Welcome to the first main feature, a larger more comprehensive tale of woe and miserable failure than you have previous been used to. Unfortunately, LinkedIn has a character limit that I personally find rather, well, limiting. So, this feature here will mainly been a separate website, I know, what hardship I impose you poor highly paid academicians, engineers and various other entities, I apologize most sincerely.
Back to the story of Harald Plum and this first Feature of Failure, the story of off good old Rise and Fall, massive spending and ridiculous things spewed forth from the pages of history.
Harald Plum was born 1881 in Assens, a small provincial town on the southern part of the island of Fyn, Denmark, and he was a rich kid, the Plum family’s fortunes would survive his own disgrace, other parts of the family would later end up with a company selling various cleaning agents and alcohol hand sanitizers, that kinda stuff.
He was a trained lawyer but a merchant by trade, in Denmark, his ilk were called “Goulash barons” selling canned food to both sides during World War One, seeing as the Germans had a fair few issues with starvation at the end of the war, the whole thing was highly profitable, even if the food wasn’t what you’d call “quality”. Soldiers will eat anything really, we all will, when hungry enough.
Now, H.P., as was his preferred nom de guerre, wasn’t the only one making money on being neutral in World War One, everyone in Denmark was, which meant that the banks in Denmark, ended up with absolutely staggering amounts of cash, combined that with an absentee CEO and a deputy whom rumour has it may have been a little to close to HP, and by to close I mean probably gay lovers, in the early 1900s, points for being progressive I guess.
You can probably guess were this is heading, the bank in question “Landsmandsbanken” (Farmer’s Bank), now known as Danske Bank, went down, why? This:
One of the biggest markets for HPs little bit of war profiteering was Russia, now, this was a bit of a problem, with the Russian Revolution of 1917, Lenin wasn’t too fond of western war profiteers and tended to either brutally murder them and dump them in ditches, fortunately for Harald, he was in Denmark, so Lenin’s government merely confiscated everything active Russia.
Landmandsbanken had the modern equivalent of billions in outstanding loans to the companies, the bank went down and had to be rescue by the government, sounds familiar doesn’t it? To big to fail is by no means a recent concept.
Harald Plump was fine though, much like Trump’s many bankruptcies, he didn’t suffer any personal hardship and was able to restart his little business empire back up, unfortunately, he didn’t really learn anything at all from almost causing the failure of an entire nation.
His second business empire ended in 1929, massive accounting fraud, fake bonds and all those lovely things corporate scandals are made out off, caused him to commit suicide on the small island of Thorø, were he had wild plans about turning the island into some bizarre glorification paradise of himself, even build a mausoleum there.
A bit of justice here at the end, he was never placed in the mausoleum, the island of Thorø was bought by the Teacher’s Union of Copenhagen during the bankruptcy auctions and they decided to remove the whole grave site monstrosity. They also sold the giant statue of Thor fighting the ice giants, but did finish some of the buildings, not to his specifications, but just enough so they’d be useful, basically instead of adding more floors, they just slammed a roof on it and called it a day.
The lesson? Don’t be fraudulent, it doesn’t end well. Even if it means you get the chance to have a cannon salute you when you arrive.