Behind Rockefeller’s amalgamation was a desire to reduce the costs further. Nevertheless, this integration propelled him to control over 90 percent of the American oil market. However, this dominance got a challenge from a convergence of factors. The dwindling of Pennsylvanian oil fields and discovery and availability of Russian immense oil fields proved that the full potential of oil was yet unrevealed and with the invention combustion engine using oil, the obituary of Standard Oil, the flagship of John D. Rockefeller was being written (Hubbard 315).
However, the gloom that threatened to engulf the Standard Oil and Rockefeller was lifted when the oil in Lima, Ohio that had seemed impossible to exploit due to seemingly insurmountable odds was overcome. The oil was sulphurous and had an odor that put everyone off; besides, no city would accept the shipment due to the bad smell. Rockefeller’s vision and persistence paid off when his chemists eventually found a way the oil could be exploited. The supposedly useless oil ironically turned out to be the company’s savior. This became more so after Russia discovered the most abundant oil fields in its Baku region.
Baku oil fields were concentrated in a relatively small region, thus it was easier to develop and transport, in addition to oil being of a higher quality (Parker 158). Apart from the richness of the oil fields, the region was nearer to Europe, so the oil could be sold easily and cheaply to Europe, as compared to Standard Oil, which had to foot the cost of tankers and ocean transportation. Unfair trading practices such as the imposition of tariffs were an added disadvantage to selling of Standard Oil’s products in the international market.
Rockefeller’s counter moves to these challenges were made thank to his chemists, who invented a way of maximizing benefits got from an oil called ‘cracking’. This meant the transportation expenses could be minimized through better tankers. Improved efficiency in the corporation and market research in the international market were some of the strategies used to overcome the Russians. Waste and cost was minimized in the company as much as possible, and representatives were sent all over the world to source for market intelligence that would be used to beat the Russian challenge.
The competition between the quality of Standard Oil and plenty of Russian oil was fought on prices. Through its efficiency, Standard Oil matched the Russians in price which was a remarkable feat, as Russia had the advantage of abundance and proximity to the market, thus, they did not have to incur the costs borne by Rockefeller’s company. However, narrow the victory was, Standard Oil showed that technology and management efficiency could triumph over abundance of raw materials, managing to garner the major part of the international market share.
In conclusion, Rockefeller was an American oil baron, investor, and one of the greatest philanthropists of all times. He is the pioneer of the Standard Oil Company, a business enterprise that dominated the oil industry for many years. Due to his astuteness and firmness, Rockefeller’s family was able to achieve long life financial muscle in the midst of turbulent economic times. Due to his philanthropic lifestyle, hundreds of businesses were able to take off, institutions of higher learning came into being, and health care facilities mushroomed. It was thanks to his business acumen that the United States can now boost a gigantic and well-organized oil pipeline at its disposal. It is naïve and selfish to criticize Rockefeller taking into consideration all that he lived for and did to humanity, because creating wealth is not a zero-sum game. Critics view his achievements as immoral acts, bent on the destruction of the environment for a selfish gain. Although Rockefeller amassed colossal amounts of money to become the wealthiest man in the United States, most of his income was given away in philanthropic endeavors.
Rockefeller was a person of immense capabilities. He rose from a humble beginning to become one of the wealthiest men of his time. Loved and hated in equal measure, Rockefeller was motivated by the desire to produce oil for the poor at prices that were affordable. Although people might view his contributions differently, Rockefeller was indeed, a brilliant man who brought many changes to the United States, as well as to the lives of millions of people. Rockefeller was not a perfect human being. However, a holistic look at his life reveals a person who had God-given gift and a talent to bring change in the world. Rockefeller used his gift and talents to the maximum, and it is highly unlikely that many people can measure up to his standards. This goes beyond the thinking of many people or objective moral living that he did not live a life of mass consumption and pleasure, as can often be seen in the contemporary society. His accumulation of wealth was based on firm principles that guided his life: wisdom, trustworthiness, and generosity. Indeed, life would be different on earth if all people exercised the same principles that guided Rockefeller.