Tuesday, April 20, 2010


WB7--Franklin C Keyes was a New York securities lawyer slightly over 100 years ago. Keyes evidently grew thoroughly disgusted with his clientele and felt compelled to write a short tract exposing the corrupt and predatory practices of Wall Street and their negative impact on society.

I have quoted from Mr. Keyes book, Wall Street Speculation, Its Trick and Its Tragedies, on this Blog and elsewhere on many occasions. While the financial technology described in the book is very very basic (margin trading, bucket shops, etc) compared to ABACUS swindling, it is clear that the modus operandi of Wall Street has changed very  little. Insider dealing, fishing for fools,  media manipulation, market manipulation, charity as PR, political corruption...its all there. On many occasions I have considered doing a rewrite of the book. I was going to call it, The Ghost of Franklin Keyes.

My copy of the book is all marked up, tabbed cross referenced and falling apart at the seam.  Each time I wind up deciding that the book effectively says what needs to be said.

For example:

"Wall Street speculation fosters a ring of idle gamblers, parasites upon society, who prey upon the fortunes of the honest and industrious; such people are a menace to the legitimate business interests of the country and an element of danger to the republic." Quoted by WB7 here.

"If robbery is only committed on a scale sufficiently grand and colossal, the majesty of the law is appalled; if a few smooth Wall Street gentlemen defraud the public out of their honestly acquired wealth and take it by score of millions, Justice stands by paralyzed and helpless in the presence of a crime of such stupendous proportions as to be outside the scope of the law--but with what heavy hands she lays hold of the man who steals a chicken!" Quoted by WB7 here.

"Let us throw the most favorable light on the situation. As it is easy to be generous with other people's money...[a Wall Street banker's ill gotten fortune], may sometimes constitute a gift, which one of these great capitalists turns over, with loud report, to a University or theological seminary, or to some other charity. He hands it over as a sort of conscience fund, to give him a fresh start in more Wall Street enterprise of the same kind, and the world looks on and says: "This is indeed true charity, God bless the philanthropist!"

Perhaps that very night, while an old lady was sobbing by her little cot, the fortune which she and her husband had toiled so long and hard to earn, flashed in the tiara of diamonds from the head of a rich banker's wife at the opening of the Metropolitan Grand Opera--diamonds, wondrously beautiful, dazzlingly brilliant, crystalized human tears. If you could go around that row of parterre boxes and write the history of all those pearls and all those rubies and all those diamonds, it would compose a tragedy that would make your heart bleed.

What an enchanting scene is the opening night of the Metropolitan Grand Opera!"

"Public officials "if in league with market manipulators and speculating in Wall Street should be compelled by law to forfeit the office which they thus prostitute to private gain." Quoted by WB7 here.

I strongly recommend this book to readers of this Blog who are insensed as I am by the unprecedented corruption and greed of America's Financial Industrial Complex. I recommend it right along with two other great books, 13 Bankers and E'coned.

Here is the excerpt of Keyes book on Google Books:

"Wall Street is dominated by some of the brainiest
and shrewdest men in the country, natural born sharpers and schemers,
and before the average man can get the better of them,
except through the merest chance,
he will have to eat brain food for a long time."--FRANKLIN KEYES


1 comment:

  1. I'd encourage you to rewrite the book and to call it The Resurrection of Franklin Keyes.