The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power. The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing. —
Franklin D. Roosevelt, message to Congress, April 29, 1938
Back during the 1980s, also known as the “decade of greed”, the many penny stock companies came and went like fireflies. They were here and gone — with everyone’s else’s money — so fast you knew they were already 10 addresses ahead of you. Yes, it was that larcenous 35 years ago. That was the decade when America’s legendary highway robbery showed up as Wall Street robbery. At the time all of us knew that the status quo of the stock brokerage industry was completely unsustainable and totally kleptocratic. The penny stock scams and shams jumping off on every downtown street corner and in every uptown skyscraper became a running joke in the industry, and way beyond.
In retrospect, this exceedingly expensive ‘joke’ served to foreshadow a much bigger ‘joke’ that the investment banking industry would pull not only on the gullible American public, they ran it on the entire planetary civilization.