There is no Such Thing as Dishonest Wealth by Guy Morrison Walker 1922
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All wealth must have been honestly created originally. If it is in the hands of one who does not deserve it, it can only have reached there in a distinct way. One can steal that which another has produced but the world has always recognized thievery and punished it. The producer of wealth may have a gambler’s instinct and risk it in a gambling venture, as so many do, but it is impossible to denounce the winner in a gambling proposition and excuse the loser. The producer of wealth may be, as he often is, a spendthrift in which case he squanders it, or he may be incompetent in the matter of management and care or conservation, in which case he wastes it.
The existence of so many millionaires is in itself evidence of the extreme carelessness and improvidence of the mass of mankind. For if they were careful and thrifty and saved the surpluses that they make there would not be so much wealth scattered around for the tireless gleaners or the industrious scavengers to gather up. Remember the fortunes made out of the garbage business!
President Elliott of Harvard declaims with great force against “the abuse of great salaries in corporations,” and declares that the huge salaries of recent times enormously overpay their recipients, and he insists that the exaggerated salary is not really necessary either to get or to keep the best men.
How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present by Thomas DiLorenzo
In a corporation of which I have knowledge, a Vice-President drawing a salary of thirty thousand dollars a year, devised a new method of handling his company’s business that saved them six hundred thousand dollars in a single year. By his single device he saved that company enough to pay the entire cost of his services for twenty years, and no one can tell what he will yet be worth to the company in the future. The truth is that this man is not being paid for his services at all but he is actually paying 95 per cent of what he earns to the corporation for the privilege of serving it, and this is far less rather than more than what most men of brains pay to the mediocre mass of mankind for the privilege of serving the ignorant and unappreciative people, who declaim against them.
One of the great insurance companies, that has for years kept a record of dishonesty and breach of faith in business, has called attention repeatedly in recent years to the enormous growth of dishonesty among the masses of the people. It does not pretend to give a reason for this growth of dishonesty, but there can be no doubt that it is largely, if not entirely, due to the constant preaching of inequity, to a general repudiation on the part of the mass, of the property rights of the thrifty and saving in the product of their thrift and to the inculcation of the theory that what belongs to corporations or institutions belongs to anybody, and that the thief in stealing from them is merely taking back a part of what belongs to him.
What can you expect of the ignorant masses of people, when the Chief Executive of the Nation makes such a statement as this:
"They grew richer and richer until it became a national scandal.”
Are the masses of the people to be encouraged to thrift and persuaded to save a competence for their old age if it is a scandal to grow rich?
Senator Tillman, after spending most of his life in attacking wealth, in his old age realized his mistake, and in one of his last speeches said:
“Men with means have their place in the scheme of civilization, let them spend their money for works of art and bring them into this country free that they may be an inspiration to our own artists. If there were no inequalities of wealth we would have no palaces, no art, no progress, no civilization. Equality is found only among savages.”
Even William J. Bryan has seen a light. At a recent meeting of laboring men he said: “The reward of labor is increased by the man of executive ability. I recognize that there is a talent that may be called ‘executive talent,’ and that it is highly useful in the organization of industry, and it is entitled to its just reward. What is left over for labor is larger than what would be left if industry were not organized.”
The talent for organization and management is so rare that its possessor invariably secures enormous rewards no matter where he lives or under what laws or conditions he works.
As Andrew Carnegie well said: "The ability of a man, whose services can be obtained as a partner, is not only the first consideration, but is such a consideration that if he have the ability, his lack of capital is scarcely worth considering. For a man with ability soon creates capital, but without the special talent required, the capital invested behind him soon takes wings.”
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