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Robber Barons, 21st Century Style

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

When asked who the Vice President of the United States is most people usually hesitate, smile and simply shake their head. To ask who the following men were the response would be almost incomprehensible but most assuredly laughable.


Jay Cooke

Daniel Drew

James Fish

Andrew Mellon

JP Morgan

Joseph Seligman

John Jacob Aster

Andrew Carnegie

Jay Gould

John D Rockefeller

Played for the Patriots. Had their own reality show. A ‘60’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Group. Many might answer.

Historical knowledge is not one of America’s strong suits. Allow me to educate.

They were 19th century businessmen who were tagged with the nickname Robber Barons. They could be found in all walks of life such as railroads, oil, steel, real estate and most significantly in finance (Wall Street and banking).

They amassed their millionaire wealth (in today’s dollars, billionaires) by exploiting the mass (that’s you and me), through the control of natural resources such as oil, water, land, iron ore and even their transportation.

They paid substandard wages. Then required those wages to be used for shelter, food and heat provided by the same Robber Barons.

They squashed competition by acquiring competitors in order to create monopolies and eventually raise prices.

They sold stock at inflated prices to “unsuspecting investors” only to see the eventual destruction of the company for which the stock was issued. Thereby the rewards went to the selling Robber Barons and impoverishment went to the unsuspecting buyers.


Most important was the accruing of high levels of government influence by underwriting those who sought elected office.

Financially they were the top 1/10th of 1% of all Americans and considered themselves a form of royalty.

Robber – a sense of criminality

Baron – illegitimate aristocracy in the United States

Most people when informed about the Robber Barons quickly see the similarities with today’s 1/10th of 1%.

Even though they may not know the names of Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, Neil Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, Ian Read, CEO of Pfizer, Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, William C. Dudley, CEO of Federal Reserve Bank of New York they are aware of the ever widening disparity of income between the majority the ever growing illegitimate aristocracy.

They see the daily bubble called the US Stock Market which was once a place for all and now only for a select few. Of course, it always welcomes the unsuspecting.

They see the mergers and acquisitions and hear about the synergy of scale. They now understand the code which means that pink slips are soon to be delivered.


They watch war after war being created to simply line the pockets of a military industrial complex.

Without hesitating they will all respond that every politician, both newly elected and veteran, has been bought and paid for.

Unbeknownst to the average American, he or she is simply becoming knowledgeable about the people in power of both the 19th and 21st centuries. Nothing has changed in 150 years. It’s just that most people today did not know what to call this 1/10th of 1%. Now they do.


Perhaps soon they will be able to name the Vice President.

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