End of Dollar System,
Theft of a Nation
excerpted from the book
Gods of Money
Wall Street and the Death of the
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
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
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
Volcker's shock policy had triggered the
crisis, and the New York and London banks cleaned up on that debt
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
... 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
[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
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
... 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
... 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
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
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
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
[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
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
... 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
... 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
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
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,
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
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
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