… is from page 121 of Phil Gramm’s, Robert Ekelund’s, and John Early’s 2022 book, The Myth of American Inequality: How Government Biases Policy Debate (footnote deleted):
As with the Vanderbilts, large accumulations of wealth [by families] in America typically disappear within about four generations. Other mega-rich families like the Kluges, Hartfords, and Strohs completely disappeared so quickly that they are now known only to economic historians.
Note that this dissolving and eventual disappearance of accumulated wealth in families in America is nearly impossible for the likes of Thomas Piketty (and many other like-minded folks) to explain. Piketty, recall, insists that – barring shooting wars or major economic collapses – wealth in capitalist societies grows automatically.
Bob Ekelund served as chairman of my doctoral dissertation committee at Auburn University back in the mid-1980s. I learned much from Bob and remain grateful for his mentorship and support through the years. I’m proud to call myself his student.