Other Editorials

Frenzied Finance

Thomas Lawson
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Considering the proposed creation of a VEBA for the UAW international to manage member health care dollars, I am reminded of a famous expose' written over a hundred years ago detailing the systematic rape of people's savings by corrupt financiers.

[Synopsis of *Frenzied Finance* by Thomas W. Lawson. New York:
Ridgway-Thayer, 1905]

Herein is the story of Amalgamated Copper and of the "System" of
which it is the most flagrant example. This "System" is a
process or a device for the incubation of wealth from the
people's savings in the banks, trust, and insurance companies,
and the public funds. Through its workings during the last
twenty years there has grown up in this country a set of colossal
corporations in which unmeasured success and continued immunity
from punishment have bred an insolent disregard of law, of common
morality, and of public and private right, together with a grim
determination to hold on to, at all hazards, the great
possessions they have gulped or captured. It is the same
"System" which has taken from the millions of our people billions
of dollars, and given them over to a score or two of men with
power to use and enjoy them as absolutely as though these
billions had been earned dollar by dollar by the labor of their
bodies and minds.

For thirty-four years I have been actively connected with matters
financial. As banker, broker, and corporation man, I have, from
the vantage point of one who actually handled the things he
studied, studied the causes which created the conditions which
made possible the "System" which produced the Amalgamated affair.
In my thirty-four years of business experience I have seen the
great fortunes, which are the motive power of the "System"
referred to, come out of the far West as specks upon the
financial horizon and grow and grow as they travelled Eastward,
until in their length, breadth, and thickness they obscured the
rising sun. At short range I have seen the giant money machine
put together.

In the course of this book, I shall describe such parts of the
general financial structure as will place my readers, especially
those unfamiliar with its more complicated conditions, in a
mental state to comprehend the methods by which the savings they
think are safely guarded in the banks, trust and insurance
companies, are so manipulated by the votaries of frenzied finance
as to be in constant jeopardy. I shall show them that while the
press, the books, the stump, and our halls of statesmanship are
full to overflowing with the whys, wherefores, and what-nots of
"tariff," "currency," "silver," "gold," and "labor"; while our
market systems are perfected educational machines for
disseminating accurate statistics about the necessaries and
luxuries of life, the water and land carriers, real estate, and
other material things which the people have been taught to
believe are the only things that vitally affect their savings;
that while they imagine they understand the system by which
speculation and investments are controlled and worked, and that
the causes and effects of this system are at all times
get-at-able by them through their bankers and their brokers;
there is a tangible, complicated, yet simple trick of financial
legerdemain, operated twenty-four hours in each day in the year,
and which the press, the politicians, and the statesmen never
touch upon -- a trick by means of which the savings of the people
and the public funds of the Government, are always at the
absolute service and mercy of the votaries of frenzied finance.