The Men Who Built America: An Economy of Value
Dr. Marisela Jiménez, PMI Houston Contributor
As a Hispanic immigrant, I have witnessed the wealth of the United States and experienced the opportunities of higher education, but I am not going to talk about me. Instead, I want to highlight the men who built America, and why most of us are still enjoying their visionary contributions. No. I am not referring to the Founding Fathers who were also immigrants. I am talking about the visionary men who were driven by competition, power, and profits. The men who built America were risk-takers entrepreneurs who defied all opposition.
They were relentless, passionate, and deeply committed to their business ideas. Of course, today, there are many entrepreneurs with similar behaviors and business concepts, but the result of their success and wealth are radically unmatched. In case you are wondering, what was the secret of the men who built America? Well, the secret is recorded in their biographies.
Accordingly, there is no record that Cornelius Vanderbilt, John Davison Rockefeller Sr., Andrew Carnegie, John Pierpont Morgan Sr., and Henry Ford attended and graduated from any known University with a degree in Busines or Economics. The secret is that they did not have college education, but what they had was an insatiable desire to build and to achieve something that seemed impossible. These men’s common business idea was to create economic value to improve the lifestyle of people. Without Cornelius Vanderbilt’s economic value creation in the United States, all the giant companies would not share such level of success like American Railcar Industries, GE, Greenbrier, Progress Rail Locomotive, Trinity Industries, and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies.
Thanks to John Davison Rockefeller Sr. thousands of people earn hefty incomes, working for highly reputable oil and gas companies in Texas and parts of the world. If you enjoy your household appliances made of steel, that is because Andrew Carnegie realized the economic value of this commodity to solve big problems no one had done before. While it was the idea of two inventors who created electricity, it was John Pierpont "Jack" Morgan Jr. who invested and made the impossible, possible. When you turn on your lights at home, remember that inventions with the buy-in of investors have the potential to change the world. In the words of Henry Ford, “Do not find fault, find a remedy. Anybody can complain.” Not everyone drives a Ford vehicle, I agree. But everyone who drives a vehicle owes this magnificent economic value creation to Henry Ford.
For all entrepreneurs, it is not enough to take risks, have vision, or build something if your product or service does not provide economic value for consumers. The men who built America had little or no competition, and they lived in an era when government regulations were hardly available. More than 100 years later, we live in a highly saturated market, heavily regulated industries, and overly structured bureaucratic organizations. As we come together to rebuild America, after so much decline in 2020, we will need to organically examine the real economic value of everything we do and consume. Hardly anyone is willing to pay for anything that will not guarantee tangible return on investment and create economic value in the long-run.