The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Something a little different today

This Saturday, I am not going to do my usual posting. Instead, I am going to "borrow" from someone else. I am going to defer to John Stossel. Stossel is a former ABC reporter and producer who now works for Fox Business News channel. I know that putting "Fox" into any post automatically causes some to close their eyes, cover their ears, and shout "I don't hear you... ya ya ya ya ya..." but bear with me. Because, like just about everyone, he makes sense now and then.

His latest column at is well worth the read. Let me offer a few quotes:

They call rich people "robber barons." That term was used by American newspapers to smear tycoons like Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller. But Vanderbilt and Rockefeller were neither robbers nor barons. They weren't barons because they weren't born rich. They weren't robbers because they didn't steal. They got rich by serving customers well. As Burton Folsom wrote in "The Myth of the Robber Barons," there were political entrepreneurs, who made their fortunes through government privilege, and market entrepreneurs, who pleased consumers.

In many ways, these "Robber Barons" improved life for millions. They also had some unintended consequences which helped more than people.

Poor people used to go to bed when it got dark, but thanks to Rockefeller, they could afford fuel for lanterns and stay up and read at night. Rockefeller's "greed" may have even saved the whales. When he lowered the price of kerosene, he eliminated the need for whale oil, and the slaughter of whales suddenly stopped.

I actually learned the above in school... way back in the 50's. Not that Rockefeller was the "whale savior" but that the discovery of, and exploitation of, oil deposits brought an end to the wholesale slaughter of whales for their oil.

It was an unintended consequence because the oil "barons" weren't out to save the whales, just to expand their businesses and get rich(er). But that is no reason to ignore it, it's still a fact. Fossil fuel may have saved a species. Quite different than what many people seem to believe today.


The Chubby Chatterbox said...

I've always referred to these folks as Captains of Industry, not robber barons. And I certainly love whales and feel guilty that my grandfather and great grandfather were both whalers. A short time ago I was behind a car with a bumper sticker that said, "Honk if you love whales." I honked, and the guy flipped me off! He must've forgotten about the sticker.

Douglas4517 said...

I want a bumper sticker that reads "Honk if you want to see  me angry"