Robert M. Trueblood
at the Hayden, Stone Forum
New York, New York
For the past 15 years, Hayden, Stone Incorporated,
stock brokers, have conducted forums to which prominent
corporate and financial officials are invited to
give the outlook for their companies to the investment
banking community. The forum at which Mr. True-blood
spoke was the fifth in a series dealing primarily
with accounting principles.
A SEASON OF HEAD-HUNTING?
Leaders must look ahead—they must try to detect
and to weigh those events and conditions of the
present which provide clues to the events and conditions
of the future.
This duty applies to leaders in any field. Certainly
it is true with respect to business.
You gentlemen represent leadership groups in all
parts of the business world. And it is my purpose today
to lay before you what I believe to be signs of po-iential
dangers to business and to suggest what can
be done to avert them.
Ever since there has been such a thing as "big
business" in our country, its reputation with the public
has fluctuated. In the latter part of the 19th Century
and the early years of this one, business was violently
attacked. That was the period of muckraking and
trustbusting. Newspapers and magazines were full of
diatribes against the railroads and the great industrial
organizations of the day. A book called "Wealth
Against Commonwealth" which appeared in 1894, had
an immense circulation and was enthusiastically applauded
in press and pulpit. Public hostility toward
some of the business practices of the day expressed
itself in the Interstate Commerce Act, the Sherman
Anti-Trust Act and other regulatory measures.
Another wave of anti-business sentiment came in
the 1930's. The air-waves vibrated with denunciation of
"princes of privilege" and "malefactors of great
wealth." This time, bankers were the favorite whipping-boys.
And once again legislators—the elected representatives
of the people—responded to popular sentiment
by enacting a long list of regulatory measures:
the Federal Securities Act, various banking acts, the
2 THE QUARTERLY