"Capital is a coward” has been cited in print since at least 1884, but has become popular in the 2000s. The saying means that capital is conservative and does not take great and unnecessary risks.
A similar phrase is, “Capital goes where it’s welcome and stays where it’s well treated.”
23 October 1884, Jersey Journal (NJ), pg. 1, cols. 2-3:
Capital is a coward and is as timorous as a young girl. The protective tariff is like a lover; it encourages capital to come out and seek the embraces of manufactures and industries, so that millions of men and women in this country can earn the money to buy the products of our farms.
(Senator William P. Frye of Maine—ed.)
None Such?: There Will Yet be Thousands
By Emory James Haynes
Boston. MA: The North Publishing Co.
“Capital is a coward, and a coward always sneaks. I don’t deny it. But, my young friend, a sneak can always win.”
June 1907, Piano, Organ & Musical Instrument Official Journal, pg. 3, col. 1:
If ever an illustration were given to show that business has no conscience—that Capital is a coward—that Money abhors those crimes only which are committed by scamps not in the ranks of Mammon—that the same Society which despises of the elect—that illustration is now being given in San Francisco.
Washington (DC) Post
Economic Overhaul for Iraq
Only Oil Excluded From Foreign Ownership
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 22, 2003; Page A01
Snow also warned that a restoration of security would be essential to attract investment. “Capital is a coward,” he said in Dubai, where the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are holding their annual meetings this week. “It doesn’t go places where it feels threatened. Companies will not send employees to places that aren’t secure.”
Posted 10/11/2004 10:35 PM Updated 10/12/2004 7:58 PM
U.S. job picture isn’t drawn in the Oval Office
By Peronet Despeignes, USA TODAY
“We need to be the best place in the world to do business,” Bush policy adviser Tim Adams says. “There’s an old adage that says capital is a coward: it goes where it’s treated well and flees where it’s treated poorly. We ought to treat it well by keeping taxes, regulation and health-care costs low.”
Beyond the Iraq War:
The promises, pitfalls, and perils of external interventionism
By Michael Heazle and Iyanatul Islam
Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar
As John Snow, the US Treasury Secretary ruefully acknowledged: ‘Capital is a coward . . . It doesn’t go places where it feels threatened. Companies will not send employees to places that aren’t secure.’ See R. Chandrasekaran (2003), “Economic Overhaul for Iraq,’. Washington Post, 22 September.
New York (NY) Times
At West Bank Conference, Dreams of Investment
By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: May 22, 2008
The overall picture was “contradictory,” said Mohammad Shtayyeh, president of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, a Palestinian Authority agency. “Capital is a coward,” he said. “It needs encouragement. The environment in Palestine is not very encouraging.”
George F. Will: John McCain’s chairman hopes to do what McCain couldn’t
George F. Will Jun 2, 2011 – 8:41 AM ET | Last Updated: Jun 1, 2011 3:35 PM ET
“Capital is a coward,” Huntsman says, meaning capital is rational — it flees risky environments, which Obama administration policies create.
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Thursday, July 07, 2011 • Permalink