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Meet the Secretive Committees that Run the Global Economy
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
8 October 2015
Originally published at Occupy.com
There exists an overlapping and highly integrated network of institutions, committees and secret meetings of ad-hoc groups that collectively run the global economy. This network consists of finance ministries, central banks, international organizations and the various conferences and confabs that bring them together. This network is responsible for facilitating global financial diplomacy and managing the architecture of global financial governance. In short: it is the most powerful and informal political structure in the world.
With the United States at the center of the system, the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Bank are the two most important American institutions in global financial governance – and the Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Chairperson are the world’s two most powerful financial diplomats. Both institutions are headquartered in Washington, D.C., just down the street from the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group, two global financial bodies created in 1944 to manage the world economy on behalf of the rich Western nations that founded them.
Twice a year, the IMF and the World Bank host large international conferences. The Spring Membership Meeting, typically held in April, and the Annual membership meeting draw a crowd consisting of most of the finance ministers and central bank governors from the IMF’s 188 member nations, representing the Fund’s Governing Board. They descend on D.C. where the meetings are typically held (though occasionally they are hosted in other countries as well), and draw scores of journalists, academics and thousands of bankers and financiers who are eager to meet, greet, wine, dine and make deals with the political decision-makers of the global economy.
The top five shareholders of the IMF (United States, Japan, Germany, France and U.K.) reflect the membership of an ad-hoc group of finance ministers that began meeting in 1973, thereafter known as the Group of Five (G-5). At the time, U.S. Treasury Secretary George Shultz described the group as “a channel for informal and very frank communication on monetary and other issues, both of a long-term and more immediate character.” But the G-5 was hardly the first of such groups.
In 1962, the Group of Ten (G-10) was formed as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the rich industrial nations, including the U.S., West Germany, Japan, France, U.K., Italy, Canada, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands (and eventually Switzerland, although the name remained the same). The G-10 would meet alongside the leaders of the IMF, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
Following the U.S. unilateral decision to end the Bretton Woods monetary system in 1971, a series of committees and groups were established to provide forums for major economies of the world to negotiate forming a new monetary system, and to integrate developing economies into the institutional apparatus of global financial governance. The Group of Ten was utilized as one such forum.
In 1972, the G-10 laid the groundwork for the establishment of a special Committee of 20 to be formed within the IMF, whose membership reflected the composition of the IMF Executive Board, but at the ministerial level – giving it a much higher level of political authority than the board, which is composed of mid-level officials from their respective national finance ministries. The committee would include most G-10 members alongside several developing country representatives, and was formally institutionalized in late 1974 as the “Interim Committee” of the IMF.
(Although the Group of Five was formed in 1973, it wasn’t until 1975 that it held the first meeting at the head of state level, with the addition of Italy to the group. The following year, Canada was invited to participate, and thereafter it was known as the Group of Seven (G-7), effectively functioning as the steering committee for the global economy.)
Fast forward to the mid-1990s, when the G-7 nations instructed the Group of Ten to consult with emerging market economies on ways to reform the global financial architecture in cooperation with major international organizations like the IMF, World Bank, OECD, and BIS, which were increasingly opening their membership and ownership positions to large emerging market economies.
The idea was thus: If developed countries give developing countries a stake in the existing system, they won’t use their new-found wealth and power to oppose that system. And all the while, the West was to remain at the center. Through crisis and collapse and “rescue” efforts led by the IMF, BIS and World Bank, developing and emerging market economies were encouraged to accept Western economic “advice” on how to manage their economies. If they wanted bailouts in the form of loans from international institutions, those countries had to follow conditions that demanded a total restructuring of their economies and societies along G-7 lines – designed to transform them into modern “market economies” capable of integrating into the larger global economy.
The groundwork was laid out over the following years, and in the course of 1999, the IMF’s Interim Committee was reformed into the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). The G-10 organized several seminars involving major emerging market economies and, together with the G-7, formed a new group known as the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), a meeting group of central bankers, finance ministers and regulators who were handed responsibility for maintaining financial stability in the world. Finally, 1999 also saw the organizing efforts of the G-7 result in the formation of yet another forum, the Group of Twenty (G-20).
The G-20 was born in December of 1999 at a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the G-7 nations, along with Russia, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, Australia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina and the European Union. The event was attended by top officials from the IMF, World Bank and the European Central Bank. But despite all the international noise, the G20 was largely the initiative of two men: Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin and U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.
The G-7, or G-8 once Russia was invited in, remained the main forum for global economic leadership. But in the midst of the global financial crisis in 2008, the G-20 was the group convened by U.S. President George W. Bush, who brought together heads of state for the first meeting that took place in Washington on November 15. That meeting produced an agreement among G-20 nations to pump trillions of dollars into their economies in order to bail out their banking systems.
In 2010, then-President of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, explained at a meeting of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) that the G-20 had emerged “as the prime group for global economic governance.”
Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of the world’s most powerful bankers and financiers, Trichet explained, “Global economic governance embraces supranational institutions – such as the IMF – as well as informal groupings – such as the G-7 and the G-20. Both are necessary, and both are complementary.” Trichet praised the evolving system as “moving decisively towards a much more inclusive system of global governance, encompassing key emerging economies as well as the industrialized countries.”
To this day, the hierarchy of global economic governance follows a familiar pattern. Take the IMF’s meetings, where 188 of the world’s finance ministers and central bankers meet. The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) holds a meeting, functioning as the steering committee to the Fund. And prior to IMFC meetings, the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors hold a series of meetings, including a joint meeting with the IMFC, as they already have a significant crossover of membership.
But before the G-20 meets, the ministers and governors of the G-7 nations typically meet privately for an hour or so, attempting to form a common position or strategy in dealing with the wider groupings of the G-20 and IMFC, in which all G-7 nations are represented at the ministerial level. The chiefs of the world’s major international organizations (IMF, World Bank, OECD, WTO, BIS) participate in almost all of these meetings, acting as advisers to and receiving high-level political direction from these groups.
The hierarchy of global economic governance emanates out of the United States, in close cooperation with Germany, Japan and the other members of the Group of Seven. From there, it networks through the Group of Twenty and the IMFC, which in turn collectively function as the steering committee for the world’s major international organizations, and act as the board of directors of the global economy.
I have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise money to support my efforts to finish the first book of what will likely be a series on ‘Power Politics and the Empire of Economics’.
What I am asking of my readers is not only to consider donating to the project, but more importantly, to share and promote it through social media, by sending it to others who you think may be interested, and to help get the word out in any way you can!
Every bit helps, and a great deal of help is needed if this is to be successful!
I have collected below links to the campaign, as well as a video I made to promote it, and links to the sample introduction chapter that I published online so that potential patrons could read the kind of material that they would be supporting.
About the Project:
This book will tell the stories of the rich and powerful oligarchs and family dynasties who collectively rule our world: the global Mafiocracy, operating behind-the-scenes playing their games of power politics, globalization’s Game of Thrones where rich and influential families play their games, balancing collusion and cooperation with fierce competition to rule the world Empire of Economics.
In 1975, Henry Kissinger told President Ford: “The trick in the world now is to use economics to build a world political structure.”
This book is that story.
A small network of banks and other financial institutions dominate the global economy, its wealth and resources. This small network of corporate power functions as a global financial Mafia, complete with excessive criminal behaviour in laundering drug money, funding terrorists, rigging interest rates and manipulating markets.
Name a nation, and there are rich dynasties that rule behind the scenes. The Rockefellers in the United States, the Rothschilds in France and Britain, the Agnelli family in Italy, the Wallenbergs in Sweden, the Tata family of India and Oppenheimers of South Africa, the Koc and Sabanci families of Turkey, the Gulf Arab monarchs and the rich industrial families of Germany with dark Nazi pasts.
Germany once again rules Europe, with the European Union’s institutions of unelected technocrats undertaking a process of internal colonization as they impose their economic empire upon Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus. Finance ministers and central bankers are the agents of empire, cooperating closely with bankers, oligarchs and dynasties to create a world which best serves their interests. The global financial Mafia mingles with political leaders at forums and secret meetings like the Bilderberg group, the Trilateral Commission and the World Economic Forum.
From the streets of Athens, to Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Spain, China, South Africa, Chile, Canada, and in the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore, people are rising up against exploitation, repression and domination.
This book is not simply a collection of stories of the ruling Mafiocracy; it is designed to encourage strategy among popular and revolutionary movements capable of creating something altogether new. It is time to do away with a world ruled by oligarchs, and save the species from itself. But first, we must know our world better.
Help me to complete the first book in a series on ‘Power Politics and the Empire of Economics’. For four years I have been doing my own research, scouring the archives of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, government documents, official reports and corporate strategies, studying the world of power and empire, translating the political language of ‘economics’ into plain and simple English.
I have been published in multiple news sources, online and in print, interviewed by radio and television networks, and now I am asking for your help to raise $10,000 so that I can finish the first book in this series, to expose the Empire for all to see, its strengths as well as the weaknesses left exposed for us to exploit. Let us bring true democracy and an end to Mafiocracy. Help me to write this book, and together, let’s help each other to end the Empire.
Donate today. Thank you.
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Global Power Project: The Group of Thirty, Architects of Austerity
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
Originally posted at Occupy.com
The Group of Thirty, a preeminent think tank that brings together dozens of the world’s most influential policy makers, central bankers, financiers and academics, has been the focus of two recent reports for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project. In studying this group, I compiled CVs of the G30’s current and senior members: a total of 34 individuals. The first report looked at the origins of the G30, while the second examined some of the current projects and reports emanating from the group. In this installment, I take a look at some specific members of the G30 and their roles in justifying and implementing austerity measures.
Central Bankers, Markets and Austerity
For the current members of the Group of Thirty who are sitting or recently-sitting central bankers, their roles in the financial and economic turmoil of recent years is well-known and, most especially, their role in bailing out banks, providing long-term subsidies and support mechanisms for financial markets, and forcing governments to implement austerity and “structural reform” policies, notably in the European Union. With both the former European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean-Claude Trichet and current ECB President Mario Draghi serving as members of the G30, austerity measures have become a clearly favored policy of the G30.
In a January 2010 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jean-Claude Trichet explained that he had been “involved personally in numerous financial crises since the beginning of the 1980s,” in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Soviet Union, having been previously the president of the Paris Club – an “informal” grouping that handles debt crisis and restructuring issues on behalf the world’s major creditor nations. In this capacity, Trichet “had to deal with around 55 countries that were in bankruptcy.”
In July of 2010, Trichet wrote in the Financial Times that “now is the time to restore fiscal sustainability,” noting that “consolidation is a must,” which is a different way of saying austerity. In each of E.U. government bailouts – of which the ECB acted as one of the three central institutions responsible for negotiating and providing the deal, alongside the European Commission and the IMF, forming the so-called Troika – austerity measures were always a required ingredient, which subsequently plunged those countries into even deeper economic, social and political crises (Spain and Greece come to mind).
The same was true under the subsequent ECB president and G30 member, Draghi, who has continued to demand austerity measures, structural reforms (notably in dismantling the protections for labor), and extended support to the banking system, even to a greater degree than his predecessor. In a February 2012 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Draghi stated that “the European social model has already gone,” noting that countries of the Eurozone would have “to make labour markets more flexible.” He meant, of course, that they must have worker protections and benefits dismantled to make them more “flexible” to the demands of corporate and financial interests who can more easily and cheaply exploit that labor.
In a 2012 interview with Der Spiegel, Draghi noted that European governments will have to “transfer part of their sovereignty to the European level” and recommended that the European Commission be given the supranational authority to have a direct say in the budgets of E.U. nations, adding that “a lot of governments have yet to realize that they lost their national sovereignty a long time ago.” He further explained, incredibly, that since those governments let their debts pile up they must now rely on “the goodwill of the financial markets.”
Another notable member of the Group of Thirty who has been a powerful figure among the world’s oligarchs of austerity is Jaime Caruana, the General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which serves as the bank for the central banks of the world. Caruana was previously Governor of the Bank of Spain, from 2000 to 2006, during which time Spain experienced its massive housing bubble that led directly to the country’s debt crisis amid the global recession. In 2006, a team of inspectors within the Bank of Spain sent a letter to the Spanish government criticizing then-Governor Caruana for his “passive attitude” toward the massive bubble he was helping to facilitate.
As head of the BIS, Caruana delivered a speech in June of 2011 to the assembled central bankers at an annual general meeting in Basel, Switzerland, in which he gave his full endorsement of the austerity agenda across Europe, noting that “the need for fiscal consolidation [austerity] is even more urgent” than during the previous year. He added, “There is no easy way out, no shortcut, no painless solution – that is, no alternative to the rigorous implementation of comprehensive country packages including strict fiscal consolidation and structural reforms.”
At the 2013 annual general meeting of the BIS, Caruana again warned that attempts by governments “at fiscal consolidation need to be more ambitious,” and warned that if financial markets view a government’s debt as unsustainable, “bond investors can and do punish governments hard and fast.” If governments continue to delay austerity, he said, the markets will have to use “market discipline” to force governments to act, “and then the pain will be large indeed.” In further recommending “structural reforms” to labor and service markets, Caruana noted that “the reforms are critical to attaining and preserving confidence,” by which, of course, he meant the confidence of markets.
The ‘Academic’ of Austerity: Kenneth Rogoff
Kenneth Rogoff is an influential academic economist and a member of the Group of Thirty. Rogoff currently hold a position as professor at Harvard University and as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He sits on the Economic Advisory Panel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and previously Rogoff spent time as the chief economist of the IMF as well serving as an adviser to the executive board of the Central Bank of Sweden. Rogoff is these days most famous – or infamous – for co-authoring (with Carmen Reinhart) a study published in 2010 that made the case for austerity measures to become the favored policy of nations around the world.
The study, entitled, “Growth in a Time of Debt,” appeared in the American Economic Review in 2010 to great acclaim within high-level circles. One of the main conclusions of the paper held that when a country’s debt-to-GDP ratio hits 90%, “they reach a tipping point after which they’ll start experiencing serious growth slowdowns.” The paper was cited by the U.S. Congress as well as by Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and one of Europe’s stalwart defenders of austerity, who has demanded the measures be instituted on multiple countries in the E.U. in return for bailout funds.
A Google Scholar search for the terms “Growth in a Time of Debt” and “Rogoff” turned up approximately 828 results. In 2013, Forbes referred to the paper as “perhaps the most quoted but least read economic publication of recent years.” The paper was also cited in dozens of media outlets around the world, multiple times, especially by influential players in the financial press.
In 2012, Gideon Rachman, writing in the Financial Times, said Rogoff was “much in demand to advise world leaders on how to counter the financial crisis,” and noted that while the economist had been attending the World Economic Forum meetings for a decade, he had become “more in demand than ever” after having “written the definitive history of financial crises over the centuries” alongside Carmen Reinhart. Rogoff was consulted by Barack Obama, “and is known to have spent many hours with George Osborne, Britain’s chancellor,” wrote Rachman, noting that Rogoff advised government’s “to get serious about cutting their deficits, [which] strongly influenced the British government’s decision to make controlling spending its priority.”
The praise became all the more noteworthy in April of 2013 when researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, published a paper accusing Rogoff and Reinhart of “sloppy statistical analysis” while documenting several key mistakes that undermined the conclusions of the original 2010 paper. The report from Amherst exploded across global media, immediately forcing Rogoff and Reinhart on the defensive. The New Yorker noted that “the attack from Amherst has done enormous damage to Reinhart and Rogoff’s credibility, and to the intellectual underpinnings of the austerity policies with which they are associated.”
As New York Times columnist and fellow G30 member Paul Krugman noted, the original 2010 paper by Reinhart and Rogoff “may have had more immediate influence on public debate than any previous paper in the history of economics.” After the Amherst paper, he added, “The revelation that the supposed 90 percent threshold was an artifact of programming mistakes, data omissions, and peculiar statistical techniques suddenly made a remarkable number of prominent people look foolish.” Krugman, who had firmly opposed austerity policies long before Rogoff’s paper, suggested that “the case for austerity was and is one that many powerful people want to believe, leading them to seize on anything that looks like a justification.”
Indeed, many of those “powerful people” happen to be members of the Group of Thirty who are, with the notable exception of Krugman, largely in favor of austerity measures. Krugman himself tends to represent the limits of acceptable dissent within the G30, criticizing policies and policy makers while accepting the fundamental concepts of the global financial and economic system. He commented that he had been a member of the G30 since 1988 and referred to it as a “talk shop” where he gets “a chance to hear what people like Trichet and Draghi have to say in an informal setting,” adding, “while I’ve heard some smart things from people with a role in real-world decisions, I’ve also heard a lot of very foolish things said by alleged wise men.”
Andrew Gavin Marshall is a 26-year old researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, chair of the Geopolitics Division of The Hampton Institute, research director for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project and World of Resistance (WOR) Report, and hosts a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.
“Crisis is an Opportunity”: Engineering a Global Depression to Create a Global Government
Global Research, October 26, 2010
Problem, Reaction, Solution: “Crisis is an Opportunity”
In May of 2010, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF, stated that, “crisis is an opportunity,” and called for “a new global currency issued by a global central bank, with robust governance and institutional features,” and that the “global central bank could also serve as a lender of last resort.” However, he stated, “I fear we are still very far from that level of global collaboration.” Well, perhaps not so far as it might seem.
The notion of global governance has taken an evolutionary path to the present day, with the principle global political and economic actors and institutions incrementally constructing the apparatus of a global government. In the modern world, global governance is an inter-lapping, intersecting, and intertwined web of international organizations, think tanks, multinational corporations, nations, NGOs, philanthropic foundations, military alliances, intelligence agencies, banks and interest groups. Globalization – a term which was popularized in the late 1980s to refer to the global spread of multinational corporations – has laid the principle ideological and institutional foundations for this process. Global social, economic and political integration do not occur at an equal pace; rather, economic integration and governance on a global level has and will continue to be ahead of the other sectors of human social interaction, in both the pace and degree of integration. In short, global economic governance will set the pace for social and political global governance to follow.
In 1885, Friedrich List, a German mercantilist economic theorist wrote that when it came to the integration of a “universal union or confederation of nations,” that “all examples which history can show are those in which the political union has led the way, and the commercial union has followed. Not a single instance can be adduced in which the latter has taken the lead, and the former has grown up from it.” The twentieth century thus changed the historical trend, with undertaking economic integration – union – which is then followed by political integration. The best example of this is the European Union, which started out as a series of trade agreements (1951), eventually leading to an economic community (1957), followed by an economic union (1993), followed by a currency union (2002), and with the recent Lisbon Treaty, is now in the process of implementing the apparatus of a political union (2009). While this same regional governance model is occurring on a global scale in Africa, South America, East Asia, the Gulf Arab states, and with North American and Euro-American integration, it is simultaneously taking place on a global level. With the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, global trade systems were institutionally integrated, while the major global economic institutions of the IMF and World Bank, as well as others including the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), accelerated their management of the global economy.
The process of globalization has firmly established a globally integrated economic system, and now the global economic crisis is facilitating the implementation of global economic governance: to create the economic apparatus of a global government, including a global central bank and a global currency. This process is exponentially accelerated through economic crises, which create the need, desire, urgency and means of establishing a structure of global economic governance, purportedly under the guise of “preventing economic crises” and “maintaining” the global economy.
The same institutions and actors responsible for creating the crisis, are then given the job of determining the solution, and are then given the power and means of implementing it: problem, reaction, solution. They create a problem to incur a particular reaction for which they then propose a predetermined solution. When pressure needs to be applied to individual states that are not following dictates of the institutions of global governance, the market is turned against them in a barrage of economic warfare, often in the form of currency speculation and derivatives trading. The result of this economic warfare against a nation is that it must then turn to these same global institutions to come to its rescue: problem, reaction, solution.
The global economic crisis, really having only just begun, will in years to come spiral into a Great Global Debt Depression, plunging the entire world into the greatest economic catastrophe ever known. This will be the ultimate catalyst, the most pervasive crisis, and most commanding ‘opportunity’ to implement the formation of a global government. In 1988, the Economist ran an article entitled, “Get Ready for the Phoenix,” in which it postulated that by the year 2018, there will be a global currency, which it termed the “Phoenix.” The mention of a phoenix is not to go unnoticed, as symbolically, a phoenix dies and from its ashes a new phoenix emerges. It is the symbol of destruction as a form of creation; the ultimate incarnation of crisis as an opportunity. The article in the Economist acknowledged this meaning, with the idea that economic and monetary collapse will likely lead to the formation of a global currency, stating that, “several more big exchange-rate upsets, a few more stockmarket crashes and probably a slump or two will be needed before politicians are willing to face squarely up to that choice.” Further:
This further reinforces the notion of crisis as an opportunity, and established the desire to form a global currency far before any crises that prompted official calls for one. In 2000, Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, stated that, “if we are to have a truly global economy, a single world currency makes sense,” and a European Central Bank executive stated that, “we might one day have a single world currency,” in “a step towards the ideal situation of a fully integrated world.” In 1998, Jeffrey Garten, , former Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, former Managing Director at Lehman Brothers and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote an article for the New York Times in which he called for the creation of a “global Fed” and said that, “the world needs an institution that has a hand on the economic rudder when the seas become stormy. It needs a global central bank.”
The Global Economic Crisis As a Pretext for Global Governance
With the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008, powerful political and economic figures began making the call for constructing systems of global governance to manage and “prevent” crises. In September of 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, Garten wrote an article for the Financial Times renewing his call for a global central bank, which he termed a “Global Monetary Authority.” A month later, Garten wrote a piece for Newsweek saying that, “leaders should begin laying the groundwork for establishing a global central bank.” In the same month, John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley said that, “it may take continued international coordination to fully unlock the credit markets and resolve the financial crisis, perhaps even by forming a new global body to oversee the process.”
In October of 2008, then Prime Minister of the UK, Gordon Brown, called for “a new Bretton Woods – building a new international financial architecture for the years ahead,” and that he would want “to see the IMF reformed to become a ‘global central bank’ closely monitoring the international economy and financial system.” In the same month, Brown wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which he said that this ‘new Bretton-Woods’ should work towards “global governance.”
That month, the world’s central bankers met in Washington D.C., of which the principle question they faced was “whether it is time to establish a global economic ‘policeman’ to ensure the crash of 2008 can never be repeated,” and that any organization with the power to police the global economy would have to include representatives of every major country – a United Nations of economic regulation.” A former governor of the Bank of England stated that the answer might be in the form of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank to the world’s central banks, which compared to the IMF, “is more independent and much better placed to deal with this if it is given the power to do so.”
The first major summit of the G20 – the group of the 20 largest economies in the world – was in November of 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis. The G20 was to replace the G8 in the management of the global economy. The member nations are the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, India and China. The World Bank and IMF also work directly with the G20, as does the Bank for International Settlements.
In March of 2009, Russia suggested that the G20 meeting in April should “consider the possibility of creating a supra-national reserve currency or a ‘super-reserve currency’,” and to consider the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in this capacity. A week later, China’s central bank governor proposed the creation of a global currency controlled by the IMF, replacing the US dollar as the world reserve currency, also using the IMF’s SDRs as the reserve currency basket against which all other currencies would be fixed.
Days after this proposal, the US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, told the Council on Foreign Relations that, in response to a question about the Chinese proposal, “we’re actually quite open to that suggestion. But you should think of it as rather evolutionary, building on the current architectures, than — rather than — rather than moving us to global monetary union.”
In late March a UN panel of economists recommended the creation of a new global currency reserve that would replace the US-dollar, and that it would be an “independently administered reserve currency.”
Following the April 2009 G20 summit, “plans were announced for implementing the creation of a new global currency to replace the US dollar’s role as the world reserve currency.” Point 19 of the communiqué released by the G20 at the end of the Summit stated, “We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity.” SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, are “a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund.” As the Telegraph reported, “the G20 leaders have activated the IMF’s power to create money and begin global ‘quantitative easing’. In doing so, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body.” The Washington Post reported that the IMF is poised to transform “into a veritable United Nations for the global economy”:
In April of 2010, the IMF released a report in which it explained that while SDRs will aid in ‘stabilizing’ the world economy, “a more ambitious reform option would be to build on the previous ideas and develop, over time, a global currency,” but that this is “unlikely to materialize in the foreseeable future absent a dramatic shift in appetite for international cooperation.” Of course, the exacerbation of a global economic crisis – a new great depression – could spur such a “dramatic shift in appetite for international cooperation.”
While the IMF is pushed to the forefront of the global currency agenda, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) remains as the true authority in terms of ‘global governance’ overall. As the IMF’s magazine, Finance and Development, stated in 2009, “the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), established in 1930, is the central and the oldest focal point for coordination of global governance arrangements.” Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in April of 2010 in which he explained that, “the significant transformation of global governance that we are engineering today is illustrated by three examples”:
In concluding his speech, Trichet emphasized that, “global governance is of the essence to improve decisively the resilience of the global financial system.” The following month, Trichet spoke at the Bank of Korea, where he said, “central bank cooperation is part of a more general trend that is reshaping global governance, and which has been spurred by the global financial crisis,” and that, “it is therefore not surprising that the crisis has led to even better recognition of their increased economic importance and need for full integration into global governance.” Once again, Trichet identified the BIS and its “various fora” – such as the Global Economy Meeting and the Financial Stability Board – as the “main channel” for central bank cooperation.
The Great Global Debt Depression
As commentators and governments praised the ‘economic recovery’, the world entered into a massive global debt crisis, a veritable ‘Great Global Debt Depression,’ in which the major industrialized nations of the world, having taken on excessive debts due to bailouts, stimulus packages and decades of imperial expenditures and war-mongering. The debt trap used to enslave the ‘global south’ has come home to roost. The first stage of the ‘Great Global Debt Depression’ began in Greece, where the country was so indebted that it needed to seek help in the form of an IMF ‘bailout’ simply to pay the interest on its debt. For nearly a decade, Greece’s government colluded with major Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase to hide its true debt in the derivatives market, so when a new government came to power in October of 2009, it inherited a debt twice as large as it had anticipated, at 300 billion euros.
In early 2010, Greece sought a bailout from the European Union (European Central Bank – ECB) and the IMF in order to pay the annual interest fee on its debt. The ECB and IMF agreed to a loan in April. Greece, however, had been pressured by both the EU and the IMF that in order to receive a loan, it must implement “fiscal austerity measures” in order to reduce its deficit, and also to convince “global markets” that it could reduce its deficit. Greece had implemented two austerity packages that included massive social spending cuts and increases in taxes. Yet, this seemed to not be enough for the EU, IMF or global markets. As Greece was imposing ‘fiscal austerity’ and seeking international loans, ‘global markets’ had turned against the country, as derivatives – particularly Credit Default Swaps (CDS) – were being used to bet that Greece would default on its debt, thus plunging the country further into crisis. Many of the banks participating in this speculative assault were the very same ones that helped Greece hide its debt in the first place. Thus, if Greece defaults on its debt, the speculators who bet against Greece stand to profit, and as these trades become popular, it makes it more difficult for Greece to borrow the money it needs to pay its interest. As one expert explained, “It’s like buying fire insurance on your neighbor’s house — you create an incentive to burn down the house.”
J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and several other leading banks helped hide the debt for several nations across Europe, which all began to enter into a debt crisis. Interestingly, banks rapidly expanded their use of the derivatives trade not only in Greece, but Spain and Portugal as well, “as worries about those countries’ debts moved markets around the world.” Subsequently, “European banks including the Swiss giants Credit Suisse and UBS, France’s Société Générale and BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank of Germany have been among the heaviest buyers of swaps insurance.” The reason for this: “those countries are the most exposed. French banks hold $75.4 billion worth of Greek debt, followed by Swiss institutions, at $64 billion,” and “German banks’ exposure stands at $43.2 billion.” J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and other US banks are also participating in the derivatives assault against Greece, which may be “pushing Greece toward financial collapse.” Thus, we have a situation in which major global banks helped governments acquire expansive debts (and hide it from their balance sheets), and then the countries enter into a debt crisis. As they impose fiscal austerity measures to reduce their deficits, and seek help from central banks and the IMF to pay their interest, these same global banks speculate against the debts, thus pushing the nations further into crisis, exacerbating the social crisis, and forcing further and more expansive ‘austerity measures.’ The interest payments on the debt are, as an added insult, to be paid to these same global banks, which hold most of the debt of these nations. In short, the debt crisis is amounting to a form of financial warfare and social genocide, implemented by the major global banks, the central banking system (which they control), and the international organizations that serve their interests.
A working paper issued by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in March of 2010 explained that the West is facing a massive debt crisis, and that the United Kingdom and United States – along with other nations such as Spain and Ireland – took on massive debt in the past three years, making the debt crises in Italy and Greece “comparatively small.” Further, investors are expected “to demand a higher risk premium for holding the bonds issued by a highly indebted country.” In other words, the BIS warned that speculators would likely undertake a ‘market’ assault against indebted nations, further exacerbating the debt crisis and increasing pressure to impose ‘fiscal austerity’, or commit ‘social genocide’. In September of 2009, the derivatives market had rebounded to $426 trillion, and continued to pose “major systemic risks” for the financial system.
Nouriel Roubini, an economist who had predicted the 2008 financial crisis, warned in March of 2010 that, “the recent difficulties of Greece are part of the iceberg. Markets have already targeted Greece, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, Ireland and Iceland. They could deal with other countries, including Japan and the United States.” Renowned economist Kenneth Rogoff (who accurately predicted the 2008 economic crisis) had also warned that a global debt crisis is on the horizon, which “could set the scene for years of financial troubles.”
In 2010, the World Economic Forum warned of the potential of a “full-scale sovereign fiscal crisis” – a global debt crisis – possibly accompanied by a second major financial crisis. Jürgen Stark, an executive member of the European Central Bank warned in April of 2010 that, “We may already have entered into the next phase of the crisis: a sovereign debt crisis,” which could spread across the EU, to the U.K., United States, and Japan. Economic historian (and Bilderberg participant) Niall Ferguson warned of a “Greek Crisis Coming to America,” and a “fiscal crisis of the western world,” which will spread from Greece, throughout Europe, and to the U.S. and Japan.
Structural Adjustment in the West
As the nations of the West took on enormous debts by giving the banks money (effectively buying the bad debt of the banks), and with decades of imperialism building massive foreign debts, the West and notably America, are entering into a period in which they will be subjected to the same or similar forms of ‘structural adjustment’ as they have inflicted upon the rest of the world. With the G20 promising to impose “fiscal austerity,” public sector jobs will be lost, state-owned assets and infrastructure privatized, taxes raised, interest rates will soar (eventually), and liberalized markets will be expanded and institutionalized, not least so that major global banks will be able to profit off of the subsequent collapse of nations through the financial weapon of speculation. The middle classes will vanish and poverty will reign supreme, while the rich become immeasurably richer and more powerful. Naturally, people will rise up, take to the streets, protest, demonstrate, riot, even rebel and revolt. As sure as the people will resist, the state will repress with police, the military and the ‘Homeland Security State’ apparatus of surveillance and control. Make no mistake: this is the ‘Thirdworldization’ of the West: the ‘Post-Industrial Revolution.’
In early June of 2010, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors met in Seoul, South Korea, in a meeting with significantly less media coverage than the later G20 leaders summit in Toronto, and significantly more importance to the state of the world economy. The communiqué released by the finance minister and central bankers following the summit stated that G20 nations needed to speed up the process of “fiscal consolidation” (see ‘fiscal austerity’). The IMF presented a report at the meeting recommending the adoption of “adjustment policies” to presumably aid in economic growth. There was no mention, however, of how similar “adjustment policies” failed to deliver growth to the developing world over the previous 30 years, and in fact, spread poverty and economic despair instead.
After the G20 leaders meeting in late June of 2010, leaders of the world’s largest economies agreed on a timetable to impose ‘fiscal austerity’ measures to cut their deficits and halt the growth of their debts. The plan entailed cutting deficits in half by 2013. In June, Germany had announced massive austerity cuts to spending, spurring protests in the streets. Simon Johnson, former Chief Economist at the IMF, stated that fiscal austerity would likely result in “exacerbating developing world-type problems in the United States – and to creating the conditions for another financial crisis.” The chief economist of the major global bank HSBC, stated in May of 2010 that, “at the very least, governments need to pursue a multi-year period of fiscal austerity,” and ultimately, “fiscal positions will become intolerable politically, economically and financially.”
Fiscal austerity will imply massive cuts in social spending, which will do to the developed world what they did to the ‘developing’ world: health, education and social services will be cut, with public employees in those and other sectors fired, creating a massive new wave of unemployed people. Simultaneously, taxes will be dramatically increased, particularly on the middle and lower classes, which would then be more impoverished than ever before. However, fiscal austerity is not the only condition of “structural adjustment,” as many other measures will be taken, advancing on current trends, including further expanding and institutionalizing trade liberalization, as well as selling off public assets in major privatization schemes. Since the West largely privatized all the state-owned industries in the dawn of the neoliberal era, the remaining areas of privatization are largely in infrastructure projects such as roads, airports and ports. However, in America, this will be undertaken by individual states and cities desperate for cash and ‘investment’. Thomas Osborne, head of infrastructure and privatization at UBS bank, said in May of 2009 that, “privatization will eventually take hold,” but it will be done in “a more incremental approach.”
In September of 2010, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a report on infrastructure privatization. The Council represents and is run by various officials from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., CME Group (the world’s largest derivatives exchange), the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Bank One Corporation, McKinsey and Company, Goldman Sachs, Boeing, Northern Trust, United Airlines, the Chicago Board of Trade, and a host of other corporate, financial and banking interests, and the board even includes the First Lady, Michelle Obama. In the report sponsored by the Chicago Council, it stated that, “the trend toward infrastructure privatization is happening not just in the United States, but globally.” Ultimately, the report found that, “financial realities mean that the privatization of infrastructure will continue.” In defining infrastructure, the report identified roads, bridges, port facilities, water treatment plants, electric transmission lines, and railways, as well as hospitals, prisons, “and other communal assets that serve the public interest.”
On this note, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) from around the world are buying up American infrastructure. Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned investment funds of stocks, bonds, financial assets, resources and property. Some of the world’s largest SWFs are those of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Norway, China, South Korea, Kuwait, and Russia. As the “recovery” edges into the oblivion of the Great Global Debt Depression, SWFs are buying up American infrastructure, including:
This process is also underway in Canada, as the Ontario government in 2009 considered selling off “all or part” of its Crown corporations to reduce the provincial deficit, and it hired CIBC and Goldman Sachs to write a blueprint for possible privatizations. Further, there are increased calls – globally – for advancing the agenda of the privatization of water, a scheme which the World Bank has pushed on several countries around the world, resulting in enormous costs – in economic, political and social terms – to the poorest people, and enormous profits for the handful of global water conglomerates. Organized around the International Water Association and the World Water Council, the major water conglomerates, the World Bank and the UN have been promoting water privatization schemes across the ‘developing’ world and increasingly within the West as a means to ‘solving’ the world water crisis. As we have seen, however, from the cases of water privatization in places like Bolivia, South Africa, El Salvador, and several others, it is the poor who suffer the most, and it will be the same whether it is in Angola or America.
While nations of the West begin to impose fiscal austerity on their populations and social structures, the harsh effects will come with time, as nations have maintained extremely low interest rates, thus keeping the ‘cost’ of money cheap. However, as the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) report of June 2010 stated, “both fiscal and monetary policy may have to be tightened at the same time.” This means that, according to the BIS, interest rates must rise along with fiscal austerity measures. It was, lest we forget, the extremely high interest rates in the late 70s and early 80s that set off the 1980s debt crisis, as nations with large foreign debts could no longer afford to pay their annual interest payments, thus needing to turn to the IMF and World Bank for ‘assistance’ in the form of ‘structural adjustment programs’. The massive stimulus spending and bailouts will create the likely scenario of causing inflation, making prices rise dramatically. To fight inflation, nations can raise interest rates, which then make the currency more expensive, and thus, reduces the rates of inflation.
As central banks around the world injected billions and trillions of dollars into the financial system, they kept interest rates extremely low in order to encourage the flow of money. In the 2009 annual report of the BIS, it warned that this policy could create massive inflation, so interest rates will have to be raised eventually. The major question is ‘when’ they will rise; if it’s too late, inflation could get out of control, if it’s too early, it could destroy the ‘recovery.’ So as the 2010 annual report of the BIS calls for simultaneous fiscal and monetary tightening, this could be potentially disastrous, possibly “pushing the global economy into depression.” The effect of high interest rates, while potentially decreasing the rate of inflation, will increase the cost of the annual debt payments nations must make, thus exacerbating and feeding the ‘fiscal austerity’ measures imposed to reduce spending. This would reverberate onto the average person, as interest rates on all debts, including their personal debts would also increase. While fiscal austerity will increase taxes, increase poverty, and deconstruct the middle class, high interest rates would bleed them dry. However, inflation itself acts as a hidden tax, increasing the cost of consumer goods such as food and fuel, as the currency depreciates in value. This is also a major cost to the vanishing middle class. It seems that either way, the average person is in the crosshairs of a system of economic terrorism. It’s the epitome of a ‘Catch-22’; you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t.
Raising interest rates during a time of fiscal austerity, however, is particularly destructive to the average person. Notably, “fiscal and monetary tightening were tried in tandem in the early 1930s and it didn’t work then.” In other words, it helped plunge the world into the Great Depression. Today, however, it would be significantly worse, as now we have the reality of mortgages, credit card debt, derivatives, student debt, etc. These things did not exist at the onset of the Great Depression, so today it would result in the ‘Greatest Depression.’ It’s a debt trap, and everyone is caught in it. If states don’t raise interest rates, the ‘market’ may turn against them, as major global banks, hedge funds and currency speculators may ‘lose confidence’ in a nation’s currency, and flee the currency, thus plunging it in value, leading to potentially hyperinflation (as was experienced in Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe), which also has the effect of devastating a nation and plundering the wealth of its people.
While increasing interest rates is done in the name of reducing the debt at a quicker pace, it ultimately has the opposite effect. It essentially creates a condition in which a nation is permanently indebted, and the cumulative debt increases annually. This occurs due to a nation struggling to pay its annual interest on the debt, and so it seeks the ‘assistance’ of the IMF and international creditors to provide a quick loan to the country to pay the interest. The IMF provides a loan, which is instantly redirected to pay the creditors, and the loan amount that the IMF provided is then added to the overall national debt. Thus, rising interest rates will increase the annual interest payments, because the debt itself has enlarged. The nation will need the ‘assistance’ of another loan – more debt – to pay interest on its overall debt, which then continues to rise. This is how the nations of the ‘Third World’ became so indebted: accumulating more debt to pay interest on old debt, which then creates new debt, requiring more debt to pay the interest on the accumulated debt, and on and on and on. Meanwhile, the ‘structural adjustment programs’ (SAPs) were implemented under the ‘conditions’ of IMF and World Bank loans and ‘assistance’ to deconstruct the social foundations of a nation, eliminate the middle class and exacerbate poverty, presumably in order to help reduce the deficit. This now appears to be the fate of the ‘First World’ industrialized nations. While the BIS annual report called for increasing interest rates, an internal working paper written by the Chief Economist of the BIS in March of 2010 warned that, “fighting rising inflation by tightening monetary policy would not work, as an increase in interest rates would lead to higher interest payments on public debt, leading to higher debt.”
Ultimately, talk about whether or not to increase interest rates, and how to impose fiscal austerity are misleading. This is because these discussions operate on the basis that these debts are legitimate. The legal doctrine of ‘odious debt’ stipulates that sovereign debt incurred without the consent of the people and not benefiting the people is odious and should not be transferable to a successor government. In other words, if a debt doesn’t benefit the people, it’s illegitimate and should not be repaid. If this principle was applied to the ‘Third World’, it could be safely said that the IMF, World Bank, and Western nations would effectively lose their control of the global south. It is through the mechanism of debt that modern imperialism functions most effectively. Naturally, the correct economic path to take for an actual recovery would be to declare all these major debts illegitimate – of the ‘Third World’, and of the Western world – as the debts of the West were incurred from financing foreign imperial adventures, and the debt of the ‘rest’ is the result of that imperialism.
Through the economic crisis, the debts incurred were largely done so in terms of buying the bad debts of the banks that created the crisis, thus, they too are illegitimate. Even the ‘stimulus’ money was indebted in order to solve a financial crisis created by a corrupt minority around the world. Credit card debts and student debts exacerbate poverty, and if there are no jobs for students in a broken economy, their debt is illegitimate. Since credit card debt was incurred to finance consumption and allow people to live beyond their means, there is a notion of responsibility on the part of the debtor, however, because credit card companies target the indebted and have essentially ‘captured’ the middle class, and now they must pay through their own impoverishment, people have been misled, and the debt ultimately did not benefit them; thus, it too is illegitimate. If our governments, the banks, the corporations and all creditors have colluded together to seek personal profit and gain, while impoverishing us and the rest of the world in the process, all the world’s debts to these institutions, actors and nations is odious and should not be repaid. Taking this stance, however, would not get you far in the world of economics or politics, as you would be advocating for the end of financial, economic, social and political imperialism and power structures; not a particularly popular position from the perspective of the powerful.
So the debates and discussions will rage on; when to raise interest rates, how to impose fiscal austerity, how to create ‘recovery’; all the while global political and economic institutions, states and actors will be working to impoverish you and destroy the foundations of society upon which you stand.
Third World America
As a further indication of the coming ‘third world’ status of America, in June of 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, the United States Federal Reserve was audited by the IMF for the first time in history. As part of the investigation, “the Fed, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the major investment banks, mortgage banks and hedge funds will be asked to hand over confidential documents to the IMF team.”
Simon Johnson, former Chief Economist at the IMF, wrote an article in May of 2009 explaining that the problem with most third world nations (“emerging market economies”) is that the governments are so closely tight-knit with the corporate and banking elite that they form a financial oligarchy, and that this is essentially the same problem in the United States. He wrote that, “the finance industry has effectively captured our government,” and “recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform.”
In March of 2009, an article appeared in the Washington Post written by Desmond Lachman, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a previous emerging market strategist at Salomon Smith Barney and deputy director of the IMF’s Policy and Review Department, in which he referred to America as the “world’s scariest emerging market.” In other words, America resembles a third world debtor nation, from its corrupt banking elite, to the inept political class, and a massive foreign debt, America “is coming to resemble Argentina, Russia and other so-called emerging markets, both in what led us to the crisis, and in how we’re trying to fix it.”
Towns, cities, and states across America are resorting to drastic actions to reduce their debts, such as closing fire stations, scaling back trash collection, turning off street lights, ending bus services and public transportation, cutting back on library hours or closing them altogether, school districts cutting down the school day, week or year, and it was reported in September of 2010 that “local governments will eliminate roughly half a million employees in the next fiscal year, with public safety, public works, public health, social services, and parks and recreation hardest hit by the cutbacks.” Simultaneously, this is occurring with a dramatic increase in the rate of privatizations or “public-private partnerships” in which even libraries are being privatized.
Structural Adjustment and “Social Explosion”
The imposition of ‘structural adjustment’ in the ‘Third World’ resulted in an explosion of social unrest, as the rural poor, the urban poor, and the urban middle class would come together to protest these policies, and “between 1976 and 1992 there were 146 protests against IMF-supported austerity measures in 39 countries around the world. These took the form of political demonstrations, strikes and riots.” As “fiscal austerity” and ‘structural adjustment’ are imposed on the West, we can expect the same results to occur. In fact, this process has already begun.
At the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008, the IMF warned that governments of the west could see “violent unrest on the streets,” as “violent protests could break out in countries worldwide if the financial system was not restructured to benefit everyone rather than a small elite.” A cynical statement of the IMF, considering it is one of the central institutions that supports and upholds the interests of that “small elite.” In early 2009, Eastern Europe was already experiencing social unrest in opposition to austerity packages, and Latvia experienced the largest protests since the mass rallies against Soviet rule in the late 1980s.
Similar tensions were felt across Western Europe throughout 2009, notably in France where massive strikes and protests were taking place, and several commentators were saying that civil unrest in places like Iceland and Eastern Europe were “a sign of things to come: a new age of rebellion.” On May 1, 2009, major protests and riots broke out in Germany, Greece, Turkey, France and Austria, and there were further protests and riots that broke out in Russia, Italy, Spain, and some politicians were even discussing the threat of revolution. In February of 2009, Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence in the newly formed Obama administration (the highest intelligence position in the country), told the U.S. Congress what constituted the major ‘national security’ threats to the United States, explaining that the ‘economic crisis’ is a greater threat than terrorism:
In the same month, the highest-ranking general in the United States, Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ranked “the financial crisis as a higher priority and greater risk to security than current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” He explained, “It’s a global crisis. And as that impacts security issues, or feeds greater instability, I think it will impact on our national security in ways that we quite haven’t figured out yet.” Again, in the same month, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) warned that, “the global economic crisis could trigger political unrest equal to that seen during the 1930s.” He elaborated, “the crisis today is spreading even faster (than the Great Depression) and affects more countries at the same time.”
In February of 2009, renowned economic historian and Harvard professor, Niall Ferguson, predicted a “prolonged financial hardship, even civil war, before the ‘Great Recession’ ends,” and that, “the global crisis is far from over, [it] has only just begun.” He elaborated:
In May of 2009, the head of the World Bank warned that, “the global economic crisis could lead to serious social upheaval,” as “there is a risk of a serious human and social crisis with very serious political implications.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission and a key architect of ‘globalization’ warned that, “There’s going to be growing conflict between the classes and if people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there could be even riots!”
In December of 2009, Moody’s – one of the world’s major credit ratings agencies – warned that “future tax rises and spending cuts could trigger social unrest in a range of countries from the developing to the developed world,” resulting in “political and social tension.” In March of 2010, Moody’s warned that the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Spain and other Western nations could likely see “social unrest” as a result of imposing ‘fiscal austerity’, which “will test social cohesion.”
An article in the Financial Times in May of 2010 warned of the emergence of “an age of rage,” in which the initial shock of an economic downturn subsides, and social unrest emerges, as there is usually a lag between an economic collapse and “social fury,” and that it will ultimately be “a test of the strength of democratic institutions in a time of extreme fiscal stress.”
In September of 2010, the IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said that America and Europe, in the midst of the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression, face an “explosion of social unrest.” Speaking at the summit of the International Labour Federation, Strauss-Kahn stated, “the labour market is in dire straits. The Great Recession has left behind a waste land of unemployment,” and that, “the Great Recession has left gaping wounds. High and long-lasting unemployment represents a risk to the stability of existing democracies.” The Chief Economist of the IMF, Olivier Blanchard, explained that, “long-term unemployment is alarmingly high: in the US, half the unemployed have been out of work for over six months, something we have not seen since the Great Depression.”
On September 29, 2010, massive protests took place across Europe against the austerity measures being imposed by European governments, with a general strike called in Spain, virtually shutting down Spain’s transportation system. Further, roughly 100,000 protesters “staged the biggest Brussels march in a decade and riot police barricaded EU headquarters as marchers from 30 countries joined the backlash against brutal spending cuts.”
These protests continued throughout October of 2010, particularly in France, where millions of people went on strike, protested, and in some cases, rioted against President Sarkozy’s fiscal austerity plans, turning him into the most unpopular president in more than 50 years.
The G20 Korea Summit
To further accelerate the process of global economic governance, it is essential for the principle economic institutions and powers to integrate China fully into this system. China is already a signatory to the World Trade Organization, having opened up its banking sector to foreign investment, with its economy fully integrated with and largely dependent upon the West, it is pivotal to include China in the system of global governance. China is represented in the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which the IMF referred to as “the central and the oldest focal point for coordination of global governance arrangements.” The board of directors of the BIS has 19 members, comprising the Governors of the central banks of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve System, as well as the Governors of the central banks of Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland and the President of the ECB (European Central Bank). China is also represented in the G20, of which the President of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, referred to as “the prime group for global economic governance at the level of ministers, governors and heads of state or government.” In 2009, China and India were invited as official members of the Trilateral Commission, an international think tank created by David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1973 with the aim of creating a “community of industrial nations” comprising Western Europe, North America and Japan, essentially with the aim of managing the process of globalization.
In November of 2010, the G20 is to be hosted by South Korea, where they will meet to again advance the process of global governance and global social genocide. Prior to the official meeting of heads of state, a much more important preliminary meeting took place between the finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 nations. This took place in late October of 2010 in Seoul, South Korea, at a time when the world is immersed in a global currency war. The currency war involves several major nations, from America, to Brazil and China, seeking to depreciate their currency in order to make exports more attractive, so their central banks (all of which cooperate on global governance at the BIS), buy and sell each others’ currencies, attempting to decrease the value of their own currency while increasing the value of competitor currencies. In short, it’s a race to the bottom. To convince China to appreciate its currency, incentives must be given. If China is to be following the dictates of the global financial powers, its economic weight in the world demands that China be better represented and more involved in the governance of these institutions. This means that if China is being integrated into a system of global governance, it must be invited to the management table.
The G20 agreed on implementing an historic reform in the IMF, where for the first time since its creation in 1944, the management structure of the IMF has been [slightly] altered. The significance is that European countries have agreed to give up two of their seats on the 24-member executive board, making room for China and India, and more than 6 per cent of IMF voting power will be transferred to underrepresented countries at the fund. As the Financial Times reported:
This is important to note as it clearly indicates that America still remains the ‘Godfather’ of the global financial system. The IMF requires 85% of voters to agree on any changes or decisions, and since the U.S. has 17.67% of the shares, if the U.S. votes against anything, the IMF cannot go forward, giving the U.S. veto power over the IMF. Yet these changes still represent an incremental effort to bring China within this system of global governance. At the same time, a top Chinese banker stated that, “the yuan should be included in the basket of currencies that constitute the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights.” This would give China a more direct stake in the formation of a global currency, of which its central bank governor is already a firm supporter.
Herman Von Rompuy became President of the European Union in 2009, a new position established by the Lisbon Treaty passed the same year. Rompuy was selected as President following his attendance at a meeting of the Bilderberg Group. Shortly after being given the position, Von Rompuy gave a speech in which he declared that 2009 is “the first year of global governance.” As Denis Healey, a founding member and former member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group for over 30 years, stated in 2001, “To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.”
So while institutions and organizations of global governance continue to grant themselves more power and expand their control and authority over the world, the people of the world must wake up to this process and seek to stem and stall its advancement. A global government would represent the people of the world even less than they are already not represented through their national governments. Institutions of global governance are totally unaccountable to the people, totally undemocratic, and are inherently totalitarian. As Gideon Rachman wrote for the Financial Times in December of 2008, “for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible.” While articulating the need for a global government, modeling it on the European Union “going global,” he examined the setbacks that the EU had in this process, suggesting the same is likely in the process for global government. Specifically, he identified that whenever the people were involved in the process, they would act to stall or reject the process of integration. Thus, Rachman concluded, the European Union “has progressed fastest when far-reaching deals have been agreed by technocrats and politicians – and then pushed through without direct reference to the voters. International governance tends to be effective, only when it is anti-democratic.” In other words, if we want global governance, we must kill democracy in the process.
What this implies then, is that the people have the potential to prevent this process from taking place, but only if they become directly involved in rejecting it. This means that people’s movements need to stop recognizing the legitimacy of these international organizations and institutions, complaining only that they are not included in discussions, and instead demand that they be dismantled altogether in favour of forming new governance arrangements – political, economic and social – that actively represent and empower the people over the entrenched powers. This is no simple task, in fact, it is likely the greatest, most monumental and challenging task that has ever faced humanity. So it seems necessary that the people not waste their time, not waste their votes, voices, or ideas, and work together to promote true progressive and humane change. There is hope in humanity yet, but so long as we allow the powerful to accumulate more power for themselves, we cannot expect things to get better for the majority. We must take advantage of our freedoms in order to fight for and preserve them. We can either be free thinkers, directing the course of our own lives, or we can be slaves to bankers.
 Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Concluding Remarks by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, at the High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System, Zurich, 11 May 2010:
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 UN backs new new global currency reserve. The Sunday Telegraph: March 29, 2009:
 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The G20 moves the world a step closer to a global currency. The Telegraph: April 3, 2009:
 Anthony Faiola, A Bigger, Bolder Role Is Imagined For the IMF, The Washington Post, 20 April 2009:
 Izabella Kaminska, IMF blueprint for a global currency – yes really, Financial Times Blog, 4 August 2010:
 Amar Bhattacharya, A Tangled Web, Finance and Development, March 2009, Vol. 46, No. 1:
 Jean-Claude Trichet, Global Governance Today, Keynote address by Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 26 April 2010:
 Jean-Claude Trichet, Central bank cooperation after the global financial crisis, Video address by Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, at the Bank of Korea International Conference 2010, Seoul, 31 May 2010:
 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Greece defies Europe as EMU crisis turns deadly serious. The Telegraph: December 13, 2009:
 Richard Wray, EU ministers agree Greek bailout terms. The Guardian: April 11, 2010:
 Economist, Now comes the pain. The Economist: March 4, 2010:
 Nelson D. Schwartz and Eric Dash, Banks Bet Greece Defaults on Debt They Helped Hide. The New York Times: February 24, 2010:
 Louise Story, Wall St. was partner in Greece’s debt crisis. The Boston Globe: February 14, 2010:
 Nelson D. Schwartz and Eric Dash, Banks Bet Greece Defaults on Debt They Helped Hide. The New York Times: February 24, 2010:
 Barrie McKenna and Joanna Slater, Role of banks eyed in Greek debt crisis. The Globe and Mail: February 25, 2010:
 Stephen G. Cecchetti, M.S. Mohanty and Fabrizio Zampolli, The Future of Public Debt: Prospects and Implications. BIS Working Papers, No 300, Monetary and Economic Department, March 2010: page 2
 Ibid, page 12.
 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Derivatives still pose huge risk, says BIS. The Telegraph: September 13, 2009:
 Report on Business, Is Japan hurtling toward a debt crisis? The Globe and Mail: April 14, 2010:
 Brett Arends, What a Sovereign-Debt Crisis Could Mean for You. The Wall Street Journal: December 18, 2009:
 Edmund Conway, ‘Significant chance’ of second financial crisis, warns World Economic Forum. The Telegraph: January 14, 2010:
 Nina Koeppen, ECB Official Warns of Potential Sovereign Debt Crisis. The Wall Street Journal: April 15, 2010:
 Niall Ferguson, A Greek crisis is coming to America. The Financial Times: February 10, 2010:
 G20 communique after meeting in South Korea, Reuters, 5 June 2010:
 David Lawder, Global rebalancing policies need coordination-IMF, Reuters, 5 June 2010:
 Sewell Chan and Jackie Calmes, World Leaders Agree on Timetable for Cutting Deficits, The New York Times, 27 June 2010:
 Toby Helm, Ian Traynor and Paul Harris, Europe embraces the cult of austerity – but at what cost? The Observer, 13 June 2010:
 Simon Johnson, Fiscal Austerity and America’s Future, The New York Times Economix Blog, 26 August 2010:
 Izabella Kaminska, Bible code, finance edition, The Financial Times Blog, 18 May 2010:
 Joseph A. Giannone, UBS banker sees next U.S. privatizations smaller, Reuters, 6 May 2009:
 CCGA, Board of Directors, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs:
 Emerging Leaders Perspectives, No Free Money: Is the Privatization of Infrastructure in the Public Interest? The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, September 2010: p. 4
 Ibid, page 7.
 Ibid, page 11.
 Matt Taibbi, Exclusive Excerpt: America on Sale, From Matt Taibbi’s ‘Griftopia’, Rolling Stone, 18 October 2010:
 Andrew Willis and Boyd Erman, Ontario ponders sale of Crown corporations to beat down deficit, The Globe and Mail, 15 December 2009:
 Simone Meier, BIS Sees Risk Central Banks Will Raise Interest Rates Too Late, Bloomberg, 29 June 2009:
 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, BIS plays with fire, demands double-barrelled monetary and fiscal tightening, The Telegraph, 28 June 2010:
 Stephen G. Cecchetti, M.S. Mohanty and Fabrizio Zampolli, The Future of Public Debt: Prospects and Implications. BIS Working Papers, No 300, Monetary and Economic Department, March 2010: page 14
 Gabor Steingart, The Shrinking Influence of the US Federal Reserve, Der Spiegel, 26 June 2008:
 Simon Johnson, The Quiet Coup, The Atlantic, May 2009:
 Desmond Lachman, Welcome to America, the World’s Scariest Emerging Market, The Washington Post, 29 March 2009:
 Luiza Ch. Savage, Third World America, Macleans, 14 September 2010:
 Juha Y. Auvinen, “IMF Intervention and Political Protest in the Third World: A Conventional Wisdom Refined,” Third World Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 3, (1996), p. 377
 Firoze Manji and Carl O’Coill, “The Missionary Position: NGOs and Development in Africa,” International Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 3, (2002), p. 578
 Angela Balakrishnan, IMF chief issues stark warning on economic crisis. The Guardian: December 18, 2008:
 Jason Burke, Eastern Europe braced for a violent ‘spring of discontent’. The Observer: January 18, 2009:
 Adrian Michaels, Europe’s winter of discontent. The Telegraph: January 27, 2009:
 Henry Samuel, Riots across Europe fuelled by economic crisis. The Telegraph: May 1, 2009:
 Stephen C. Webster, US intel chief: Economic crisis a greater threat than terrorism. Raw Story: February 13, 2009:
 Tom Philpott, MILITARY UPDATE: Official: Financial crisis a bigger security risk than wars. Colorado Springs Gazette: February 1, 2009:
 AFP, WTO chief warns of looming political unrest. AFP: February 7, 2009:
 Heather Scoffield, ‘There will be blood’. The Globe and Mail: February 23, 2009:
 BBC, World Bank warns of social unrest. BBC News: May 24, 2009:
 Press TV, Economic Crisis: Brzezinski warns of riots in US. Global Research: February 21, 2009:
 Edmund Conway, Moody’s warns of ‘social unrest’ as sovereign debt spirals, The Telegraph, 15 December 2009:
 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Moody’s fears social unrest as AAA states implement austerity plans. The Telegraph: March 15, 2010:
 Simon Schama, The world teeters on the brink of a new age of rage, The Financial Times, 22 May 2010:
 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, IMF fears ‘social explosion’ from world jobs crisis, The Telegraph, 13 September 2010:
 Roddy Thomson, European cities hit by anti-cuts protests, AFP, 29 September 2010:
 Peter Allen, Nicolas Sarkozy most unpopular French president in more than 50 years, The Telegraph, 25 October 2010:
 Amar Bhattacharya, A Tangled Web, Finance and Development, March 2009, Vol. 46, No. 1:
 Jean-Claude Trichet, Global Governance Today, Keynote address by Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 26 April 2010:
 About the Trilateral Commission, The Pacific Asia Group, The Trilateral Commission:
 Song Jung-a, G20 agrees historic reform of IMF, Financial Times, 23 October 2010:
 China Bureau, China Banker Urges IMF To Include Yuan In SDR Basket – Report, Wall Street Journal, 25 October 2010:
 Ian Traynor, Who speaks for Europe? Criticism of ‘shambolic’ process to fill key jobs. The Guardian, 17 November 2009:
 Herman Von Rompuy, Speech Upon Accepting the EU Presidency, BBC News, 22 November 2009:
 Jon Ronson, Who pulls the strings? (part 3), The Guardian, 10 March 2001:
 Gideon Rachman, And now for a world government, Financial Times, 8 December 2010:
Debt Dynamite Dominoes: The Coming Financial Catastrophe
Assessing the Illusion of Recovery
Global Research, February 22, 2010
Understanding the Nature of the Global Economic Crisis
The people have been lulled into a false sense of safety under the ruse of a perceived “economic recovery.” Unfortunately, what the majority of people think does not make it so, especially when the people making the key decisions think and act to the contrary. The sovereign debt crises that have been unfolding in the past couple years and more recently in Greece, are canaries in the coal mine for the rest of Western “civilization.” The crisis threatens to spread to Spain, Portugal and Ireland; like dominoes, one country after another will collapse into a debt and currency crisis, all the way to America.
In October 2008, the mainstream media and politicians of the Western world were warning of an impending depression if actions were not taken to quickly prevent this. The problem was that this crisis had been a long-time coming, and what’s worse, is that the actions governments took did not address any of the core, systemic issues and problems with the global economy; they merely set out to save the banking industry from collapse. To do this, governments around the world implemented massive “stimulus” and “bailout” packages, plunging their countries deeper into debt to save the banks from themselves, while charging it to people of the world.
Then an uproar of stock market speculation followed, as money was pumped into the stocks, but not the real economy. This recovery has been nothing but a complete and utter illusion, and within the next two years, the illusion will likely come to a complete collapse.
The governments gave the banks a blank check, charged it to the public, and now it’s time to pay; through drastic tax increases, social spending cuts, privatization of state industries and services, dismantling of any protective tariffs and trade regulations, and raising interest rates. The effect that this will have is to rapidly accelerate, both in the speed and volume, the unemployment rate, globally. The stock market would crash to record lows, where governments would be forced to freeze them altogether.
When the crisis is over, the middle classes of the western world will have been liquidated of their economic, political and social status. The global economy will have gone through the greatest consolidation of industry and banking in world history leading to a system in which only a few corporations and banks control the global economy and its resources; governments will have lost that right. The people of the western world will be treated by the financial oligarchs as they have treated the ‘global South’ and in particular, Africa; they will remove our social structures and foundations so that we become entirely subservient to their dominance over the economic and political structures of our society.
This is where we stand today, and is the road on which we travel.
The western world has been plundered into poverty, a process long underway, but with the unfolding of the crisis, will be rapidly accelerated. As our societies collapse in on themselves, the governments will protect the banks and multinationals. When the people go out into the streets, as they invariably do and will, the government will not come to their aid, but will come with police and military forces to crush the protests and oppress the people. The social foundations will collapse with the economy, and the state will clamp down to prevent the people from constructing a new one.
The road to recovery is far from here. When the crisis has come to an end, the world we know will have changed dramatically. No one ever grows up in the world they were born into; everything is always changing. Now is no exception. The only difference is, that we are about to go through the most rapid changes the world has seen thus far.
Assessing the Illusion of Recovery
In August of 2009, I wrote an article, Entering the Greatest Depression in History, in which I analyzed how there is a deep systemic crisis in the Capitalist system in which we have gone through merely one burst bubble thus far, the housing bubble, but there remains a great many others.
There remains as a significantly larger threat than the housing collapse, a commercial real estate bubble. As the Deutsche Bank CEO said in May of 2009, “It’s either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.”
Of even greater significance is what has been termed the “bailout bubble” in which governments have superficially inflated the economies through massive debt-inducing bailout packages. As of July of 2009, the government watchdog and investigator of the US bailout program stated that the U.S. may have put itself at risk of up to $23.7 trillion dollars.
In October of 2009, approximately one year following the “great panic” of 2008, I wrote an article titled, The Economic Recovery is an Illusion, in which I analyzed what the most prestigious and powerful financial institution in the world, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), had to say about the crisis and “recovery.”
The BIS, as well as its former chief economist, who had both correctly predicted the crisis that unfolded in 2008, were warning of a future crisis in the global economy, citing the fact that none of the key issues and structural problems with the economy had been changed, and that government bailouts may do more harm than good in the long run.
William White, former Chief Economist of the BIS, warned:
Crying Wolf or Castigating Cassandra?
While people were being lulled into a false sense of security, prominent voices warning of the harsh bite of reality to come were, instead of being listened to, berated and pushed aside by the mainstream media. Gerald Celente, who accurately predicted the economic crisis of 2008 and who had been warning of a much larger crisis to come, had been accused by the mainstream media of pushing “pessimism porn.” Celente’s response has been that he isn’t pushing “pessimism porn,” but that he refuses to push “optimism opium” of which the mainstream media does so outstandingly.
So, are these voices of criticism merely “crying wolf” or is it that the media is out to “castigate Cassandra”? Cassandra, in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, who was granted by the God Apollo the gift of prophecy. She prophesied and warned the Trojans of the Trojan Horse, the death of Agamemnon and the destruction of Troy. When she warned the Trojans, they simply cast her aside as “mad” and did not heed her warnings.
While those who warn of a future economic crisis may not have been granted the gift of prophecy from Apollo, they certainly have the ability of comprehension.
So what do the Cassandras of the world have to say today? Should we listen?
Empire and Economics
To understand the global economic crisis, we must understand the global causes of the economic crisis. We must first determine how we got to the initial crisis, from there, we can critically assess how governments responded to the outbreak of the crisis, and thus, we can determine where we currently stand, and where we are likely headed.
Africa and much of the developing world was released from the socio-political-economic restraints of the European empires throughout the 1950s and into the 60s. Africans began to try to take their nations into their own hands. At the end of World War II, the United States was the greatest power in the world. It had command of the United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF, as well as setting up the NATO military alliance. The US dollar reigned supreme, and its value was tied to gold.
In 1954, Western European elites worked together to form an international think tank called the Bilderberg Group, which would seek to link the political economies of Western Europe and North America. Every year, roughly 130 of the most powerful people in academia, media, military, industry, banking, and politics would meet to debate and discuss key issues related to the expansion of Western hegemony over the world and the re-shaping of world order. They undertook, as one of their key agendas, the formation of the European Union and the Euro currency unit.
In 1971, Nixon abandoned the dollar’s link to gold, which meant that the dollar no longer had a fixed exchange rate, but would change according to the whims and choices of the Federal Reserve (the central bank of the United States). One key individual that was responsible for this choice was the third highest official in the U.S. Treasury Department at the time, Paul Volcker.
Volcker got his start as a staff economist at the New York Federal Reserve Bank in the early 50s. After five years there, “David Rockefeller’s Chase Bank lured him away.” So in 1957, Volcker went to work at Chase, where Rockefeller “recruited him as his special assistant on a congressional commission on money and credit in America and for help, later, on an advisory commission to the Treasury Department.” In the early 60s, Volcker went to work in the Treasury Department, and returned to Chase in 1965 “as an aide to Rockefeller, this time as vice president dealing with international business.” With Nixon entering the White House, Volcker got the third highest job in the Treasury Department. This put him at the center of the decision making process behind the dissolution of the Bretton Woods agreement by abandoning the dollar’s link to gold in 1971.
In 1973, David Rockefeller, the then-Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank and President of the Council on Foreign Relations, created the Trilateral Commission, which sought to expand upon the Bilderberg Group. It was an international think tank, which would include elites from Western Europe, North America, and Japan, and was to align a “trilateral” political economic partnership between these regions. It was to further the interests and hegemony of the Western controlled world order.
That same year, the Petri-dish experiment of neoliberalism was undertaken in Chile. While a leftist government was coming to power in Chile, threatening the economic interests of not only David Rockefeller’s bank, but a number of American corporations, David Rockefeller set up meetings between Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security Adviser, and a number of leading corporate industrialists. Kissinger in turn, set up meetings between these individuals and the CIA chief and Nixon himself. Within a short while, the CIA had begun an operation to topple the government of Chile.
On September 11, 1973, a Chilean General, with the help of the CIA, overthrew the government of Chile and installed a military dictatorship that killed thousands. The day following the coup, a plan for an economic restructuring of Chile was on the president’s desk. The economic advisers from the University of Chicago, where the ideas of Milton Freidman poured out, designed the restructuring of Chile along neoliberal lines.
Neoliberalism was thus born in violence.
In 1973, a global oil crisis hit the world. This was the result of the Yom Kippur War, which took place in the Middle East in 1973. However, much more covertly, it was an American strategem. Right when the US dropped the dollar’s peg to gold, the State Department had quietly begun pressuring Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations to increase the price of oil. At the 1973 Bilderberg meeting, held six months before the oil price rises, a 400% increase in the price of oil was discussed. The discussion was over what to do with the large influx of what would come to be called “petrodollars,” the oil revenues of the OPEC nations.
Henry Kissinger worked behind the scenes in 1973 to ensure a war would take place in the Middle East, which happened in October. Then, the OPEC nations drastically increased the price of oil. Many newly industrializing nations of the developing world, free from the shackles of overt political and economic imperialism, suddenly faced a problem: oil is the lifeblood of an industrial society and it is imperative in the process of development and industrialization. If they were to continue to develop and industrialize, they would need the money to afford to do so.
Concurrently, the oil producing nations of the world were awash with petrodollars, bringing in record surpluses. However, to make a profit, the money would need to be invested. This is where the Western banking system came to the scene. With the loss of the dollar’s link to cold, the US currency could flow around the world at a much faster rate. The price of oil was tied to the price of the US dollar, and so oil was traded in US dollars. OPEC nations thus invested their oil money into Western banks, which in turn, would “recycle” that money by loaning it to the developing nations of the world in need of financing industrialization. It seemed like a win-win situation: the oil nations make money, invest it in the West, which loans it to the South, to be able to develop and build “western” societies.
However, all things do not end as fairy tales, especially when those in power are threatened. An industrialized and developed ‘Global South’ (Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia) would not be a good thing for the established Western elites. If they wanted to maintain their hegemony over the world, they must prevent the rise of potential rivals, especially in regions so rich in natural resources and the global supplies of energy.
It was at this time that the United States initiated talks with China. The “opening” of China was to be a Western project of expanding Western capital into China. China will be allowed to rise only so much as the West allows it. The Chinese elite were happy to oblige with the prospect of their own growth in political and economic power. India and Brazil also followed suit, but to a smaller degree than that of China. China and India were to brought within the framework of the Trilateral partnership, and in time, both China and India would have officials attending meetings of the Trilateral Commission.
So money flowed around the world, primarily in the form of the US dollar. Foreign central banks would buy US Treasuries (debts) as an investment, which would also show faith in the strength of the US dollar and economy. The hegemony of the US dollar reached around the world.
The Hegemony of Neoliberalism
In 1977, however, a new US administration came to power under the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, who was himself a member of the Trilateral Commission. With his administration, came another roughly two-dozen members of the Trilateral Commission to fill key positions within his government. In 1973, Paul Volcker, the rising star through Chase Manhattan and the Treasury Department became a member of the Trilateral Commission. In 1975, he was made President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most powerful of the 12 regional Fed banks. In 1979, Jimmy Carter gave the job of Treasury Secretary to the former Governor of the Federal Reserve System, and in turn, David Rockefeller recommended Jimmy Carter appoint Paul Volcker as Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, which Carter quickly did.
In 1979, the price of oil skyrocketed again. This time, Paul Volcker at the Fed was to take a different approach. His response was to drastically increase interest rates. Interest rates went from 2% in the late 70s to 18% in the early 1980s. The effect this had was that the US economy went into recession, and greatly reduced its imports from developing nations. A the same time, developing nations, who had taken on heavy debt burdens to finance industrialization, suddenly found themselves having to pay 18% interest payments on their loans. The idea that they could borrow heavily to build an industrial society, which would in turn pay off their loans, had suddenly come to a halt. As the US dollar had spread around the world in the forms of petrodollars and loans, the decisions that the Fed made would affect the entire world. In 1982, Mexico announced that it could no longer service its debt, and defaulted on its loans. This marked the spread of the 1980s debt crisis, which spread throughout Latin America and across the continent of Africa.
Suddenly, much of the developing world was plunged into crisis. Thus, the IMF and World Bank entered the scene with their newly developed “Structural Adjustment Programs” (SAPs), which would encompass a country in need signing an agreement, the SAP, which would provide the country with a loan from the IMF, as well as “development” projects by the World Bank. In turn, the country would have to undergo a neoliberal restructuring of its country.
Neoliberalism spread out of America and Britain in the 1980s; through their financial empires and instruments – including the World Bank and IMF – they spread the neoliberal ideology around the globe. Countries that resisted neoliberalism were subjected to “regime change”. This would occur through financial manipulation, via currency speculation or the hegemonic monetary policies of the Western nations, primarily the United States; economic sanctions, via the United Nations or simply done on a bilateral basis; covert regime change, through “colour revolutions” or coups, assassinations; and sometimes overt military campaigns and war.
The neoliberal ideology consisted in what has often been termed “free market fundamentalism.” This would entail a massive wave of privatization, in which state assets and industries are privatized in order to become economically “more productive and efficient.” This would have the social effect of leading to the firing of entire areas of the public sector, especially health and education as well as any specially protected national industries, which for many poor nations meant vital natural resources.
Then, the market would be “liberalized” which meant that restrictions and impediments to foreign investments in the nation would diminish by reducing or eliminating trade barriers and tariffs (taxes), and thus foreign capital (Western corporations and banks) would be able to invest in the country easily, while national industries that grow and “compete” would be able to more easily invest in other nations and industries around the world. The Central Bank of the nation would then keep interest rates artificially low, to allow for the easier movement of money in and out of the country. The effect of this would be that foreign multinational corporations and international banks would be able to easily buy up the privatized industries, and thus, buy up the national economy. Simultaneously major national industries may be allowed to grow and work with the global banks and corporations. This would essentially oligopolize the national economy, and bring it within the sphere of influence of the “global economy” controlled by and for the Western elites.
The European empires had imposed upon Africa and many other colonized peoples around the world a system of ‘indirect rule’, in which local governance structures were restructured and reorganized into a system where the local population is governed by locals, but for the western colonial powers. Thus, a local elite is created, and they enrich themselves through the colonial system, so they have no interest in challenging the colonial powers, but instead seek to protect their own interests, which happen to be the interests of the empire.
In the era of globalization, the leaders of the ‘Third World’ have been co-opted and their societies reorganized by and for the interests of the globalized elites. This is a system of indirect rule, and the local elites becoming ‘indirect globalists’; they have been brought within the global system and structures of empire.
Following a Structural Adjustment Program, masses of people would be left unemployed; the prices of essential commodities such as food and fuel would increase, sometimes by hundreds of percentiles, while the currency lost its value. Poverty would spread and entire sectors of the economy would be shut down. In the “developing” world of Asia, Latin America and Africa, these policies were especially damaging. With no social safety nets to fall into, the people would go hungry; the public state was dismantled.
When it came to Africa, the continent so rapidly de-industrialized throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s that poverty increased by incredible degrees. With that, conflict would spread. In the 1990s, as the harsh effects of neoliberal policies were easily and quickly seen on the African continent, the main notion pushed through academia, the media, and policy circles was that the state of Africa was due to the “mismanagement” by Africans. The blame was put solely on the national governments. While national political and economic elites did become complicit in the problems, the problems were imposed from beyond the continent, not from within.
Thus, in the 1990s, the notion of “good governance” became prominent. This was the idea that in return for loans and “help” from the IMF and World Bank, nations would need to undertake reforms not only of the economic sector, but also to create the conditions of what the west perceived as “good governance.” However, in neoliberal parlance, “good governance” implies “minimal governance”, and governments still had to dismantle their public sectors. They simply had to begin applying the illusion of democracy, through the holding of elections and allowing for the formation of a civil society. “Freedom” however, was still to maintain simply an economic concept, in that the nation would be “free” for Western capital to enter into.
While massive poverty and violence spread across the continent, people were given the “gift” of elections. They would elect one leader, who would then be locked into an already pre-determined economic and political structure. The political leaders would enrich themselves at the expense of others, and then be thrown out at the next election, or simply fix the elections. This would continue, back and forth, all the while no real change would be allowed to take place. Western imposed “democracy” had thus failed.
An article in a 2002 edition of International Affairs, the journal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (the British counter-part to the Council on Foreign Relations), wrote that:
The authors then explained that NGOs have a peculiar evolution in Africa:
The authors examined how with the spread of neoliberalism, the notion of a “minimalist state” spread across the world and across Africa. Thus, they explain, the IMF and World Bank “became the new commanders of post-colonial economies.” However, these efforts were not imposed without resistance, as, “Between 1976 and 1992 there were 146 protests against IMF-supported austerity measures [SAPs] in 39 countries around the world.” Usually, however, governments responded with brute force, violently oppressing demonstrations. However, the widespread opposition to these “reforms” needed to be addressed by major organizations and “aid” agencies in re-evaluating their approach to ‘development’:
The outcome of these deliberations was the ‘good governance’ agenda in the 1990s and the decision to co-opt NGOs and other civil society organizations to a repackaged programme of welfare provision, a social initiative that could be more accurately described as a programme of social control.
The result was to implement the notion of ‘pluralism’ in the form of ‘multipartyism’, which only ended up in bringing “into the public domain the seething divisions between sections of the ruling class competing for control of the state.” As for the ‘welfare initiatives’, the bilateral and multilateral aid agencies set aside significant funds for addressing the “social dimensions of adjustment,” which would “minimize the more glaring inequalities that their policies perpetuated.” This is where the growth of NGOs in Africa rapidly accelerated.
Africa had again, become firmly enraptured in the cold grip of imperialism. Conflicts in Africa would be stirred up by imperial foreign powers, often using ethnic divides to turn the people against each other, using the political leaders of African nations as vassals submissive to Western hegemony. War and conflict would spread, and with it, so too would Western capital and the multinational corporation.
Building a ‘New’ Economy
While the developing world fell under the heavy sword of Western neoliberal hegemony, the Western industrialized societies experienced a rapid growth of their own economic strength. It was the Western banks and multinational corporations that spread into and took control of the economies of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Russia opened itself up to Western finance, and the IMF and World Bank swept in and imposed neoliberal restructuring, which led to a collapse of the Russian economy, and enrichment of a few billionaire oligarchs who own the Russian economy, and who are intricately connected with Western economic interests; again, ‘indirect globalists’.
As the Western financial and commercial sectors took control of the vast majority of the world’s resources and productive industries, amassing incredible profits, they needed new avenues in which to invest. Out of this need for a new road to capital accumulation (making money), the US Federal Reserve stepped in to help out.
The Federal Reserve in the 1990s began to ease interest rates lower and lower to again allow for the easier spread of money. This was the era of ‘globalization,’ where proclamations of a “New World Order” emerged. Regional trading blocs and “free trade” agreements spread rapidly, as world systems of political and economic structure increasingly grew out of the national structure and into a supra-national form. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented in an “economic constitution for North America” as Reagan referred to it.
Regionalism had emerged as the next major phase in the construction of the New World Order, with the European Union being at the forefront. The world economy was ‘globalized’ and so too, would the political structure follow, on both regional and global levels. The World Trade Organization (WTO) was formed to maintain and enshrine global neoliberal constitution for trade. All through this time, a truly global ruling class emerged, the Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC), or global elite, which constituted a singular international class.
However, as the wealth and power of elites grew, everyone else suffered. The middle class had been subjected to a quiet dismantling. In the Western developed nations, industries and factories closed down, relocating to cheap Third World countries to exploit their labour, then sell the products in the Western world cheaply. Our living standards in the West began to fall, but because we could buy products for cheaper, no one seemed to complain. We continued to consume, and we used credit and debt to do so. The middle class existed only in theory, but was in fact, beholden to the shackles of debt.
The Clinton administration used ‘globalization’ as its grand strategy throughout the 1990s, facilitating the decline of productive capital (as in, money that flows into production of goods and services), and implemented the rise finance capital (money made on money). Thus, financial speculation became one of the key tools of economic expansion. This is what was termed the “financialization” of the economy. To allow this to occur, the Clinton administration actively worked to deregulate the banking sector. The Glass-Steagle Act, put in place by FDR in 1933 to prevent commercial banks from merging with investment banks and engaging in speculation, (which in large part caused the Great Depression), was slowly dismantled through the coordinated efforts of America’s largest banks, the Federal Reserve, and the US Treasury Department.
Thus, a massive wave of consolidation took place, as large banks ate smaller banks, corporations merged, where banks and corporations stopped being American or European and became truly global. Some of the key individuals that took part in the dismantling of Glass-Steagle and the expansion of ‘financialization’ were Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve and Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers at the Treasury Department, now key officials in Obama’s economic team.
This era saw the rise of ‘derivatives’ which are ‘complex financial instruments’ that essentially act as short-term insurance policies, betting and speculating that an asset price or commodity would go up or go down in value, allowing money to be made on whether stocks or prices go up or down. However, it wasn’t called ‘insurance’ because ‘insurance’ has to be regulated. Thus, it was referred to as derivatives trade, and organizations called Hedge Funds entered the picture in managing the global trade in derivatives.
The stock market would go up as speculation on future profits drove stocks higher and higher, inflating a massive bubble in what was termed a ‘virtual economy.’ The Federal Reserve facilitated this, as it had previously done in the lead-up to the Great Depression, by keeping interest rates artificially low, and allowing for easy-flowing money into the financial sector. The Federal Reserve thus inflated the ‘dot-com’ bubble of the technology sector. When this bubble burst, the Federal Reserve, with Allen Greenspan at the helm, created the “housing bubble.”
The Federal Reserve maintained low interest rates and actively encouraged and facilitated the flow of money into the housing sector. Banks were given free reign and actually encouraged to make loans to high-risk individuals who would never be able to pay back their debt. Again, the middle class existed only in the myth of the ‘free market’.
Concurrently, throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, the role of speculation as a financial instrument of war became apparent. Within the neoliberal global economy, money could flow easily into and out of countries. Thus, when confidence weakens in the prospect of one nation’s economy, there can be a case of ‘capital flight’ where foreign investors sell their assets in that nation’s currency and remove their capital from that country. This results in an inevitable collapse of the nations economy.
This happened to Mexico in 1994, in the midst of joining NAFTA, where international investors speculated against the Mexican peso, betting that it would collapse; they cashed in their pesos for dollars, which devalued the peso and collapsed the Mexican economy. This was followed by the East Asian financial crisis in 1997, where throughout the 1990s, Western capital had penetrated East Asian economies speculating in real estate and the stock markets. However, this resulted in over-investment, as the real economy, (production, manufacturing, etc.) could not keep up with speculative capital. Thus, Western capital feared a crisis, and began speculating against the national currencies of East Asian economies, which triggered devaluation and a financial panic as capital fled from East Asia into Western banking sectors. The economies collapsed and then the IMF came in to ‘restructure’ them accordingly. The same strategy was undertaken with Russia in 1998, and Argentina in 2001.
Throughout the 2000s, the housing bubble was inflated beyond measure, and around the middle of the decade, when the indicators emerged of a crisis in the housing market a commercial real estate bubble was formed. This bubble has yet to burst.
The 2007-2008 Financial Crisis
In 2007, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the most prestigious financial institution in the world and the central bank to the world’s central banks, issued a warning that the world is on the verge of another Great Depression, “citing mass issuance of new-fangled credit instruments, soaring levels of household debt, extreme appetite for risk shown by investors, and entrenched imbalances in the world currency system.”
As the housing bubble began to collapse, the commodity bubble was inflated, where money went increasingly into speculation, the stock market, and the price of commodities soared, such as with the massive increases in the price of oil between 2007 and 2008. In September of 2007, a medium-sized British Bank called Northern Rock, a major partaker in the loans of bad mortgages which turned out to be worthless, sought help from the Bank of England, which led to a run on the bank and investor panic. In February of 2008, the British government bought and nationalized Northern Rock.
In March of 2008, Bear Stearns, an American bank that had been a heavy lender in the mortgage real estate market, went into crisis. On March 14, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York worked with J.P. Morgan Chase (whose CEO is a board member of the NY Fed) to provide Bear Stearns with an emergency loan. However, they quickly changed their mind, and the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, working with the President of the New York Fed, Timothy Geithner, and the Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (former CEO of Goldman Sachs), forced Bear Stearns to sell itself to JP Morgan Chase for $2 a share, which had previously traded at $172 a share in January of 2007. The merger was paid for by the Federal Reserve of New York, and charged to the US taxpayer.
In June of 2008, the BIS again warned of an impending Great Depression.
In September of 2008, the US government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two major home mortgage corporations. The same month, the global bank Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, giving the signal that no one is safe and that the entire economy was on the verge of collapse. Lehman was a major dealer in the US Treasury Securities market and was heavily invested in home mortgages. Lehman filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, marking the largest bankruptcy in US history. A wave of bank consolidation spread across the United States and internationally. The big banks became much bigger as Bank of America swallowed Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan ate Washington Mutual, and Wells Fargo took over Wachovia.
In November of 2008, the US government bailed out the largest insurance company in the world, AIG. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, with Timothy Geithner at the helm:
As Bloomberg reported, since the New York Fed is quasi-governmental, as in, it is given government authority, but not subject to government oversight, and is owned by the banks that make up its board (such as JP Morgan Chase), “It’s as though the New York Fed was a black-ops outfit for the nation’s central bank.”
In the fall of 2008, the Bush administration sought to implement a bailout package for the economy, designed to save the US banking system. The leaders of the nation went into rabid fear mongering. The President warned:
The head of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, as well as Treasury Secretary Paulson, in late September warned of “recession, layoffs and lost homes if Congress doesn’t quickly approve the Bush administration’s emergency $700 billion financial bailout plan.” Seven months prior, in February of 2008, prior to the collapse of Bear Stearns, both Bernanke and Paulson said “the nation will avoid falling into recession.” In September of 2008, Paulson was saying that people “should be scared.”
The bailout package was made into a massive financial scam, which would plunge the United States into unprecedented levels of debt, while pumping incredible amounts of money into major global banks.
The public was told, as was the Congress, that the bailout was worth $700 billion dollars. However, this was extremely misleading, and a closer reading of the fine print would reveal much more, in that $700 billion is the amount that could be spent “at any one time.” As Chris Martenson wrote:
Further, the proposed bill would “raise the nation’s debt ceiling to $11.315 trillion from $10.615 trillion,” and that the actions taken as a result of the passage of the bill would not be subject to investigation by the nation’s court system, as it would “bar courts from reviewing actions taken under its authority”:
Larisa Alexandrovna, writing with the Huffington Post, warned that the passage of the bailout bill will be the final nails in the coffin of the fascist coup over America, in the form of financial fascists:
At the same time, the US Federal Reserve was bailing out foreign banks of hundreds of billions of dollars, “that are desperate for dollars and can’t access America’s frozen credit markets – a move co-ordinated with central banks in Japan, the Eurozone, Switzerland, Canada and here in the UK.” The moves would have been coordinated through the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basle, Switzerland. As Politico reported, “foreign-based banks with big U.S. operations could qualify for the Treasury Department’s mortgage bailout.” A Treasury Fact Sheet released by the US Department of Treasury stated that:
So, the bailout package would not only allow for the rescue of American banks, but any banks internationally, whether public or private, if the Treasury Secretary deemed it “necessary”, and that none of the Secretary’s decisions could be reviewed or subjected to oversight of any kind. Further, it would mean that the Treasury Secretary would have a blank check, but simply wouldn’t be able to hand out more than $700 billion “at any one time.” In short, the bailout is in fact, a coup d’état by the banks over the government.
Many Congressmen were told that if they failed to pass the bailout package, they were threatened with martial law. Sure enough, Congress passed the bill, and the financial coup had been a profound success.
No wonder then, in early 2009, one Congressman reported that the banks “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.” Another Congressman said that “The banks run the place,” and explained, “I will tell you what the problem is – they give three times more money than the next biggest group. It’s huge the amount of money they put into politics.”
The Collapse of Iceland
On October 9th, 2008, the government of Iceland took control of the nation’s largest bank, nationalizing it, and halted trading on the Icelandic stock market. Within a single week, “the vast majority of Iceland’s once-proud banking sector has been nationalized.” In early October, it was reported that:
An article in BusinessWeek explained:
This was the grueling situation that faced the government at the time of the global economic crisis. The causes, however, were not Icelandic; they were international. Iceland owed “more than $60 billion overseas, about six times the value of its annual economic output. As a professor at London School of Economics said, ‘No Western country in peacetime has crashed so quickly and so badly’.”
What went wrong?
Iceland followed the path of neoliberalism, deregulated banking and financial sectors and aided in the spread and ease of flow for international capital. When times got tough, Iceland went into crisis, as the Observer reported in early October 2008:
In 2007, the UN had awarded Iceland the “best country to live in”:
As the third of Iceland’s large banks was in trouble, following the government takeover of the previous two, the UK responded by freezing Icelandic assets in the UK. Kaupthing, the last of the three banks standing in early October, had many assets in the UK.
On October 7th, Iceland’s Central Bank governor told the media, “We will not pay for irresponsible debtors and…not for banks who have behaved irresponsibly.” The following day, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, claimed that, “The Icelandic government, believe it or not, have told me yesterday they have no intention of honoring their obligations here,” although, Arni Mathiesen, the Icelandic minister of finance, said, “nothing in this telephone conversation can support the conclusion that Iceland would not honor its obligation.”
On October 10, 2008, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “We are freezing the assets of Icelandic companies in the United Kingdom where we can. We will take further action against the Icelandic authorities wherever that is necessary to recover money.” Thus:
The UK had more than £840m invested in Icelandic banks, and they were moving in to save their investments, which just so happened to help spur on the collapse of the Icelandic economy.
On October 24, 2008, an agreement between Iceland and the IMF was signed. In late November, the IMF approved a loan to Iceland of $2.1 billion, with an additional $3 billion in loans from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Poland. Why the agreement to the loan took so long, was because the UK pressured the IMF to delay the loan “until a dispute over the compensation Iceland owes savers in Icesave, one of its collapsed banks, is resolved.”
In January of 2009, the entire Icelandic government was “formally dissolved” as the government collapsed when the Prime Minister and his entire cabinet resigned. This put the opposition part in charge of an interim government. In July of 2009, the new government formally applied for European Union membership, however, “Icelanders have traditionally been skeptical of the benefits of full EU membership, fearing that they would lose some of their independence as a small state within a larger political entity.”
In August of 2009, Iceland’s parliament passed a bill “to repay Britain and the Netherlands more than $5 billion lost in Icelandic deposit accounts”:
Iceland is now in the service of the IMF and its international creditors. The small independent nation that for so long had prided itself on a strong economy and strong sense of independence had been brought to its knees.
In mid-January of 2010, the IMF and Sweden together delayed their loans to Iceland, due to Iceland’s “failure to reach a £2.3bn compensation deal with Britain and the Netherlands over its collapsed Icesave accounts.” Sweden, the UK and the IMF were blackmailing Iceland to save UK assets in return for loans.
In February of 2010, it was reported that the EU would begin negotiations with Iceland to secure Icelandic membership in the EU by 2012. However, Iceland’s “aspirations are now tied partially to a dispute with the Netherlands and Britain over $5 billion in debts lost in the country’s banking collapse in late 2008.”
Iceland stood as a sign of what was to come. The sovereign debt crisis that brought Iceland to its knees had new targets on the horizon.
Dubai Hit By Financial Storm
In February of 2009, the Guardian reported that, “A six-year boom that turned sand dunes into a glittering metropolis, creating the world’s tallest building, its biggest shopping mall and, some say, a shrine to unbridled capitalism, is grinding to a halt,” as Dubai, one of six states that form the United Arab Emirates (UAE), went into crisis. Further, “the real estate bubble that propelled the frenetic expansion of Dubai on the back of borrowed cash and speculative investment, has burst.”
Months later, in November of 2009, Dubai was plunged into a debt crisis, prompting fears of sparking a double-dip recession and the next wave of the financial crisis. As the Guardian reported:
The neighboring oil-rich state of Abu Dhabi, however, came to the rescue of Dubai with a $10 billion bailout package, leading the Foreign Minister of the UAE to declare Dubai’s financial crisis as over.
In mid-February of 2010, however, renewed fears of a debt crisis in Dubai resurfaced; Morgan Stanley reported that, “the cost to insure against a Dubai default [in mid-February] shot up to the level it was at during the peak of the city-state’s debt crisis in November.” These fears resurfaced as:
Again, the aims that governments seek in the unfolding debt crisis is not to save their people from a collapsing economy and inflated currency, but to save the ‘interests’ of their major banks and corporations within each collapsing economy.
A Sovereign Debt Crisis Hits Greece
In October of 2009, a new Socialist government came to power in Greece on the promise of injecting 3 billion euros to reinvigorate the Greek economy. Greece had suffered particularly hard during the economic crisis; it experienced riots and protests. In December of 2009, Greece said it would not default on its debt, but the government added, “Salaried workers will not pay for this situation: we will not proceed with wage freezes or cuts. We did not come to power to tear down the social state.” As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote for the Telegraph in December of 2009:
Evans-Pritchard wrote that the crisis in Greece had much to do with the European Monetary Union (EMU), which created the Euro, and made all member states subject to the decisions of the European Central Bank, as “Interest rates were too low for Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland, causing them all to be engulfed in a destructive property and wage boom.” Further:
Greece’s debt had soared, by early December 2009, to a spiraling 300-billion euros, as its “financial woes have also weighed on the euro currency, whose long-term value depends on member countries keeping their finances in order.” Further, Ireland, Spain and Portugal were all facing problems with their debt. As it turned out, the previous Greek government had been cooking the books, and when the new government came to power, it inherited twice the federal deficit it had anticipated.
In February of 2010, the New York Times revealed that:
Even back in 2001, when Greece joined the Euro-bloc, Goldman Sachs helped the country “quietly borrow billions” in a deal “hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, [and] helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.” Further, “Greece owes the world $300 billion, and major banks are on the hook for much of that debt. A default would reverberate around the globe.” Both Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase had undertaken similar efforts in Italy and other countries in Europe as well.
In early February, EU nations led by France and Germany met to discuss a rescue package for Greece, likely with the help of the European Central Bank and possibly the IMF. The issue had plunged the Eurozone into a crisis, as confidence in the Euro fell across the board, and “Germans have become so disillusioned with the euro, many will not accept notes produced outside their homeland.”
Germany was expected to bail out the Greek economy, much to the dismay of the German people. As one German politician stated, “We cannot expect the citizens, whose taxes are already too high, to go along with supporting the erroneous financial and budget policy of other states of the eurozone.” One economist warned that the collapse of Greece could lead to a collapse of the Euro:
However, the Lisbon Treaty had been passed over 2009, which put into effect a European Constitution, giving Brussels enormous powers over its member states. As the Telegraph reported on February 16, 2010, the EU stripped Greece of its right to vote at a crucial meeting to take place in March:
It would appear that the EU is in a troubling position. If they allow the IMF to rescue Greece, it would be a blow to the faith in the Euro currency, whereas if they bailout Greece, it will encourage internal pressures within European countries to abandon the Euro.
In early February, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote in the Telegraph that, “The Greek debt crisis has spread to Spain and Portugal in a dangerous escalation as global markets test whether Europe is willing to shore up monetary union with muscle rather than mere words”:
Fear began to spread in regards to a growing sovereign debt crisis, stretching across Greece, Spain and Portugal, and likely much wider and larger than that.
A Global Debt Crisis
In 2007, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), “the world’s most prestigious financial body,” warned of a coming great depression, and stated that while in a crisis, central banks may cut interest rates (which they subsequently did). However, as the BIS pointed out, while cutting interest rates may help, in the long run it has the effect of “sowing the seeds for more serious problems further ahead.”
In the summer of 2008, prior to the apex of the 2008 financial crisis in September and October, the BIS again warned of the inherent dangers of a new Great Depression. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote, “the ultimate bank of central bankers” warned that central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, would not find it so easy to “clean up” the messes they had made in asset-price bubbles.
The BIS report stated that, “It is not impossible that the unwinding of the credit bubble could, after a temporary period of higher inflation, culminate in a deflation that might be hard to manage, all the more so given the high debt levels.” As Evans-Pritchard explained, “this amounts to a warning that monetary overkill by the Fed, the Bank of England, and above all the European Central Bank could prove dangerous at this juncture.” The BIS report warned that, “Global banks – with loans of $37 trillion in 2007, or 70pc of world GDP – are still in the eye of the storm.” Ultimately, the actions of central banks were designed “to put off the day of reckoning,” not to prevent it.
Seeing how the BIS is not simply a casual observer, but is in fact the most important financial institution in the world, as it is where the world’s central bankers meet and, in secret, decide monetary policy for the world. As central banks have acted as the architects of the financial crisis, the BIS warning of a Great Depression is not simply a case of Cassandra prophesying the Trojan Horse, but is a case where she prophesied the horse, then opened the gates of Troy and pulled the horse in.
It was within this context that the governments of the world took on massive amounts of debt and bailed out the financial sectors from their accumulated risk by buying their bad debts.
In late June of 2009, several months following Western governments implementing bailouts and stimulus packages, the world was in the euphoria of “recovery.” At this time, however, the Bank for International Settlements released another report warning against such complacency in believing in the “recovery.” The BIS warned of only “limited progress” in fixing the financial system. The article is worth quoting at length:
The BIS had thus endorsed the bailout and stimulus packages, which is no surprise, considering that the BIS is owned by the central banks of the world, which in turn are owned by the major global banks that were “bailed out” by the governments. However, the BIS warned that these rescue efforts, “while necessary” for the banks, will likely have deleterious effects for national governments.
The BIS warned that, “there’s a risk central banks will raise interest rates and withdraw emergency liquidity too late, triggering inflation”:
Of enormous significance was the warning from the BIS that, “fiscal stimulus packages may provide no more than a temporary boost to growth, and be followed by an extended period of economic stagnation.” As the Australian reported in late June:
Further, major western countries such as Australia “faced the possibility of a run on the currency, which would force interest rates to rise,” and “Particularly in smaller and more open economies, pressure on the currency could force central banks to follow a tighter policy than would be warranted by domestic economic conditions.” Not surprisingly, the BIS stated that, “government guarantees and asset insurance have exposed taxpayers to potentially large losses,” through the bailouts and stimulus packages, and “stimulus programs will drive up real interest rates and inflation expectations,” as inflation “would intensify as the downturn abated.”
In May of 2009, Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned that Britain faces a major struggle in the next phase of the economic crisis:
However, as dire as things look for Britain, “The UK is likely to be joined by other countries as the full scale of the downturn becomes apparent and more financial skeletons are pulled from the sub-prime closet.”
In September of 2009, the former Chief Economist of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), William White, who had accurately predicted the previous crisis, warned that, “The world has not tackled the problems at the heart of the economic downturn and is likely to slip back into recession.” He “also warned that government actions to help the economy in the short run may be sowing the seeds for future crises.” An article in the Financial Times elaborated:
In late September of 2009, the General Manager of the BIS warned governments against complacency, saying that, “the market rebound should not be misinterpreted,” and that, “The profile of the recovery is not clear.”
In September, the Financial Times further reported that William White, former Chief Economist at the BIS, also “argued that after two years of government support for the financial system, we now have a set of banks that are even bigger – and more dangerous – than ever before,” which also, “has been argued by Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund,” who “says that the finance industry has in effect captured the US government,” and pointedly stated: “recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform.”
In mid-September, the BIS released a warning about the global financial system, as “The global market for derivatives rebounded to $426 trillion in the second quarter [of 2009] as risk appetite returned, but the system remains unstable and prone to crises.” The derivatives rose by 16% “mostly due to a surge in futures and options contracts on three-month interest rates.” In other words, speculation is back in full force as bailout money to banks in turn fed speculative practices that have not been subjected to reform or regulation. Thus, the problems that created the previous crisis are still present and growing:
In late November of 2009, Morgan Stanley warned that, “Britain risks becoming the first country in the G10 bloc of major economies to risk capital flight and a full-blown debt crisis over coming months.” The Bank of England may have to raise interest rates “before it is ready — risking a double-dip recession, and an incipient compound-debt spiral.” Further:
As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote for the Telegraph, this “is a reminder that countries merely bought time during the crisis by resorting to fiscal stimulus and shunting private losses onto public books,” and, while he endorsed the stimulus packages claiming it was “necessary,” he admitted that the stimulus packages “have not resolved the underlying debt problem. They have storied up a second set of difficulties by degrading sovereign debt across much of the world.” Morgan Stanley said another surprise in 2010 could be a surge in the dollar. However, this would be due to capital flight out of Europe as its economies crumble under their debt burdens and capital seeks a “safe haven” in the US dollar.
In December of 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported on the warnings of some of the nation’s top economists, who feared that following a financial crisis such as the one experienced in the previous two years, “there’s typically a wave of sovereign default crises.” As economist Kenneth Rogoff explained, “If you want to know what’s next on the menu, that’s a good bet,” as “Spiraling government debts around the world, from Washington to Berlin to Tokyo, could set the scene for years of financial troubles.” Apart from the obvious example of Greece, other countries are at risk, as the author of the article wrote:
Rogoff predicted that, “We’re going to be raising taxes sky high,” and that, “we’re probably going to see a lot of inflation, eventually. We will have to. It’s the easiest way to reduce the value of those liabilities in real terms.” Rogoff stated, “The way rich countries default is through inflation.” Further, “even U.S. municipal bonds won’t be safe from trouble. California could be among those facing a default crisis.” Rogoff elaborated, “It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Federal Reserve buying California debt at some point, or some form of bailout.”
The bailouts, particularly that of the United States, handed a blank check to the world’s largest banks. As another favour, the US government put those same banks in charge of ‘reform’ and ‘regulation’ of the banking industry. Naturally, no reform or regulation took place. Thus, the money given to banks by the government can be used in financial speculation. As the sovereign debt crisis unfolds and spreads around the globe, the major international banks will be able to create enormous wealth in speculation, rapidly pulling their money out of one nation in debt crisis, precipitating a collapse, and moving to another, until all the dominoes have fallen, and the banks stand larger, wealthier, and more powerful than any nation or institution on earth (assuming they already aren’t). This is why the bankers were so eager to undertake a financial coup of the United States, to ensure that no actual reform took place, that they could loot the nation of all it has, and profit off of its eventual collapse and the collapse of the global economy. The banks have been saved! Now everyone else must pay.
Edmund Conway, the Economics Editor of the Telegraph, reported in early January of 2010, that throughout the year:
In other words, the ‘recovery’ is an illusion. In mid-January of 2010, the World Economic Forum released a report in which it warned that, “There is now more than a one-in-five chance of another asset price bubble implosion costing the world more than £1 trillion, and similar odds of a full-scale sovereign fiscal crisis.” The report warned of a simultaneous second financial crisis coupled with a major fiscal crisis as countries default on their debts. The report “also warned of the possibility of China’s economy overheating and, instead of helping support global economic growth, preventing a fully-fledged recovery from developing.” Further:
Nouriel Roubini, one of America’s top economists who predicted the financial crisis, wrote an article in Forbes in January of 2010 explaining that, “the severe recession, combined with a financial crisis during 2008-09, worsened the fiscal positions of developed countries due to stimulus spending, lower tax revenues and support to the financial sector.” He warned that the debt burden of major economies, including the US, Japan and Britain, would likely increase. With this, investors will become wary of the sustainability of fiscal markets and will begin to withdraw from debt markets, long considered “safe havens.” Further:
As interest rates rise, which they will have to in a tightening of monetary policy, (which up until now have been kept artificially low so as to encourage the spread of liquidity around the world), interest payments on the debt will increase dramatically. Roubini warned:
Governments will thus need to drastically increase taxes and cut spending. Essentially, this will amount to a global “Structural Adjustment Program” (SAP) in the developed, industrialized nations of the West.
Where SAPs imposed upon ‘Third World’ debtor nations would provide a loan in return for the dismantling of the public state, higher taxes, growing unemployment, total privatization of state industries and deregulation of trade and investment, the loans provided by the IMF and World Bank would ultimately benefit Western multinational corporations and banks. This is what the Western world now faces: we bailed out the banks, and now we must pay for it, through massive unemployment, increased taxes, and the dismantling of the public sphere.
In February of 2010, Niall Ferguson, a prominent British economic historian, wrote an article for the Financial Times entitled, “A Greek Crisis Coming to America.” He starts by explaining that, “It began in Athens. It is spreading to Lisbon and Madrid. But it would be a grave mistake to assume that the sovereign debt crisis that is unfolding will remain confined to the weaker eurozone economies.” He explained that this is not a crisis confined to one region, “It is a fiscal crisis of the western world,” and “Its ramifications are far more profound than most investors currently appreciate.” Ferguson writes that, “the problem is essentially the same from Iceland to Ireland to Britain to the US. It just comes in widely differing sizes,” and the US is no small risk:
Ferguson points out that, “The long-run projections of the Congressional Budget Office suggest that the US will never again run a balanced budget. That’s right, never.” Ferguson explains that debt will hurt major economies:
In late February of 2010, the warning signs were flashing red that interest rates were going to have to rise, taxes increase, and the burden of debt would need to be addressed.
China Begins to Dump US Treasuries
US Treasuries are US government debt that is issued by the US Treasury Department, which are bought by foreign governments as an investment. It is a show of faith in the US economy to buy their debt (i.e., Treasuries). In buying a US Treasury, you are lending money to the US government for a certain period of time.
However, as the United States has taken on excessive debt loads to save the banks from crisis, the prospect of buying US Treasuries has become less appealing, and the threat that they are an unsafe investment is ever-growing. In February of 2009, Hilary Clinton urged China to continue buying US Treasuries in order to finance Obama’s stimulus package. As an article in Bloomberg pointed out:
The following month, the Chinese central bank announced that they would continue buying US Treasuries.
However, in February of 2009, Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest individuals, warned against buying US Treasuries:
In September of 2009, an article on CNN reported of the dangers if China were to start dumping US Treasuries, which “could cause longer-term interest rates to shoot up since bond prices and yields move in opposite directions,” as a weakening US currency could lead to inflation, which would in turn, reduce the value and worth of China’s holdings in US Treasuries.
It has become a waiting game; an economic catch-22: China holds US debt (Treasuries) which allows the US to spend to “save the economy” (or more accurately, the banks), but all the spending has plunged the US into such abysmal debt from which it will never be able to emerge. The result is that inflation will likely occur, with a possibility of hyperinflation, thus reducing the value of the US currency. China’s economy is entirely dependent upon the US as a consumer economy, while the US is dependent upon China as a buyer and holder of US debt. Both countries are delaying the inevitable. If China doesn’t want to hold worthless investments (US debt) it must stop buying US Treasuries, and then international faith in the US currency would begin to fall, forcing interest rates to rise, which could even precipitate a speculative assault against the US dollar. At the same time, a collapsing US currency and economy would not help China’s economy, which would tumble with it. So, it has become a waiting game.
In February of 2010, the Financial Times reported that China had begun in December of 2009, the process of dumping US Treasuries, and thus falling behind Japan as the largest holder of US debt, selling approximately $38.8 billion of US Treasuries, as “Foreign demand for US Treasury bonds fell by a record amount”:
So, China has given the US a vote of non-confidence. This is evident of the slippery-slide down the road to a collapse of the US economy, and possibly, the US dollar, itself.
Is a Debt Crisis Coming to America?
All the warning signs are there: America is in dire straights when it comes to its total debt, proper actions have not been taken to reform the monetary or financial systems, the same problems remain prevalent, and the bailout and stimulus packages have further exposed the United States to astronomical debt levels. While the dollar will likely continue to go up as confidence in the Eurozone economies tumbles, this is not because the dollar is a good investment, but because the dollar is simply a better investment (for now) than the Euro, which isn’t saying much.
The Chinese moves to begin dumping US Treasuries is a signal that the issue of American debt has already weighed in on the functions and movements of the global financial system. While the day of reckoning may be months if not years away, it is coming nonetheless.
On February 15, it was reported that the Federal Reserve, having pumped $2.2 trillion into the economy, “must start pulling that money back.” As the Fed reportedly bought roughly $2 trillion in bad assets, it is now debating “how and when to sell those assets.” As the Korea Times reported, “The problem: Do it too quickly and the Fed might cut off or curtail the recovery. Wait too long and risk setting off a punishing round of inflation.”
In mid-February, there were reports of dissent within the Federal Reserve System, as Thomas Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, warned that, “The US must fix its growing debt problems or risk a new financial crisis.” He explained, “that rising debt was infringing on the central bank’s ability to fulfill its goals of maintaining price stability and long-term economic growth.” In January, he was the lone voice at a Fed meeting that said interest rates should not remain near zero for an “extended period.” He said the worst case scenario would be for the US government to have to again ask the Fed to print more money, and instead suggested that, “the administration must find ways to cut spending and generate revenue,” admitting that it would be a “painful and politically inconvenient” process.
However, these reports are largely disingenuous, as it has placed focus on a superficial debt level. The United States, even prior to the onset of the economic crisis in 2007 and 2008, had long been a reckless spender. The cost of maintaining an empire is astronomical and beyond the actual means of any nation. Historically, the collapse of empires has as much or more to do with a collapse in their currency and fiscal system than their military defeat or collapse in war. Also important to note is that these processes are not mutually exclusive, but are, in fact, intricately interconnected.
As empires decline, the world order is increasingly marred in economic crises and international conflict. As the crisis in the economy worsens, international conflict and wars spread. As I have amply documented elsewhere, the United States, since the end of World War II, has been the global hegemon: maintaining the largest military force in the world, and not shying away from using it, as well as running the global monetary system. Since the 1970s, the US dollar has acted as a world reserve currency. Following the collapse of the USSR, the grand imperial strategy of America was to dominate Eurasia and control the world militarily and economically.
Throughout the years of the Bush administration, the imperial strategy was given immense new life under the guise of the “war on terror.” Under this banner, the United States declared war on the world and all who oppose its hegemony. All the while, the administration colluded with the big banks and the Federal Reserve to artificially maintain the economic system. In the latter years of the Bush administration, this illusion began to come tumbling down. Never before in history has such a large nation wages multiple major theatre wars around the world without the public at home being fiscally restrained in some manner, either through higher taxes or interest rates. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The trillion dollar wars plunged the United States deeper into debt.
By 2007, the year that Northern Rock collapsed in the UK, signaling the start of the collapse of 2008, the total debt – domestic, commercial and consumer debt – of the United States stood at a shocking $51 trillion.
As if this debt burden was not enough, considering it would be impossible to ever pay back, the past two years has seen the most expansive and rapid debt expansion ever seen in world history – in the form of stimulus and bailout packages around the world. In July of 2009, it was reported that, “U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.”
That is worth noting once again: the “bailout” bill implemented under Bush, and fully supported and sponsored by President-elect Obama, has possibly bailed out the financial sector of up to $23.7 trillion. How could this be? After all, the public was told that the “bailout” was $700 billion.
In fact, the fine print in the bailout bill revealed that $700 billion was not a ceiling, as in, $700 billion was not the maximum amount of money that could be injected into the banks; it was the maximum that could be injected into the financial system “at any one time.” Thus, it became a “rolling amount.” It essentially created a back-door loophole for the major global banks, both domestic and foreign, to plunder the nation and loot it entirely. There was no limit to the money banks could get from the Fed. And none of the actions would be subject to review or oversight by Congress or the Judiciary, i.e., the people.
This is why, as Obama became President in late January of 2009, his administration fully implemented the financial coup over the United States. The man who had been responsible for orchestrating the bailout of AIG, the buyout of Bear Stearns as a gift for JP Morgan Chase, and had been elected to run the Federal Reserve Bank of New York by the major global banks in New York (chief among them, JP Morgan Chase), had suddenly become Treasury Secretary under Obama. The Fed, and thus, the banks were now put directly in charge of the looting.
Obama then took on a team of economic advisers that made any astute economic observer flinch in terror. The titans of economic crisis and catastrophe had become the fox in charge of the chicken coop. Those who were instrumental in creating and constructing the economic crises of the previous decades and building the instruments and infrastructure that led to the current crisis, were with Obama, brought in to “solve” the crisis they created. Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve and architect of the 1980s debt crisis, was now a top economic adviser to Obama. As well as this, Lawrence Summers joined Obama’s economic team, who had previously been instrumental in Bill Clinton’s Treasury Department in dismantling all banking regulations and creating the market for speculation and derivatives which directly led to the current crisis.
In short, the financial oligarchy is in absolute control of the United States government. Concurrently, the military structure of the American empire has firmly established its grip over foreign policy, as America’s wars are expanded into Pakistan, Yemen, and potentially Iran.
Make no mistake, a crisis is coming to America, it is only a question of when, and how severe.
Imperial Decline and the Rise of the New World Order
The decline of the American empire, an inevitable result of its half-century of exerting its political and economic hegemony around the world, is not an isolated event in the global political economy. The US declines concurrently with the rise of what is termed the “New World Order.”
America has been used by powerful western banking and corporate interests as an engine of empire, expanding their influence across the globe. Banks have no armies, so they must control nations; banks have no products, so they must control industries; banks have only money, and interest earned on it. Thus, they must ensure that industry and governments alike borrow money en masse to the point where they are so indebted, they can never emerge. As a result, governments and industries become subservient to the banking interests. Banks achieved this masterful feat through the construction of the global central banking system.
Bankers took control first of Great Britain through the Bank of England, building up the massive might of the British Empire, and spread into the rest of Europe, creating central banks in the major European empires. In the 20th Century, the central bankers took control of the United States through the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, prior to the outbreak of World War I.
Following World War I, a restructuring of the world order was undertaken. In part, these actions paved the way to the Great Depression, which struck in 1929. The Great Depression was created as a result of the major banks engaging in speculation, which was actively encouraged and financed by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks.
As a result of the Great Depression, a new institution was formed, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), based in Basle, Switzerland. As historian Carroll Quigley explained, the BIS was formed to “remedy the decline of London as the world’s financial center by providing a mechanism by which a world with three chief financial centers in London, New York, and Paris could still operate as one.” He explained:
The new order that is being constructed is not one in which there is another single global power, as many commentators suggest China may become, but rather that a multi-polar world order is constructed, in which the global political economy is restructured into a global governance structure: in short, the new world order is to be marked by the construction of a world government.
This is the context in which the solutions to the global economic crisis are being implemented. In April of 2009, the G20 set into motion the plans to form a global currency, which would presumably replace the US dollar as the world reserve currency. This new currency would either be operated through the IMF or the BIS, and would be a reserve currency whose value is determined as a basket of currencies (such as the dollar, yen, euro, etc), which would play off of one another, and whose value would be fixed to the global currency.
This process is being implemented, through long-term planning, simultaneously as we see the further emergence of regional currencies, as not only the Euro, but plans and discussions for other regional currencies are underway in North America, South America, the Gulf states, Africa and East Asia.
A 1988 article in the Economist foretold of a coming global currency by 2018, in which the author wrote that countries would have to give up monetary and economic sovereignty, however:
To create a global currency, and thus a global system of economic governance, the world would have to be plunged into economic and currency crises to force governments to take the necessary actions in moving towards a global currency.
From 1998 onwards, there have been several calls for the formation of a global central bank, and in the midst of the global economic crisis of 2008, renewed calls and actual actions and efforts undertaken by the G20 have sped up the development of a “global Fed” and world currency. A global central bank is being offered as a solution to prevent a future global economic crisis from occurring.
In March of 2008, closely following the collapse of Bear Stearns, a major financial firm released a report stating that, “Financial firms face a ‘new world order’,” and that major banks would become much larger through mergers and acquisitions. There would be a new world order of banking consolidation.
In November of 2008, The National, a prominent United Arab Emirate newspaper, reported on Baron David de Rothschild accompanying Prime Minister Gordon Brown on a visit to the Middle East, although not as a “part of the official party” accompanying Brown. Following an interview with the Baron, it was reported that, “Rothschild shares most people’s view that there is a new world order. In his opinion, banks will deleverage and there will be a new form of global governance.”
In February of 2009, the Times Online reported that a “New world order in banking [is] necessary,” and that, “It is increasingly evident that the world needs a new banking system and that it should not bear much resemblance to the one that has failed so spectacularly.” However, what the article fails to point out is that the ‘new world order in banking’ is to be constructed by the bankers.
This process is going hand-in-hand with the formation of a new world order in global political structures, following the economic trends. As regionalism was spurred by economic initiatives, such as regional trading blocs and currency groupings, the political structure of a regional government followed closely behind. Europe was the first to undertake this initiative, with the formation of a European trading bloc, which became an economic union and eventually a currency union, and which, as a result of the recently passed Lisbon Treaty, is being formally established into a political union.
The new world order consists of the formation of regional governance structures, which are themselves submissive to a global governance structure, both economically and politically.
In the construction of a ‘New World Order’, the capitalist system is under intense reform. Capitalism has, since its inception, altered its nature and forms. In the midst of the current global economic crisis, the construction of the ‘New Capitalism’ is based upon the ‘China model’; that is, ‘Totalitarian Capitalism’.
Governments will no longer stand behind the ‘public relations’ – propagandized illusion of ‘protecting the people’. When an economy collapses, the governments throw away their public obligations, and act for the interests of their private owners. Governments will come to the aid of the powerful banks and corporations, not the people, as “The bourgeoisie resorts to fascism less in response to disturbances in the street than in response to disturbances in their own economic system.” During a large economic crisis:
Those who proclaim the actions of western governments ‘socialist’ are misled, as the ‘solutions’ are of a different nature. Daniel Guerin wrote in Fascism and Big Business about the nature of the fascist economies of Italy and Germany in the lead up to World War II. Guerin wrote of the actions of Italian and German governments to bail out big businesses and banks in an economic crisis:
Fascist economic policy:
The bureaucracy of the fascist state becomes much more powerful in directing the economy, and is advised by the ‘capitalist magnates’, who “become the economic high command – no longer concealed, as previously, but official – of the state. Permanent contact is established between them and the bureaucratic apparatus. They dictate, and the bureaucracy executes.” This is exactly the nature of the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve, most especially since the Obama administration took office.
In November of 2008, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) issued a report in collaboration between all sixteen US intelligence agencies and major international foundations and think tanks, in which they assessed and analyzed general trends in the world until 2025. When it reported on trends in ‘democratization’, discussing the spread and nature of democracy in the world, the report warned:
The warning from Daniel Guerin is vital to understanding this trend: “The bourgeoisie resorts to fascism less in response to disturbances in the street than in response to disturbances in their own economic system.” Totalitarianism is on the rise, as David Lyon wrote:
In 2007, the British Defense Ministry released a report in which they analyzed future trends in the world. It stated in regards to social problems, “The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx.” Interestingly:
The general trend has thus become the reformation of the capitalist system into a system based upon the ‘China model’ of totalitarian capitalism. The capitalist class fear potential revolutionary sentiment among the middle and lower classes of the world. Obama was a well-packaged Wall Street product, sold to the American people and the people of the world on the promise of ‘Hope’ and ‘Change.’ Obama was put in place to pacify resistance.
Prior to Obama becoming President, the American people were becoming united in their opposition against not only the Bush administration, but Congress and the government in general. Both the president and Congress were equally hated; the people were uniting. Since Obama became President, the people have been turned against one another: ‘conservatives’ blame the ‘liberals’ and ‘socialists’ for all the problems, pointing fingers at Obama (who is nothing more than a figurehead), while those on the left point at the Republicans and ‘conservatives’ and Bush, placing all the blame on them. The right defends the Republicans; the left defends Obama. The people have been divided, arguably more so than at any time in recent history.
In dividing the people against each other, those in power have been able to quell resistance against them, and have continued to loot and plunder the nation and people, while using its military might to loot and plunder foreign nations and people. Obama is not to provide hope and change for the American people; his purpose was to provide the illusion of ‘change’ and provide ‘hope’ to the elites in preventing a purposeful and powerful opposition or rebellion among the people. Meanwhile, the government has been preparing for the potentiality of great social and civil unrest following a future collapse or crisis. Instead of coming to the aid of the people, the government is preparing to control and oppress the people.
Could Martial Law Come to America?
Processes undertaken in the American political establishment in previous decades, and rapidly accelerated under the Bush administration and carried on by the Obama administration, have set the course for the imposition of a military government in America. Readily armed with an oppressive state apparatus and backed by the heavy surveillance state apparatus, the ‘Homeland Security’ state is about controlling the population, not protecting them.
In January of 2006, KBR, a subsidiary of the then-Vice President Cheney’s former corporation, Halliburton, received a contract from the Department of Homeland Security:
Put simply, the contract is to develop a system of ‘internment camps’ inside the United States to be used in times of ‘emergency’. Further, as Peter Dale Scott revealed in his book, The Road to 9/11:
As Scott previously wrote, “the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver North’s controversial Rex-84 ‘readiness exercise’ in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary ‘refugees,’ in the context of ‘uncontrolled population movements’ over the Mexican border into the United States.” However, it was to be a cover for the rounding up of ‘subversives’ and ‘dissenters’. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the ‘Pentagon papers’ in 1971, stated that, “Almost certainly this [new contract] is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters.”
In February of 2008, an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, co-authored by a former US Congressman, reported that, “Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.”
Further, in February of 2008, the Vancouver Sun reported that:
Commenting on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Yale law and political science professor Bruce Ackerman wrote in the Los Angeles Times that the legislation “authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights.” Further, it states that the legislation “grants the president enormous power over citizens and legal residents. They can be designated as enemy combatants if they have contributed money to a Middle Eastern charity, and they can be held indefinitely in a military prison.” Not only that, but, “ordinary Americans would be required to defend themselves before a military tribunal without the constitutional guarantees provided in criminal trials.” Startlingly, “Legal residents who aren’t citizens are treated even more harshly. The bill entirely cuts off their access to federal habeas corpus, leaving them at the mercy of the president’s suspicions.”
Senator Patrick Leahey made a statement on February 2007 in which he discussed the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, saying:
He added that, “posse comitatus [is] the legal doctrine that bars the use of the military for law enforcement directed at the American people here at home.” The Bill is an amendment to the Insurrection Act, of which Leahey further commented:
On May 9, 2007, the White House issued a press release about the National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 51, also known as the “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive.” This directive:
The document defines “catastrophic emergency” as, “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.” It explains “Continuity of Government” (COG), as “a coordinated effort within the Federal Government’s executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency.” [emphasis added]
The directive states that, “The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator.”
Essentially, in time of a “catastrophic emergency”, the President takes over total control of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government in order to secure “continuity”. In essence, the Presidency would become an “Executive Dictatorship”.
In late September of 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, the Army Times, an official media outlet of the Pentagon, reported that, “Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army,” as the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, having spent years patrolling Iraq, are now “training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.” Further:
None of the authorizations, bills, executive orders, or contracts related to the declaration of marital law and suspension of democracy in the event of an ‘emergency’ have been repealed by the Obama administration.
In fact, as the New York Times revealed in July 2009, the Obama administration has decidedly left in place the Bush administration decisions regarding the government response to a national emergency in ‘Continuity of Government’ (COG) plans in establishing a ‘shadow government’:
The Obama administration announced that their continuity plans were ‘settled’ and they “drew no distance between their own policies and those left behind by the Bush administration.” In July of 2009, it was also reported on moves by the Obama administration to implement a system of ‘preventive detention’. With this, any semblance of democratic accountability and freedom have been utterly gutted and disemboweled; the Republic is officially dead:
Society, and with it, any remaining ‘democracy’ is being closed down. In this economic crisis, as Daniel Guerin warned decades ago, the financial oligarchy have chosen to ‘throw democracy overboard’, and have opted for the other option: totalitarian capitalism; fascism.
The current crisis is not merely a failure of the US housing bubble, that is but a symptom of a much wider and far-reaching problem. The nations of the world are mired in exorbitant debt loads, as the sovereign debt crisis spreads across the globe, entire economies will crumble, and currencies will collapse while the banks consolidate and grow. The result will be to properly implement and construct the apparatus of a global government structure. A central facet of this is the formation of a global central bank and a global currency.
The people of the world have been lulled into a false sense of security and complacency, living under the illusion of an economic recovery. The fact remains: it is only an illusion, and eventually, it will come tumbling down. The people have been conned into handing their governments over to the banks, and the banks have been looting and pillaging the treasuries and wealth of nations, and all the while, and making the people pay for it.
There never was a story of more woe, than that of human kind, and their monied foe.
Truly, the people of the world do need a new world order, but not one determined and constructed by and for those who have created the past failed world orders. It must be a world order directed and determined by the people of the world, not the powerful. But to do this, the people must take back the power.
The way to achieving a stable economy is along the path of peace. War and economic crises play off of one another, and are systematically linked. Imperialism is the driver of this system, and behind it, the banking establishment as the financier.
Peace is the only way forward, in both political and economic realms. Peace is the pre-requisite for social sustainability and for a truly great civilization.
The people of the world must pursue and work for peace and justice on a global scale: economically, politically, socially, scientifically, artistically, and personally. It’s asking a lot, but it’s our only option. We need to have ‘hope’, a word often strewn around with little intent to the point where it has come to represent failed expectations. We need hope in ourselves, in our ability to throw off the shackles that bind us and in our diversity and creativity construct a new world that will benefit all.
No one knows what this world would look like, or how exactly to get there, least of all myself. What we do know is what it doesn’t look like, and what road to steer clear of. The time has come to retake our rightful place as the commanders of our own lives. It must be freedom for all, or freedom for none. This is our world, and we have been given the gift of the human mind and critical thought, which no other living being can rightfully boast; what a shame it would be to waste it.
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