.]

Given the tenuous, voluntary nature of Standard’s market share, it was inevitable that at some point the market would expand beyond its reach. Given the explosion of possibilities in the oil industry—the rise of the automobile and the need for gasoline, the discovery of oil in all corners of the planet—not even Standard Oil could be the best at everything.

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4Q-2012: Continued Progress at MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 18, 2013 1 Comment

MasterResource, which turned four last month, recorded its best quarter in history with 116,877 views, a 20 percent increase from 4Q-2011. We reached as high as #7 of 9,984 “green blogs” tracked by Technorati in the quarter and currently stand at #40.

With one in-depth post per workday, with occasional weekend fare, MasterResource is the leading voice for free-market, science-of-liberty thought in energy and related environmental issues.

MasterResource features many different writers, some academics, some think-tank analysts, and others citizen-activists.  Some areas of emphasis and impact may be mentioned.

Inconvenient Truths of Industrial Wind

Literally dozens of our writers have made MasterResource a leader of the windpower educational movement.  Turning wind into electricity is wholly government-enabled; even NIMBYSM that might be criticized in other contexts is justified given that government mandates and special, outsized subsidies enables the rural invasion of wind machinery.

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Energy at the Speed of Thought (Part 3: How Oil Rose to Prominence)

By -- December 22, 2010 3 Comments Continue Reading

Henrietta Larson: A Scholar for the Ages (her business histories are among the greatest energy tomes)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 20, 2018 2 Comments Continue Reading

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

By -- September 1, 2011 4 Comments Continue Reading

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

By -- August 30, 2011 4 Comments Continue Reading