Is the legacy of the American Fur Company and of the fur trade a positive legacy or a predominantly negative impact; how has it affected capitalism? I read the story "The American Fur Company." On balance is the legacy of the American Fur Company and of the fur trade itself a positive legacy or is the impact predominantly negative; and how does it hint at how and why capitalism has changed and has been changed over the years?

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There are several approaches one can take with such a question.  On one hand, Astor's initiative represents the idea of a self made capitalist enterprise.  From nearly nothing of value, the success does represent a success of the free enterprise market.  Astor saw something, a need in the marketplace, and provided it.  On another level, one can argue that there were some distinct advantages, either manufactured or coincidental.  The fact that government legislation helped Astor create a monopoly on the fur trading marketplace would be one such example.  Whether or not this is a positive or negative would depend on the parameters one perceives as governing business.  Additionally, the environmental impact cannot be ignored.  The drive to eliminate a particular species of animal for profit might not be seen as a positive.  If nothing else, it might be criticized as placing profit above all else.

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