I would call that a good job by the industry.

Without more detail, I’d call trust breaker a pretty good guy.

Economics and history books I grew up with call them robber barons.

Consider David R. Henderson’s article, The Robber Barons: Neither Robbers nor Barons.

Does increasing production and reducing prices to consumers sound to you like a terrible thing? Check this out:

In a 1985 article, DiLorenzo found that between 1880 and 1890, while real gross domestic product rose 24 percent, real output in the allegedly monopolized industries for which data were available rose by 175 percent, over seven times the economy’s growth rate. Meanwhile, prices in these industries were falling. Although the consumer price index fell 7 percent in that decade, the price of steel fell 53 percent, refined sugar 22 percent, lead 12 percent, and zinc 20 percent. The only price that fell less than 7 percent in the allegedly monopolized industries was that of coal, which stayed constant. (emphasis added)

Let’s see…

  • Output by ‘robber barons’ up 175%. Economy up 25%.
  • Prices in allegedly monopolized industries down 53%, 22%, 12%, and 20%. Overall prices down 7%.

Neither increasing production nor dropping prices are usually what happens when a monopoly is running. That sounds to me like competition. Usually those performances would be considered a good thing for consumers.

Check out that horrible, terrible, no-good Vanderbilt and his efforts to bust a monopoly:

Vanderbilt was one of the main people who challenged that {government created} monopoly. At the tender age of 23, Vanderbilt had become the business manager for a ferry entrepreneur named Thomas Gibbons. Gibbons’ goal was to compete with Aaron Ogden by charging low fares. In doing so, they were purposely breaking the law—and helping their passengers save money. In the case Gibbons v. Ogden, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, indeed, the New York state government could not legally grant a monopoly on interstate commerce. In short, Cornelius Vanderbilt was not a monopoly maker in this case, but a monopoly breaker. (emphasis added)

I think there’s more to the story than was told in the history and econ books my teachers and profs had me read.

Can anyone explain to me why expanding production faster than the economy and cutting prices to consumers is a bad thing?


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