Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Twain's Gould

(Excerpted from 2010's "Autobiography of Mark Twain". Jay Gould, 1836-1892, was a railroad baron and speculator. He is credited with being the first American to manipulate the marketplace on a national level, for the sole purpose of profit. What would Twain think today about his "century to come" prophecy? Might he re-name this country the U.S.G, and emigrate as briskly as possible?)

Jay Gould had just then reversed the commercial morals of the United States. He had put a blight upon them from which they have never recovered, and from which they will not recover for as much as a century to come. Jay Gould was the mightiest disaster which has ever befallen this country. The people had desired money before his day, but he taught them to fall down and worship it. They had respected men of means before his day, but along with this respect was joined the respect due to the character and industry which had accumulated it. But Jay Gould taught the entire nation to make a god of the money and the man, no matter how the money might have been acquired. In my youth there was nothing resembling a worship of money or of its possessor, in our region. And in our region no well-to-do man was ever charged with having acquired his money by shady methods. The gospel left behind by Jay Gould is doing giant work in our days. Its message is "Get money. Get it quickly. Get it in abundance. Get it in prodigious abundance. Get it dishonestly if you can, honestly if you must."

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