The Lords of Creation, a book first published back in 1935 fresh after the worst economic collapse in modern times.
I saw that this book had been republished in digital format by Open Road Integrated Media under the series “Forbidden Bookshelf”. As I’m quite interested in reading history I was curious about this book and it’s series. Forbidden Bookshelf is a series of books that have been out of print on a variety of important historical topics.
So this book, quite naturally, caught my eye.
Having read a few books on the lead up to the First World War recently it was great to also read about the development of finance and some of it’s general workings in the same epoch.
There is no doubt that the economic powers of the times as with the present day economic powers yield much influence. Something that struck me was the many similarities. Today there are countless lobbyists that jostle for as much influence in policy making as they can muster. Using the mountains of $$$$ at their disposals the very rich have the lobbyists at their disposal as but 1 tool (or weapon perhaps??) to advance their agenda.
I was surprised at the mention of lobbyists and the spin of information, with references to “educating the public” just as we see happening today.
And that the times brought on a vast movement of speculation, methods of inflating stock prices to fatten pockets and profits and new business models with the sole purpose of creating new streams of $$ while creating no products or nothing of value. (I.E. solid goods, products, services…etc)
At the books end Frederick Lewis Allen asks many questions about the direction of the United States of America. If it will recover or become further indebted or gambled upon by the brokers and rulers of Wall St. Seems as though many of the same questions that Mr Allen asks then, back in 1935, I ask myself today.
In reading the book it also gave me a bit of a different perspective on “The New Deal” that I thought was a strong change by a strong leader. Though Mr Roosevelt put the working people first in his calculation for reparation of the damages done the new deal didn’t accomplish all it set forth too. And that the politicians of the times played politics and bent to special interest just as much as present times.
I’m compelled to ask, “Have we learned anything?“.
In the aftermath, there were many legislations and bills, some passed into laws and some forgotten. (Such as the Glass-Steagall legislation)
I finish the book with the overwhelming feeling and observation that I doubt we’ve learned much. How much do we know about the mistakes of our past? Back in 2008 there was a collapse that runs somewhat in parallel with our past. And there has been little done in terms of regulating how the high rolling gamblers roll.
I would like to believe that another “meltdown” is avoidable where millions loose so much of their savings and pensions because of unsound business practice and investment. But, I simply can’t believe it.
Reality is, there will likely be historic moments repeating themselves once again. Because, we’ve not really changed much.
I would recommend “The Lords of Creation” to anyone interested in reading about the history of how some of the richest dynasties came to be and lived. And also how the Wall St elite eventually cannibalized the very system that gave them great privilege.
I believe this to be an important read.