Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Secrecy And The U.S. Super-Rich

Many super-rich individuals are careful to keep a low-profile in the United States. As The Founding Fortunes book noted:

“Many wealthy individuals have chosen to lead lives of deliberate obscurity. They attempt to conceal their family ties and the extent of their wealth from everyone except other family members, close friends, and a few trusted business associates. With only a few exceptions, most of the members of the richest families in America are entirely unknown to the public at large…The scholar and the layman alike are often misled by news accounts that fail to disclose the true extent of inheritance within wealthy families…The major cause of such journalistic omissions is the financial secrecy maintained by almost all corporate rich families…Very little is known with certainty about most corporate rich families or their fortunes. The reason of course, is that the members of these families want all the advantages of being rich without any of the disadvantages of being famous. As a rule, the members of wealthy capitalist families refuse to divulge even the most rudimentary details of their wealth. In order to maintain their anonymity, the members of corporate rich families typically refuse to disclose even basic biographical information about themselves. Many of the richest Americans are not listed in Who’s Who In America, simply because they refuse to provide the editors of this directory with any biographical information. Some of the wealthiest families in America have achieved almost complete anonymity, despite the fact that they exercise enormous power.”

(Downtown 3/17/93)

Next: Repressing Journalists In Africa Historically