Adams On Corporations

Despite the fact that Henry Adams once joked in Teddy Roosevelt’s presence that Mrs. Roosevelt would make a better president, Henry and Teddy were close friends. Thus, given the fact that Teddy was the original “trust-buster,” we can suppose that when his friend Henry speaks about trusts and corporations toward the end of his autobiography (in 1905)  he knows whereof he speaks, to which I can only say “Amen”:

The Trusts and Corporations stood for the larger part of the new power that had been created since 1840, and were obnoxious because of their vigorous and unscrupulous energy. They were revolutionary, troubling all the old conventions and values, as the screws on the ocean liner must trouble a school of herring. They tore society to pieces and trampled it under foot.

This may explain why Adams was so convinced that the U.S. Constitution had to be updated — along with his conviction that the U.S. Senate cold cripple government and needed to have their power pared back.



2 thoughts on “Adams On Corporations

  1. Hugh, amen. As we have noted about people who want unfettered capitalism, that would mean they are OK with collusion, insider trading, interlocking Boards which give carte blanche, unlimited pay/ perqs for executives, customer be damned marketing, etc. On the pay issue, we pay US CEOs a ratio of 350 to 1 compared to the average worker in that company, as contrasted to 12 to 1 in other capitalist centered countries. How much more do they want? Thanks for the post and quote, BTG

  2. The figure I saw on the salaries of American CEOs was 475:1 compared with the average of their employees. At any rate, it is a disgrace. Thanks for the input, BTG! Adams’ prescience was astonishing.

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