The Standard Oil Company was active in all levels and spheres of corporate power. For example, the influence over the railroad systems to set up discounts and rebates helped Standard Oil to have economic and legal power. The company was using the same railroads as other companies in the industry but paying far less. John D. Rockefeller had political power due to the large amount of donations he made to the church, poor and other organizations. Standard Oil had technological power and refined the oil refining process and standardized the product. Environmental power was through a clean process of refining oil and limiting pollution. The standardized oil product changed society by giving individuals a "reliable, inexpensive light and stayed up. Their lives, and the life of the nation, changed," (Steiner, 74) giving Standard Oil power over individuals.
The power exercised was not in keeping with the social contract of Rockefeller's era. He may not have broken any laws but he may have been involved in what can be considered unethical business practices. Rockefeller forced other company owners to sell or go bankrupt. He constructed arrangements with the railroad companies to earn a higher profit on his product, giving Standard Oil an advantage over competitors. The limits of business power are immeasurable. Standard Oil dominated the oil industry. Rockefeller influenced other industries, such as the railroad, to subside to his demands. The company "created change and influence[d] the actions of other entities in society," (Steiner, 55). This illustrates the dominance theory. Rockefeller had advantages over competitors through the discounts, rebates, misrouted shipments, etc. Standard Oil was the most dominant company in the industry. Other companies were forced to sell or go bankrupt. Standard Oil attempted to eliminate competition by threatening smaller companies with the size and wealth of Standard Oil. Rockefeller did not act unethically by the standards of his...
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