The Wall Street: www.RobberBarons.com
July 17, 2002
Robber baron was originated historically from referring to a noble who robbed travelers passing through his lands, and later in 1880 the embattled farmers of Kansas, in their anti-monopoly pamphlet, first applied the term to the masters of the US railway systems.
The nomenclature was widely used in late 19th Century to describe the ruthlessly powerful capitalists or industrialists, such as Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, J P Morgan, Astor, Mellon, et al of railway, steel, oil, and banking industries, who have become obscenely wealthy by exploiting natural resources, corrupting politicians, or employing other unethical means.
There has been a cacophony of outrage, anger, and frustration nationwide over the Risorgimento of modern-day robber barons in the “global free market system” that the CEOs of Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, Xerox, Global Crossing, Merck, Imclone, et al, have enriched themselves through the crafty accounting chicaneries and sleazy stock option shenanigans in collusion with their watch dog, Arthur Andersen (Accounting firm) and they have become bold enough to violate the fiduciary obligations to the millions of investors, the pensioners, their shareholders and employees
As the rot in the Wall Street has been structural and systemic in lying, cheating, and stealing on a grand scale, a majority of politicians has become the cheerleader of the corporate fraud through legislative deregulation and deliberate acquiescence, and some of them were deeply involved in the same financial malfeasance as they pass through the revolving doors of the corporate directorship.
Facing wave after wave of revelations of corporate fraud, George W feigned to be shocked and urged the Wall Street to go transparent and forthcoming in their financial activities, while he brushed aside his spurious involvement in the past financial transaction as an old story and it is without merit to discuss about his VP, Dick Cheney, being sued by the Judicial Watch for fraud.
A modicum of historical perspective about the Merchants’ Exchange Building at Wall and William Street in late 19th Century explains there has not been much difference in characters between then and now New York Stock Exchange…then was a huge whispering gallery, vibrant with a thousand rumors, machination, fears, and passions as the unfathomable place as the sea impending a huge hurricane, where the honest people were termed as a pack of fools and the bookkeeping was nothing more than a confounded fraud.
In a word, the Wall Street was inundated with the unsavory pack of greedy, exploitative, and deceptive speculators, upstarts, and shysters.
When you excel others in your daring, subtle, and shrewd trades and make others stripped of everything they had, you become a legend of the Stock Market.
One devoutly religious stockbroker used to fleece his fellow brokers and investors with his proverbial “handkerchief trick” and then attended the prayer meeting when his conscience bothers him.
Commodore Vanderbilt bragged: “What do I care about the law? Hain’t I got the power?”
J Pierpont Morgan, a 24-year-old buccaneering brat, derided the common people: “Wars are for the rich to profit from and for the poor to die in”, and later he became a Jesus Christ of the Wall Street surrounded with his Twelve Disciples, a pack of avaricious bankers.
The robber barons always demanded the laissez fair market, a freebooting, unlimited and untaxed access to the natural resources, promising that their exploitation of the national wealth and resources would build up the country for the benefit of all the people, and they bought and cultivated the best politicians money can buy, whose power firmly helped them to become the wealthiest behemoth.
Therefore, when the market collapses due to the excessive speculations, deception and monopoly of the unbridled robber barons, the government, Democratic or Republican, duly chips in for the rescue operations of these rascals that the public eventually shoulder the cost through taxation, legislation, and other bailout schemes at the expenses of welfare, healthcare, and pension benefits.
Have the exploitative, speculative and deceptive cultures of the Wall Street ever changed, redressed, or punished since then?
Nope! Not at all, and you don’t have to do anything, because that’s what the market is all about!
No one should intervene the gyration of the market fluctuation, and let the built-in corrective factors kick in when something goes blooey, and the government should not stick its regulatory measures up in the entrepreneur’s ass until as serious bankruptcy as S and L scandal required the corrupt pols to bail out the sleazy moneylenders with the billions of taxpayer’s money.
Capitalism has gained the momentum and flourished based on the economic inequality that somebody has to pay the price, as one’s gain is other’s loss as one percent of US population owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.
George W, whose government is full of former CEOs, from himself and Vice President to the Secretaries of Defense, Army, Treasury, Commerce and Labor, cried foul of the corporate dishonesty and hypocrisy at the Wall Street rally, and announced the establishment of the task force to reign his corporate buddies.
However, his gestures appeared not to surprise anyone, including the market itself, and various indices slid to the steep bottom, and people wonder why bad boys like the CEO of Enron still cozy up in their luxurious mansion after more than eight months since thousands of his employees were thrown out in the street.
A red-necked Washington Post columnist wrote in his op-ed: “Crime is generally an occupation of the poor.”
Yes, it is true as if the FBI collect only the data of street crimes and do not compile an annual report on corporate crime and violence…you steal a loaf of bread three times, then you end up in prison for 25 years, while the corporate such as Merrill Lynch makes a deal with the politician to pay up a penny after admitting to steal billions of dollars from the people.
Such powerful and rich are these financial scoundrels that only recessions catch what the auditors intentionally miss…if there were no slump in the market, they would dare to keep up the larceny and then slip away to the Caribbean Islands after unloading their worthless stocks on people’s lap, and George W. would loyally to put the lipstick on the pigs at the Wall Street, as the economist, M. Keynes once likened the stock markets to a beauty contest.
In such a contest, the contestants have to dress themselves up, hide their wart on their noses and concoct their resumes from the judges and audiences.
To the capitalists and industrialists conscience, there was nothing illegal or unethical, like a used car salesman, trying to dump a jalopy to a bozo who fumbles with his “dumb money”.
In the logic of free market, allowing investors to outwit others is the system at work, and it is almost impossible and unconscionable to criminalize the corporate greed unless you want to destroy the system itself.
Considering the nature of capitalism, the robber barons are never likely to disappear from the Wall Street into the Franciscan monastery, because with no incentives to steal, exploit, swindle, and get rich, life in the Wall Street is as boring as living in a heaven with Jesus Christ.