Saturday, July 28, 2018

50 Years Ago: Have we seen the last Millionaire? (1991)

The 50 Years Ago column from the November 1991 issue of the Socialist Standard

In a broadcast talk on September 7th. 1941. Professor T. Jones spoke of the high rate of taxation now imposed on large incomes and prophesied that “we are almost in sight of the last millionaire". The professor is being unduly optimistic and perhaps he has not very clear ideas of the way in which millionaires are made. The big fish devour the little ones and each other, and always there is fresh accumulation from the exploitation of the workers. Even if under war conditions large incomes are heavily reduced, war, and the post-war ups and downs of industry lay the foundations for new fortunes and for the increase of old ones. While during the war the prices of shares on the Stock Exchange have generally fallen this has been accompanied by a big rise in the wealth of landowners (. . .).

As soon as investors believe that the end of the war is in sight with a defeat of Germany the prices of shares on the Stock Exchange will leap ahead and new millionaires will be in the process of creation. Already it only needs reports of moderate Russian successes to send up prices. Marshal Budenny's succcsful withdrawal of his armies from Kiev was sufficient to send prices “sharply ahead". (Daily Express, September 24th.) 
[From “Notes By The Way”, Socialist Standard. November 1941.]



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