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Nicholas, Tom;Masko, John;Preble, Matthew
Railroad magnate Jay Gould, a controversial figure in the history of U.S. capitalism, was a disruptive influence on an industry that had previously relied on formal and informal agreements to move traffic long distances across lines operated by different companies. Gould and his competitors replaced these agreements with consolidation and system-building, a process which led to the rise of government regulation of railroads in the 1880s and to widespread railroad bankruptcies in the 1890s. This case explores the growth of early American railroads, places Gould''s career in context (including his famous attempt to corner the U.S. gold market), and demonstrates the implications of his activities on competitive dynamics in the railroad industry.
Business & government relations;Business ethics;Business history;Competition;Consolidation;General management;Laws & regulations;Strategy