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The Impact Of The Oil Industry On The World

2461 words - 10 pages

Since the beginning of all recorded history human beings have been dependent upon mother Earth to supply us with our needs. We have cultivated the earth for crop production as well as domesticated animals to better suit our needs; for labor and even for food itself. Sustainability was never in question and land, crops, and animals were always in plenty if taken into consideration. A simpler life where survival through food, shelter, water, and reproduction were all that mattered. However, through time things have changed. From hunter and gatherer sects to farming communities; from small towns to booming civilizations; maybe most importantly has been the change of ideology. We as a society ...view middle of the document...

The American public, as well as other countries, began seeing the applications of this “black gold.” Due to its increased availability, scientists and researchers began testing and experimenting with the substance to see what else could come from it (History.com).
The second key element that attributed to how the oil company operates can be summed up in two names: John D. Rockefeller and The Standard Oil Co. Rockefeller became the foremost individual in the U.S. oil industry. In 1859, he and his partner operated a commission firm from Cleveland, upon hearing about the kerosene industry and the oil fields in Pennsylvania, Rockefeller, seeing the potential money from oil, bought out his partner. In 1866 he opened an office of export in New York City. In 1867 Rockefeller, William S. V. Harkness, and Henry M. Flagler created what was to become the Standard Oil Company. However, additional discoveries near the Pennsylvania oil fields had led to the conception of dozens of other firms. The Standard Oil Company quickly began to utilize a technique called horizontal expansion, a term coined by Rockefeller. It was essentially the act to buy out or to combine with his competitors. “As Rockefeller phrased it, their purpose was ‘to unite our skill and capital’” (History.com). By 1870 Standard had become the dominant oil refining firm in Pennsylvania.
Pipelines (later the cause for bloodshed) had early on become a major concern. “Samuel Van Syckel and his oil company had built a four-mile pipeline from Pithole, Pennsylvania, to the nearest railroad” (History.com). Once Rockefeller had observed this construction he began to acquire pipelines for Standard. The ideology behind creating your own pipeline is the fact that when eliminating the third party transportation service who delivers oil from your oil fields to your railroad, which leads to your own oil refineries, then you can cut costs drastically. Due to Rockefeller’s amassing wealth his company shortly owned the majority of the lines. These lines provided cheap, efficient, and relatively un-manned transportation for oil. Cleveland soon became the epicenter of the oil refining industry due to its transportation systems. Within eleven years the company became partially integrated horizontally and vertically and ranked as one of the world’s great corporations. For years to come it would reign supreme and unchallenged by neither the public nor the law.
As Standard Oil grew in wealth and power, it began to receive disapproval and hostility not only from its competitors but from the general public. Standard snuffed out competition by securing government railroad contracts, rates and rebates for its oil shipments. It had also “influenced” legislatures, laws, and almost the whole Congress through unethical methods such as extortion and bribery, which were extremely common in those days. Also the company’s employees were unsatisfied with their treatment (History.com). In 1911 the “Supreme Court declared...

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