John Bogle, founder of Vanguard and the inventor of the index fund, died yesterday at the age of 89. In this video from 2017, he talks about the how inspirational Quaker values were in his life and work.
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I have come to realize that my design for Vanguard reflects many of the basic Quaker values that William Penn fostered: simplicity, economy, efficiency, service to others, and the conviction, in the words of George Fox, that the truth is the way.
I confess that I am not so strong on some of the other Quaker values. In particular, consensus, patience, silence, and humility. I take comfort in the fact that Benjamin Franklin, too, struggled to balance his pride with humility. Here’s what he wrote in his autobiography:
“In reality, there is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, and it’s still alive and every now and then will peep out and show itself. Even if I could conceive that I could completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”
William Penn—and his fellow Quakers right up until tonight—has been and are a constant inspiration for me. I do love your values. I can’t uphold them, I’m an imperfect person. But a constant inspiration to me and it finds its way into Vanguard. Just somehow it happened. Maybe it’s divinity.
I close with this quotation attributed to Pennsylvania’s founder. You will know this one well, I hardly need to repeat it. A goal that I still strive to honor with my all-too-human failings and will never fully reach. You all know it well:
“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good that I therefore can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again.”
Thank you very much.
The views expressed in this video are of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Friends Journal or its collaborators.