Saturday, February 1, 2014

The History of Absentee Bosses in Montana

I’ve been reading A Comical History of Montana: A Serious Story for Free People, by Jere C. Murphy (pub. 1912). Here is what Murphy had to say about the situation in Montana at that time, after describing how all of the mines, reduction works, public utilities, courts and politicians of “the Treasure State” were brought under monopoly control:
All this by the power of lawless corporate combination and the thimble-rigging of high finance, exercised by absentee bosses who have gained possession of this inestimable wealth and control of these stupendous influences without honest investment, honest purpose, or honest accounting whatsoever.
Who are these absentee bosses?
The constitute a small group among the conspicuous confidence operators of Wall Street.
How did they get this enormous wealth and these tremendous powers?
They bought some of it from the owners of the property and some of it from law-makers and other officials employed by the public.
Where did they get the money?
That, also, they got from the public.
What did the public get?
The public got watered stock in a generously assorted variety of mining, smelting, water power and public utility companies.
Do the operators pay dividends on these watered stocks?
Only when it suits their convenience and promotes their efforts to unload more watered stocks.
The more things change...

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