A Brief History of the End of Time
— 6. John Davison Rockefeller —
From Calvin to Capital
John Davison Rockefeller was a man with a vision, or rather a habit. From his early youth in Cleveland young John studied business and worked odd jobs and kept a meticulous record of every penny he earned, spent or donated to his church. John understood the importance of efficiency, the detailed understanding of the economy he participated in, and the standardized codes of conduct and sense of mythology of his Cleveland Baptist Church. In the year of Drake, at age twenty he was able to invest one thousand dollars of his own money (and a thousand more of his father) in a partnership with a man named Clark and form a commission business. The oil industry exploded into existence and Cleveland soon became the world's center of refinery. In 1863 Rockefeller and Clark entered into the refinery business with a refiner named Andrews. Two more partners were attracted and the little clan rode the flood of oil into richness. In 1865 the band of five bosses lost cohesion, and Rockefeller bought them all out and created a new firm with Andrews.
Two years later Karl Marx published Das Kapital in which he concerned himself with the global anarchy he witnessed rising from unbridled competition in the oil production business. While Marx decided to preach the seeds of communism, John D. Rockefeller took the road opposed to philosophy and the hope for sense over greed and turned his attention to the taming of the shrewd. His method was unheard of (except perhaps by Hebrew theology) but Marx called it the creation of a monopoly.
The Standard Oil Company
In 1870 Rockefeller composed the Standard Oil Company and in 1872 began to systematically buy out his Cleveland competitors in a six-week acquisition binge that would be remembered as the Cleveland Massacre. His first deciding move was to buy up all available barrels so that he alone could store and transport oil. He then wrecked the barrel making business by starting his own barrel factory and proceeded to strike deals with the railroads that were competing over the transport of the oil. Because the Standard Oil Company was so huge, railroads offered rebates just to be allowed to transport Rockefeller's oil and the few companies that resisted selling out to Rockefeller collapsed under the disadvantage.
Rockefeller understood the efficiency of controlling entire regions of the production, distillation and marketing chain and bought paint and glue factories, lumber yards and steel mills and began to invest in storage of crude and refined oil for equalizing the flow onto the market.
In 1882 the Standard Oil Company and all Rockefeller's secondary activities were brought under in the Standard Oil Trust which was the world's first multilateral company. At its birth the Standard Oil Trust had the unprecedented capital of seventy million dollars shared by forty-two certificate holders.
A few years later the quarter dropped in the heads of government officials. Standard Oil was more than a company. It was a country within a country with John D. Rockefeller as King and possibly the most powerful man to date. They came up with the Sherman Act and sued Standard Oil basically for being a bully, and Rockefeller and his companions moved to New Jersey after redefining but not essentially changing some of Standard Oil's internal structures to fit the local law.
Standard Oil thrived until in 1911 the Supreme Court decided for its undoing (it fell apart in many different companies, among which the original Standard Oil Of New Jersey, which was renamed Exxon in 1972), but killing the messenger did not silence the message. The way mankind does business had been irreversibly permuted.
J. D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates →