Monday 2011-02-07

The Common Sense of Money and Investments by Merryle Stanley Rukeyser

1924 was a strange world; the Statue of Liberty had gone up 40 years ago, the US frontier had closed with the 1890 census, the depth of the 1893 recession increased the split of the many poor (new immigrants and old) against the rich. With the new century, socialists and anarchists threatened with assassinations and keystone kapers; 1913 saw the ratification of the income tax amendment, and the creation of the Federal Reserve; The US helped win the biggest war ever, and made scads of money in the process; Women got the vote in 1920, and then lost the right to drink alcohol in the same year.

Anti-immigration sentiment was on the rise by immigrants who had made some money. Again. Cars were just getting to the point where you couldn't go anywhere without having to worry about being run over, Men (and even women) were actually flying through the air (without the previously requisite splat). Against this backdrop, Rukeyser wrote this book.

In 1917, having joined the European fray and needing larger loans than had ever been arranged since man became a two-legged animal, the United States Treasury went to every home in quest of funds. Millionaires alone could not supply the financial sinews of war...
Secretary of the Treasury Mellon recently lent his authority to the oft-repeated estimate that 1,000,000,000 USD a ear is frittered away by the American public in worthless or questionable securities.
-- A Common Sense View of Money
But, in a nation with a relatively high average standard of living, the plain citizen has come to expect more out of life than a minimum of essential food, a roof to protect him from inclemencies of the weather, and clothing to cover his nakedness.
Economic progress, as a matter of fact, is measured by the multiplication of wants.
-- Legitimate Objectives of Thrift
Prudent men also build up an estate as a reserve against speculative or business mistakes. For example, the reckless professional speculator frequently buys an annuity from an insurance company, which will give him an assured income, no matter how incorrectly he prejudges the course of security prices.
-- Legitimate Objectives of Thrift
The featurelessness of money, its uniersal convertability, gives human beings a latitude of choice and self-expression in its spending that is inconceivable without its use.
-- H.G. Wells, The Radical and his Bonds
The investor in alien government bonds should be conscious of the fact that he is assuming the risk of non-payment, and should not expect the Federal Government to employ the Navy and Marine Corps when necessary to correct his mistakes of judgment, although Great Britain has frequently seen fit to do so.
-- Tests of a Safe Investment
Marketability in a security gives an investor an opportunity to correct his mistakes of judgment and hence is a necessary attribute.
-- Tests of a Safe Investment
There is no reason to believe the business forecast is more accurate than the weather forecast.
-- Wesley Clair Mitchell, Soothsayers in Wall Street
We should have more timely, more regular, and more complete information of the current production and consumption and stocks of the great commodities in the United States.
-- Herbert Hoover, Soothsayers in Wall Street
The American Institute of Finance, of Boston, adheres to the belief that "the only scientific method of forecasting stock market movements and business trend is hard thinking, backed by experience in the intelligent study and interpretation of statistics and news as well as human nature."
-- Soothsayers in Wall Street
There is tyranny in print. One type of mind accepts as the gospel truth anything that comes off the presses.
-- Half Truths about Wall Street Affairs
( I can't tell whether he meant that to be as funny as it is )
As an offspring of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, thirty-eight Better Business Bureaus have been established throughout the country.
-- Big Business Flirts with Virtue
Infinite are the roads to paradise and the ways to success.
Frequently men of affairs are at their worst when they seek to give recipes for advancement. ...
-- Lessons from the Field Marshalls of Industry
It is true that America has not yet become stratified
-- Lessons from the Field Marshalls of Industry
The failure is the man who thinks that he would have found useful things to do if he had been born about fifty years earlier.
-- Lessons from the Field Marshalls of Industry
The magic of the idea of customer ownership of public utility corporations has swept across economic America with startling rapidity in the last five years. It has developed as a singularly American alternative to municipal or state ownership.
-- The Customer Buys the Plant
The mere chance of a want-ad appearing on the day when a boy first thinks of seeking a job, the random offer of an acquaintance, the circumstance of filling in temporarily for a person who is ill or a temporary job taken during vacation, frequently tie an individual to a line of business for the rest of his life.
-- Picking Your Employer and Your Job
But whole nations have been ensnared into dangerous adventures through confused thinking about the inner nature of money. Because in certain countries the masses have not achieved full liberation and happiness under a money economy, the multitudes have sometimes vented their passions on this alleged root of all evil. Failing to create adequate substitues, they have in a subsequent rule of chaos discovered that their action was similar to smashing a thermometer to end an unbearable spell of warm weather.
-- On the Alleged Root of All Evil