In December 1912, no lessor man than J.P.Morgan testified to Congress to "justify Wall Street," during investigations over alleged manipulation and collusion. The transcript reads like it could have been given yesterday (as nothing ever changes) but at its heart the banker laid out 33 "Morgan Epigrams" which appear - in the ensuing 102 years - have been lost to greed and arrogance... The irony is wondrous: "Securities do not always prove good", "Money is gold, and nothing else", "I think manipulation is always bad."
J.P.Morgan's 33 Epigrams:
1. I have absolute faith in the patriotism and public spirit of the Stock Exchange.
2. The moral responsibility has to be defended as long as you live.
3. Securities do not always prove good.
4. It is difficult to get stockholders to take active interest in their companies.
5. I do not believe I could carry any question through any board against the views of the other directors.
5. I like a little competition, but I should rather have co-operation. Without actual control, you can do nothing.
6. I want to control nothing.
7. There is nothing in the world by which you can make a money trust.
8. I do not feel that I have vast power.
9. I do not think I have power in any department of industry; I am not seeking it, either.
10. All the money and all the banks in Christendom cannot control credit.
11. My firm is not run by me; I am not the final authority.
12. I believe in divided as against concentrated responsibility.
13. I do not compete for deposits.
14. I do not care whether they ever come, but they do come.
15. A bank, if it transacts its business right, will get its share of the business.
16. Nobody wants to put money into a new railroad in these times.
17. I always assist young men.
18. If it is good business for the interests of the country, I do it.
19. If I should attempt to tell where the money is in every transaction I make, I should have a hard time of it.
20. I did it because I thought it was the thing to do.
21. I should not allow a man to be associated with me that I thought was a fraud, simply because he owned a bank which at that moment was solvent.
22. Money is gold, and nothing else.
23. If a man had the credit, and I had the money, his customer would be badly off.
24. I have given a man a check for a million when I knew he had not a cent in the world.
25. The first thing is character, before money or property or any- thing else.
26. A man I do not trust could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom.
27. I never heard of a bank being controlled by anybody who gave it business.
28. The first thing is to get the business, and the next thing is the way you transact your business.
29. I think manipulation is always bad.
30. I never sold short in my life that I know of, but I do not see how you will get along without it. It is a principle of life, I think.
31. I would not favor legislation that would reduce the volume of speculation. You cannot prevent the public buying a thing that they think is low, or selling a thing that they think is high
32. You cannot in a bank in which you are a director, not in any first-class bank, at any rate, go and find out how much I have got in that bank.
33. You can get combinations that can control business, but you cannot control money.
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Quite stunning! But as the transcript below shows, nothing ever changes!!