Economics for the Young (At Heart)

Four Horsemen (Ross Ashcroft 2012)

Film Review

 Four Horsemen is full length documentary specifically produced for YouTube and aimed at a younger audience. Its primary goal is to demystify economics, which is a total turn-off for most people because it appears so complicated and uninteresting.

In the view of the filmmakers, a corrupt system of money creation and taxation has enabled a greedy corporate oligarchy to usurp control of western democracy and institute an obscene wealth transfer from the poor to the rich. The corporate elite has cleverly concealed this enormous Ponzi scheme by inventing a kind of voodoo economics to discourage people from taking a closer look at how the economy actually operates.

How Banks Create Money Out of Thin Air

The film provides an elegant description of fractional reserve lending, in which banks create money out of thin air and lend it to us at interest. Although this has been the main form of money creation for centuries (except briefly under Lincoln), most people still mistakenly believe that government issues and controls the money supply.

So do the majority of lawmakers. Ironically the majority of economists also believe that government creates the money we use to run the economy. This is because our banks fund the universities and think tanks where economic theory is taught. In other words, it’s a deliberate deception.

The banks also don’t want us to know where government debt comes from, i.e. that all governments borrow money from banks to fund military, intelligence and public services. Or that repaying all public and private debt would cause the global economy to collapse because this is the only mechanism we have for issue money.

What’s the Solution?

The filmmakers believe that the only solution to the economic, ecological and resource crises faced by humankind is for ordinary people to rebuild a new society from the bottom up.

They have started a YouTube channel called Renegade Economist, as well as publishing a book Four Horsemen: the Survival Manual. According to the authors (Ross Ashcroft and Mark Braund), it describes a model of bottom-up reform that combines government-issued money with a land value tax that replaces income and sales tax.

The second video is a public debate they held a few months after the release of Four Horsemen. The purpose of the debate was to begin public discussion about how to go about how to go about building the new society they envision. In my view the Q&As starting at 47:00 are the most interesting part of the discussion.

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.

The Battle for Public Control of Money

(This is the second of a series of posts about ending the right of private banks to issue money.)

The Secret of Oz (William Still 2009) primarily addresses the long battle to strip banks of their power to issue money. In the US, this struggle dates back to the Revolutionary War.

The title refers to socialist writer L. Frank Baum’s 1900 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. According to numerous scholars, the book is loaded with symbols related to monetary reform, the core demand of the Populist movement and the 1896 and 1900 presidential bids of Populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

The yellow brick road represented the gold standard, the Scarecrow represented farmers and the Tin Man represented industrial workers. The Wicked Witch of the West was Cleveland banker J.D. Rockefeller and the Wicked Witch of the East New York banker J.P. Morgan. The Cowardly Lion depicted William Jennings Bryan, who abandoned the call for monetary reform. The Emerald City represented (government issued) greenback money and Dorothy’s silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers in the movie) represented Bryan’s call to introduce silver coins to ease the money shortage during the 1890s depression.

Still traces the politics of monetary reform back to 30 AD, when a Nazarene carpenter engaged in violent direct action in a Jerusalem synagogue to evict the private bankers who sold silver coins which were used to pay a compulsory temple tax.

He also explores the use of state-controlled money in the American colonies and the early United States. He focuses particular attention on periods in which private banks deliberately shrank the money supply to trigger depressions (to increase profits or achieve specific political objectives), as well as efforts by Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson to end private corporate control of money.

Both Jackson and Lincoln oversaw periods in which federal and/or state government issued debt-free money.