Robber Barons

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Robber Barons'

A

disparaging term dating back to the 12th century which refers to:

1. Unscrupulous feudal lords who amassed personal fortunes by using illegal and immoral business practices, such as illegally charging tolls to passing merchant ships.

2. Modern-day businesspeople who allegedly engage in unethical business tactics and questionable stock market transactions to build large personal fortunes.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Robber Barons'

Due to the robber barons' unethical business practices, such as the exploitation of labor, the general public typically regards these aggressive capitalists with disdain. However, some historians argue that the late-19th century entrepreneurs usually referred to as "robber barons" - including Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller - are responsible for building a large portion of the U.S.'s current economic clout, because of their large investments in burgeoning American industries. Many also went on to become high-profile philanthropists.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Price Fixing

    Establishing the price of a product or service, rather than allowing ...
  2. Jekyll and Hyde

    1. A slang term referring to the strengths and weaknesses of ...
  3. Insider

    A director or senior officer of a company, as well as any person ...
  4. Manipulation

    The act of artificially inflating or deflating the price of a ...
  5. Insider Trading

    The buying or selling of a security by someone who has access ...
  6. Insider Information

    A non-public fact regarding the plans or condition of a publicly ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between consumer surplus and economic surplus?

    The consumer surplus is the difference between the highest price a consumer is willing to pay and the actual market price ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What does it signify about a given product if the consumer surplus figure for that ...

    High consumer surplus for a particular product signifies a high level of utility for consumers and may carry some implications ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are common reasons for governments to implement tariffs?

    A tariff is a tax imposed by a governing authority on goods or services entering or leaving the country and is typically ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does mercantilism impede global economic growth?

    Mercantilism impedes global economic growth by leading producers to specialize in goods and services that do not take account ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do "factor endowments" impact a country's comparative advantage?

    Factor endowments impact a country's comparative advantage by affecting the opportunity cost of specializing in producing ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the main objectives of cost accounting?

    Cost accounting is distinct and separate from general financial accounting, which is regulated by generally accepted accounting ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    The Evolution Of Banking

    Banks are a part of ancient history. Find out how this system of money management developed into what we know today.
  2. Economics

    J.D. Rockefeller: From Oil Baron To Billionaire

    More than 70 years after his death, this man remains one of the great figures of Wall Street.
  3. Investing Basics

    Elves And Gnomes: Fairy Tale Investment Terms

    What do elves have to do with investing? Meet the fairytale creatures running around Wall Street.
  4. Options & Futures

    Handcuffs And Smoking Guns: The Criminal Elements Of Wall Street

    From godfathers to perps, familiarize yourself with the "criminal elements" creeping around Wall Street.
  5. Economics

    Defining Illegal Insider Trading

    The better you understand why insider trading can be criminal, the better you'll understand how the market works.
  6. Active Trading Fundamentals

    Evaluating A Company's Management

    Financial statements don't tell you everything about a company's health. Investigate the management behind the numbers!
  7. Markets

    Get Tough On Management Puff

    Company managers are often skilled at fooling investors. Be critical and don't believe the hype.
  8. Options & Futures

    The Kingpin Of Wall Street: J.P. Morgan

    From robber baron to the hero of the Panic of 1907, this man helped shape Wall Street as we know it.
  9. Economics

    What is a Capital Account?

    Capital account is an economic term that refers to the net change in investment and asset ownership for a nation.
  10. Economics

    Understanding the Fisher Effect

    The Fisher effect states that the real interest rate equals the nominal interest rate minus the expected inflation rate.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Venture-Capital-Backed IPO

    The selling to the public of shares in a company that has previously been funded primarily by private investors. The alternative ...
  2. Merger Arbitrage

    A hedge fund strategy in which the stocks of two merging companies are simultaneously bought and sold to create a riskless ...
  3. Market Failure

    An economic term that encompasses a situation where, in any given market, the quantity of a product demanded by consumers ...
  4. Unsystematic Risk

    Company or industry specific risk that is inherent in each investment. The amount of unsystematic risk can be reduced through ...
  5. Security Market Line - SML

    A line that graphs the systematic, or market, risk versus return of the whole market at a certain time and shows all risky ...
  6. Tangible Net Worth

    A measure of the physical worth of a company, which does not include any value derived from intangible assets such as copyrights, ...
Trading Center