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Otto Glagau, The Stock Market and Founding-Era Swindle in Berlin (1876)

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The “liberal” legislators in our parliaments are chiefly Manchester people, and they work, in conjunction with the “liberal” press, mainly in the interests of capital and the stock market. The Manchester-friendly legislation has caused a splendid bankruptcy, and, in order to cover it up, especially to divert attention from the terrible consequences of the criminal stock market and founding-era swindle, the protagonists threw themselves furiously into the Kulturkampf [cultural struggle] and are trembling now that it might end.

Government, too, is partly comprised of Manchester people, and the government has a partial responsibility for the ominous economic legislation that it has left almost exclusively to the “liberals,” offering only weak resistance to them from time to time. Even after the “Great Crash,” which already occurred in the midst of the crisis, the “liberals” under the leadership of Messrs Lasker and Bamberger knew how to push through the Reich Bank – that enormous foundation benefitting the financial and stock market barons – and did so against the will of Finance Minister Camphausen, who resisted at first and whose position was called into question.

Among the members of the government, rifts and helplessness prevail. In the Reichstag, Minister Delbrück explicitly emphasized the economic crisis, which he says will last for some time; Minister Camphausen was not willing to own up to it at all. In the [Prussian] Chamber of Deputies, Herr Camphausen remarked: I am convinced that the situation of our worker has never been as favorable as it is now. As a remedy for the ailing economy he recommended – the reduction of wages. As if wages were not already continuously falling on their own; as if there had not been a work scarcity for a long time already! This provides evidence of just how unfamiliar the minister is with actual conditions! – In the Reichstag, Mr. Camphausen tried hard to exonerate the founders and the stock market at the expense of the public: – “The public, enticed by profit-seeking, has encouraged fraudulent enterprises for a long time. The entire nation was more or less seized by a certain degree of swindling.” – “Today, the public has abandoned itself to an overly exaggerated mistrust. Today, funds are withheld, while a whole range of the most solid securities are offering very lucrative investments for them.” – As a result of this capital speech by the minister, the Berlin Stock Market attempted to stage a rally in late November; it failed dismally, however.

Although all branches of industry are languishing, trade and commerce are stagnating, new bankruptcies are being declared daily, and more workers are losing their job every day. The Manchester people – first and foremost, Herr Lasker – and the “liberal” press are nevertheless denying any actual state of emergency; and they dub those newspapers that take a stance against Manchester School mismanagement and warn of the dangers stemming from it partly as “scandal sheets” and partly as the “yellow press.”

Since 1866, we have essentially been conducting social politics. Since the “Great Crash,” world history no longer revolves exclusively around Prince Bismarck. Glory is certainly an intoxicating beverage, but it is not filling for everyone; nonetheless, everyone demands (and demands first and foremost) nourishment and the bare necessities of life. Economic “liberties” cannot compensate for mounting taxes and burdens, for the abnormal price increases over recent years, and for the uncomfortable and unhealthy conditions that are arising in all areas. The Manchester-style economic policy has benefited only a small minority, primarily financiers and speculators; it has inflicted deep wounds on the people. The stock market and founding-era swindle has reduced our national assets by billions, produced general ill humor and bitterness, and supplied Social Democracy with droves of new followers.

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