The railroad connected one side of the country to the other, and was built and controlled by those who were labeled robber barons by the people of their time.
The term “robber baron” was coined to describe medieval German nobles who extracted tolls, tariffs, and tithes from passing traffic on the river Rhine. You can still see their castles, built close to the banks, looming over the river. It was later used to describe rapacious industrialists who lined their pockets without adding much value to the detriment of the common good. We have them today, too.
We have made attempts to remove robber barons from America, but they have a habit of materializing and refusing to go away quietly. We already have the basis of a law that works to protect the public, but the combined power of the American Telecommunications Industry has been chipping away at it’s power since it’s inception in 1887.
"Give me snuff, whiskey and Swedes, and I will build a railroad to hell. ”
—Attributed to James J. Hill (Robber Baron)
I did something between signing and closing that Steve thought was a little crazy. I said, “Let’s go visit the set of 30 Rock just to say, ‘Hey, here we are, and we love the show!’ ” We did that, the two of us. And he was right. I’ve been paying for it ever since.
—Brian L. Roberts (CEO, Comcast)