Robber Barons

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Robber Baron Position Paper What is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is a risk-taking businessperson or somebody who initiates or finances new commercial enterprises. Is it so that there are two types of them? In my opinion, I believe that the two types do exist. According to the Book, “The Myth of the Robber Barons”, there are successful entrepreneurs: market entrepreneur and political entrepreneur. Folsom explains that there are market entrepreneurs and political entrepreneurs. He also states “no entrepreneur fits perfectly into one category or the other, but most fall generally into one category. According to Folsom, political entrepreneurs fit the classic robber barons mold; meaning that the way they do business is really dishonest. This kind of entrepreneur gets government aid and usually wastes the money. Also, their products are generally of poor quality. This is due to them not being concerned with making sound products. The only thing they were concerned about was how fast they could get things done and how much money they would make. They also relied on bribing competitors and politicians to get what they wanted.

In some cases, these entrepreneurs are robber barons, but in other cases it is not so. The market entrepreneur makes money in the free market by delivering the lowest prices and the best quality and service to its customers and the consumer. The market entrepreneur wins markets and beats out the competition because they are better and more efficient. Market entrepreneurs were often known as risk-takers and charitable people. Many of them donated money to needy, built libraries, gave land to farmers and let people go on ships for free or they had a cheaper fare.

One of the most charitable entrepreneurs that we discussed was John D. Rockefeller. He gave to schools, churches and scientists who found cures for yellow fever, meningitis, and hookworm (Folsom 97). He believed in the term of stewardship. The book said that before John D. Rockefeller died, he gave away about $550,000,000 to charity, more than any other American before him had ever possessed (Folsom 98). Although we did not discuss any of the political entrepreneurs in the class, I did research that actually shows that the political entrepreneur does exist.

The political entrepreneur uses the influence with government through various methods such as lobbying, political campaign contributions and networking with government officials to either win government contracts and make money or use this influence to get the government to make new rules and regulations and he is industry. After doing some research on the presentations that were presented in class, it has come to my attention that Henry Ford is a (modern day) political entrepreneur. Ford became interested in politics and as a successful and powerful business leader, was sometimes a participant in political affairs.

He used this tactic to help him start his business. It is said that the political entrepreneur’s product does not have great quality; Henry Ford’s product contradicts the term. Overall, I do agree with Folsom when he says that there are two kinds of entrepreneurs, market and political. I feel that political entrepreneurs, like Folsom say’s, fit the classic robber baron mold. But, I also agree with his overall view of market entrepreneurs. I think market entrepreneurs are just what Folsom makes them out to be. I think that that they helped America grow and become the super power it is today.