David Rockefeller, one of capitalism’s greatest champions and a billionaire philanthropist, died in his home Monday in Pocantico Hills, New York, a spokesman confirmed. He was 101.
Rockefeller was the last in his generation that hailed from the old billionaire families. After graduating from Harvard in 1936, and the University of Chicago in 1940, he served in the Army during World War II. Afterward, he climbed the ladder at Chase Bank until he became its chief executive and chair in 1961. From there, he took from a small time business and turned it into a vast banking international powerhouse now known as J.P. Morgan and Chase.
Rockefeller was known as one of capitalism’s greatest proponents, spreading its message and influence far and wide.
“American capitalism has brought more benefits to more people than any other system in any part of the world at any time in history,” he once said. “The problem is to see that the system is run as efficiently and as honestly as it can be.”
He often supported measures that would bring capitalism to third-world countries, under the belief that doing so would create more customers for America. Rockefeller’s influence as a businessman and philanthropist was visible around the world. He is said to have met with over 200 rulers in more than 100 countries and was often treated as if he himself were a dignitary of great political importance.
Rockefeller wasn’t afraid to be critical of officials who deserved it. He was infamously not a fan of President Jimmy Carter, whom Rockefeller said didn’t do “what most other countries do themselves, and expect us to do — namely, to make U.S. national interests our prime international objective.”
During his famous trip to 10 different socialist countries in Africa, Rockefeller came away with the impression that America’s capitalist market was beginning to attract governments away from the Marxist, Soviet style that they had been operating under. He…