Wall Street Frauds Make Wonderful Cartoons, Part 02: C.M. Coolidge’s circa 1880s “Playing Bank President”
The following series of circa 1880s trade cards, attributed to artist C.M. Coolidge (famous for his painting of dogs playing poker), depicts a child Playing Bank President according to the examples of his day. How it differs from today, is its lack of a Congressional Grilling, and in its final panel showing the pretend Bank President in jail — unfortunately just a fantasy for us – which Goldman Sachs’ employees showed in their testimony yesterday would be well deserved.
Series Refrain: Bank frauds and Wall Street swindles, resulting in economic ruin for everyone else, were regular and frequent occurrences prior to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s institution of laws designed to prevent further Great Depressions. These regulations worked until, starting in the 1980s, conservatives began dismantling those protections, stating that we’d be better off with an unfettered and unregulated market, free to do whatever it wants. Wall Street firms swore at that time, that they’d learned the lessons of the Great Depression, and could be trusted to not engage in dangerous practices.
If there is one lesson from the various economic collapses throughout history, it’s that human greed is eternal. There will always be selfish fools, who grab for themselves without care for the damage they inflict on others.