Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, knows something about pay increases. Last year, JPMorgan Chase’s board gave Dimon a 35 percent pay increase, from $20 million to $27 million, even though the bank’s profits fell two percent and it laid off 6,671 employees.
In 1909, as one of the scores of short pictures he turned out that year, D.W. Griffith directed A Corner in Wheat, a 14-minute film adaptation of a story by the populist antitrust novelist Frank Norris. In it, a Wall Street speculator buys up so much of America’s wheat and keeps it off the market that prices soar and millions — including the farm family Griffith shows laboring in the fields — go hungry.
Americans’ long-standing apprehensions about banks getting control of the stuff of life are, as we’ve learned again in recent weeks, generally justified. The latest episode of Wall Street’s manipulation of commodity prices was revealed Sunday in a remarkable New York Times article by David Kocieniewski that showed how Goldman Sachs, just by warehousing 1.5 million tons of aluminum, has managed to raise the price of every beer and cola can the world over.