The Lost Science of Money – Wars Are Won By Bankers, Not Armies

The Lost Science of Money: The Mythology of Money – The Story of Power

by Stephen Zarlinga

American Monetary Institute (2002)

Book Review

This book, by co-author of Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s HR 2990 to abolish the Federal Reserve (see HR2990: Historic Bill to Abolish the Federal Reserve), is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. At 775 pages, the lowest price I could find for a used copy was $225 from Alibris. Fortunately it’s also available in PDF format at Lost Science of Money

It’s clear from Zarlenga’s extensive documentation and footnotes that the research for this book took decades. He essentially rewrites western history dating back to the ancient Sumerians. His goal is to expose and correct all the distortions and myths introduced into official history historians in the pay of merchants and bankers. Both are fiercely committed to perpetuating our current global monetary system in which private central banks create and control the money supply.

Among many others, two of the myths Zarlenga explodes are that the Roman Empire collapsed due to barbarian invasion (he demonstrates very convincingly that Rome collapsed due to a debasement of their currency) and the often repeated claim that excessive government printing of money was responsible for the deadly inflation in the early years of the Third Reich – as Zarlenga points out, it was actually the privately owned central Reichsbank that issued the money and created the inflation.

The Concept of “True Money,”

Zarlenga begins by establishing a clear difference between “true money,” which he defines as money with a fixed value set by law and “commodity money,” in which private merchants and banks issue and control the value of money. In the rare historical periods where governments have issued and controlled money by law, the result has been long periods of political stability and flourishing industry and culture.

The Romans enjoyed the longest continuous period (200 years) of monetary stability. Roman leaders maintained control of their money by prohibiting silver and gold coinage for domestic use – issuing fixed value copper and bronze coinage instead. In this way they prevented foreign merchants from capturing control of their money supply and manipulating the value of their currency.

He Who Controls the Money Controls the World

Zarlenga carefully traces how after the fall of the Roman Empire, control of western money shifted from Constantinople (after the 4th Crusade which sacked Constantinople – see link), to Venice, to Portuguese traders in Antwerp (after they opened the trade route around the southern tip of Africa), to Amsterdam (following the civil war splitting the Netherlands into Holland and Belgium), to London (after the Dutch prince William of Orange seized the English throne). In each case, control of the money supply was far more important than military strength in consolidating political control.

Zarlinga also clarifies, though careful research, the historical role played by the Knights Templar and Jewish merchants and money lenders in the development of global monetary centers.

The Dutch Usurper Who Chartered the Bank of England

One of the sections that interested me most concerned the founding of the Bank off England – which set the global standard for all private central banks – in 1694. Previously I hadn’t realized that the Bank of England was started by a Dutch king (William of Orange), who usurped the English throne from James II. Nor that his purpose for chartering the Bank of England was to advance the interest of the Dutch merchants and bankers who initially controlled it.

“True Money” in the Americas

I also enjoyed the detailed section outlining the history of government issued money in the US. Again Zarlenga presents extensive and convincing evidence that it was the ability of colonial governors to issue their own money that enabled commerce and industry in the 13 original colonies, as well as enabling them to organize a successful war of independence against England.

Zarlenga also describes in detail the battle Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and their allies fought against the creation of a privately controlled central bank, as well as the immense popularity of the Greenback Congress issued during the Civil War – and the immense national uprising (the populist movement) launched at the end of the 19th century to save them.

The Federal Reserve Engineers the Great Depression

Obviously the book wouldn’t be complete without a chapter on the criminal conspiracy that lead to the formation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the Federal Reserve’s role in engineering the Great Depression 26 years later, and Roosevelt’s prolonged battle with Wall Street to implement the New Deal recovery.

The Hidden History of Money, Debt and Organized Religion

Debt the First 5,000 Years

David Graeber (2012)

In this presentation, anthropologist David Graeber talks about his 2012 book Debt: The First 5,000 Years

For me, the most interesting part of the talk is his discussion of the historical link between debt and the rise of the world’s major religions (Hinduism, Christianity, Confucianism, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism) between 500 BC and 600 AD.

As Graeber describes it, all commerce was based on credit prior to the development of coinage around 500 BC. In all societies, coinage arose in conjunction with the onset of empire building – traveling armies had to be paid in hard currency rather than credit. The result, according to Graeber, was the simultaneous rise of military/coinage/slavery* empires in Greece, China and India.

According to Graeber, all the major religions arose around the same time – as a “peace movement” opposing militarism, materialism and slavery.

Around 400 AD, when the Roman and other empires collapsed, coinage vanished, along with the standing armies that necessitated its creation. During the Middle Ages, nearly all financial transactions were based on credit. Until 1493, when the “discovery” of the New World initiated a new cycle of empire building, accompanied by militarism, coinage and slavery.

I was also intrigued to learn that Adam Smith stole most of his thinking about free markets from medieval Islamic philosophers. The Islamic ban on usury enabled the Muslim world to operate pure free markets that were totally outside of government influence or control. Trying to operate an economy without such a ban (or a system of debt forgiveness like the Biblical practice of Jubilee) leads to inevitable economic chaos and ultimately collapse, even with government intervention.

People who like this talk will also really like a series Graeber recently produced for BBC4 radio entitled Promises, Promises: The History of Debt.  In it, Graeber explores  the link between Native American genocide and the harsh debt obligations imposed on the Conquistadors.  He also discusses the formation of the Bank of England in 1694, the role of paper money as circulating government debt and the insanity of striving for government surpluses.


* In ancient times, the primary mechanism by which people became enslaved was non-payment of debt.

 

 

 

Telling the Truth About Debt, Austerity and Taxation

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The Joy of Tax: How a Fair Tax System Can Create a Better Society

by Richard Murphy

Corgi Books (2015)

Book Review

Although the topic is economics, I personally guarantee this product to be totally painless. Murphy describes economics in ordinary comprehensible language – unlike mainstream economists who treat economics like a religion that can only be understood by high priests – and who speak and write in obscure language so you can never be sure if they’re telling the truth or not.

In The Joy of Tax, UK Tax Justice Network co-founder Richard Murphy offers a radically pioneering approach to tax and fiscal policy.  Murphy is one of the first economists to link tax policy to the 400- year-old reality that nearly all money is created by private banks out of thin air.

For political reasons, most economists try to conceal that private bank loans, i.e. debt, are the source of nearly all money in circulation. According to Murphy, the recent admission by the Bank of England (Quarterly Bulletin April 2014) about the true source of our money makes it possible to debunk a number of myths perpetuated by mainstream politicians and economists. Some examples: that investment is only possible when there are sufficient savings in the economy, that government debt is bad and that austerity, balanced budgets and government surpluses are good.

A point Murphy emphasizes repeatedly is that government also has the ability to create money out of thin air. Moreover it has regularly exercised that right to stimulate a stagnant economy. In fact, because all money is created as debt, it’s essential for government to “create” money (by spending it into the economy) whenever private banks fail to create sufficient credit. If this didn’t happen, severe economic recession results.

In Murphy’s view, the primary purpose of taxation is to reclaim the money government creates to keep it from over-inflating the economy. He claims the conservative elites who rabbit on about repaying government debt are really making the case that only private banks should have the right to create money. Aside from making them enormously rich, this makes no sense. Private banks are incapable of acting in the public interest – by law they can only act in the interest of their shareholders.

Citing Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, Murphy maintains a rational tax system can deliver other important goals, such as reducing inequality, recovering externalized costs (e.g.  pollution, toxic waste) imposed by corporations and promoting economically and ecologically sustainable growth.

For the current tax system to accomplish these goals, it would need to be far less regressive. At present most of the tax burden falls on middle and low income taxpayers. According to Murphy, the global economy will continue to stagnate until the wealthy shoulder their fair share of tax.

To make our current tax system fairer, Murphy proposes to introduce a number of “progressive” taxes, including a financial transaction tax, a wealth tax, a carbon/pollution tax, a land value tax to fund local government and a special tax on corporations that fail to re-invest their profits. He also proposes to do away with the current welfare bureaucracy by introducing an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI).

Although most of these tax reform proposals are specific for the UK, they would clearly produce similar benefits for the US and other post-industrial economies.

Originally published in Dissident Voice

A Second Model for Regaining Control of Our Money

modernising money

(This is the fifth in a series of posts about stripping private banks of their power to issue money)

Modernising Money: Why Our Monetary System is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed

by Andrew Jackson and Ben Dyson (Positive Money 2012)

Book Review

Modernizing Money lays out a model for restoring government control of the money supply that’s very similar to the Chicago Plan. However it differs from the Chicago Plan in several important ways. Unlike the Chicago Plan, this second model isn’t obsessed with sovereign debt repayment. This, in my view is the most significant difference. Given the IMF’s singular focus on servicing debt, their heavy emphasis on debt repayment isn’t terribly surprising.

In allowing publicly accountable government bodies to assume responsibility for issuing money, both models ensure decisions around money creation are based on the needs of a productive economy, rather than the profit profile of private banks.

Thus both go a long way towards ending bubbles and boom and bust cycles, as well as reducing debt and minimizing inflation and deflation. The 2008 economic downturn was triggered by sudden deflation, i.e. the permanent loss of 60-200 trillion dollars from the global economy.*

Because income inequality increases in direct proportion to debt levels, nationalizing the money supply will also reduce income inequality.

A Radical Change in the Function of Banks

The function of banks changes radically under both proposals. In both cases, private would function purely as money brokers, like credit unions and savings and loan associations. They would only be permitted to loan money from existing assets, from customers’ investment accounts or from reserves borrowed from the central bank. Under both plans, there would be no bank bailouts or bank depositor insurance. When private banks cease to serve the essential function of creating and maintaining the money supply, they will cease to be “too big to fail.” Those that continue to make risky speculative investments will be allowed to go bankrupt.

How the Two Proposals Differ

The proposal Positive Money puts forward in Modernising Money is based on the British economic system, whereas the Chicago Plan is based on the US system. Thus the transition would be somewhat easier in the UK, where the central bank (the Bank of England) has been government-owned since 1946. In contrast the US the central bank (the Federal Reserve) is a consortium of privately owned banks.

Unlike the Chicago Plan, the Positive Money model would use newly created sovereign money for other purposes that paying down existing debt. Under the Chicago Plan, using the new debt-free money to repay sovereign debt (aka national debt or public debt) would be one of the first steps in the transition. The Chicago Plan would also use the new money to issue a citizens dividend that businesses and households would use to pay off private debt.

The Positive Money proposal would simply transfer all existing public and private debt (i.e. mortgage and consumer debt) to the Bank of England balance sheet. Businesses and households would continue to make loan repayments to the Bank of England according to the terms agreed with their bank. This new revenue accruing to the BOE would be spent into the economy in one of five ways. At the discretion of the British government, it could be used to increase public spending, cut taxes or repay government debt. It could also be used to issue a citizens’ dividend (which households and businesses would be required to use for repayment of existing debts) or new loans to businesses.

Ensuring Adequate Credit for the Business Sector

Positive Money is also more explicit about how they would ensure there is adequate credit in the economy to make sure new businesses have adequate access to loans for productive business investment. They would use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, including the existing Credit Conditions Survey. They would then auction off a specified amount of new credit to private banks. This new credit could only be used for business loans and not mortgages or consumer credit.

*Both proposals also make the claim that nationalizing the creation of money would also end real estate speculation and bubbles by restricting the funds available for mortgage loans. However given that both proposals spend new money into the economy, there’s still a good chance this could be used for real estate speculation. In my view, the only way to prevent this would be to implement a Land Value Tax simultaneously with the transition to government-issued money.

The Real Vampires: An Insider’s View of Banks

tragedy and hope

Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time

Carroll Quigley* (1966 MacMillan)

Tragedy and Hope is a free download from http://sandiego.indymedia.org/media/2006/10/119975.pdf

(This is a third of a series of posts about stripping private banks of their power to create and control our money supply.)

Book Review

Tragedy and Hope is an exacting account of how the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve, the European central banks, and the investment banks that dominate them (e.g. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan) came to control all western governments.

According to Quigley, banks have controlled western society – by manipulating the money supply – since the creation of the Bank of England and the fractional reserve lending system in 1694. Moreover, owing to the secrecy under which they operate, Quigley asserts that most elected officials are totally unaware of the immense control central and investment banks exert over the so-called democratic process.

He describes in exhaustive detail how all historical inflationary and deflationary crises, panics, wars, recessions and depressions were orchestrated behind the scenes by the banking establishment, for the purpose of increasing their private wealth. In his epic portrayal of three centuries of western civilization, he also describes how the banking aristocracy financed the rise of Communism in Russia, China and Eastern Europe, as well as bringing Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Roosevelt to power and guiding their governments from behind the scenes.

How Banks Create Money “Out of Nothing”

The single act, according to Quigley, that guaranteed Britain’s two century preeminence over the rest of the world was the development (in 1694), by British investment banks, of the fractional reserve lending system. This system allowed English investment banks to be the first in the world to lend money (to industry and the British government) that they created out of thin air. He goes on to list the banking dynasties that have held near absolute control of the global money supply since 1694, starting with banking cartel formed by Frankfurt banker Meyer Rothschild. At the time of his death, Rothschild’s five sons each controlled a major investment bank in Vienna, London, Naples, Paris and Frankfurt. Quigley lists the investment bank formed by the J.P. Morgan family as second to the Rothschild banks in power and influence, followed by the Baring Brothers, Morgan Grenfell, the Lazard Brothers, Erlanger, Warbur, Shroder, Seligman, the Speyers, Mirabaud, Mallet and Fould.

The Council on Foreign Relations

Quigley also writes about the network of secret round tables of international corporate and banking elites started by Cecil Rhodes and expanded by his followers with his sizable estate. At their founding, they had the stated purpose of spreading British the virtues of “ruling class” tradition throughout the English speaking world and solidifying the political power and influence of the British Empire. The US Council on Foreign Relations, one of the secret round tables started by Rhodes’ followers, was started in 1919, with the explicit goal of influencing the foreign and domestic policies of a former colony over which Britain no longer had direct control.

How English Banks Controlled the US Government

According to Quigley, the US was consistently a debtor nation prior to World War I. Following the 1776 revolution, US government and businesses continued to borrow funding for industrial and colonial expansion from English and European investment banks. The American banker, JP Morgan, collaborated with European investment banks to dictate US foreign and domestic policy. They did so by threatening to destroy the US economy by 1) refusing to renew treasury bonds (i.e. money the government borrowed from banks to fund public spending 2) causing a panic by throwing large numbers of shares on the stock market or 3) destroying the value of railroads and other companies the banks owned by loading them up with worthless assets.

As Quigley relates, they engaged in all three tactics at various times throughout the 19th century, resulting in a series of booms, panics, recessions and depressions that wreaked havoc on American economic development.

How Bankers Engineered, World War I, Bolshevism, Nazism and the Great Depression

The most disturbing section of Tragedy and Hope describes how international bankers engineered (he describes their secret meetings) World War I and what Quigley calls the Banker-Engendered Deflationary Crisis of 1927-40 (aka the Great Depression). Following the 1870 unification under Bismarck, Germany experienced a rapid burst of industrialization, generating sufficient profit that they ceased to rely on investment banks to finance either business or government. They also threatened global bankers by competing with England and other European countries for export markets.

While engineering the first world war to put Germany in her place, the world banking cabal simultaneously hatched a scheme to destabilize Russia (which was making claims on Balkan members of the former Ottoman Empire) by secretly funding the Bolsheviks and other Russian revolutionaries.

Financing Hitler and the Nazis

When the the first world war ended in 1918, public debt in Western Europe and the US had increased by 1000%. In 1929, the austerity measures global banks forced on the US, England, France and other European countries led to widespread bankruptcies and unemployment and the virtual collapse of foreign trade.

Except in Germany. The global banking elite used the wealth generated from debt repayment to finance rapid German re-industrialization and militarization and the Nazi movement started by Hitler. The main German corporations funding Hitler were IG Farben, Siemens, Bayer, Daimler Benz, Porsche/Volksvagen and Krupp. In addition to Henry Ford and William Randolph Hearst, the important US banks and corporations who financed Hitler’s rise to power included Kodak, Coca-Cola, DuPont, Standard Oil, IBM, Random House and Chase Bank.

* Late mentor to former president Bill Clinton, Princeton, Harvard and Georgetown professor Carroll Quigley also served as an adviser to the Pentagon and Foreign Service.

UK Greens Call to End Debt-Based Money

monies

According to Positive Money, the Green Party of England and Wales has joined the US Green Party in proposing to strip private banks of the power to create money. The September 13 motion calls for the power to be placed with a democratically accountable National Monetary Authority at the Bank of England.

The US Green Party has recently adopted a similar plank in their Economic Justice Platform:

15. Nationalize the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, reconstituting them and the Federal Reserve Systems Washington Board of Governors under a new Monetary Authority Board within the U.S. Treasury. The private creation of money or credit which substitutes for money, will cease and with it the reckless and fraudulent practices that have led to the present financial and economic crisis.

16. The Monetary Authority, with assistance from the FDIC, the SEC, the U.S. Treasury, the Congressional Budget Office, and others will redefine bank lending rules and procedures to end the privilege banks now have to create money when they extend their credit, by ending what’s known as the fractional reserve system in an elegant, non disruptive manner. Banks will be encouraged to continue as profit making companies, extending loans of real money at interest; acting as intermediaries between those clients seeking a return on their savings and those clients ready and able to pay for borrowing the money; but banks will no longer be creators of what we are using for money.

The New Zealand Green Party is still debating whether to include a similar provision in their monetary reform policy.

Link to US Green Party: http://www.gp.org/

Link to British Green Party: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/