In contrast to the five poor daughters theme of Pride and Prejudice
and Fiddler on the Roof
, there`s the five rich sons theme of the real-life Rothschilds. From the NYT
Rothschilds Bring In an Outsider to Run the Show
By JULIA WERDIGIER
LONDON — More than 200 years ago a German banker, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, sent his five sons to different European cities to guarantee the survival of what became one of the most prominent banking dynasties.This month, his great-great-great-grandson David de Rothschild, a baron, took an equally unusual step to ensure the future of the family-owned firm: For the first time, he passed some responsibilities of running Rothschild to someone outside the family.
So, how did Rothschilds stay in control of the family firm for so long? What happened to regression toward the mean?
Lance Morrow offered two explanations in Time
in his review of Niall Ferguson`s 1998 book on the Rothschilds:
What was the Rothschilds` secret? Commercial genius and intermarriage [he means inbreeding — intermarriage is the opposite]. Rothschilds married Rothschilds; first cousins wed first cousins; and in one case an uncle took his niece as his bride. The 19th century was ignorant of the genetic risks—and in that respect, as in others, the Rothschilds were lucky. Close breeding kept the fortune cohesive. It ensured a unity of decision making and cooperation among the family`s five great banking houses—the world`s first multinational, with offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna and Naples.