In his annual letter to shareholders sent out on Thursday, JPMorgan CEO Chase Jamie Dimon defended the role of big business, at a time when some progressive Democrats have railed against America’s largest corporations.
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“Show me a country without any large, successful companies, and I will show you an unsuccessful country – with too few jobs and not enough opportunity as an outcome,” Dimon wrote. “No country would be better off without its large, successful companies in addition to its midsized and small companies.”
Dimon noted that successful large companies often pay good wages, provide insurance and retirement plans, in addition to training and other benefits. They also “drive innovation,” support communities and are often at the forefront of social policy.
The JPMorgan chief’s comments come as an increasing number of progressive Democrats are railing against the power of big businesses across the U.S. economy.
Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – who is running for her party’s nomination in 2020 – has called for the bust up of a number of America’s largest businesses. Warren has put out numerous policy proposals calling for the undoing of mergers and ramping up antitrust action against companies in sectors ranging from technology (think Facebook, Amazon) to agribusiness (Bayer-Monsanto, Dow). She is also a well-known critic of Wall Street’s biggest banks, about which she has made similar calls.
Freshman New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called out dominance among companies in Silicon Valley, some of which she has referred to as monopolies. She has been blamed by New York State lawmakers for e-commerce giant Amazon’s recent decision not to build its "HQ2" facility in Long Island City, New York – an about-face that she initially cheered.
Meanwhile, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled a proposal in October aimed at breaking up the country’s biggest banks – including JPMorgan.
During a recent rally in Iowa, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar – another 2020 Democratic hopeful – talked about the need to “take on the power of” monopolies, as reported by The Washington Post.
Dimon also pushed back on another trend among some progressive Democrats – toward favoring more socialist policies. In his letter he credited capitalism as the “most successful economic system,” which “has helped lift billions of people out of poverty.” He noted that socialism “inevitably produces stagnation, corruption” and could put authoritarian government officials in power.
He did, however, acknowledge that he is not an advocate for “unregulated … free-for-all capitalism,” citing the need for strong safety nets.