By Roger M. Olien
Conventional bills of John D. Rockefeller and the traditional Oil corporation, in addition to contemporary best-selling books at the topic, nonetheless settle for with out query fees of unethical and anti-competitive habit by way of the yank oil undefined. during this pathbreaking synthesis of cultural, enterprise, gender, and highbrow historical past, Roger and Diana Davids Olien discover how this adverse photo of the petroleum was once created—and how this photograph in flip contributed to shaping coverage towards the in ways in which have been occasionally at odds with either the objectives of reformers and the general public interest.
By turning a serious eye on resources that experience frequently been authorised at face worth and studying the self-interests of oil critics, the authors produce a extra balanced, complicated photo of the than has formerly been provided. Their case learn of the impression of ideology bargains a outstanding instance of the way enterprise has to be understood via its cultural context and provides a brand new method of realizing difficulties of rules and reform.
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To the present-day observer, some of these alarms have a humorous side. For example, the New York Times warned its readers of an anticipated increase in the price of prunes in 1887, because agents of two mercantile ﬁrms purchased twelve thousand to ﬁfteen thousand casks of Turkish prunes, the crop of 1886. The result of their corner in prunes was a price increase of about 50 percent in one year. ’’∏≤ In short, monopolies and trusts seemed to threaten Americans on every front, at least if one believed journalists.
For all their ‘‘expertise,’’ their insistence on gathering facts and using statistical methods to support conclusions, the new social scientists were insufﬁciently skeptical and analytical of tales of heartless monopolists beating down small producers. Like reforming journalists they were willing to accept and retell strongly biased, even contradictory, stories in defense of what they saw as common morality. ’’∑∑ Like other reformers and the crusading journalists, as Thomas L. ’’∑∏ How could one enjoy economy without su√ering from the moral consequences of monopolies and trusts?
Small reﬁners as a group were at a disadvantage relative to larger manufacturers, who had more stable sources of feed stocks and also enjoyed small advantages of scale. All reﬁners would achieve their most important competitive advantages by cutting costs of shipping and containerization. The former would be done eventually by driving bargains with competing railroads and by building pipelines that would compete with the railroads. The latter involved the construction of can and barrel factories.