Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Great Man Theory and American Economic History

History has gone through many twists and turns over the past the century. The Great Man Theory has now been mostly discredited as historians of the annales school and others have examined the socio-economic conditions that give rise to the "great men" and the sea they swim in. That said it is useful to examine the captains of industry that made our near modern world and primordial ooze they crawled out of. This series seems, according to promo and this video, to be about a bunch of American "robber barons". As an aside the term "robber baron" is like "creeping barrage", it is term which is made of two synonyms.  The series is about the people who in the generations between the US Civil War an d the Great War built the industrial and technological capacity of the US.

Lately thinking of the recent Florida incarceration of Conrad Black I think how unlovable are all the press barons I have ever learned about. It made me think at first the interest in news corrupted and ink stained one's soul. Press Barons were creeps not because they saw newspapers as avenue of profit or as a venue of information but as a means of power. Using such a definition Lenin and Hitler were also Press Lords.

There have been power hungry men through out history.  They trundle over the earth exercising petty tyrannies extending over a some few generations. At certain hinge points their power can be magnified and men like Caesar, Genghis Khan and Cortez change the world forever.

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