Abstract: The Social Nature of Economic Interests: The Network of J.P. Morgan & Co.

Susie J. Pak

Abstract

This paper considers what the study of identity formation can bring to our understanding of J.P. Morgan & Co., the most important investment bank of the twentieth century. Historical figures do not usually see their identities as anything but natural because they can tell the stories of their lives as a progression of events from a clear perspective. This paper introduces social network analysis (SNA), a subfield of sociology, to offer a new perspective on J.P. Morgan & Co. and challenge entrenched ideas about its history, makeup, and identity. It presents an analysis of the standards by which J.P. Morgan & Co. chose its partners and the methods through which it maintained unity as a firm. The paper argues that studying the creation of cohesive identities in a modern corporate environment reveals social values and interests embedded in the structure of relations between economic actors and groups.