Reagan Revolution,
Greenspan's Revolution,
End of Dollar System,
Theft of a Nation

excerpted from the book

Gods of Money

Wall Street and the Death of the American Century

by F. William Engdahl

edition.engdahl, 2009, paperback


The monetary shock therapy that [US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker imposed on the United States [1970s] had been developed and already implemented several months earlier in Britain by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Voicker and his close circle of Wall Street banking friends ... merely imposed Thatcher's monetary shock model onto US conditions. The goal of both was the same-to dramatically roll back the redistribution of wealth and income in their respective countries in favor of the wealthiest 5%, or even fewer.

In early May 1979 Margaret Thatcher won election in Britain by campaigning on a platform of "squeezing inflation out of the economy." Thatcher, and her inner circle of Adam Smith 'free market' ideologues, promoted a fraud, insisting that government deficit spending, and not the 140 percent increase in the price of oil since the fall of Iran's Shah, was the chief cause of Britain's 18% rate of price inflation.

According to Thatcher's advisers, inflated prices could be lowered simply by cutting the supply of 'surplus money,' thereby inducing an economic recession. Since the major source of surplus money, she argued, was from chronic government budget deficits, therefore government expenditure must be savagely cut, in order to reduce 'monetary inflation.' The Bank of England simultaneously restricted credit to the economy by a policy of high interest rates, as their part of the remedy. It was identical in every respect to the Rockefellers' Second American Revolution, only it was called instead, the 'Thatcher Revolution.'

In June 1979, only one month after Thatcher took office, Thatcher's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Geoffrey Howe, raised Base Rates for the banks a staggering five percentage points-from 12% up to 17%--within a matter of twelve weeks. This amounted to an unprecedented 42% increase in the cost of borrowing for both industry and homeowners. Never in modern history had a major industrialized nation undergone such a shock in such a brief period, outside the context of a wartime economic emergency.

The Bank of England simultaneously began to cut the money supply, to ensure that interest rates remained high. Unable to pay borrowing costs, businesses went bankrupt; families were unable to buy new homes; long-term investment into power plants, subways, railroads, and other infrastructure ground to a halt as a consequence of Thatcher's monetarist revolution.

Thatcher also imposed draconian labor policies, forcing militant British miners to cave in after brutal months of strike, which earned her the epithet 'The Iron Lady.' Unemployment in Britain doubled, rising from 1.5 million when she was elected, to a level of 3 million by the end of her first eighteen months in office. That was part of the bankers' strategy: calculating that unemployed workers who are desperate will work for less to get any decent job. Thatcher targeted labor unions, claiming they were obstacles to the success of the monetarist 'revolution,' and blaming them for creating the enemy-inflation.

Meanwhile, Thatcher accommodated the big City banks by removing exchange controls, so that instead of capital being invested in rebuilding Britain's rotted aging industrial base, funds flowed out to speculative real estate in Hong Kong or lucrative loans to Latin America.

Beginning in Britain, then in the United States, and from the AngloAmerican world radiating outward, the shock waves from the radical monetarism of Thatcher and Rockefeller protégé [US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker spread like a virulent parasite after 1979. Country after country buckled under demands to cut government spending, lower taxes, deregulate industry and break the power of organized labor. Interest rates rose around the world to levels never before imagined in peacetime.

In the United States, [US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker's monetary shock policy by early 1980 had driven US interest rates up to an astonishing 20% nominal level.

... The sky was to be the interest rate limit under the new dogma of what the British called 'neoliberal monetarism.' Money was to be King, and the world, its dutiful servants. And Wall Street bankers were to be the Gods of Money.

The global impact of the Volcker high interest rates was devastating to industrial and developing world. By the early 1980s, worldwide spending on long-term government-funded infrastructure and capital investments - such as railroad, highway, bridge, sewer, and electricity plant construction - had collapsed.

An arch-conservative Republican President, former Hollywood movie actor Ronald Reagan, had no hesitation in backing the Volcker shock treatment. Reagan had been tutored while Governor of California by the guru of monetarism, University of Chicago economist, Milton Friedman. Friedman was also an adviser to Britain's Margaret Thatcher.

... Reagan kept Milton Friedman as his unofficial adviser on economic policy. His administration was filled with disciples of Friedman's radical monetarism as well as followers of Austrian free market economist Ludwig von Mises.

The powerful US banking circles of New York were determined to use the same radical measures on the US economy that had earlier been imposed by Friedman to break the back of Chile's economy under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Friedman's policies had also been implemented by the Argentinean military juntas during the late 1970s and early 80s, to break Argentina's unions and destroy the country's middle classes.

... The power of American finance was given a new lease on life with the Volcker shock therapy, just as intended. The byproduct of Volcker's soaring interest rate policy - a policy he held firmly to until October 1982 - was a resurgence of the US dollar as capital flowed into US bonds and other assets to earn the very high interest rate returns.

... The Latin American debt crisis, an ominous foretaste of the 2007 US sub-prime crisis, erupted as a direct result of [US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker's interest rate shock therapy. In August 1982 Mexico announced it could no longer pay the interest on its staggering dollar debt. Mexico, along with most of the Third World from Argentina to Brazil, from Nigeria to Congo, from Poland to Yugoslavia, had fallen for the New York banks' debt trap.

... The IMF was then brought in to run things in the debtor or victim country, brought there by the major New York banks and the US Treasury. The greatest looting binge in world history to that date-misnamed the Third World Debt Crisis-was on. the scale of the big banks' looting binge during the 1980s was exceeded only by their gains from the 2000-2007 mortgage securitization swindles.

Volcker's shock policy had triggered the crisis, and the New York and London banks cleaned up on that debt crisis.

By 1986, after seven years of relentlessly high interest rates by the Volcker Fed, the internal state of the US economy was horrendous. Much of America had come to resemble a Third World country, with its sprawling slums, double-digit unemployment, rising crime rates, and endemic drug addiction. A Federal Reserve study showed that 55% of all American families were net debtors.

... In reality [US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker, who had worked under David Rockefeller at Chase Manhattan Bank, had been sent by Rockefeller to Washington to do one thing-save the dollar from a free fall collapse that threatened the role of the US dollar as global reserve currency, and with it, to save the bond markets for the wealthy upper stratum of American elite society, the money interests. It was, in effect, the financial oligarchs' counter-revolution against the concessions they had been forced to give to the 'lower classes' during and after the Great Depression.

That role of the US dollar as world reserve currency was the hidden key to American financial power.

With US interest rates going through the roof, foreign investors flooded in to reap the gains by buying US bonds. Bonds, US Government debt, were the heart of Wall Street's control of the international financial system. Voicker's shock therapy for the economy reaped astronomical profits for the New York financial community.

... The dollar rose to all-time highs against the currencies of Germany, Japan, Canada and other countries from 1979 through the end of 1985. The over-valued US dollar made US manufactured exports prohibitively expensive on world markets, however, and led to a dramatic decline in US industrial exports.

There would not have been a Third World debt crisis during the 1980s, had there not been Margaret Thatcher's and Paul Volcker's radical monetary shock policies.

The IMF had become the global financial 'policeman,' enforcing payment of usurious debts through imposition of the most draconian austerity in history. With the crucial voting bloc of the IMF firmly controlled by an American-British axis, the IMF became the global enforcer of a de facto Anglo-American neocolonial monetary and economic dictatorship, one imposed by a supranational institution immune from any democratic political controls.

... The debtor countries had been caught in a debt trap from which the only way out, offered conveniently by the creditor banks of New York and London, was to surrender their national sovereign control over their economy, especially over valuable national resources such as oil and raw materials.

One study, by Hans K. Rasmussen of Danish UNICEF, pointed out that what had taken place since the early 1980s was a massive transfer of wealth from the capital-starved Third World, primarily into the financing of deficits in the United States. It was de facto imperialism or, as some called it, neo-colonialism under the disguise of IMF technocracy.

... With high US interest rates, a rising dollar, and the security of American government backing, 43% of the record high US budget deficits during the 1980s were financed by this looting of capital from the debtor countries of the once-developing sector... the debt was merely a vehicle for establishing de facto economic control over entire sovereign countries.

Africa fared even worse than other regions as a result of the American debt strategy. The oil shocks and the ensuing 20% interest rates and collapsing world industrial growth in the 1980s dealt the death blow to almost the entire Continent. Until the 1980s, Black Africa had been 90% self-sufficient in exporting its raw materials to finance its development. Beginning in the early 1980s, the world dollar price of such raw materials- everything from cotton to coffee to copper, iron ore and sugar - began an almost uninterrupted freefall.

... By 1987 such raw materials prices had fallen to their lowest levels since the Second World War, as low as their level in 1932, a year of deep global economic depression. The 1980s collapse, which would last almost twenty years until China's economic boom began to reverse it in the early years of the next century, was a deliberate policy of the American financial interests to fuel an economic growth based on dirt-cheap raw materials in a 'globalized' economy.

Wall Street's ... zeal for lifting government 'shackles' off financial markets resulted in an extravaganza of financial excess. When the dust settled by the end of that decade, some began to realize that Reagan's free market had all but destroyed an entire national economy: the USA's.

President Ronald Reagan signed the largest tax reduction bill in postwar history in August 1981. The bill contained provisions that gave generous tax relief for certain speculative forms of real estate investment, especially commercial real estate. Government restrictions on corporate takeovers were also removed, and Washington gave the clear signal that 'anything goes, so long as it stimulated the Dow Jones Industrials stock index.

[Alan] Greenspan would rarely disappoint his Wall Street patrons during the 18 years when he controlled the Fed with an almost iron grip. Those 18 years were marked by financial deregulation, successive speculation bubbles and instability.

... Greenspan's entire tenure as Fed chairman was dedicated to advancing the interests of American world financial domination in a nation whose domestic economic base had been essentially destroyed in the years following 1971.

Greenspan knew who buttered his bread and as Federal Reserve head he loyally served what the US Congress in 1913 had termed "the Money Trust," in reference then to the cabal of bankers behind the 1913 creation of the Federal Reserve.

Many, of the same banks which were pivotal in the securitization revolution of the 1990s and into 21st Century, including Citibank and J.P. Morgan had been at the center of the 1913 Money Trust as well. Both had share ownership of the key New York Federal Reserve Bank, the heart of the system. The real goal of the Money Trust whether in 1913 or in 1987 was to consolidate their control over major industries, economies and ultimately, over the economy of the entire world through what would be called the globalization of finance.

The real goal of the Money Trust whether in 1913 or in 1987 was to consolidate their control over major industries, economies and ultimately, over the economy of the entire world through what would be called the globalization of finance.

When Alan Greenspan arrived in Washington in 1987, he had been hand picked by Wall Street and the big banks to implement their Grand Strategy. Greenspan was a Wall Street consultant whose clients included J.P. Morgan Bank, among others. Before taking the post as head of the Federal Reserve, Greenspan had also sat on the boards of some of the most powerful corporations in America, including Mobil Oil Corporation, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company and JP Morgan & Co. Inc. Greenspan had also served as a director of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1982. As Federal Reserve Chairman his first test in October 1987 would be the manipulation of stock markets using the then-new derivatives markets.

The doctrine of "Too Big to Fail" (TBTF) ... was that certain very large banks, because they were so large, must not be allowed to fail for fear it would trigger a chain-reaction of failures across the economy. It didn't take long before the large banks realized that the bigger they became through mergers and takeovers, the more certain they were to qualify for TBTF treatment.

... The TBTF doctrine, during [Alan] Greenspan's tenure as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, would be extended to cover very large hedge funds (LTCM), very large stock markets (NYSE), and virtually every large financial entity in which the US financial establishment had a strategic stake.

... Once the TBTF principle was made clear, the biggest banks scrambled to get even bigger. The traditional separation of banking into local S&L mortgage lenders, on the one hand, and large international money center banks like Citibank or J.P. Morgan or Bank of America, on the other - as well as the prohibition on banking in more than one state - were systematically dismantled.

... By 1996 the number of independent banks had shrunk by more than one-third from the late 1970s -- from more than 12,000 to fewer than 8,000. The percentage of banking assets controlled by banks with more than $100 billion doubled to one-fifth of all US banking assets.

Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein, New York Times, June 2007

We've come full circle, because this is exactly what the Rothschilds or J. P. Morgan, the bankers were doing in their heyday. What caused an aberration was the Glass-Steagall Act.

What had emerged after the 1999 repeal of Glass-Steagall was an awesome transformation of American credit markets into what would soon become the world's greatest unregulated private money-creating machine.

The New Finance was built on an incestuous, interlocking, if informal, cartel of players, all reading from the script written by Alan Greenspan and his friends at J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and the other major financial houses of New York. Securitization was going to secure a 'new' American Century and US financial domination of the world, as its creators clearly believed on the eve of the millennium.

Key to the 'revolution in finance,' in addition to the unabashed backing of the Greenspan Fed, was the complicity of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the US Government, up to and including the Supreme Court. Also required in order to make the game work seamlessly, was the active complicity of the two leading credit agencies in the world-Moody's and Standard & Poors.

The revolution in finance required a Congress and Executive branch that would repeatedly reject rational appeals to regulate over-the-counter financial derivatives, bank-owned or financed hedge funds, and would systematically remove all of the mechanisms for supervision, control, and transparency that had been painstakingly built up over the previous century or more.

Fed Chairman [Alan] Greenspan ... worked with J.P. Morgan and a handful of other trusted friends on Wall Street to support the launch of securitization in the 1990s. It soon became clear what the staggering potential gains would be for the banks who were first in line and who could shape the rules of the new game, the New Finance.

J.P. Morgan & Co. had led the march of the big money center banks, beginning in 1995, away from traditional customer bank lending towards the pure trading of credit and of credit risk. The goal was to amass huge fortunes for the bank's balance sheet - and its executives -- without having to carry the risk on the bank's books. It was an open invitation to greed, fraud and ultimate financial disaster. Almost every major bank in the world -- from Deutsche Bank to UBS to Barclays to Royal Bank of Scotland to Société Générale -- soon followed Chase, J.P Morgan and Citibank like eager, blind lemmings.

[Federal Reserve Chairman Alan] Greenspan's 18-year tenure could be described as rolling the financial markets from successive crises into ever larger ones, in the process to accomplish the over-riding objectives of the Money Trust guiding the Greenspan agenda - the extension of their power over the world monetary system.

In 1999 the US Congress and GAO investigated Citigroup for illicitly laundering $100 million in drug money for Raul Salinas, brother of then-President of Mexico. The investigations also discovered that the bank had laundered money for corrupt officials from Pakistan to Gabon to Nigeria.

Four successive US Presidents -- from Ronald Reagan to George H.W. Bush, to Bill Clinton, and to George W. Bush - all determined to enable the speculative debt binge destruction of the American economy by encouraging financial deregulation. The result was a drastic redistribution of wealth and power in the American population, enhanced by selective tax cuts for the wealthiest and tax hikes, direct and indirect, for the over-indebted American consumer.

... Wall Street investment banks -- such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers - introduced securitization, a process supported by the authority that should have been restraining it, the Federal Reserve. This process led to the creation of the new instruments of fraud and deception-Asset Backed Securities. Banks issued 'liar's loans' and other easy credit to their customers, often misleading them as to ultimate risk.

... the Asia Crisis of 1997-1998, a crisis had been covertly and overtly ignited by the same Wall Street banks in order to draw Asian capital into the United States, the flood of money from Asia - - above all from China -- into US semi-public real estate giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

... The securitization structure had been created and ... designed to fraudulently enrich those financial institutions that were at the heart of the American colossus --Wall Street and their closest allies.

A small handful of very big banks had grown so huge that they were deemed Too Big To Fail, thanks mainly to the deliberate Government policy of financial deregulation, most notably the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, engineered under [Bill] Clinton by [Larry] Summers and [Tim] Geitner... By December 2008, despite their losses in the financial crisis to date, the assets of the four largest US banks exceeded the Gross Domestic Product of most countries in the world. They had indeed become the 'Gods of Money,' so large and so powerful that entire governments bowed down to their demands, worshipping at the alter of Wall Street.

The Bank of America, the largest, had a staggering $2.5 trillion in assets. It was followed by JP Morgan Chase at $2.2 trillion; Citigroup at $1.9 trillion and Wells Fargo at $1.3 trillion. The four US mega-banks combined had a nominal asset value of almost $8 trillion.

... As of June 2008, four US banks held the overwhelming majority of all contracts for complex financial derivatives.

... By far the largest derivatives bank was JP Morgan Chase with $91 trillion in notional or nominal derivatives exposure. Bank of America followed with $40 trillion; Citibank was close behind at $37 trillion, and the merged Wells Fargo-Wachovia after October 2008 held a combined $5.5 trillions.

... In the riskiest derivatives segment, the totally unregulated market for Credit Default Swaps (CDS) -- a market that had been invented by JP Morgan Chase - the four named US banks plus HSBC Bank USA, a subsidiary of Britain's largest bank, accounted for a staggering 95% of all trading by US banks in the complex CDS derivatives.

Wall Street's giant banks, the new 21st Century version of the Money Trust - based on exotic new derivative instruments - went to extraordinary lengths to hide the real cause of the financial system losses - the bankers' own fraudulent schemes - and to panic American taxpayers into covering the banks' losses. And the giant banks were aided and abetted every step of the way by their friends in the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury, and in the White House.

William Black, a former US bank regulator during the Saving Loan crisis of the 1980s

The finance sector is worse than parasitic ... In addition to siphoning off capital for its own benefit, the finance sector misallocates the remaining capital in ways that harm the real economy in order to reward already-rich financial elites harming the nation... the US real economy suffers from critical shortages of employees with strong mathematical, engineering, and scientific backgrounds. Graduates in these ... fields all too frequently choose careers in finance rather than the real economy because the financial sector provides far greater executive compensation.

... Instead of flowing to the places where it will be most useful to the real economy, capital gets directed to the investments that create the greatest fraudulent accounting gains.

Because the bubble of American consumer spending had been built on a pyramid of debt, as the pyramid imploded and debts went unpaid, the entire credit system began to collapse. Banks refused to lend, even to other established banks, fearing the unknown. The American economy had entered into its own version of a Third World debt trap.

The roots of the decline and ultimate collapse of the Roman Empire, in its day also the world's sole superpower, lay in the political decision by a ruling aristocracy, more accurately an oligarchy of wealth, to extend the bounds of empire through wars of conquest and plunder of foreign lands to feed their private wealth and personal power, not to the greater good of the state. The economic model of the Empire of Rome was based on the plunder of conquered territories. As the empire expanded, it installed remote military garrisons to maintain control and increasingly relied on foreign mercenaries to man those garrisons.

In the process of military expansionism the peasantry, the heart of the empire, became impoverished. They were forced to leave their farms, often for years to fight foreign wars of conquest. The south of Italy was devastated as one result. Those with money were able to buy land as the only stable investment, becoming huge latifundistas or landowners. 18

That led to the concentration of land in a few hands, and the land in turn was worked by slaves captured in wars of conquest. Small farmers were bankrupted and forced to flee to Rome to attempt a living as proletarians, wage laborers. They had no voting rights or other citizen rights. In the eyes of the rich, they were simply the 'mob' that could be bought, manipulated, and directed to attack an opponent; they were the 'demos,' the masses, the public. Roman 'democracy' was all about mass manipulation in the service of empire.

The government of Imperial Rome didn't have a proper budget system, and squandered resources maintaining the empire while itself producing little of value. When the spoils from conquered territories were no longer enough to cover expenses, it turned to higher taxes, shifting the burden of the immense military structure onto the citizenry. Higher taxes forced many more small farmers to let their land go barren. To distract its citizens from the worsening conditions, the Roman ruling oligarch politicians handed out free wheat to the poor and entertained them with circuses, chariot races, throwing Christians to the lions and other entertainments, the notorious "bread and circuses" strategy of keeping unrest at bay.

Political offices increasingly were sold to those with wealth. The masses, in turn, 'sold' their votes to various politicians for favors, the charade of democracy.

The next fundamental change that vitally wounded the Roman Empire was the shift from a draft army made up of farmer soldiers to one of paid professional career soldiers as the ever-more distant wars became more unpopular was not unlike what took place in America in the years after the Vietnam War when President Nixon abolished the draft in favor of an "all volunteer" Army, after the popular protest became a threat to the future of the military.)

As conditions for Roman soldiers in far away wars became more onerous, more incentives were needed to staff the legions. Limiting of military service to citizens was dropped and Roman citizenship could be won in exchange for military service,(not unlike what is taking place now as immigrant teenagers are being promised US citizenship if they risk their lives for America's wars in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere)At a certain point, Roman soldiers were forced to take an oath of service to their commander, not to the state.

Small farms were gradually replaced by huge latifundia, bought for booty, and the gap between the Roman rich and the poor increased. Then the two brothers Gracchus tried in the second century AD to ease the growing gap between rich and the rest by introducing agriculture reforms that limited the powers of the wealthy Senators, they were assassinated by the men of wealth.

The Roman oligarchy grew increasingly degenerate. Towards the end of the reign of Roman emperors, gluttony was so commonplace among the rich that vomitoriums were constructed so that people who had eaten or drunk too much could throw up and go and eat and drink some more.

... Over time the costs of maintaining this huge global military structure became overwhelming - the Third Century people were seeking every means to avoid the onerous taxes imposed to maintain the military. The army itself had doubled in size from the time of Augustus to the time of Diocletian, in the course of an inflationary spiral, inflation brought on by a systematic debasing of the gold and silver content of the Roman currency. In addition, costs of the state administration had grown enormously. By the time of Diocletian there was not one emperor but four emperors-which meant financing four imperial courts, four Praetorian Guards, four palaces, four staffs. The cost of policing the Roman state became increasingly enormous." The cost of the Roman state bureaucracy ballooned the size and cost of the US Executive Branch Federal Bureaucracy after 1971.

Ultimately, as Rome's territorial expansion stalled and began to contract, less and less loot was available to support the empire's global ambitions as well as its domestic economy. The outsourcing of the military led to lethargy, complacency, and decadence.

The Roman Empire gradually lost power. Barbarians in the north frequently went on raids against the disintegrating empire. The empire became steeped in debt as emperors tried desperately to buy the loyalty of the army, and the moral condition of its subjects continued to spiral downward.

Rome steadily lost control of its frontiers, and roads and bridges were not maintained, leading to a breakdown in trade and communication. Riots and revolts became commonplace in Rome itself. As the government fell deeper into debt, it raised taxes. The armies of different generals seized any supplies they needed from local people. Food became a precious commodity, and for the first time in centuries, large numbers of people went hungry.

Further wars of conquest plunged the Empire into internal chaos. Roman wars extended to Asia and Africa and corruption within the political ruling class increased dramatically. Money was king. Rome had become a plutocracy, an oligarchy where power was synonymous with wealth.

By 2009 the Government of the United States, authorized by the Congress of the United States, had spent more than one trillion dollars on two wars so far from American shores that most citizens could not comprehend their necessity. Iraq and Afghanistan were exposing the frayed edges of what the British called "imperial overstretch." Despite the most advanced military technology, including drone remote bombers piloted from special centers as far away from Afghan targets a Las Vegas, the United States war machine was losing rather than gaining. [By 2009] America had become transformed, much as ancient Rome, into a de facto military state, a national security garrison. By 2009 the Government was officially spending a total of more than $1 trillion annually on its military machinery, more than the total of the next forty five nations combined.

Depending on where one dated the irreversible decline, it took the Roman Empire almost two centuries to collapse. By the first months of the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, it looked as though it might have taken the American Empire, the self-proclaimed American Century, little more than six decades to accomplish its destruction from within. In both cases the corruption of an oligarchy, a plutocracy in which power was equated to wealth, was at the heart of the collapse.

In March 2008, David M. Walker, the Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office, resigned 5 years before the end of his 15-year term expired. His reason for resigning as he stated publicly in speeches across the country, was that as Comptroller he was limited in what he could do and that the United States was in danger of collapsing in much the same manner as the Roman Empire. Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman Empire, Walker warned there were "striking similarities" between America's current situation and the factors that brought down Rome.

The American Century that had been proclaimed by Time chairman Henry Luce, the Rockefeller brothers, Averell Harriman and others of the wealthiest circles of the establishment in 1941, had been based as had Rome on a system of looting and plunder of foreign lands. It took a different form from that of Rome over time, using the supranational technocrats IMF to plunder the wealth of countries from Argentina to Brazil to the nations of resource-rich Africa. It used the unique financial advantage after 1971 of being the world's reserve currency and at the same time its unchallenged military superpower to extend its power and influence far beyond what its internal economy could have sustained. As Roman emperors diluted the gold and silver content of the coins of the realm to continue an unsustainable system, the Gods of Money on Wall Street used a free-floating dollar and virtual money in the form of financial derivatives to maintain a facade of solvency. That facade cracked in August 2007 with the collapse of Germany's IKB bank.

It was an open question whether the rest of the world or even future generations of Americans would appreciate the lessons of Rome, let alone of the American Century. William Jennings Bryan had warned against letting the nation be hanged "on a cross of gold," before the Democratic National Convention of 1896, as he was nominated the party's Presidential candidate. A life-long opponent The Money Trust, of the oligarch's creed of "social Darwinism," as Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, Bryan had resigned in 1915 in protest against Wilson's manipulation of the circumstances surrounding sinking of the Lusitania in order to build a case for entering the European war. Bryan noted prophetically in a 1906 speech, little more than a century before the collapse of the US economy and its financial system,

Plutocracy is abhorrent to a republic; it is more despotic than monarchy, more heartless than aristocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It preys upon the nation in time of peace and conspires against it in the hour of its calamity ...The time is ripe for the overthrow of this giant wrong.

Gods of Money

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