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Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 1999


  Wash. Post


  Opinions Letters to the Editor Editorials Columns


Harold Keller / L’Observateur / September 8, 1999

When speaking to groups, I often ask the question: “If you had one wish, what would it be?” Two of the most popular answers are to be rich – to win the lottery.

Many successful business people work hard in hopes of becoming independently wealthy, thinking that then they will be set for life. Mostpeople still believe that money and power will open the door to happiness.

It is said that history repeats itself. If that’s a fact, maybe we shouldlook back 75 years and see who were eight of the richest and most powerful men in America at that time.

1. Ivar Krueger – Head of International Match Corporation, one of theworld’s greatest monopolies. He was known as the “match king.”2. Jesse Livermore – One of the “boy wonders” of Wall Street – a verysuccessful speculator, considered a genius in his trade.

3. Charles M. Schwab – Former president and chairman of Bethlehem Steel,the largest independent steel company in America.

4. Samuel Insull – Chairman of Commonwealth Edison Company and otherutility corporations.

5. Howard Hopson – President of the Associated Gas & Electric Utilityempire, the largest gas company in the United States.

6. Richard Whitney – President of the New York Stock Exchange.7. Leon Fraser – President of the World Bank for InternationalSettlements.

8. Albert Fall – Secretary of the Interior under President Harding.Keep in mind that these were eight of the richest and most powerful men in America only 75 years ago.

Just a few years after their glory days, this is what happened to each of them: 1. Ivar Krueger – died a suicide.2. Jesse Livermore – died a suicide.3. Charles M. Schwab – died broke.4. Samuel Insull – was acquitted on embezzlement and mail-fraud chargesand died in Paris in modest surroundings.

5. Howard Hopson – served a prison term for mail-fraud and died in asanitarium.

6. Richard Whitney – served time in Sing Sing for grand larceny.7. Leon Fraser – died a suicide.8. Albert Fall – served a prison term for accepting a bribe.What a sad legacy each of these men left! Is money evil? Of course not! God intends for people to prosper as their souls prosper. The Bible says that all wealth comes from God and is to beused for His honor and glory. No, money is not the root of all evil, but thelove of money is. Whatever God blesses us with – money, talent, power,etc. – must be used for His glory and not ours.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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