The Monopoly Myth
The Case of Standard Oil
8:15pm, April 2nd, 2009 – Jimenez Room – Stamp Student Union
Directions and campus map here, and free parking is available in Lot 1: http://transportation.umd.edu/visitor/directionstocampus.html
Who: Alex Epstein, analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights
What: “The Monopoly Myth: The Case of Standard Oil” In this talk Epstein argues against antitrust law by illustrating the case of Standard Oil’s legal and moral rise to market dominance. A Q&A will follow.
Description: Most of us were taught in school that laissez-faire capitalism was tried in the 1800s—and failed. Without government regulations and antitrust law, we learned, businessmen used “anti-competitive” tactics to become giant, unchallengeable monopolies. The most famous monopoly was John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust, which supposedly used its “market power” to squelch innovative competitors and jack up consumer prices at will.
But did this really happen? Did laissez-faire really fail? No, argues Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Center. In “The Monopoly Myth: The Case of Standard Oil,” Epstein will tell the real story of Rockefeller’s rise to market dominance—and explain how his success was the result not of shady practices, but of his company’s incredible ability to bring the cheapest, best oil to millions of Americans.
Epstein will argue that the case of Standard Oil raises many questions about Americans’ commonly held beliefs on monopolies, competition and government. Is antitrust law really necessary to protect us against monopolies and promote competition? Was the government right to punish Microsoft for “monopolization,” and is it justified in investigating Google and Yahoo for “anti-competitive” behavior? Epstein will address these questions and more in his 45-minute talk, followed by a question-and-answer period.
Admission: FREE. Open to students and the public
Bio: Alex Epstein has a BA in philosophy from Duke University and is an analyst focusing on business issues at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.
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