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Episode summary: Gary Gerstle talks about the journalist who brought down a business empire, when Ida Tarbell went after the power of John D Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Corporation at the start of the twentieth century. Could anyone do the same to Facebook or Amazon today? Talking Points: America’s foundational myth is about rebelling against monopolies: a monopoly of power in the hands of the King. - How does an anti-monopolistic society get dominated by monopolies? - Industrialization and the free economic environment after the Civil War created different conditions. - The Supreme Court interpreted the 14th amendment to mean that corporations are individuals and therefore protected by the Bill of Rights. Resistance to monopolies reached a peak during the first Gilded Age. - Some of the resistance was political, but some of it was journalistic. - Journalists known as ‘muckrakers’ sought to expose the practices that produced extraordinary power. - The reports of journalist Ida Tarbell ultimately led to the breakup of…

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