Profits and Politics: Beaverbrook and the Gilded Age of Canadian Finance

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University of Toronto Press, 1996 - History - 348 pages

It has been said of Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook) that 'no other Canadian carved his name so large upon his times.' A manipulative, self-serving charmer with immense business acumen, Aitken knew all the important Canadian financiers of his day, and repeatedly demonstrated his remarkable skill for making money in the field of corporate finance. In this book Gregory Marchildon looks at the entrepreneurial history of Max Aitken and his core enterprise, the Royal Securities Corporation. A penetrating study of investment banking and financial capitalism during the Laurier boom years, the book also deals more generally with the relationship between Canadian politics and imperial ideology before the Great War.

Marchildon walks us through the machinations, uncertainties, and bravado that went into Aitken's world of promoting, financing, and stockbroking. He describes in riveting detail the playing out of the great mergers in Canadian politics and business life - most notably that of Stelco and Canada Cement. We see the inner workings of finance capitalism, coloured by many remarkable personalities of the day, and we learn how Aitken's innovative tactics made him a very rich man while still in his twenties. This is a deeply textured account of the dynamics of the securities market in the formative years at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The first study of the whole of Aitken's Canadian career, Profits and Politics adds significantly to our understanding of finance capitalism during the Laurier era, and especially during Canada's first great merger era, from 1909 to 1913.

 

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Contents

Max Aitken and the Nature of Finance Capitalism during
3
Tables
8
Circuitous Road to Halifax 18791904
16
Caribbean Adventurer
40
Building the Royal Securities Corporation
62
The Montreal Engineering Company
80
The Takeover and Transformation of Montreal Trust
97
Hubris and the Young Financier
122
Manufacturing the Canada Cement Company
143
Merger Promoter Extraordinaire
181
Combines Canada Cement and the Reciprocity Election
206
From Profits to Politics
237
The First Canadian Merger Wave in International
245
Number of industrial mergers consolidations acquisitions and firm
255
N0TES 261
335
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About the author (1996)

Gregory P. Marchildon is professor and Canada Research Chair in the Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Regina and a senior fellow in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University.

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