Difference Between Robber Barons and Captains of Industry

Robber Barons vs Captains of Industry
 

The industrial revolution between the 1970s and 1980s brought forward a number of views of industrialism driven by leaders, businessman and entrepreneurs at the time known as industrialists. These many industrialists and financiers fall into one of either category; robber barons or captains of industry. Robber barons were seen to be negative forces in the society; ruthless businessmen solely concerned with personal benefit, whereas captains of industry are transformative leaders generating great industrial strength and benefit to the society. The article explains these two concepts of industrialism and highlights the many differences between robber barons and captains of industry.

What is a Robber Baron?

Robber barons refer to ruthless businessmen, industrialists and leaders who were very much concerned with personal wealth and benefit stopping at nothing to gain great financial benefit and wealth. Robber barons are known to have created financial benefits for themselves at the expense of the society as a whole. Robber Barons such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and Ford were known to exploit workers with below par working conditions, completely controlling natural resources, gaining large benefits through government influences, creating monopolies by wiping out competition, and following labor practices that were seen to be wrong and unfair. The term robber barons came to being by combining the words ‘robber,’ which refers to criminals who robbed the poor to benefit the rich, and ‘baron,’ which refers to an illegitimate character in the society.

What is a Captain of Industry?

The term captain of industry is used to refer to industrialists viewed as true leaders of the society that created great business opportunities, industrial revolution, and economic development, which were beneficial to the society and economy as a whole. Captains of industry are known to have benefitted the society by increasing productivity levels, expanding markets, innovation & development, increasing jobs and philanthropic activities. Captains of industry include Andrew Carnegie, Invar Kamprad, and Bill Gates. The aim of such captains of industry is not solely the creation of wealth. Such individuals also aim to improve standards of living, increase economic development, contributing to the industrial revolution through innovation in products and processes, as well as actively pursue the betterment of the society and overall wellbeing.

What is the difference between Robber Barons and Captains of Industry?

Robber barons and captains of industry refer to two very distinct types of industrialists and businessmen that have both contributed to the industrial revolution and development. Robber barons are the lesser appreciated of the two as they were seen to be mostly self-centered, and aim at achieving wealth for themselves at the expense of the society as a whole. Robber Barons were known to exploit workers, with bad working conditions, low wages and created monopolies with low prices, wiping out all healthy competition. Captains of industry, on the other hand, refer to great leaders and philanthropists that benefitted not only themselves, but also the society and people by creating more jobs, opportunities, invention, increasing productivity, etc.

Summary:

Robber Barons vs. Captains of Industry

• Robber barons and captains of industry refer to two very distinct types of industrialists and businessmen that have both contributed to industrial revolution and development.

• Robber barons refer to ruthless businessmen, industrialists and leaders who were very much concerned with personal wealth and benefit, stopping at nothing to gain great financial benefit and wealth.

• Robber barons are known to exploit workers with below par working conditions, completely controlling natural resources, gaining large benefits through government influences, creating monopolies by wiping out competition and following labor practices, which were seen to be wrong and unfair.

• The term captain of industry is used to refer to industrialists viewed as true leaders of the society that created great business opportunities, industrial revolution, and economic development that were beneficial to the society and economy as a whole.

• Captains of industry are known to have benefitted the society by increasing productivity levels, expanding markets, innovation & development, increasing jobs and philanthropic activities.