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The Great Global Debt Depression: It’s All Greek To Me

The Great Global Debt Depression: It’s All Greek To Me

July 15, 2011

Introduction

In late June of 2011, the Greek government passed another round of austerity measures, ostensibly aimed at getting Greece “back on track” to economic progress, but in reality, implementing a systematic program of ‘social genocide’ in the name of servicing an endless and illegitimate debt to foreign banks. Right on cue, protests and riots broke out in Athens against the draconian measures, and the state moved in to do what states do best: oppress the people with riot police, tear gas and bashing batons, leaving roughly 300 people injured.

Is Greece simply a case of a country full of lazy people who spent beyond their means and are now paying for their own decadence? Or, is there something much larger at stake – and at play – here? Greece is, in fact, a microcosm of the global economy: mired in excessive debt, economically ruined, increasingly politically repressive and socially explosive. This report takes a look at the case of the Greek debt crisis specifically, and places it within a wider global context. The conclusion is clear: what happens in Greece will happen here.

This report examines the Greek crisis, as well as the larger global economic crisis, including the origins of the housing bubble, the bailouts, the banks, and the major actors and institutions which will come to dominate the stage over the next decade in what will play out as ‘The Great Global Debt Depression.’

An Olympian Debt

With the global economic crisis rampaging throughout the world in 2008, Greece experienced major protests and riots at government reactions to the crisis. The unpopularity of the government led to an election in which a Socialist government came to power in October of 2009 under the premise of promising an injection of 3 billion euros in order to revive the Greek economy.[1] When the government came to power, they inherited a debt that was double that which the previous government had disclosed. This prompted Greece’s entry into a major debt crisis, as the debt was roughly 127% of Greece’s GDP in 2009, and thus, the costs of borrowing rose exponentially.

In April of 2010, Greece had to seek a bailout by the EU and the IMF in order to pay the interest on its debt. However, by taking such a bailout from the EU and IMF, Greece ultimately incurred a larger long-term debt, as the money from these institutions simply added to the overall debt, and thus, actually increased eventual interest payments on that debt. Thus, we see the true nature of debt: a financial form of slavery. Debt is designed in such a way that, like a fly caught in a spider’s web, the more it struggles, the more entangled it gets; the more it struggles to break free, the more it arouses the attention of the spider, which quickly moves in to strike its prey – paralyzed – with its venom, so that it may wrap the fly in its silk and eat it alive. Debt is the silk, the people are the fly, and the spider is the large financial institutions – from the banks to the IMF. The nature of debt is that one is never meant to be able to escape it. Hence, the “solution” for Greece’s debt problem – according to those who decide policy – is for Greece to acquire more debt. Of course, this new debt is used to pay the interest on the old debt (note: it is not used to pay OFF the old debt, just the interest on it). However, the effect this has is that it increases the over-all debt of the nation, which leads to higher interest payments and thus a greater cost of borrowing. This, ultimately, leads to a need to continue borrowing in order to pay off the higher interest payments, and thus, the cycle continues. For all the “bail outs” and aims at addressing Greece’s debt, this prescription inevitably results in greater debt levels than those which induced the debt crisis in the first place.

So why is this the prescription?

Not only does this prescription incur more debt to pay interest on old debt, but the process of borrowing and “consolidating” debt has devastating social and political consequences. For example, in the case of Greece, in order to receive loans from the IMF and EU, Greece was forced to impose “fiscal austerity measures.” This blatantly ambiguous economic nomenclature of “fiscal austerity” is in fact more accurately described in real human terms as “social genocide.” Why is this so?

‘Fiscal Austerity’ means that the state – in this case, Greece – must engage in “fiscal consolidation.” In economic parlance, this implies that the state must cut spending and increase taxes in order to “service” its debt by reducing its annual deficit. Thus, the ‘conditions’ for receiving a loan demand “fiscal austerity” measures being implemented by the debtor nation. This is supposedly a way for the lender to ensure that their loans are met with appropriate measures to deal with the debt. The objective, purportedly, is to reduce expenditure (spending) and increase revenue (income), allowing for more money to pay off the debt. However, as with most economic concepts, the reality is far different than the theoretical implications of “fiscal austerity.”

In fact, ‘fiscal austerity’ is a state-implemented program of social destruction, or ‘social genocide’. Such austerity measures include cutting social spending, which means no more health care, education, social services, welfare, pensions, etc. This directly implies a massive wave of layoffs from the public sector, as those who worked in health care, education, social services, etc., have their jobs eliminated. This, naturally, creates a massive growth in poverty rates, with the jobless and homeless rates climbing dramatically. Simultaneously, of course, taxes are raised drastically, so that in a social situation in which the middle and lower classes are increasingly impoverished, they are then over-taxed. This creates a further drain of wealth, and consumption levels go down, further driving production levels downward, and (local) private businesses cannot compete with foreign multinational conglomerates, and so businesses close and more lay-offs take place. After all, without a market for consumption, there is no demand for production. In a country such as Greece, where the percentage of people in the employ of the state is roughly 25%, these measures are particularly devastating.

Naturally, in such situations, the masses of people – those who are doomed to suffer most – are left greatly impoverished and the middle classes essentially vanish, and are absorbed into the lower class. As social services vanish when they are needed most, life expectancy rates decrease. With few jobs and massive unemployment, many are left to choose between buying food or medicine, if those are even options. Crime rates naturally increase in such situations, as desperate conditions breed desperate actions. This creates, especially among the educated youth who graduate into a jobless market, a ‘poverty of expectations,’ having grown up with particular expectations of what they would have in terms of opportunities, which then vanish quite suddenly. This results in enormous social stress, and often, social unrest: protests, riots, rebellion, and even revolution in extreme circumstances. These are exactly the conditions that led to the uprising in Egypt.

The reflexive action of states, therefore, is to move in to repress – most often quite violently – protests and demonstrations. The aim here is to break the will of the people. Thus, the more violent and brutal the repression, the more likely it is that the people may succumb to the state and consent – even if passively – to their social conditions. However, as the state becomes more repressive, this often breeds a more reactive and radical resistance. When the state oppresses 500 people one day, 5,000 may show up the next. This requires, from the view of the state, an exponentially increased rate of oppression. The risk in this strategy is that the state may overstep itself and the people may become massively mobilized and intensely radicalized and overthrow – or at least overcome – the power of the state. In such situations, the political leadership is often either urged by a foreign power to leave (such as in the case of Egypt’s Mubarak), or flees of their own will (such as in Argentina), in order to prevent a true revolution from taking place. So, while the strategy holds enormous risk, it is often employed because it also contains possible reward: that the state may succeed in destroying the will of the people to resist, and they may subside to the will of the state and thereby consent to their new conditions of social genocide.

Social genocide is a slow, drawn-out and incremental process. Its effects are felt by poor children first, as they are those who need health care and social services more than any other, and are left hungry and unable to go to school or work. They are the ‘forgotten’ of society, and they suffer deeply as such. The reverberations, however, echo throughout the whole of society. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, while the middle class is absorbed into poverty.

The rich get richer because through economic crises, they consolidate their businesses and receive tax breaks and incentives from the state (as well as often direct infusions of cash investments – bailouts – from the state), purportedly to increase private capital and production. This aspect of “fiscal austerity” is undertaken in the wider context of what is referred to as “Structural Adjustment.”

This term refers to the loans from the World Bank and IMF that began in the late 1970s and early 1980s in their lending to ‘Third World’ nations in the midst of the 1980s debt crisis. Referred to as “Structural Adjustment Programs,” (SAPs) any nation wanting a loan from the World Bank or IMF needed to sign a SAP, which set out a long list of ‘conditionalities’ for the loan. These conditions included, principally, “fiscal austerity measures” – cutting social spending and raising taxes – but also a variety of other measures: liberalization of markets (eliminating any trade barriers, subsidies, tariffs, etc.), supposedly to encourage foreign investment which it was theorized would increase revenue to pay off the debt and revive the economy; privatization (privatizing all state-owned industries), in order to cut state spending and encourage foreign direct investment (FDI), which again – in theory – would create revenue and reduce debt; currency devaluation (which would make foreign dollars buy more for less), again, under the aegis of encouraging investment by making it cheaper for foreign companies to buy assets within the country.

However, the effects that these ‘structural adjustment programs’ had were devastating. Liberalizing markets would eliminate subsidies and protections which were desperately needed in order for these ‘developing’ nations to compete with the industrialized powers of America and Europe (who, in a twisted irony, heavily subsidize their agriculture in order to make it cheaper to foreign markets). For example, a small country in Africa which was dependent upon a particular agricultural export had heavily subsidized this commodity, (which keeps the price low and thus increases its demand as an exported commodity), then was ordered by the IMF and World Bank to eliminate the subsidy. The effect was that foreign agricultural imports, say from the United States or Europe, were cheaper not only in the international market, but also in the nation’s domestic market. Thus, grains imported from America would be cheaper than those grown in neighbouring fields. The effect this had in an increasingly-impoverished nation was that they would become dependent upon foreign imports for food and agriculture (as well as other commodities), while the domestic industries would suffer and be bought out by foreign multinational corporations, thus increasing poverty, as many of these nations were heavily dependent upon their agricultural sectors as they were often still largely rural societies in some respects. This would accelerate urbanization and urban poverty, as people leave the countryside and head to the cities looking for work, where there was none.

Privatization, for its part, would eliminate state-owned industries, which in many developing nations of the post-World War II era, were the major employers of the population. Thus, massive unemployment would result. As foreign multinational corporations – largely American or European – would come in and buy up the domestic industries, they would often cooperate with the dominant domestic corporations and banks – or create domestic subsidiaries of their own – and consolidate the markets and industries. Thus, the effect would be to strengthen a domestic elite and entrench an oligarchy in the nation. The rich would get richer, profiting off of their cooperation and integration with the international economic system, and they would then come to rely ever-more on the state for protection from the masses.

The devaluation of currencies would, while making commodities and investments cheaper for foreign multinationals and banks, simultaneously make it so that for the domestic population, it would require more money to buy less products than before. This is called inflation, and is particularly brutal in the case of buying food and fuel. For a population whose wages are frozen (as a requirement of ‘fiscal austerity’), their income (for those that have an income) does not adjust to the rate of inflation, hence, they make the same dollar amount even though the dollar is worth much less than before. The result is that their income purchases much less than it used to, increasing poverty.

This is ‘Structural Adjustment.’ This is ‘fiscal austerity.’ This is social genocide.

Debt and Derivatives

Greece has a total debt of roughly 330 billion euros (or U.S. $473 billion).[2] So how did this debt get out of control? As it turned out, major U.S. banks, specifically J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, “helped the Greek government to mask the true extent of its deficit with the help of a derivatives deal that legally circumvented the EU Maastricht deficit rules.” The deficit rules in place would slap major fines on euro member states that exceeded the limit for the budget deficit of 3% of GDP (gross domestic product), and that the total government debt must not exceed 60% of GDP.  Greece hid its debt through “creative accounting,” and in some cases, even left out huge military expenditures. While the Greek government pursued its “creative accounting” methods, it got more help from Wall Street starting in 2002, in which “various investment banks offered complex financial products with which governments could push part of their liabilities into the future.” Put simply, with the help of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, Greece was able to hide its debt in the future by transferring it into derivatives. A large deal was signed with Goldman Sachs in 2002 involving derivatives, specifically, cross-currency swaps, “in which government debt issued in dollars and yen was swapped for euro debt for a certain period — to be exchanged back into the original currencies at a later date.” The banks helped Greece devise a cross-currency swap scheme in which they used fictional exchange rates, allowing Greece to swap currencies and debt for an additional credit of $1 billion. Disguised as a ‘swap,’ this credit did not show up in the government’s debt statistics. As one German derivatives dealer has stated, “The Maastricht rules can be circumvented quite legally through swaps.”[3]

In the same way that homeowners take out a second mortgage to pay off their credit card debt, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase and other U.S. banks helped push government debt far into the future through the derivatives market. This was done in Greece, Italy, and likely several other euro-zone countries as well. In several dozen deals in Europe, “banks provided cash upfront in return for government payments in the future, with those liabilities then left off the books.” Because the deals are not listed as loans, they are not listed as debt (liabilities), and so the true debt of Greece and other euro-zone countries was and likely to a large degree remains hidden. Greece effectively mortgaged its airports and highways to the major banks in order to get cash up-front and keep the loans off the books, classifying them as transactions.[4]

Further, while Goldman Sachs was helping Greece hide its debt from the official statistics, it was also hedging its bets through buying insurance on Greek debt as well as using other derivatives trades to protect itself against a potential Greek default on its debt. So while Goldman Sachs engaged in long-term trades with Greek debt (meaning Greece would owe Goldman Sachs a great deal down the line), the firm simultaneously was betting against Greek debt in the short-term, profiting from the Greek debt crisis that it helped create.[5]

This is not an unusual tactic for the company to engage in. As a two-year Senate investigation into Goldman Sachs revealed in April of 2011, “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. profited from the financial crisis by betting billions against the subprime mortgage market, then deceived investors and Congress about the firm’s conduct.”[6] In 2007, as the housing crisis was gaining momentum, Goldman Sachs executives sent emails to each other explaining that they were making “some serious money” by betting against the housing market, a giant bubble which they and other Wall Street firms had helped create. So while the bank had a large exposure (risk) in the housing market, by holding significant derivatives in trading mortgages (mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, etc.), the same bank also used the derivatives market to bet against the housing market as it crashed – a type of self-fulfilling prophecy – which further drove the market down (as speculation does), and thus, Goldman Sachs profited from the crisis it created and made worse.[7]

The derivatives market is a very important feature not only in the housing bubble and bust of 2008, but also in the current Greek crisis, and will remain an important facet of the unfolding global debt crisis. The current global derivatives market was developed in the 1990s. Derivatives are referred to as “complex financial instruments” in which they are traded between two parties and their value is derived (hence: “deriv-ative”) from some other entity, be it a commodity, stock, debt, currency or mortgage, to name a few. There are several types of derivatives. One example is a ‘put option,’ which is betting that a particular stock, commodity or other asset will fall in price over the short term; that way, those who purchase put options will profit from the fall in prices of the asset bet on.

Who Built the Bubble?

One of the most common derivatives is a credit default swap (CDS). These ‘financial instruments’ were developed by JP Morgan Chase in 1994 as a sort of insurance policy. The aim, as JP Morgan at the time had tens of billions of dollars on the books as loans to corporations and foreign governments, was to trade the debt to a third party (who would take on the risk), and would then receive payments from the bank; thus, JP Morgan would be able to remove the risk from its books, freeing up its reserves to make more loans. JP Morgan was the first bank to make it big on credit default swaps, opening the first credit default swaps desk in New York in 1997, “a division that would eventually earn the name ‘the Morgan Mafia’ for the number of former members who went on to senior positions at global banks and hedge funds.” The credit default swaps played a large part in the housing boom:

As the Federal Reserve cut interest rates and Americans started buying homes in record numbers, mortgage-backed securities became the hot new investment. Mortgages were pooled together, and sliced and diced into bonds that were bought by just about every financial institution imaginable: investment banks, commercial banks, hedge funds, pension funds. For many of those mortgage-backed securities, credit default swaps were taken out to protect against default.[8]

Of course, there were a great many players in the financial crisis: bankers, economists, politicians, regulators, etc. The confusion of the situation has allowed all those who are culpable to point the finger at one another and place blame on each other. For example, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase, referred to the government-chartered mortgage lending companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as “the biggest disasters of all time,” blaming them for encouraging the banks to make the bad loans in the first place.[9] Of course, he had an ulterior motive in removing blame from himself and the other banks.

There is, however, some truth to his contention, but the situation is more complex. Fannie Mae was created in 1938 after the Great Depression to provide local banks with federal money in order to finance home mortgages with an aim to increase home ownership. In 1968, Fannie Mae was transformed into a publicly held corporation, and in 1970, the government created Freddie Mac to compete with Fannie Mae in providing home mortgages. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, which included amendments to the charters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, stating that they “have an affirmative obligation to facilitate the financing of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families.”[10]

In 1992, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) subsequently became the ‘regulator’ of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In 1995, Bill Clinton’s HUD “agreed to let Fannie and Freddie get affordable-housing credit for buying subprime securities that included loans to low-income borrowers.”[11] In 1996, HUD “gave Fannie and Freddie an explicit target — 42% of their mortgage financing had to go to borrowers with income below the median in their area.”[12] In a 1999 article in the New York Times, it was reported that, “the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.” The action, reported the Times, “will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans.” It began in 1999 as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets (including New York), and had hoped to make it nationwide by Spring 2000. The article went on:

Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates — anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.[13]

The loans going to low-income households increased the rate given to African Americans, as in the conventional loan market, black borrowers accounted for 5% of loans, whereas in the subprime market, they accounted for 18% of loans. The article itself warned that Fannie Mae “may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue.”[14] In 2000, as housing prices increased, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), under Bill Clinton, continued to encourage loans to low-income borrowers.

Just in time, the Federal Reserve (the central bank of the United States) dramatically lowered interest rates and kept them artificially low in order to encourage the lending by mortgage lenders and banks, and to encourage borrowing by low-income individuals and families, essentially lulling them into a false sense of security. This ‘easy money’ flowing from the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates and printing press (as the Fed is responsible for the amount of money pumped into the U.S. economy), oiled the wheels of the mortgage lenders and the banks that were making bad loans to high-risk individuals. In the 1990s, the Federal Reserve under Chairman Alan Greenspan had created the dot-com bubble, which burst (as all bubbles do), and subsequently, in order to avoid a deep recession, Greenspan and the Federal Reserve actively inflated the housing bubble. So, with the dot-com bubble bursting in 2000 (brought to you by Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve), Greenspan’s Fed then cut interest rates to historic lows and began pumping out money in order to prevent a downward spiral of the economy, which would later prove to be inevitable. This also encouraged rabid speculation in the derivatives market, in particular by hedge funds, managing money from banks, who engaged in high-risk trades taking advantage of the uniquely low interest rates in order to purchase derivatives which provide more long-term gains, further fuelling a massive speculative bubble.[15]

Transcripts from a 2004 meeting of Federal Reserve officials revealed a debate about whether there was an inflating housing bubble, at which Greenspan stated that dissent should be kept secret so that the debate does not reach a wider audience (i.e., the ‘public’). As he stated, “We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand.”[16] In 2005, the Fed officials were openly acknowledging the existence of a bubble, but continued with their policies all the same.[17] In 2005, Alan Greenspan left the Fed to be replaced by Ben Bernanke, who that year told Congress that there was no housing bubble, and that the increases in hosuing prices “largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.”[18]

The bubble was fuelled in a number of ways. The Federal Reserve kept the interest rates at historic lows, which encouraged both lending and borrowing. The Fed also pumped large amounts of money into the economy for the purpose of lending and borrowing. The government-sponsored mortgage companies of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae encouraged the banks to make bad loans to high-risk individuals (and provided significant funds to do so). The banks, all too happy to make bad loans to high-risk borrowers, then used the derivatives market they created to profit off of those loans (and further inflate the bubble), through trading primarily Credit Default Swaps (CDS). As the Fed’s long-term interest rates were kept artificially low, the banks speculated through the derivatives market that the housing market would continue to grow apace, and massive amounts of speculative money flowed into the housing bubble, which itself further increased confidence of banks and mortgage companies to lend, as well as individuals to borrow. Of course, the reality was that the individuals were high-risk for a reason: because they couldn’t afford to pay. Thus, it was an inevitable result that this massive and ever-increasing bubble built on nothing but bank-created and government-sponsored ‘faith’ was destined to burst.

Of course, when the bubble burst, the major banks were in a unique position to profit immensely from the collapse through speculation, and then, of course, repossess everyone’s homes. In order for financial speculation to be such a menace in the global economy as it is today, the Clinton administration took the bold steps necessary to eradicate the barriers to such destructive financial practices and facilitate the rapid and unregulated growth of the derivatives market. This was termed the “financialization” of the U.S. economy, and de facto, much of the global economy.

The Glass-Steagall Act was put in place by FDR in 1933 in order to establish a barrier between investment banks and commercial banks and to prevent them from engaging in rabid speculative practices (a major factor which created the Great Depression). However, in 1987, the Federal Reserve Board voted to ease many regulations under the act, after hearing “proposals from Citicorp, J.P. Morgan and Bankers Trust advocating the loosening of Glass-Steagall restrictions to allow banks to handle several underwriting businesses, including commercial paper, municipal revenue bonds, and mortgage-backed securities.” Alan Greenspan, in 1987, “formerly a director of J.P. Morgan and a proponent of banking deregulation – [became] chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.” In 1989, “the Fed Board approve[d] an application by J.P. Morgan, Chase Manhattan, Bankers Trust, and Citicorp to expand the Glass-Steagall loophole to include dealing in debt and equity securities in addition to municipal securities and commercial paper.” In 1990, “J.P. Morgan [became] the first bank to receive permission from the Federal Reserve to underwrite securities.”[19]

In 1998, the House of Representatives passed “legislation by a vote of 214 to 213 that allow[ed] for the merging of banks, securities firms, and insurance companies into huge financial conglomerates.” And in 1999, “After 12 attempts in 25 years, Congress finally repeal[ed] Glass-Steagall, rewarding financial companies for more than 20 years and $300 million worth of lobbying efforts.”[20]

[In] the late 1990s, with the stock market surging to unimaginable heights, large banks [were] merging with and swallowing up smaller banks, and a huge increase in banks having transnational branches, Wall Street and its many friends in congress wanted to eliminate the regulations that had been intended to protect investors and stabilize the financial system. Hence the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 repealed key parts of Glass-Steagall and the Bank Holding Act and allowed commercial and investment banks to merge, to offer home mortgage loans, sell securities and stocks, and offer insurance.[21]

The principal adherents for the repeal of Glass-Steagle were Alan Greenspan, as well as Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (who had been with Goldman Sachs for 26 years prior to entering the Treasury), and Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers (who was previously the Chief Economist of the World Bank). After largely orchestrating the removal of Glass-Steagle, Rubin went on to become an executive at Citigroup and is currently the Co-Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations; while Summers went on to become President of Harvard University and later, served as Director of the White House National Economic Council for the first couple years of the Obama administration. Larry Summers had sparked controversy when he was Chief Economist of the World Bank, and in 1991, signed a memo in which he endorsed toxic waste dumping in poor African countries, stating, “A given amount of health-impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages,” and further, “I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.”[22] The “impeccable logic” Summers referred to was the notion that in countries with the lowest life expectancy, dumping toxic waste is intelligent, because statistically speaking, the population of the country is more likely to die before the long-term health impacts of the toxic waste take effect. Put more bluntly: the poor should be the first to die.

The most prestigious (and arguably most powerful) financial institution in the world is the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). One might say it’s the most powerful institution you never heard of, since it is rarely discussed, even more rarely studied, and barely understood at all. It is, essentially, a global central bank for the world’s central banks, and de facto acts as an independent global banking supervisory body, establishing agreements for the practices of central banks and private banks. In 2004, the BIS established the Basel II accords to manage capital risk by banks. Basel II was “intended to keep banks safe by requiring them to match the size of their capital cushion to the riskiness of their loans and securities. The higher the odds of default, the less they can lend.” However, as the regulations were being implemented in 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis, it lessened the ability of banks to lend, and thus, deepened the financial crisis itself.[23] The BIS, formed in 1930 in the wake of the Great Depression, was created in order 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.” As historian Carroll Quigley wrote:

[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able  to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.[24]

In 2007, the BIS released its annual report warning that the world was on the verge of another Great Depression, as “years of loose monetary policy has fuelled a dangerous credit bubble, leaving the global economy more vulnerable to another 1930s-style slump than generally understood.” Among the worrying signs cited by the BIS were “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.” The BIS hinted at the U.S. Federal Reserve when it warned that, “central banks were starting to doubt the wisdom of letting asset bubbles build up on the assumption that they could safely be ‘cleaned up’ afterwards.”[25]

In 2008, the outgoing Chief Economist of the BIS, William White, authored the annual report of the BIS in which he again warned that, “The current market turmoil is without precedent in the postwar period. With a significant risk of recession in the US, compounded by sharply rising inflation in many countries, fears are building that the global economy might be at some kind of tipping point.” In 2007, warned the BIS, global banks had $37 trillion of loans, equaling roughly 70% of global GDP, and that countries were already so indebted that monetization (printing money) could simply sow the seeds of a future crisis.[26]

Bailout the Bankers, Punish the People

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. Advertising the bailout as a $700 billion program, the fine print revealed a more accurate description, saying that $700 billion could be lent out “at any one time.” As Chris Martenson wrote:

This means that $700 billion is NOT the cost of this dangerous legislation, it is only the amount that can be outstanding at any one time.  After, say, $100 billion of bad mortgages are disposed of, another $100 billion can be bought.  In short, these four little words assure that there is NO LIMIT to the potential size of this bailout. This means that $700 billion is a rolling amount, not a ceiling.

So what happens when you have vague language and an unlimited budget?  Fraud and self-dealing.  Mark my words, this is the largest looting operation ever in the history of the US, and it’s all spelled out right in this delightfully brief document that is about to be rammed through a scared Congress and made into law.[27]

Further, as the bailout agreement stipulated, it essentially hands the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury total control over the nation’s finances in what has been termed a “financial coup d’état” as all actions and decisions by the Fed and the Treasury Secretary may be done in secret and are not able to be reviewed by Congress or any other administrative or legal agency.[28] Passed in the last months of the Bush administration, the Obama administration further implemented the bailout (and added a stimulus package on top of it).

The banks got a massive bailout of untold trillions, and they were simultaneously consolidating the industry and merging with one another. In 2008, with the collapse of Bear Stearns, JP Morgan Chase bought the failed bank with funds in an agreement organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose President at the time was Timothy Geithner (who would go on to become Obama’s Treasury Secretary, managing the major bailout program). As JPMorganChase was the ultimate benefactor of the Bear Stearns purchase by the NYFed, it is perhaps no small coincidence that Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase, was on the board of the New York Fed, a privately-owned bank, of which JPMorganChase is itself a major shareholder. JPMorganChase later absorbed Washington Mutual, one of the nation’s largest banks prior to the crisis; Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch; Wells Fargo bought Wachovia; and a host of other mergers and acquisitions took place. Thus, the “too big to fail” banks became much bigger and more dangerous than ever before.

Among the many recipients of bailout funds (officially referred to as the Troubled Asset Relief Program – TARP), were Fannie Mae, AIG (insurance), Freddie Mac, General Motors, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and hundreds of others.[29] As the Federal Reserve dished out trillions of dollars in bailouts to banks, many European banks even became recipients of American taxpayer-funded bailouts, including Barclays, UBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Société Générale, among many others.[30] The Federal Reserve bailout of American insurance giant AIG was actually a stealth bailout of foreign banks, as the money went through AIG to the major European banks that had significant risks with AIG, including Société Générale of France, UBS of Belgium, Barclays of the U.K., and Deutsche Bank of Germany.[31] In total, the multi-billion dollar bailout of AIG in 2008 benefited roughly 87 banks and financial institutions, 43 of which were foreign, primarily located in France and Germany, but also in the U.K., Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland, and on the domestic side much of the funds went to Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America.[32]

Neil Barofsky, who was until recently, the special inspector general for the TARP bailout program – the individual responsible for attempting to engage in oversight of a secret bailout program – wrote an article for the New York Times upon his resignation from the position in March of 2011, in which he stated that he “strongly disagrees” that the program was successful, saying that:

billions of dollars in taxpayer money allowed institutions that were on the brink of collapse not only to survive but even to flourish. These banks now enjoy record profits and the seemingly permanent competitive advantage that accompanies being deemed “too big to fail.”[33]

In June of 2009, as governments around the world were implementing stimulus packages and bailouts to save the banks and ‘rescue’ their economies, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) issued a new round of warnings about the state of the global economy. Among them, the BIS warned that, “governments and central banks must not let up in their efforts to revive the global banking system, even if public opinion turns against them,” and that the BIS felt that there had only been “limited progress” in reviving the banking system. The BIS continued:

Instead of implementing policies designed to clean up banks’ balance sheets, some rescue plans have pushed banks to maintain their lending practices of the past, or even increase domestic credit where it’s not warranted… The lack of progress threatens to prolong the crisis and delay the recovery because a dysfunctional financial system reduces the ability of monetary and fiscal actions to stimulate the economy… without a solid banking system underpinning financial markets, stimulus measures won’t be able to gain traction, and may only lead to a temporary pickup in growth.[34]

Further, the BIS warned, “A fleeting recovery could well make matters worse,” as “further government support for banks is absolutely necessary, but will become unpopular if the public sees a recovery in hand. And authorities may get distracted with sustaining credit, asset prices and demand rather than focusing on fixing bank balance sheets.” The BIS concluded that all the various measures to revive the global economy leave an “open question” as to whether or not they will be successful, and specifically, “as governments bulk up their deficits to spend their way out of the crisis, they need to be careful that their lack of restraint doesn’t come back to bite them.” As the annual report warned, “Getting public finances in order will therefore be the main task of policy makers for years to come.”[35]

The BIS further warned that, “there’s a risk central banks will raise interest rates and withdraw emergency liquidity too late, triggering inflation,” as history shows policy-makers “have a tendency to be late, tightening financial conditions slowly for fear of doing it prematurely or too severely.” As Bloomberg reported:

Central banks around the globe have lowered borrowing costs to record lows and injected billions of dollars into the financial system to counter the worst recession since World War II. While some policy makers have stressed the need to withdraw the emergency measures as soon as the economy improves, the Federal Reserve, Bank of England, and European Central Bank are still in the process of implementing asset-purchase programs designed to unblock credit markets and revive growth.

“The big and justifiable worry is that, before it can be reversed, the dramatic easing in monetary policy will translate into growth in the broader monetary and credit aggregates,” the BIS said. That will “lead to inflation that feeds inflation expectations or it may fuel yet another asset-price bubble, sowing the seeds of the next financial boom-bust cycle.”[36]

The BIS report stated that the unprecedented policies of central banks “may be insufficient to put the economy on the path to recovery,” stressing that there was a “significant risk” that the monetary and fiscal stimulus of governments will only lead to “a temporary pickup in growth, followed by a protracted stagnation.”[37]

William White, the former Chief Economist of the BIS, warned in September of 2009 that, “the world has not tackled the problems at the heart of the economic downturn and is likely to slip back into recession,” and he “also warned that government actions to help the economy in the short run may be sowing the seeds for future crises.” White, who accurately predicted the global financial crisis in 2008, stated that we are “almost certainly” going into a double-dip recession and “would not be in the slightest bit surprised” if we were to go into a protracted stagnation. He added: “The only thing that would really surprise me is a rapid and sustainable recovery from the position we’re in.” White, a Canadian economist who ran the economic department at the BIS from 1995 until 2008, had “warned of dangerous imbalances in the global financial system as far back as 2003 and – breaking a great taboo in central banking circles at the time – he dared to challenge Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, over his policy of persistent cheap money.” As the Financial Times reported in 2009:

Worldwide, central banks have pumped thousands of billions [i.e., trillions] of dollars of new money into the financial system over the past two years in an effort to prevent a depression. Meanwhile, governments have gone to similar extremes, taking on vast sums of debt to prop up industries from banking to car making.

These measures may already be inflating a bubble in asset prices, from equities to commodities, [White] said, and there was a small risk that inflation would get out of control over the medium term if central banks miss-time their “exist strategies”.

Meanwhile, the underlying problems in the global economy, such as unsustainable trade imbalances between the US, Europe and Asia, had not been resolved, he said.[38]

William White further warned that, “we now have a set of banks that are even bigger – and more dangerous – than ever before.” Simon Johnson, former Chief Economist of the IMF, also warned that the finance industry had effectively captured the US government and that “recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform.”[39]

In 2009, the BIS warned that the market for derivatives still poses “major systemic risks” to the financial system, standing at a total value of $426 trillion (more than the worth of the entire global economy combined) and that, “the use of derivatives by hedge funds and the like can create large, hidden exposures.”[40] In 2010, one independent observer estimated the derivatives market was at roughly $700 trillion.[41] The Bank for International Settlements estimated the market value at $600 trillion in December 2010.[42] In June of 2011, the BIS warned that, “the world’s top 14 derivatives dealers may need extra cash to handle a surge in transaction clearing, especially in choppy markets,” as “world leaders have agreed that chunks of the $600 trillion off-exchange derivatives market must be standardized and cleared by the end of 2012 to broaden transparency and curb risk.” The major institutions that the BIS identified as in need of more funds to handle their derivatives exposure are Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, RBS, Société Générale, UBS, and Wells Fargo Bank.[43]

In January of 2011, Barofsky, while still Special Inspector General of the TARP bailout program, issued a report which warned that future bailouts of major banks could be “a necessity,” and that, “the government still had not developed objective criteria to measure the amount of systemic risk posed by giant financial companies.”[44] In an interview with NPR, Barofsky stated:

The problem is that the notion of too big to fail – these large financial institutions that were just too big to allow them to go under – since the 2008 bailouts, they’ve only gotten bigger and bigger, more concentrated, larger in size. And what’s really discouraging is that if you look at how the market treats them, it treats them as if they’re going to get a government bailout, which destroys market discipline and really puts us in a very dangerous place.[45]

In June of 2011, Barofsky stated in an interview with Dan Rather that the next crisis may cost $5 trillion, and told Rather, “You should be scared, I’m scared,” and that a coming crisis is inevitable.[46]

Even though the bailouts have already cost the U.S. taxpayers several trillion dollars (which they will pay for through the decimation of their living standards), the IMF in October of 2010 warned that within the coming 24 months (up to Fall 2012), global banks face a $4 trillion refinancing crisis, and that, “governments will have to inject fresh equity into banks – particularly in Spain, Germany and the US – as well as prop up their funding structures by extending emergency support.” The IMF Global Financial Stability Report stated that, “the global financial system is still in a period of significant uncertainty and remains the Achilles’ heel of the economic recovery.” This is especially significant considering that the debts that banks needed to write off between 2007 and 2010 sat at $2.2 trillion, and that benchmark hadn’t even been achieved. Thus, with nearly double that amount needing to be written off in an even shorter time span, it would seem inevitable that the banks will need a massive bailout as “nearly $4 trillion of bank debt will need to be rolled over in the next 24 months.” Further, warned the IMF, “Planned exit strategies from unconventional monetary and financial support may need to be delayed until the situation is more robust, especially in Europe… With the situation still fragile, some of the public support that has been given to banks in recent years will have to be continued.”[47]

In other words, “exit strategies,” meaning harsh draconian austerity measures may need to be delayed in order to give enough time to undertake bailouts of major banks. After all, engineering trillion dollar bailouts of large financial institutions which created a massive global crisis is hard to do at the same time as punishing an entire population through destruction of their living standards and general impoverishment in order to pay off the debt already incurred by governments (which through bailouts essentially ‘buy’ the bad debts of the banks, and hand the taxpayers the bill).

So while many say that the banks need another bailout, one must question whether the first bailout was necessary, as it simply allowed the banks to get bigger, take more risks, and essentially get a government guarantee of future bailouts (not to mention, the massive fraud and illegalities that took place through the bailout mechanism). However, several top economists and financial experts have pointed out that the “too big to fail” banks are actually the largest threat to the economy, and that they are more accurately “too big to exist,” explaining that recovery cannot take place unless they are broken up. Nobel Prize winning economist and former Chief Economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, along with former Chief Economist of the IMF, Simon Johnson, both warned Congress that propping up the banks is preventing recovery from taking place. Even the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas stated that, “policymakers must allow troubled firms to fail rather than propping them up.”[48]

The true aim of the bailouts was to prevent the major banks of the world (all of which are insolvent – unable to pay debts) from collapsing under the weight of their own hubris, and to effectively employ the largest transfer of wealth in human history from major nations (taxpayers) to the bankers and their shareholders. The true cost of the bailouts, a far cry from the IMF’s statement of a couple trillion dollars, was in the tens of trillions. The Federal Reserve itself bailed out the financial industry for over $9 trillion, with $2 trillion going to Merrill-Lynch (which was subsequently acquired by Bank of America), $2 trillion going to Morgan Stanley, $2 trillion going to Citigroup, and less than $1 trillion each for Bear Stearns (which was acquired by JPMorgan Chase), Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs. These details were released by the Federal Reserve and cover 21,000 separate transactions between December 2007 and July of 2010.[49]

The Federal Reserve also undertook a massive bailout of foreign central banks. During the financial crisis, the Fed established a lending program of shipping US dollars overseas through the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and the Swiss National Bank (among others), and “the central banks, in turn, lent the dollars out to banks in their home countries in need of dollar funding.”[50] The overall bailouts, including those not undertaken by the Fed specifically, but government-implemented, reach roughly $19 trillion, with $17.5 trillion of that going to Wall Street.[51] No surprise there, considering that Neil Barofsky had warned in July of 2009 that the bailout could cost taxpayers as much as $23.7 trillion dollars.[52]

The Federal Reserve Represents the Banks

In February of 2010, the Federal Reserve announced that it would be investigating the role of U.S. banks in Greece’s debt crisis.[53] However, the Washington Post article which reported on the Fed’s ‘investigation’ failed to mention the ‘slight’ conflicts of interest, which essentially have the fox guarding the hen house. What am I referring to? The Federal Reserve System is a quasi-governmental entity, with a national Board of Governors based in Washington, D.C., with the Chairman appointed by the President. Alan Greenspan, one of the longest-serving Federal Reserve Chairmen in its history, was asked in a 2007 interview, “What is the proper relationship – what should be the proper relationship between a Chairman of the Fed and the President of the United States?” Greenspan replied:

Well, first of all, the Federal Reserve is an independent agency, and that means basically that there is no other agency of government which can over-rule actions that we take. So long as that is in place and there is no evidence that the administration, or the Congress, or anybody else is requesting that we do things other than what we think is the appropriate thing, then what the relationships are don’t frankly matter.[54]

Not only is the Federal Reserve unaccountable to the American government, and thereby, the American people, but it is directly accountable to and in fact, owned by the major American and global banks. Thus, the notion that it would ‘investigate’ the illicit activities of banks like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase is laughable at best, and is more likely to resemble a criminal cover-up as opposed to an ‘independent investigation.’

The Federal Reserve System is made up of 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, which are themselves private banks, owned by shareholders, which are made up of the principle banks in their region, who ‘select’ a president to represent them and their interests. The most powerful of these banks, unsurprisingly, is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which represents the powerful banks of Wall Street. The current Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, was previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he organized the specific bailouts of AIG and JP Morgan’s purchase of Bear Stearns. The current president of the New York Fed is William Dudley, who previously was a partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs, and is also currently a member of the board if directors of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The current chairman of the board of the New York Fed is Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, who is also on the board of directors of the Washington Post Company. Until recently, Jeffrey R. Immelt was on the board of directors of the New York Fed, while serving as CEO of General Electric. However, he was more recently appointed by President Obama to head his Economic Recovery Advisory Board, replacing former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. Another current member of the board of directors of the New York Fed include Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase.

Not only are the major banks represented at the Fed, but so too are the major corporations, as evidenced by the recent board membership of the CEO of General Electric (which incidentally received significant funds from the bailouts organized by the Fed). However, the Fed also has a number of advisory groups, such as the Community Affairs Advisory Council, which was formed in 2009 and, according to the New York Fed’s website, “meets three times a year at the New York Fed to share ground-level intelligence on conditions in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities.” The members include individuals from senior positions at Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.[55]

The Economic Advisory Panel is “a group of distinguished economists from academia and the private sector [who] meet twice a year with the New York Fed president to discuss the current state of the economy and to present their views on monetary policy.” Among the institutions represented through individual membership are: Harvard University, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Columbia University, American International group (AIG), New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Chicago, and the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics.[56]

Perhaps one of the most important advisory groups is the International Advisory Committee, “established in 1987 under the sponsorship of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to review and discuss major issues of public policy concern with respect to principal national and international capital markets.” The members include: Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs; William J. Brodsky, Chairman and CEO of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (derivatives); Stephen K. Green, Chairman of HSBC; Marie-Josée Kravis, Senior Fellow and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Hudson Institute (and longtime Bilderberg member); Sallie L. Krawcheck, President of Global Wealth and Investment Management at Bank of America; Michel J.D. Pebereau, Chairman of the Board of BNP Paribas; and Kurt F. Viermetz, retired Vice Chairman of J.P. Morgan.[57]

Another group, the Fedwire Securities Customer Advisory Group, consists of individuals from senior positions at JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, The Bank of New York Mellon, Fannie Mae, Northern Trust, State Street Bank and Trust Company, Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Banks, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, and the Assistant Commissioner of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.[58] It is then made painfully clear whose interests the Federal Reserve – and specifically the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – serve. An article from Bloomberg in January of 2010 analyzed the information that was revealed in a Senate hearing regarding the secret bailout of AIG by the New York Fed, which “described a secretive group deploying billions of dollars to favored banks, operating with little oversight by the public or elected officials.” As the author of the article wrote, “It’s as though the New York Fed was a black-ops outfit for the nation’s central bank.”[59]

Who Benefits from the Greek Bailout?

Greece has a total debt of roughly 330 billion euros (or U.S. $473 billion).[60] In the lead-up to the Greek bailout orchestrated by the IMF and European Union in 2010, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released information regarding who exactly was in need of a bailout. With the bailout largely organized by France and Germany (as the dominant EU powers), who would be providing the majority of funds for the bailout itself (subsequently charged to their taxpayers), the BIS revealed that German and French banks carry a combined exposure of $119 billion to Greek borrowers specifically, and more than $900 billion to Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland combined. The French and German banks account for roughly half of all European banks’ exposure to those euro-zone countries, meaning that the combined exposure of European banks to those four nations is over $1.8 trillion, nearly half of which is with Spain alone. Thus, in the eyes of the elites and the institutions which serve them (such as the EU and IMF), a bailout is necessary because if Greece were to default on its debt, “investors may question whether French and German banks could withstand the potential losses, sparking a panic that could reverberate throughout the financial system.”[61]

In late February of 2010, Greece replaced the head of the Greek debt management agency with Petros Christodoulou. His job was “to procure favorable loans in the financial markets so that Athens can at least pay off its old debts with new debt.” His career went along an interesting path, to say the least, as he studied finance in Athens and Columbia University in New York, and went on to hold senior executive positions at several financial institutions, such as Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and just prior to heading the Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA), he was treasurer at the National Bank of Greece.[62] Before his 12-year stint at the National Bank of Greece, the largest commercial bank in Greece, he headed the derivatives desk at JP Morgan.[63]

In March of 2010, Greece passed a draconian austerity package in order to qualify for a bailout from the IMF and EU, as they had demanded. In April, Greece officially applied for an emergency loan, and in May of 2010, the EU and the IMF agreed to a $146 billion loan after Greece unveiled a new round of austerity measures (spending cuts and tax hikes). While Greece had already imposed austerity measures in March to even be considered for receivership of a loan, the EU and IMF demanded that they impose new and harsher austerity measures as a condition of the loan (just as the IMF and World Bank forced the ‘Third World’ nations to impose ‘Structural Adjustment Programs’ as a condition of loans). As the Los Angeles Times wrote at the time:

In Greece, workers have been mounting furious protests against the prospect of drastic government cuts. Officials are bracing for a general strike Wednesday over the new austerity plan, which includes higher fuel, tobacco, alcohol and sales taxes, cuts in military spending and the elimination of two months’ annual bonus pay for civil servants. Axing the bonus is a particularly fraught move in a country where as many as one in four workers is employed by the state.[64]

The EU was set to provide 80 billion euros of the 110 billion euro total, and the IMF was to provide the remaining 30 billion euros.[65] Greece was broke, credit ratings agencies (CRAs) were downgrading Greece’s credit worthiness (making it harder and more expensive for Greece to borrow), banks were speculating against Greece’s ability to repay its debt in the derivatives market, and the EU and IMF were forcing the country to increase taxes and cut spending, impoverishing and punishing its population for the bad debts of bankers and politicians. However, in one area, spending continued.

While France and Germany were urging Greece to cut its spending on social services and public sector employees (who account for 25% of the workforce), they were bullying Greece behind the scenes to confirm billions of euros in arms deals from France and Germany, including submarines, a fleet of warships, helicopters and war planes. One Euro-MP alleged that Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy blackmailed the Greek Prime Minister by making the Franco-German contributions to the bailout dependent upon the arms deals going through, which was signed by the previous Greek Prime Minister. Sarkozy apparently told the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou, “We’re going to raise the money to help you, but you are going to have to continue to pay the arms contracts that we have with you.” The arms deals run into the billions, with 2.5 billion euros simply for French frigates.[66] Greece is in fact the largest purchaser of arms (as a percentage of GDP) in the European Union, and was planning to make more purchases:

Greece has said it needs 40 fighter jets, and both Germany and France are vying for the contract: Germany wants Greece to buy Eurofighter planes — made by a consortium of German, Italian, Spanish and British companies — while France is eager to sell Athens its Rafale fighter aircraft, produced by Dassault.

Germany is Greece’s largest supplier of arms, according to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in March, with Athens receiving 35 percent of the weapons it bought last year from there. Germany sent 13 percent of its arms exports to Greece, making Greece the second largest recipient behind Turkey, SIPRI said.[67]

Thus, France and Germany insist upon French and German arms manufacturers making money at the expense of the standard of living of the Greek people. Financially extorting Greece to purchase weapons and military equipment while demanding the country make spending cuts in all other areas (while increasing the taxes on the population) reveals the true hypocrisy of the whole endeavour, and the nature of who is really being ‘bailed out.’

As Greece was risking default in April of 2010, the derivatives market saw a surge in the trading of Credit Default Swaps (CDS) on Greece, Portugal, and Spain, which increased the expectations of a default, and acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy in making the debt more severe and access to funding more difficult.[68] Thus, the very banks that are owed the debt payments by Greece bet against Greece’s ability to repay its debt (to them), and thus make it more difficult and urgent for Greece to receive funds. In late April of 2010, Standard & Poor’s (a major credit ratings agency – CRA) downgraded Greece’s credit rating to “junk status,” and cut the rating of Portugal as well, plunging both those nations into deeper crisis.[69] Thus, just at a time when the countries were in greater need of funds than before, the credit ratings agencies made it harder for them to borrow by making them less attractive to lenders and investors. Investors wait for the ratings given by CRAs before they make investment decisions or provide credit, and thus they “wield enormous clout in the financial markets.” There are only three major CRAs, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s, and Fitch. In relation to the S&P downgrading on Greece’s rating, the Guardian reported:

S&P has effectively said it views Greece as a much riskier place to invest, which increases the interest rate investors will charge the Greek government to borrow money on the open market. But S&P is also implying that the risk of Greece defaulting on its loans has increased, a frightening prospect for bondholders and European politicians.[70]

CRAs also have major conflicts of interest, since they are companies in their own right, and receive funding and share leadership with individuals and corporations who they are responsible for applying credit-worthiness to. For example, Standard and Poor’s leadership includes individuals who have previously worked for JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, the Bank of New York, and a host of other corporations.[71] Further, S&P is owned by The McGraw-Hill Companies. The executives of McGraw-Hill include individuals past or presently associated with: PepsiCo, General Electric, McKinsey & Co., among others.[72] The Board of Directors includes: Pedro Aspe, Co-Chairman of Evercore Partners, former Mexican Finance Minister and director of the Carnegie Corporation; Sir Winfried Bischoff, the Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, former Chairman of Citigroup, former Chairman of Schroders; Douglas N. Daft, former Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, a director of Wal-Mart, and is also a member of the European Advisory Council for N.M. Rothschild & Sons Limited; William D. Green, Chairman of Accenture; Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Investment Group, formerly at the World Bank, a director of General Mills and the Atlantic Council, and is an Advisory Board member of the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University; Sir Michael Rake, Chairman of British Telecom, and is on the board of Barclays; Edward B. Rust, Jr., Chairman and CEO of State Farm Insurance Companies; among many others.[73]

Moody’s is another of the major Credit Ratings Agencies. Its board of directors includes individuals past or presently affiliated with: Citigroup, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Barclays, Freddie Mac, ING Group, the Dutch National Bank, and Pfizer, among many others.[74] The Executive team at Moody’s includes individuals past or presently affiliated with: Citigroup, Bank of America, Dow Jones & Company, U.S. Trust Company, Bankers Trust Company, American Express, and Lehman Brothers, among many others.[75]

Fitch Ratings, the last of the big three CRAs, is owned by the Fitch Group, which is itself a subsidiary of a French company, Fimalac. The Chairman and CEO is Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, who is a member of the Consultative Committee of the Bank of France, and is also on the boards of Renault, L’Oréal, Groupe Casino, Gilbert Coullier Productions, Cassina, and Canal Plus. The board of directors includes Véronique Morali, who is also a member of the board of Coca-Cola, and is a member of the management board of La Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild, a private bank belonging to the Rothschild family. The board includes individuals past or presently affiliated with: Barclays, Lazard Frères & Co, JP Morgan, Bank of France, and HSBC, among many others.[76]

So clearly, with the immense number of bankers present on the boards of the CRAs, they know whose interest they serve. The fact that they are responsible not only for rating banks and other corporations (of which the conflict of interest is obvious), but that they rate the credit-worthiness of nations is also evident of a conflict, as these are nations who owe the banks large sums of money. Thus, lowering their ratings makes them more desperate for loans (and makes the loans more expensive), since the nation is a less attractive investment, loans will be given with higher interest rates, which means more future revenues for the banks and other lenders. As the credit ratings are downgraded, the urgency to pay interest on debt is more severe, as the nation risks losing more investments and capital when it needs it most. To get a better credit rating, it must pay its debt obligations to the foreign banks. Thus, through Credit Ratings Agencies, the banks are able to help strengthen a system of financial extortion, made all the more severe through the use of derivatives speculation which often follows (or even precedes) the downgraded ratings.

So while Greece received the bailout in order to pay interest to the banks (primarily French and German) which own the Greek debt, the country simply took on more debt (in the form of the bailout loan) for which they will have to pay future interest fees. Of course, this would also imply future bailouts and thus, continued and expanded austerity measures. This is not simply a Greek crisis, this is indeed a European and in fact, a global debt crisis in the making.

The Great Global Debt Depression

In March of 2010, prior to Greece receiving its first bailout, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warned that, “sovereign debt is already starting to cross the danger threshold in the United States, Japan, Britain, and most of Western Europe, threatening to set off a bond crisis at the heart of the global economy.” In a special report on ‘sovereign debt’ written by the new chief economist of the BIS, Stephen Cecchetti, the BIS warned that, “The aftermath of the financial crisis is poised to bring a simmering fiscal problem in industrial economies to the boiling point,” and further: “Drastic austerity measures will be needed to head off a compound interest spiral, if it is not already too late for some.” In reference to the way in which Credit Ratings Agencies and banks have turned against Greece in ‘the market’, the report warned:

The question is when markets will start putting pressure on governments, not if. When will investors start demanding a much higher compensation [interest rate] for holding increasingly large amounts of public debt? In some countries, unstable debt dynamics — in which higher debt levels lead to higher interest rates, which then lead to even higher debt levels — are already clearly on the horizon.[77]

Further, the report stated that official debt figures in Western nations are incredibly misleading, as they fail to take into account future liabilities largely arising from increased pensions and health care costs, as “rapidly ageing populations present a number of countries with the prospect of enormous future costs that are not wholly recognised in current budget projections. The size of these future obligations is anybody’s guess.”[78]

In all the countries surveyed, the debt levels were assessed as a percentage of GDP. For example, Greece, which was at the time of the report’s publication, at risk of a default on its debt, had government debt at 123% of GDP. In contrast, other nations which currently are doing better (or seemingly so), in terms of market treatment, had much higher debt levels in 2010: Italy had a government debt of 127% of GDP and Japan had a monumental debt of 197% of GDP. Meanwhile, for all the lecturing France and Germany have done to Greece over its debt problem, France had a debt level of 92% of its GDP, and Germany at 82%, with the levels expected to rise to 99% and 85% in 2011, respectively. The U.K. had a debt level of 83% in 2010, expected to rise to 94% in 2011; and the United States had a debt level of 92% in 2010, expected to rise to 100% in 2011. Other nations included in the tally were: Austria with 78% in 2010, 82% in 2011; Ireland at 81% in 2010 and 93% in 2011; the Netherlands at 77% in 2010 and 82% in 2011; Portugal at 91% in 2010 and 97% in 2011; and Spain at 68% in 2010 and 74% in 2011.[79]

Further, the BIS paper warned that debt levels are likely to continue to dramatically increase, as, “in many countries, employment and growth are unlikely to return to their pre-crisis levels in the foreseeable future. As a result, unemployment and other benefits will need to be paid for several years, and high levels of public investment might also have to be maintained.”[80] The report goes on:

Seeing that the status quo is untenable, countries are embarking on fiscal consolidation plans [austerity measures]. In the United States, the aim is to bring the total federal budget deficit down from 11% to 4% of GDP by 2015. In the United Kingdom, the consolidation plan envisages reducing budget deficits by 1.3 percentage points of GDP each year from 2010 to 2013.[81]

However, the paper went on, the austerity measures and “consolidations along the lines currently being discussed will not be sufficient to ensure that debt levels remain within reasonable bounds over the next several decades.” Thus, the BIS suggested that, “An alternative to traditional spending cuts and revenue increases is to change the promises that are as yet unmet. Here, that means embarking on the politically treacherous task of cutting future age-related liabilities.”[82] In short, the BIS was recommending to end pensions and other forms of social services significantly or altogether; hence, referring to the task as “politically treacherous.” The BIS recommended “an aggressive adjustment path” in order to “bring debt levels down to their 2007 levels.”[83] The challenges for central banks, the BIS warned, was that it could spur long-term increases in inflation expectations, and that the uncertainty of “fiscal consolidation” (see: fiscal austerity measures) make it difficult to determine when to raise interest rates appropriately. Inflation acts as a ‘hidden tax’, forcing people to pay more for less, particularly in the costs of food and fuel. Raising interest rates at such a time “would not work, as an increase in interest rates would lead to higher interest payments on public debt, leading to higher debt,” and thus, potentially higher inflation.[84]

In April of 2010, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) warned that the Greek crisis was spreading “like Ebola,” and that the crisis was “threatening the stability of the financial system.”[85] In early 2010, the World Economic Forum (WEF) warned that there was a “significant chance” of a second major financial crisis, “and similar odds of a full-scale sovereign fiscal crisis.” The report identified the U.K. and U.S. as having “among the highest debt burdens.”[86]

Nouriel Roubini, a top American economist who accurately predicted the financial crisis of 2008, wrote in 2010 that, “unless advanced economies begin to put their fiscal houses in order, investors and rating agencies will likely turn from friends to foes.” Due to the financial crisis, the stimulus spending, and the massive bailouts to the financial sector, major economies had taken on massive debt burdens, and, warned Roubini, faced a major sovereign debt crisis, not relegated to the euro-zone periphery of Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland, but even the core countries of France and Germany, and all the way to Japan and the United States, and that the “U.S. and Japan might be among the last to face investor aversion.” Thus, concluded Roubini, developed nations “will therefore need to begin fiscal consolidation as soon as 2011-12 by generating primary surpluses, which can be accomplished through a combination of gradual tax hikes and spending cuts.”[87]

In February of 2010, Niall Ferguson, economic historian, Bilderberg member, and official biographer of the Rothschild family, wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he warned that a “Greek crisis” was “coming to America.” Ferguson wrote that far from remaining in the peripheral eurozone nations, the current crisis “is a fiscal crisis of the western world. Its ramifications are far more profound than most investors currently appreciate.” Ferguson wrote that the crisis will spread throughout the world, and that the notion of the U.S. as a “safe haven” for investors is a fantasy, even though the “day of reckoning” is still far away.[88]

In December of 2010, Citigroup’s chief economist warned that, “We could have several sovereign states and banks going under,” and that both Portugal and Spain will need bailouts.[89] In late 2010, Mark Schofield, head of interest rate strategy at Citigroup, “said that a debt overhaul with similarities to the ‘Brady Bond’ solution to the 1980s crisis in Latin America was being extensively discussed in the markets.”[90] This would of course imply a similar response to that which took place during the 1980s debt crisis, in which Western nations and institutions reorganized the debts of ‘Third World’ nations that defaulted on their massive debts, and thus they were economically enslaved to the Western world thereafter.

In January of 2011, the IMF instructed major economies around the world, including Brazil, Japan, and the United States, “to implement deficit cutting plans or risk a repeat of the sovereign debt crisis that has engulfed Greece and Ireland.” At the same time, the Credit Ratings Agency Standard and Poor’s cut Japan’s long-term sovereign debt rating for the first time since 2002. As the Guardian reported:

The IMF said Japan, America, Brazil and many other indebted countries should agree targets for bringing borrowing under control. In an updated analysis on global debt and deficits, it said the pace of deficit reduction across the advanced economies was likely to slow this year, mainly because the US and Japan are preparing to increase their borrowing.[91]

Ireland was recently gripped with a major debt crisis. In 2009, Ireland was officially in an economic depression, and as one commentator asked in the Financial Times, “So will this be known as the Depression of the early 21st century?”[92] With the government of Ireland bailing out its banks in crisis, and descending into its own sovereign debt crisis, the European Union’s newly created European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the IMF agreed to a bailout of Ireland for roughly $136 billion in November of 2010. However, as to be expected, the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) stated that the bailout “would be provided under ‘strong policy conditionality’, on the basis of a programme negotiated with the Irish authorities by the [European] Commission and the IMF, in liaison with the ECB.”[93] As part of the bailout, austerity measures were to imposed upon the Irish people, with spending cuts put in place as well as tax increases for the people (but not for corporations).[94]

As a Deutsche Bank executive stated in April of 2011, “the Global Sovereign crisis is probably still in the early stages and is likely to run through most of this decade, and we will be looking at the US for a possible denouement to the unfolding Sovereign issues still to play out globally.”[95]

Debt Crisis or Banking Crisis: Whose Debt is it Anyway?

As of April 2009, EU governments had bailed out their banks to the tune of $4 trillion.[96] In February of 2009, the Telegraph ran an article entitled, “European banks may need 16.3 trillion pound bail-out,” as revealed by a secret European Commission document. However, the figure was so terrifying that the title of the article was quickly changed, and all mention of the number itself was removed from the actual article; yet, a Google search under the original title still brings up the Telegraph report, but when the link is clicked, it is headlined under its new name, “European bank bail-out could push EU into crisis.” To put it into perspective, however, a 16.3 trillion pound bailout is roughly equal to $34.5 trillion. As the secret report stated, “Estimates of total expected asset write-downs suggest that the budgetary costs – actual and contingent – of asset relief could be very large both in absolute terms and relative to GDP in member states.” In other words, the bad debts of the banks require bailouts so enormous that it could threaten the fiscal positions of major nations to do so. However, the report further stated, “It is essential that government support through asset relief should not be on a scale that raises concern about over-indebtedness or financing problems.”[97] In July of 2009, Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the U.S. bailout (TARP) program, warned that U.S. taxpayers could potentially be on the hook for $24 trillion.[98] Now, while this figure remains unconfirmed, other figures have placed the total cost of the bailout at $19 trillion, with over $17 trillion of that going directly to Wall Street.[99]

In November of 2009, Moody’s reported that global banks face a maturing debt of $10 trillion by 2015, $7 trillion of which will be due by the end of 2012.[100] In April of 2011, the IMF published a report warning that, “Debt-laden banks are the biggest threat to global financial stability and they must refinance a $3.6 trillion ‘wall of maturing debt’ which comes due in the next two years.” The report was specifically referring to European banks, and the report elaborated, “these bank funding needs coincide with higher sovereign refinancing requirements, heightening competition for scarce funding resources.”[101]

The real truth is that the true crisis is “an international banking crisis.”[102] Global banks are insolvent. For over a decade, they inflated massive asset bubbles (such as the housing market) through issuing bad loans to high-risk individuals; they also issued bad loans to nations and helped them hide their real debt in the derivatives market; and all the while they speculated in the derivatives market to both inflate the bubbles and hide the debt, and subsequently to profit off of the collapse of the bubble and sovereign debt crisis. The derivatives market stands at a whopping $600 trillion, with $28 trillion of that inflating the credit default swaps market, the specific market for sovereign debt speculation.[103]

With the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, major nations moved to bailout these massive banks, thereby keeping them afloat and making them bigger and more dangerous than ever, when they should have simply allowed them to fail and collapse under their own hubris. The effect of the bailouts was to transfer tens of trillions of dollars in bad debts of the banks to the public coffers of nations: private debt became public debt, private liabilities became public liabilities, and thus, the risk was transferred from millionaire and billionaire bankers to the taxpayers. This is often called ‘corporate socialism’ (or ‘economic fascism’) as it privatizes profits and socializes risk. However, the bailouts did not ‘buy’ all the bad debts of banks, as they were specifically focused on the debts related to the housing market. The banks, still insolvent even after the bailouts, hold tens of trillions in bad debts in other asset bubbles such as the commercial real estate bubble (which is arguably larger than the housing bubble[104]), as well as derivatives, and now sovereign debt.

Global financial institutions – such as the IMF – and the major political powers – such as the U.S. and E.U. – continue to serve the interests of bankers over people. Thus, with the onset of the sovereign debt crisis, no one is questioning the legitimacy of the debt, but rather, they are forcing entire nations and populations to impoverish themselves and deconstruct their society in order to get more debt to pay the interest on old – illegitimate – debts to banks which are insolvent and profiting off of their countries plunging into crises. Like a snake wrapping around its victim, the more you struggle, the tighter becomes its hold; with every breath you take, its coils wrap closer and tighter, still. The world is ensnarled in the snake-like grip of global bankers, as they demand that the people of the world pay for their mistakes, their predatory practices, and their own failures.

Greece Gets Another Bailout… for the Bankers

In March of 2011, Moody’s downgraded Greece’s credit rating to a lower rating than that of Egypt, which had recently experienced an uprising which led to the resignation of long-time Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak. The move by Moody’s “prompted investors to dump the debt of other struggling European economies.”[105] In June of 2011, Greece was given the lowest credit rating ever by Standard & Poor’s, saying that Greece is “increasingly likely” to face a debt restructuring and be the first sovereign default in the euro-zone’s history. The S&P specified, “Risks for the implementation of Greece’s EU/IMF borrowing program are rising, given Greece’s increased financing needs and ongoing internal political disagreements surrounding the policy conditions required.” At the same time, the Greek Treasury was attempting to sell $1.8 billion of treasury bills (selling Greek debt) in order to continue meeting financial needs. However, the downgrade by S&P made the treasury bills far less attractive an investment, and thus, pushed Greece into an even deeper crisis. At the same time, credit default swaps surged to record highs on Greece, Portugal, and Ireland. Simultaneously, Greece was seeking a second bailout, and thus, the lower rating would make any potential loans (which would carry extra risk due to the low credit rating) come attached with much higher interest rates, ensuring a continuation of future fiscal and debt crises for the country. In short, the lower credit rating plunged the country into a deeper crisis, though analysts at JP Morgan and other banks stated that the credit ratings agencies were actually following behind the market, as the major banks had already been betting against Greece’s ability to repay its debt (to them, no doubt).[106]

In June, the EU and IMF concluded a harsh audit of Greece’s finances as a condition for getting a further tranche of its previous bailout loan, with Greece “pledging further reforms and a privatisation drive that has put local unions on the warpath again.” The Greek Ministry “said it had discussed with auditors a four-year programme to reduce the Greek public deficit and its debt of some 350 billion euros ($504 billion) through further reform and sweeping, controversial privatizations,” which the IMF, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the EU made “a condition of further aid.” Greece was seeking a further 70 billion euro bailout, and the country announced the implementation of further austerity measures:

It has also pledged to hold a 50-billion-euro sale of state assets including the near-monopoly telecom and electricity operators, the country’s two main ports and one of its best-capitalised banks, Hellenic Postbank.[107]

With major protests, strikes, and riots erupting in Greece against the draconian austerity measures, the economic and social crisis was more deeply enmeshed in a domestic political crisis. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) published a list of those countries and banks which were the most heavily exposed to Greek debt. The total lending exposure to Greece by 24 nations was over $145 billion, with the exposure of European banks at $136 billion, and non-European banks at nearly $9.5 billion. France had an exposure of $56.7 billion, Germany of $33.9 billion, Italy of $4 billion, Japan of $1.6 billion, the U.K. of $14 billion, the U.S. of $7.3 billion, and Spain at $974 million. Thus, these were the countries with the most to lose in the event of a Greek default.[108]

However, the overall exposure includes lending not only to the country (sovereign debt), but industries, banks, and individuals. France’s overall exposure was highest with $56.7 billion, however, in terms of exposure to sovereign debt specifically, France had an exposure of $15 billion. While Germany had a lower overall exposure at $33.9 billion, German lenders were the most exposed to sovereign debt at $22.7 billion. French banks had a higher overall exposure because $39.6 billion of the $56.7 billion total was loaned to companies and households.[109]

In mid-June 2011, Moody’s warned that it might cut the credit ratings of France’s three largest banks due to their holdings of Greek debt, and placed “BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale on review for a possible downgrade.”[110]

In June, it was reported that the IMF exerted strong pressure on Germany to give Greece another bailout, threatening to trigger a sovereign default if Germany did not agree to a bailout. As reported in the Guardian: “The fund warned the Germans in recent weeks that it would withhold urgently needed funds and trigger a Greek sovereign default unless Berlin stopped delaying and pledged firmly that it would come to Greece’s rescue.”[111] As part of the new bailout, there would be “unprecedented outside intervention in the Greek economy, including international involvement in tax collection and privatisation of state assets, in exchange for new bail-out loans for Athens.” Further, there would be conditions in the package that would provide incentives for holders of Greek debt (i.e., European banks) to voluntarily extend Greece’s repayment period, by “rolling over” the debt into future bonds (i.e., pushing the debt further down the road), and of course, the package would also include a new round of austerity measures. Much of the funding is expected to come from the sale of state assets, with the IMF and EU providing roughly $43 billion extra.[112]

The major lenders were seen to have a role in the latest Greek bailout, with French banks agreeing to a possible roll-over of Greek debt, meaning that the banks would be extending the maturity of some of their holdings of Greek debt, and that “banks would reinvest most of the proceeds of their holdings of Greek debt maturing between now and 2014 back into new long-term Greek securities.”[113] German banks also agreed to roll over 3.2 billion euros of Greek debt falling due up to and including 2014.[114]

In late June, the Greek government approved another harsh austerity package, prompting more massive protests, strikes, and riots. The second bailout package has been running into significant problems, largely to do with its stipulations for private sector involvement, creating many conflicts between those parties which must agree to the bailout. The ultimate bailout package, expected to be in the range of 80 to 90 billion euros, might not be agreed upon until September. Meanwhile, hedge funds have been speculating in the derivatives market seeking to make financial gains throughout the unfolding crisis.[115]

The Crisis Spreads Through Europe

Portugal descended into a major debt crisis in 2011. In March, the country’s parliament rejected a new austerity package to deal with its debt, and “the market” reacted by moving against the country, as “sovereign bond yields soared to new highs,” with Fitch Ratings downgrading Portugal’s credit rating and Moody’s downgraded the rating of several Spanish banks, which are heavily exposed to Portuguese debt.[116] In April of 2011, Portugal sought the assistance of the EU and IMF and requested a bailout of roughly 80 billion euros. As a condition for such a bailout, Portugal would be forced to impose harsh austerity measures in a ‘Structural Adjustment’ package which “will include structural reforms, spending cuts, a stabilisation programme for the country’s financial sector and ambitious privatisation plans.”[117] As such prospects increase for Portugal’s neighbour Spain, which is considered both “too big to fail” and “too big to bail,” Spain’s government has imposed several rounds of harsh austerity measures.[118]

In May, an agreement was reached to bailout Portugal by the EU and IMF worth roughly $111 billion. As part of the agreement, Portugal had to implement the austerity measures that its parliament had rejected in March, cutting spending (including pensions), while roughly 12 billion euros (or $17.8 billion) of the 78 billion euro bailout would go to banks.[119] In July, Moody’s slashed Portugal’s credit rating to “junk status,” and European bank shares fell sharply, as they are heavily exposed to Portuguese debt. Moody’s warned that Portugal may need a second bailout (just like Greece), which pushed Portugal’s borrowing costs further up, plunging the country and Europe as a whole deeper into a debt crisis.[120]

In July, Moody’s downgraded Portugal’s debt to junk status, increasing fears that Spain and Italy will be targeted next. The downgrade also came with a warning that Portugal may, like Greece, need a second bailout, which pushed European stock markets down, “adding to the woes of Ireland, Spain and Italy as traders dumped their bonds, forcing their interest rates up.”[121] In July, Moody’s downgraded Ireland’s rating to “junk status,” putting it in the same category as Greece and Portugal, and further exacerbating the economic crisis there, and fuelling fears about Spain and Italy.[122]

Italy, with $2.6 trillion in outstanding debt, was plunged into a deep crisis in early July, and began to edge toward a potential need for a bailout.[123] French banks have an exposure of $392.6 billion in Italian debt (both public and private), which is more than double of the German exposure to Italy.[124] Amid the increased fears over Italy’s debt, its borrowing costs soared (plunging it even deeper into crisis). Italy’s government announced the intention to impose an austerity plan to cut 40 billion euros out of its budget.[125] Mario Draghi, governor of the Bank of Italy, endorsed the austerity package, calling it “an important step.” Mario Draghi is incidentally set to take over the position of President of the European Central Bank in November, when Jean-Claude Trichet steps down.[126]

Spanish banks reportedly had an exposure of 100 billion euros in Portuguese debt, meaning that a bailout for Portugal is in fact a bailout for Spanish banks.[127] UK banks were sitting on roughly 100 billion pounds (roughly $150 billion) of exposure to Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish debt, as of April 2010.[128] It was reported in April of 2011 that British banks had an exposure of roughly 33.7 billion euros to Portugal, comparing favourably with French and German exposure, unlike in Ireland, where British banks have the largest exposure of all foreign banks. Though, in total, European banks hold roughly $266 billion in exposure to Portuguese debt.[129]

As the Bank for International Settlements reported in March of 2011, the total exposure by foreign banks to what is referred to as Europe’s ‘PIGS’ (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) is roughly $2.5 trillion. Germany has the largest exposure, at $569 billion, the U.K. is next with $431 billion, and France is in third with $380 billion. The British banks have an exposure of $225 billion in Ireland and $152 billion in Spain.[130]

With Italy in crisis, European banks are even more exposed, as their net exposure to Italian sovereign debt (not to be confused with total debt exposure, public and private) is more than their exposure to Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Spain combined. Exposure to those four nations is roughly $226 billion, while European banks’ exposure to Italy’s sovereign debt is $262 billion, making the threat of a bailout or a potential default all the more pronounced.[131]

The European Central Bank (ECB) itself, through purchasing of government bonds from Europe’s weakest economies, reportedly has an exposure of 444 billion euros (or $630 billion) to Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (the PIIGS). As one think tank reported on the figures, “There is a hidden – and potentially huge – cost of the euro zone crisis to taxpayers buried in the ECB’s books.”[132]

Banking on a Depression

In late June of 2011, the BIS “urged Europe to end its dithering and find a permanent solution to the sovereign debt crisis,” and wrote in its annual report: “For well over a year, European policy makers have been scrambling to put together short-term fixes for the hardest-hit countries while debating how to design a viable and credible long-term solution,” adding, “they need to finish the job, once and for all.” Further, the BIS warned, “Governments that put off addressing their fiscal problems run a risk of being punished both suddenly and harshly.”[133]

The BIS further warned that inflation needs to be fought by central banks raising their interest rates, thus making money more expensive, and that “with the scope for rapid growth closing, monetary policy should be quickly brought back to normal and countries should act urgently to close budget deficits.” The recommendation by the BIS was for both emerging market economies (such as China, India, Brazil, etc.) and advanced industrialized economies (Europe, United States), and the BIS “warned policymakers not to expect a normal recovery because much of the pre-crisis growth had been unsustainable and capacity will have been destroyed for ever, particularly in finance and construction.” As the Financial Times reported:

Rising food, energy and other commodity prices underscored the need for central banks around the world to begin raising interest rates, perhaps even more rapidly than they brought them down, said the BIS in its report. “Highly accommodative monetary policies are fast becoming a threat to price stability,” it concluded.

The fact that interest rates have been so low for so long also introduces new risks into the world’s financial system even though these policies were put in train initially by a desire to reduce risk, the report added.

“The persistence of very low interest rates in major advanced economies delays the necessary balance sheet adjustments of households and financial institutions,” the BIS said.[134]

In other words, according to the BIS, it’s time to tighten the grip. Raising interest rates will mean that loans and debt become more expensive for governments, corporations, banks, and individuals. The stated aim of this, according to the BIS, is to reduce inflationary pressure, where money is printed easily and crosses borders easily with near-zero interest rates, making it cheap. The free flow of money (low interest rates) allowed the housing bubble (and other bubbles, such as the commercial real estate bubble) to grow and inflate. Low interest rates are designed to encourage investment and lending, but of course, the major banks that got the bailout money did not increase lending, they increased their executive’s bonuses. Thus, low interest rates were designed to encourage economic growth, which is why they were kept low following the onset of the economic crisis. However, with the major bailouts and stimulus packages, unprecedented amounts of money were pumped into the economy, and as such, the value of the currency being printed goes down (the more there is, the less valuable it becomes). This causes inflation (which acts as a hidden tax on the consumer), because it means that it requires more of the currency to buy less. The prices of food and fuel in particular increase, which is largely detrimental to the middle class consumer, whose wages do not increase with inflation. Thus, they make less when they need to spend more to buy less.

The BIS warned in June of 2010 that the record low interest rates “aimed at spurring economic growth, were keeping households and banks from reducing the huge debts that led to the credit crunch.” Its 2010 annual report warned: “Keeping interest rates near zero for too long, with abundant liquidity, leads to distortions and creates risks for the financial and monetary stability.”[135] Even in its 2009 annual report, the BIS said it feared that central banks would raise their interest rates too late, which would ultimately lead to inflation anyway. As the report stated, keeping the rates low would “lead to inflation that feeds inflation expectations or it may fuel yet another asset-price bubble, sowing the seeds of the next financial boom-bust cycle.”[136]

The hesitation to raise interest rates comes from the fact that there has been no economic ‘recovery,’ and thus, raising rates would lead to a protracted stagnation, or a double-dip recession, or perhaps more bluntly, a very deep depression. The raising of interest rates in an attempt to reduce inflation could potentially be irrelevant, as the increased rates would prompt higher interest payments on debts, forcing governments to print more money (or get more bailouts or loans) in order to make their payments, and thus, more money being pumped into the economy would further exacerbate inflation, itself. Already, the Chinese central bank (which is a member of the BIS) raised its interest rates, with India having increased interest rates over the year as well.[137] The European Central Bank also raised its interest rates in July, for the second time this year, to 1.5%, and may be expected to raise it further by the end of the year.[138] The BIS annual report for 2011 stated:

All financial crises, especially those generated by a credit-fuelled property price boom, leave long-lasting wreckage. But we must guard against policies that would slow the inevitable adjustment. The sooner that advanced economies abandon the leverage-led growth that precipitated the Great Recession, the sooner they will shed the destabilising debt accumulated during the last decade and return to sustainable growth. The time for public and private consolidation is now… We should make no mistake here: the market turbulence surrounding the fiscal crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal would pale beside the devastation that would follow a loss of investor confidence in the sovereign debt of a major economy.[139]

Whether inflation, high interest rates, or a more-deadly combination of both, the average person suffers most. Inflation hits home as wages remain stagnant or are cut (under ‘fiscal austerity measures’), while costs for consumer goods (such as food and fuel) increase. Increased interest rates drain the remaining resources of consumers, who are largely debt-ridden, and will have to make increased payments on their debts. Such a scenario for an individual debtor (say, a middle class consumer), is likely to play out in a scenario similar to Greece: either they go further into debt to pay interest on old debt (like paying off one credit card with another), thus increasing their future liabilities (kicking the can down the road); or, they default and declare bankruptcy, and come under the tutelage of bank supervision, losing all their assets. In a combination of both inflation and high interest rates, the middle class will become totally impoverished, as they are already a class based entirely on debt.

The Plutonomy

A 2005 report from Citigroup coined the term “plutonomy,” to describe countries “where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few,” and specifically identified the U.K., Canada, Australia, and the United States as plutonomies. Keeping in mind that the report was published three years before the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the Citigroup report stated that, “asset booms, a rising profit share and favourable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper and become a greater share of the economy in the plutonomy countries,” and that, “the rich are in great shape, financially.”[140] As the Federal Reserve reported, “the nation’s top 1% of households own more than half the nation’s stocks,” and “they also control more than $16 trillion in wealth — more than the bottom 90%.” The term ‘Plutonomy’ is specifically used to “describe a country that is defined by massive income and wealth inequality,” and that they have three basic characteristics, according to the Citigroup report:

1. They are all created by “disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist friendly cooperative governments, immigrants… the rule of law and patenting inventions. Often these wealth waves involve great complexity exploited best by the rich and educated of the time.”

2. There is no “average” consumer in Plutonomies. There is only the rich “and everyone else.” The rich account for a disproportionate chunk of the economy, while the non-rich account for “surprisingly small bites of the national pie.” [Citigroup strategist Ajay] Kapur estimates that in 2005, the richest 20% may have been responsible for 60% of total spending.

3. Plutonomies are likely to grow in the future, fed by capitalist-friendly governments, more technology-driven productivity and globalization.[141]

Kapur, who authored the Citigroup report, stated that there were also risks to the Plutonomy, “including war, inflation, financial crises, the end of the technological revolution and populist political pressure,” yet, “the rich are likely to keep getting even richer, and enjoy an even greater share of the wealth pie over the coming years.”[142]

More recently, Moody’s Analytics reported that, “the top 5 percent of American earners are responsible for 35 percent of consumer spending, while the bottom 80 percent engage in only 39.5 percent of consumer outlays,” while “the top 10 percent of earners received 50 percent of all income, while they accounted for only 22 percent of spending.” Much of their money disappeared into the speculative booms, especially the housing boom.[143]

In February of 2011, Ajay Kapur, the author of the Citigroup report who is now with Deutsche Bank, gave an interview in which he explained that, “the world economy is even more dependent on the spending and consumption of the rich,” and that, “Plutonomist consumption is almost 10 times as volatile that of the average consumer.” He further explained that increased debt levels are a sign of plutonomies:

We have an economy today where a large fraction of the population doesn’t pay federal income taxes and, because of demand for entitlements, we have a system of massive representation without taxation. On the other hand, you have plutonomists who protect their turf and the taxation amounts are not enough to pay for everyone’s demand. So I’ve come to the conclusion that budget deficits are biased toward getting bigger and bigger. Budget deficits are going to become a manifestation of a plutonomy.[144]

The plutonomy is largely characterized by a lack of a consuming and vibrant middle class. This is a trend that has been accelerating for several decades, particularly in North America and Britain, where the middle class population is heavily indebted. The middle class has existed as a consumer class, keeping the lower class submissive, and keeping the upper class secure and wealthy by consuming their products, produced with the labour of the lower class. As a Bank of America-Merrill report noted in 2009, the middle class “is over-leveraged.” The report stated, “the consumer debt problem in the economy really is a debt problem for the middle class. The need to work off a chunk of that debt will sap middle-class families’ spending power for perhaps years to come.” Further:

By contrast, the upper 10% of income earners face a much smaller debt burden relative to income and net worth. Those people should have ample spending power to help fuel an economic recovery.

Using 2007 data from the Federal Reserve, BofA Merrill defines the middle class as people in the 40%-to-90% income percentiles. It defines lower-income folks as those in the zero to 40% income percentiles, and the wealthy as those in the top 10%.

Lower-income families account for 40% of the population but just 12% of total consumption, BofA Merrill estimates. The middle class is 50% of the population and nearly as large a share of consumption, at 46%.

That leaves the wealthy to account for a hefty 42% of consumption.

In terms of their debt burdens, neither lower-income families nor the wealthy are constrained the way the middle class is constrained, the report asserts.[145]

The report further asserted that, “the middle-class has suffered more than the wealthy from the housing crash because middle-class families tended to rely more on their homes to build savings through rising equity. Also, the wealthy naturally had a much larger and more diverse portfolio of assets — stocks, bonds, etc.”[146]

In short, when the day comes where the rest of the industrialized world falls into the same trap as Greece, the middle class will be pushed down into the lower class, and a global socio-economic plutonomy will emerge. The middle class cannot survive the perfect storm of fiscal austerity, increased interest rates, inflation and ‘Structural Adjustment.’ We are entering a global age of austerity, where our political leaders commit social genocide for the benefit of the global banks, and at the behest of the institutions that represent them. The IMF and other supranational institutions increase their own powers and authority in order to punish and impoverish large populations. What has been done to the ‘Third World’ – the ‘Global South’ – over the past several decades is now being done to us, in the industrialized North.

In Conclusion

In the face of this massive global social, political, and economic crisis, the reaction of the world’s elite is to further centralize power structures on a global scale, to further remove power from the rest of humanity and move it upwards to a tiny elite. This not only creates massive disparity and inequality, but it establishes the conditions for an incredibly radicalized, restless, and angry world population. As such, the centralized global power structures that elites seek to strengthen and build anew will ultimately be authoritarian, oppressive, and dehumanizing. This is so because the social unrest resulting from this massive global impoverishment will make the apparatus of oppression necessary in order to secure and maintain those very power structures. In short, if the elite do not become oppressive and totalitarian, they will lose their grip on power in the face of massive global social unrest. This will require brutal wars of domination abroad, and ruthless techno-social systems of oppression at home.

The people of the world are faced with a great challenge, unlike any other faced in all of human history. The only way out is realizing that the struggle of one is the struggle of all: freedom for all, or freedom for none. Of course, a true global resistance is a long way down the road. There still remain diverse disputes and ideological differences which maintain disunity. The challenge, then, is to find the common ground for all people, and to move forward despite ideological or other differences, and to work together to find a solution. This is no small challenge.

We will likely see the proliferation of many new ideologies and indeed even a ‘global philosophical revolution’ of sorts, which may seek to unite humanity under the banner of a new human understanding. Such a philosophy would run counter to the elite-driven philosophy focused on power-centralization and global domination, and would – in order to be legitimate – draw from a great many philosophical, theoretical and even spiritual disciplines and beliefs. As such, it is perhaps important to not revert to old – tried and tested – ideological doctrines as the one and only “solution.” For example, there are growing nationalist movements in reaction to the elite-driven doctrine of ‘globalism’, notably in the United States. For a true step forward, we must remain open to and in fact encourage a proliferation of new ideas instead of reverting to the old; to learn from both the failures and successes of old ideas, instead of holding on to a myth of ‘what was’, such as the ‘idea’ of a wonderful, prosperous America for all. This era never truly existed in America’s history, yet the myth remains strong, and is a fundamental driving force behind the resurgent nationalist movement. As such, for many in the anti-globalist movement, criticism of nationalism is instantly thrown into the camp of support for globalism, not allowing room for a critique of both. This is a dangerous situation – ideologically and politically – as true change can only come from self-reflection and understanding. There needs to be room left for new ideas, otherwise we will simply revert to repeating old mistakes.

Indeed, we are entering perhaps the most important historic era in the human story thus far. The notion that there will not be new ideas, philosophies, ideologies and beliefs runs counter to the historical fact that times of social upheaval and rapid political transformation often give rise to new ideas and philosophies. This time around, the world is globalizing, not only in terms of power structures, but also in terms of ideational structures. In this sense, while the elite have never had such an opportunity to impose control over all of humanity, all of humanity has never had such an opportunity to effect an exchange of ideas and information among each other, and thus, solidify a common philosophical solidarity, and ultimately, re-take control of the world, itself.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is co-editor of the book, “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.” His website is http://www.andrewgavinmarshall.com

Notes

[1]            Ed Harris, Greece turns to Socialists to fight economic crisis, London Evening Standard: 5 October 2009:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23752278-greece-turns-to-socialists-to-fight-economic-crisis.do

[2]            LANDON THOMAS Jr., In Greece, Some See a New Lehman, The New York Times, 12 June 2011:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/13/business/global/13euro.html

[3]            Beat Balzli, How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt, Spiegel Online, 8 February 2010:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,676634,00.html

[4]            LOUISE STORY, LANDON THOMAS Jr. and NELSON D. SCHWARTZ, Wall St. Helped to Mask Debt Fueling Europe’s Crisis, The New York Times, 13 February 2010:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/business/global/14debt.html

[5]            John Carney, Goldman Sachs Shorted Greek Debt After It Arranged Those Shady Swaps, Business Insider, 15 February 2010:

http://www.businessinsider.com/goldman-sachs-shorted-greek-debt-after-it-arranged-those-shady-swaps-2010-2

[6]            Jim Puzzanghera and Nathaniel Popper, Senate panel concludes Goldman Sachs profited from financial crisis, Los Angeles Times, 14 April 2011:

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/14/business/la-fi-crisis-probe-20110414

[7]            Louise Story and Sewell Chan, E-mails suggest Goldman profited in housing collapse, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 April 2010:

http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-04-25/news/20865082_1_goldman-sachs-e-mail-messages-betting

[8]            Matthew Philips, The Monster That Ate Wall Street, Newsweek, 27 September 2008: http://www.newsweek.com/2008/09/26/the-monster-that-ate-wall-street.html

[9]            Bloomberg, Fannie, Freddie ‘biggest disasters’ says JPMorgan Chase chief, The Economic Times, 18 February 2011:

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-02-18/news/28615139_1_fannie-and-freddie-jamie-dimon-financial-crisis-inquiry-commission

[10]            Cornell, 4501 Congressional Findings, Title 12, Chapter 46, Cornell University Law School:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/12/usc_sec_12_00004501—-000-.html

[11]            Carol D. Leonnig, How HUD Mortgage Policy Fed The Crisis, The Washington Post, 10 June 2008:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/09/AR2008060902626.html

[12]            RUSSELL ROBERTS, How Government Stoked the Mania, The Wall Street Journal, 3 October 2008:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122298982558700341.html

[13]            STEVEN A. HOLMES, Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending, The New York Times, 30 September 1999:

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/30/business/fannie-mae-eases-credit-to-aid-mortgage-lending.html

[14]            Ibid.

[15]            Tom Abate, Housing, hedge funds spur bubble worries / Some experts fear low interest rates may have pumped too much cash into global markets, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 May 2005:

http://articles.sfgate.com/2005-05-22/business/17374185_1_asset-prices-interest-rates-central-bankers

[16]            Ryan Grim, Greenspan Wanted Housing-Bubble Dissent Kept Secret, Huffington Post, 3 May 2010:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/03/greenspan-wanted-housing_n_560965.html

[17]            Craig Torres, Fed Officials Saw Housing Bubble in 2005, Didn’t Alter Policy, Bloomberg, 14 January 2011:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-14/fed-saw-housing-bubble-in-2005-failed-to-alter-policy-of-rate-increases.html

[18]            Nell Henderson, Bernanke: There’s No Housing Bubble to Go Bust, The Washington Post, 27 October 2005:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102602255.html

[19]            PBS, The Long Demise of Glass-Steagall. Frontline:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/wallstreet/weill/demise.html

[20]            Ibid.

[21]            Robert Buzzanco, Bring Back Glass-Steagall? History News Network: October 21, 2008:

http://hnn.us/articles/55548.html

[22]            NYT, Furor on Memo At World Bank, The New York Times, 7 February 1992:

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/07/business/furor-on-memo-at-world-bank.html

[23]            Peter Coy, How New Global Banking Rules Could Deepen the U.S. Crisis, Business Week, 17 April 2008:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_17/b4081083014665.htm

[24]            Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan Company, 1966), pages 324-325.

[25]            Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, BIS warns of Great Depression dangers from credit spree, The Telegraph, 25 June 2007:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/2811081/BIS-warns-of-Great-Depression-dangers-from-credit-spree.html

[26]            Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, BIS slams central banks, warns of worse crunch to come, The Telegraph, 30 June 2008:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/2792450/BIS-slams-central-banks-warns-of-worse-crunch-to-come.html

[27]            Chris Martenson, What the latest bailout plan means. ChrisMartenson.com: September 21, 2008:

http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/what-latest-bailout-plan-means/5149

[28]            Larisa Alexandrovna, Welcome to the final stages of the coup. Huffington Post: September 29, 2008:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larisa-alexandrovna/welcome-to-the-final-stag_b_127990.html

[29]            Bailout Recipients, ProPublica:

http://projects.propublica.org/bailout/list/index

[30]            Robin Harding and Tom Braithwaite and Francesco Guerrera, European banks took big slice of Fed aid, The Financial Times, 1 December 2010:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4dd95e42-fd6d-11df-a049-00144feab49a.html#axzz1R9fhQUVh

[31]            MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, A.I.G. Lists Banks It Paid With U.S. Bailout Funds, The New York Times, 15 March 2009:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/business/16rescue.html

[32]            Surojit Chatterjee, TARP funds benefited foreign banks more, says oversight panel, International Business Times, 12 August 2010:

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/43012/20100812/tarp-funds-benefited-foreign-banks-more-says-oversight-panel.htm

[33]            Neil Barofsky, Where the Bailout Went Wrong, The New York Times, 31 March 2011:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/opinion/30barofsky.html

[34]            HEATHER SCOFFIELD, Financial repairs must continue: central banks, The Globe and Mail, 29 June 2009:

http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090629.wcentralbanks0629/BNStory/HEATHER+SCOFFIELD/

[35]            Ibid.

[36]            Simone Meier, BIS Sees Risk Central Banks Will Raise Interest Rates Too Late, Bloomberg, 29 June 2009:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aOnSy9jXFKaY

[37]            Ibid.

[38]            Robert Cookson and Sundeep Tucker, Economist warns of double-dip recession, The Financial Times, 14 September 2009:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e6dd31f0-a133-11de-a88d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1R9fhQUVh

[39]            Robert Cookson and Victor Mallet, Societal soul-searching casts shadow over big banks, The Financial Times, 18 September 2009:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7721033c-a3ea-11de-9fed-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1R9fhQUVh

[40]            Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Derivatives still pose huge risk, says BIS, The Telegraph, 13 September 2009:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/6184496/Derivatives-still-pose-huge-risk-says-BIS.html

[41]            KATY BURNE, Derivatives-Trading Tally: $700 Trillion (or So), The Wall Street Journal, 6 December 2010:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703471904576003400646739990.html

[42]            Global OTC derivatives, The Economist, 31 May 2011:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/05/derivatives_trade?fsrc=rss

[43]            Huw Jones, BIS-Banks may need more cash to clear derivatives, Reuters, 5 June 2011:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/06/05/bis-clearing-idUKLDE7510HJ20110605

[44]            EDWARD WYATT, Report Says Excessive Risk Remains After Bank Bailout, The New York Times, 13 January 2011:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/14/business/14tarp.html

[45]            Interview by Steve Inskeep, Barofsky: More Bank Bailouts Are Inevitable, NPR, 27 January 2011:

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/27/133264711/Troubled-Asset-Relief-Program-Update

[46]            Dan Rather, Barofsky, Dan Rather Reports, 7 June 2011:

http://www.hd.net/blogs/2011/06/barofsky-more-bailouts/

[47]            Philip Aldrick, Banks’ $4 trillion debts are ‘Achilles’ heel of the economic recovery’, warns IMF, The Telegraph, 5 October 2010:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8043800/Banks-4-trillion-debts-are-Achilles-heel-of-the-economic-recovery-warns-IMF.html

[48]            Colin Barr, Let big banks fail, bailout skeptics say, CNN Money, 21 April 2009:

http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/21/news/too.big.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2009042112

[49]            Chris Isidore, Fed made $9 trillion in emergency overnight loans, CNN Money, 1 December 2010:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/01/news/economy/fed_reserve_data_release/index.htm

[50]            Jon Hilsenrath, A Closer Look at Europe and the Fed’s Central Bank Swap Program, The Wall Street Journal, 7 May 2010:

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/05/07/a-closer-look-at-europe-and-the-feds-central-bank-swap-program/

[51]            Matthew Philips, Tracking the $19 Trillion Bailout Funds, Newsweek, 22 September 2009:

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/wealth-of-nations/2009/09/22/tracking-the-19-trillion-bailout-funds.html

[52]            Dawn Kopecki and Catherine Dodge, U.S. Rescue May Reach $23.7 Trillion, Barofsky Says (Update3), Bloomberg, 20 July 2009:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aY0tX8UysIaM

[53]            Neil Irwin and Zachary A. Goldfarb, Probe: Did big U.S. banks contribute to the financial crisis in Greece?, The Washington Post, 26 February 2010:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/25/AR2010022502183.html

[54]            Greenspan Examines Federal Reserve, Mortgage Crunch, PBS Newshour, 18 September 2007:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec07/greenspan_09-18.html

[55]            NYFed, Community Affairs Advisory Council, Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/ag_community_affairs.html

[56]            NYFed, Economic Advisory Panel, Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/ag_economic.html

[57]            NYFed, International Advisory Committee, Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/ag_international.html

[58]            NYFed, Fedwire Securities Customer Advisory Group, Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/ag_fedwire_securities_customer.html

[59]            David Reilly, Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows, Bloomberg, 28 January 2010:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-01-28/secret-banking-cabal-emerges-from-aig-shadows-david-reilly.html

[60]            LANDON THOMAS Jr., In Greece, Some See a New Lehman, The New York Times, 12 June 2011:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/13/business/global/13euro.html

[61]            VANESSA FUHRMANS and SEBASTIAN MOFFETT, Exposure to Greece Weighs On French, German Banks, The Wall Street Journal, 17 February 2010:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703798904575069712153415820.html

[62]            Manfred Ertel, The 300 Billion Euro Man, Spiegel Online, 31 March 2010:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,686604,00.html

[63]            Kerin Hope, Head of Greek debt office replaced, The Financial Times, 19 February 2010:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/964dca2c-1d45-11df-b12e-00144feab49a,s01=2.html#axzz1RRT1aNfQ

[64]            Henry Chu, European countries, IMF offer Greece $146 billion in loans, The Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2010:

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/03/world/la-fg-greece-bailout-20100503

[65]            Gabi Thesing and Flavia Krause-Jackson, Greece Faces `Unprecedented’ Cuts as $159B Rescue Nears, Bloomberg, 2 May 2010:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-05-02/greece-faces-unprecedented-cuts-as-159b-rescue-nears.html

[66]            AFP, France, Germany Forced Greece to Buy Arms: MEP, Defense News, 7 May 2010:

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4616433

[67]            AP, Despite crisis Greece continues weapons purchases, Jerusalem Post, 28 May 2010:

http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=176792

[68]            Abigail Moses, Greek Contagion Concern Spurs European Sovereign Default Risk to Record, Bloomberg, 26 April 2010:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-04-26/greek-contagion-concern-spurs-european-sovereign-default-risk-to-record.html

[69]            Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, ECB may have to turn to ‘nuclear option’ to prevent Southern European debt collapse, The Telegraph, 27 April 2010:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7640783/ECB-may-have-to-turn-to-nuclear-option-to-prevent-Southern-European-debt-collapse.html

[70]            Richard Wachman, Greece debt crisis: the role of credit rating agencies, The Guardian, 28 April 2010:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/28/greece-debt-crisis-standard-poor-credit-agencies

[71]            S&P, Management Profiles:

http://www.standardandpoors.com/about-sp/management-profiles/en/us

[72]            McGraw-Hill Companies, Executive Profiles:

http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/site/about-us/executive-profiles

[73]            S&P, Board of Directors:

http://investor.mcgraw-hill.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=96562&p=irol-govboard

[74]            Moody’s, Board of Directors:

http://ir.moodys.com/governance.cfm

[75]            Moody’s, Management Team:

http://ir.moodys.com/management.cfm

[76]            Fimalac, Board of Directors:

http://www.fimalac.com/board-of-directors.html

[77]            Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Sovereign debt crisis at ‘boiling point’, warns Bank for International Settlements, The Telegraph, 8 April 2010:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7564748/Sovereign-debt-crisis-at-boiling-point-warns-Bank-for-International-Settlements.html

[78]            Ibid.

[79]            Stephen G Cecchetti, M S Mohanty and Fabrizio Zampolli, The Future of Public Debt: Prospects and Implications, BIS Working Papers, No 300, March 2010, page 3.

[80]            Ibid, page 4.

[81]            Ibid, page 9.

[82]            Ibid.

[83]            Ibid, page 12.

[84]            Ibid, page 14.

[85]            Greek debt crisis spreading ‘like Ebola’ and Europe must act now, OECD warns, The Telegraph, 28 April 2010:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/7644709/Greek-debt-crisis-spreading-like-Ebola-and-Europe-must-act-now-OECD-warns.html

[86]            Edmund Conway, ‘Significant chance’ of second financial crisis, warns World Economic Forum, The Telegraph, 14 January 2010:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/davos/6990433/Significant-chance-of-second-financial-crisis-warns-World-Economic-Forum.html

[87]            Nouriel Roubini and Arpitha Bykere, The Coming Sovereign Debt Crisis, Forbes, 14 January 2010:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/13/sovereign-debt-crisis-opinions-colummnists-nouriel-roubini-arpitha-bykere.html

[88]            Niall Ferguson, A Greek crisis is coming to America, Financial Times, 10 February 2010:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/f90bca10-1679-11df-bf44-00144feab49a.html#axzz1RpfP4VNB

[89]            Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Citigroup warns of fresh wave of bank failures in Europe, The Telegraph, 21 December 2010:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8217859/Citigroup-warns-of-fresh-wave-of-bank-failures-in-Europe.html

[90]            Sam Fleming and Leo Lewis, Latin American-style cure for euro-zone debt crisis looms, The Australian Business Times, 22 December 2010:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/world/latin-american-style-cure-for-euro-zone-debt-crisis-looms/story-e6frg90o-1225974805041

[91]            Phillip Inman, IMF warns of new sovereign debt crisis for largest economies, The Guardian, 27 January 2011:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jan/27/imf-sovereign-debt-crisis-warning

[92]            Wolfgang Münchau, Our lethargic leaders must work together on the crisis, The Financial Times, 8 February 2009:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3d51f3ce-f601-11dd-a9ed-0000779fd2ac.html#axzz1RpfP4VNB

[93]            Plan will have policy conditions – ECB, RTE News, 21 November 2010:

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/1121/imf2-business.html

[94]            Republic of Ireland confirms EU financial rescue deal, BBC News, 22 November 2010:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11807730
[95]            Joe Weisenthal, Deutsche Bank: The Global Sovereign Debt Crisis Will Last The Entire Decade, And The US Will Cap It Off, Business Insider, 19 April 2011:

http://www.businessinsider.com/deutsche-bank-on-the-sovereign-debt-crisis-cycle-2011-4

[96]            Elitsa Vucheva, European Bank Bailout Total: $4 Trillion, Bloomberg Businessweek, 10 April 2009:

http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/apr2009/gb20090410_254738.htm?chan=globalbiz_europe+index+page_top+stories

[97]            Bruno Waterfield, European bank bail-out could push EU into crisis, The Telegraph, 11 February 2009:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/4590512/European-banks-may-need-16.3-trillion-bail-out-EC-dcoument-warns.html

[98]            AP, Watchdog sees huge U.S. bill for banks bailout, MSNBC, 20 July 2009:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32010841/ns/business-us_business/t/watchdog-sees-huge-us-bill-banks-bailout/

[99]            Matthew Philips, Tracking the $19 Trillion Bailout Funds, Newsweek, 22 September 2009:

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/wealth-of-nations/2009/09/22/tracking-the-19-trillion-bailout-funds.html

[100]            Lee Jones, Banks will owe £6 trillion by 2015 as debt matures, Money Marketing, 10 November 2009:

http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/investments/news/banks-will-owe-%C2%A36-trillion-by-2015-as-debt-matures/1001908.article

[101]            Agencies, Banks facing $3.6 trillion ‘wall of maturing debt’, IMF Global Financial Stability Report says, The Telegraph, 13 April 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8448169/Banks-facing-3.6-trillion-wall-of-maturing-debt-IMF-Global-Financial-Stability-Report-says.html

[102]            IRWIN STELZER, Global Banking Is What’s Really in Crisis, The Wall Street Journal, 27 June 2011:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304314404576409410834139324.html

[103]            John O’Donnell and Luke Baker, EU hits banks with credit default swap probe, Reuters, 29 April 2011:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/29/us-eu-antitrust-cds-idUSTRE73S3J020110429

[104]            CNBC, Commercial Real Estate Is Next Bubble to Burst: Tishman, CNBC News, 21 September 2009:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/32952174/Commercial_Real_Estate_Is_Next_Bubble_to_Burst_Tishman

[105]            Richard Blackden, Greek debt price soars as Moody’s cuts credit rating below Egypt, The Telegraph, 7 March 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8366707/Greek-debt-price-soars-as-Moodys-cuts-credit-rating-below-Egypt.html

[106]            Jennifer Ryan and Gabi Thesing, Greece Branded With World’s Lowest Credit Rating by S&P on Default Threat, Bloomberg, 13 June 2011:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-13/greece-s-long-term-rating-cut-to-ccc-by-s-p-on-outlook-for-restructuring.html

[107]            AFP, Athens concludes EU-IMF audit: finance ministry, MSN News, 3 June 2011:

http://news.ph.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4903548

[108]            The countries most exposed to Greek debt, The Telegraph, 15 June 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8578337/The-countries-most-exposed-to-Greek-debt.html

[109]            Boris Groendahl, German Banks Top French on $23 Billion Greek Debt, BIS Says, Bloomberg Businessweek, 6 June 2011:

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-06-06/german-banks-top-french-on-23-billion-greek-debt-bis-says.html

[110]            Megan Murphy, Kerin Hope, Jennifer Thompson and James Wilson, Greek contagion fears spread to other EU banks, The Financial Times, 15 June 2011:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ac918946-975a-11e0-9c9d-00144feab49a,s01=1.html#axzz1RpfP4VNB

[111]            Ian Traynor, Hardline IMF forced Germany to guarantee Greek bailout, The Guardian, 17 June 2011:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jun/16/imf-forced-germany-to-guarantee-greek-bailout

[112]            Peter Spiegel, Quentin Peel and Ralph Atkins, Greece set for severe bail-out conditions, The Financial Times, 29 May 2011:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/eb91ba84-8a27-11e0-beff-00144feab49a.html#axzz1NnKIRZX9

[113]            MATTHEW SALTMARSH, French Banks Ready to Help Greek Bailout, The New York Times, 27 June 2011:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/business/global/28iht-euro.html

[114]            Quentin Peel and Daniel Schäfer, German banks support Greek debt rollover, The Financial Times, 30 June 2011:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d0112512-a32f-11e0-8d6d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1RpfP4VNB

[115]            JULIE CRESWELL, Hedge Funds Seeking Gains in Greek Crisis, The New York Times, 3 July 2011:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/04/business/04bets.html

[116]            Louise Armitstead, Portugal debt crisis: David Cameron holds crisis talks with EU leaders, The Telegraph, 24 March 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8404645/Portugal-debt-crisis-David-Cameron-holds-crisis-talks-with-EU-leaders.html

[117]            AP, Portugal ‘needs £70bn bailout’, The Independent, 8 April 2011:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/portugal-needs-70bn-bailout-2265130.html

[118]            Henry Chu, Europe scrambles to rescue Portugal from debt crisis, Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2011:

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/08/world/la-fg-portugal-debt-20110408

[119]            James G. Neuger and Anabela Reis, Portugal’s $111 Billion Bailout Approved as EU Prods Greece to Sell Assets, Bloomberg, 17 May 2011:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-16/portugal-bailout-approved-as-eu-prods-greece-to-sell-assets.html

[120]            Julia Kollewe, Portugal downgrade hits European bank shares, The Guardian, 6 July 2011:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jul/06/portugal-downgrade-european-bank-shares

[121]            LIZ ALDERMAN and JACK EWING, Europeans Caution Ratings Agencies After the Downgrade of Portugal’s Debt, The New York Times, 6 July 2011:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/07/business/global/07euro.html

[122]            Elysse Morgan, Ireland downgrade fuels Italy, Spain fears, ABC News, 13 July 2011:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-13/ireland-downgrade-fuels-italy-spain-fears/2793156?section=business

[123]            John Glover, Italy Is Two Percentage Points From Bailout as Yields Rise, Evolution Says, Bloomberg, 11 July 2011:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-11/italy-is-2-percentage-points-from-a-bailout-as-yields-rise-evolution-says.html

[124]            Fabio Benedetti-Valentini, Italian Debt Risk Puts France’s BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole on Frontline, Blomberg, 13 July 2011:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-12/france-s-bnp-credit-agricole-on-frontline-with-italian-risk.html

[125]            Jeffrey Donovan, Italy Sells 6.75 Billion Euros of Treasury Bills as Borrowing Costs Climb, Bloomberg, 12 July 2011:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-12/italy-s-borrowing-costs-soar-at-6-75-billion-euro-bill-sale-on-contagion.html

[126]            Guy Dinmore and Giulia Segreti, Draghi backs Italian austerity plan, The Financial Times, 13 July 2011:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d114be22-ad2c-11e0-a24e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1RpfP4VNB

[127]            Harry Wilson, Spanish banks have €100bn exposure to Portugal, The Telegraph, 8 April 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8435903/Spanish-banks-have-100bn-exposure-to-Portugal.html

[128]            Jill Treanor, Debt crisis: UK banks sitting on £100bn exposure to Greece, Spain and Portugal, The Guardian, 28 April 2010:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/28/debt-turmoil-bank-crisis-fears

[129]            Harry Wilson, UK bank exposure to Portugal is less than peers, The Telegraph, 8 April 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/8436114/UK-bank-exposure-to-Portugal-is-less-than-peers.html

[130]            Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Banks have £1.6 trillion exposure to ailing quartet of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, The Telegraph, 14 March 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/8379302/Banks-have-1.6-trillion-exposure-to-ailing-quartet-of-Greece-Ireland-Portugal-and-Spain.html

[131]            Patrick Jenkins and Megan Murphy, Bank contagion fear resurfaces in the Eurozone, The Financial Times, 12 July 2011:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/f3efcbe2-aca7-11e0-a2f3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1RpfP4VNB

[132]            CNBC, ECB Firefight Leaves It Exposed to Greek Shock, The Financial Times, 7 June 2011:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43304981/ECB_Firefight_Leaves_It_Exposed_to_Greek_Shock

[133]            Jeff Black, BIS Urges Europe to End Its Debate, Resolve Debt Crisis ‘Once and for All’, Bloomberg, 26 June 2011:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-26/bis-urges-europe-to-end-debate-and-resolve-debt-crisis-once-and-for-all-.html

[134]            Norma Cohen and Chris Giles, Central banks urged to raise rates, The Financial Times, 26 June 2011:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/481e5106-a01f-11e0-a115-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1RpfP4VNB

[135]            Elena Moya, Low interest rates risk relapse into recession, BIS warns, The Guardian, 28 June 2010:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/28/raise-interest-rates-avoid-recession

[136]            Simone Meier, BIS Sees Risk Central Banks Will Raise Interest Rates Too Late, Bloomberg, 29 June 2009:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aOnSy9jXFKaY

[137]            Aaron Back, Beijing Raises Interest Rates Again, The Wall Street Journal, 7 July 2011:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303544604576429393824293666.html

[138]            Julia Kollewe, ECB raises interest rates despite debt crisis, The Guardian, 7 July 2011:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jul/07/ebc-raise-interest-rates-debt-crisis

[139]            Jill Treanor, International banking regulator calls for rates to be raised worldwide, The Guardian, 26 June 2011:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jun/26/international-banking-regulator-rates

[140]            We’re living in a plutonomy, The Telegraph, 2 April 2006:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2935809/Were-living-in-a-plutonomy.html

[141]            Robert Frank, Plutonomics, The Wall Street Journal, 8 January 2007:

http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2007/01/08/plutonomics/

[142]            Ibid.

[143]            Michael Lind, Is America a plutonomy? Salon, 5 October 2010:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/feature/2010/10/05/lind_america_plutonomy

[144]            Gus Lubin, Deutsche Bank Says The ‘Global Plutonomy’ Is Stronger Than Ever, And That Means 10X More Volatility, Business Insider, 17 February 2011:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ajay-kapur-plutonomy-2011-2

[145]            Tom Petruno, ‘The consumer isn’t overleveraged — the middle class is’, Los Angeles Times, 14 August 2009:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2009/08/the-well-heeled-might-be-able-to-save-the-us-economy-from-a-long-period-of-dismal-consumer-spending—-if-only-we-dont.html

[146]            Ibid.

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Entering the Greatest Depression in History

Entering the Greatest Depression in History
More Bubbles Waiting to Burst
Global Research, August 7, 2009
Introduction

While there is much talk of a recovery on the horizon, commentators are forgetting some crucial aspects of the financial crisis. The crisis is not simply composed of one bubble, the housing real estate bubble, which has already burst. The crisis has many bubbles, all of which dwarf the housing bubble burst of 2008. Indicators show that the next possible burst is the commercial real estate bubble. However, the main event on the horizon is the “bailout bubble” and the general world debt bubble, which will plunge the world into a Great Depression the likes of which have never before been seen.

Housing Crash Still Not Over

The housing real estate market, despite numbers indicating an upward trend, is still in trouble, as, “Houses are taking months to sell. Many buyers are having trouble getting financing as lenders and appraisers struggle to figure out what houses are really worth in the wake of the collapse.” Further, “the overall market remains very soft […] aside from speculators and first-time buyers.” Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington said, “It would be wrong to imagine that we have hit a turning point in the market,” as “There is still an enormous oversupply of housing, which means that the direction of house prices will almost certainly continue to be downward.” Foreclosures are still rising in many states “such as Nevada, Georgia and Utah, and economists say rising unemployment may push foreclosures higher into next year.” Clearly, the housing crisis is still not at an end.[1]

The Commercial Real Estate Bubble

In May, Bloomberg quoted Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann as saying, “It’s either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.” Bloomberg further pointed out that, “A piece of the puzzle that must be calculated into any determination of the depth of our economic doldrums is the condition of commercial real estate — the shopping malls, hotels, and office buildings that tend to go along with real- estate expansions.” Residential investment went down 28.9 % from 2006 to 2007, and at the same time, nonresidential investment grew 24.9%, thus, commercial real estate was “serving as a buffer against the declining housing market.”

Commercial real estate lags behind housing trends, and so too, will the crisis, as “commercial construction projects are losing their appeal.” Further, “there are lots of reasons to suspect that commercial real estate was subject to some of the loose lending practices that afflicted the residential market. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices found that whereas in 2003 just 2 percent of banks were easing their underwriting standards on commercial construction loans, by 2006 almost a third of them were relaxing.” In May it was reported that, “Almost 80 percent of domestic banks are tightening their lending standards for commercial real-estate loans,” and that, “we may face double-bubble trouble for real estate and the economy.”[2]

In late July of 2009, it was reported that, “Commercial real estate’s decline is a significant issue facing the economy because it may result in more losses for the financial industry than residential real estate.  This category includes apartment buildings, hotels, office towers, and shopping malls.” Worth noting is that, “As the economy has struggled, developers and landlords have had to rely on a helping hand from the US Federal Reserve in order to try to get credit flowing so that they can refinance existing buildings or even to complete partially constructed projects.” So again, the Fed is delaying the inevitable by providing more liquidity to an already inflated bubble. As the Financial Post pointed out, “From Vancouver to Manhattan, we are seeing rising office vacancies and declines in office rents.”[3]

In April of 2009, it was reported that, “Office vacancies in U.S. downtowns increased to 12.5 percent in the first quarter, the highest in three years, as companies cut jobs and new buildings came onto the market,” and, “Downtown office vacancies nationwide could come close to 15 percent by the end of this year, approaching the 10-year high of 15.5 percent in 2003.”[4]

In the same month it was reported that, “Strip malls, neighborhood centers and regional malls are losing stores at the fastest pace in at least a decade, as a spending slump forces retailers to trim down to stay afloat.” In the first quarter of 2009, retail tenants “have vacated 8.7 million square feet of commercial space,” which “exceeds the 8.6 million square feet of retail space that was vacated in all of 2008.” Further, as CNN reported, “vacancy rates at malls rose 9.5% in the first quarter, outpacing the 8.9% vacancy rate registered in all of 2008.” Of significance for those that think and claim the crisis will be over by 2010, “mall vacancies [are expected] to exceed historical levels through 2011,” as for retailers, “it’s only going to get worse.”[5] Two days after the previous report, “General Growth Properties Inc, the second-largest U.S. mall owner, declared bankruptcy on [April 16] in the biggest real estate failure in U.S. history.”[6]

In April, the Financial Times reported that, “Property prices in China are likely to halve over the next two years, a top government researcher has predicted in a powerful signal that the country’s economic downturn faces further challenges despite recent positive data.” This is of enormous significance, as “The property market, along with exports, were leading drivers of the booming Chinese economy over the past decade.” Further, “an apparent rebound in the property market was unsustainable over the medium term and being driven by a flood of liquidity and fraudulent activity rather than real demand.” A researcher at a leading Chinese government think tank reported that, “he expected average urban residential property prices to fall by 40 to 50 per cent over the next two years from their levels at the end of 2008.”[7]

In April, it was reported that, “The Federal Reserve is considering offering longer loans to investors in commercial mortgage-backed securities as part of a plan to help jump-start the market for commercial real estate debt.” Since February the Fed “has been analyzing appropriate terms and conditions for accepting commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and other mortgage assets as collateral for its Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility (TALF).”[8]

In late July, the Financial Times reported that, “Two of America’s biggest banks, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo … threw into sharp relief the mounting woes of the US commercial property market when they reported large losses and surging bad loan,” as “The disappointing second-quarter results for two of the largest lenders and investors in office, retail and industrial property across the US confirmed investors’ fears that commercial real estate would be the next front in the financial crisis after the collapse of the housing market.” The commercial property market, worth $6.7 trillion, “which accounts for more than 10 per cent of US gross domestic product, could be a significant hurdle on the road to recovery.”[9]

The Bailout Bubble

While the bailout, or the “stimulus package” as it is often referred to, is getting good coverage in terms of being portrayed as having revived the economy and is leading the way to the light at the end of the tunnel, key factors are again misrepresented in this situation.

At the end of March of 2009, Bloomberg reported that, “The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year.” This amount “works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. The nation’s gross domestic product was $14.2 trillion in 2008.”[10]

Gerald Celente, the head of the Trends Research Institute, the major trend-forecasting agency in the world, wrote in May of 2009 of the “bailout bubble.” Celente’s forecasts are not to be taken lightly, as he accurately predicted the 1987 stock market crash, the fall of the Soviet Union, the 1998 Russian economic collapse, the 1997 East Asian economic crisis, the 2000 Dot-Com bubble burst, the 2001 recession, the start of a recession in 2007 and the housing market collapse of 2008, among other things.

On May 13, 2009, Celente released a Trend Alert, reporting that, “The biggest financial bubble in history is being inflated in plain sight,” and that, “This is the Mother of All Bubbles, and when it explodes […] it will signal the end to the boom/bust cycle that has characterized economic activity throughout the developed world.” Further, “This is much bigger than the Dot-com and Real Estate bubbles which hit speculators, investors and financiers the hardest. However destructive the effects of these busts on employment, savings and productivity, the Free Market Capitalist framework was left intact. But when the ‘Bailout Bubble’ explodes, the system goes with it.”

Celente further explained that, “Phantom dollars, printed out of thin air, backed by nothing … and producing next to nothing … defines the ‘Bailout Bubble.’ Just as with the other bubbles, so too will this one burst. But unlike Dot-com and Real Estate, when the “Bailout Bubble” pops, neither the President nor the Federal Reserve will have the fiscal fixes or monetary policies available to inflate another.” Celente elaborated, “Given the pattern of governments to parlay egregious failures into mega-failures, the classic trend they follow, when all else fails, is to take their nation to war,” and that, “While we cannot pinpoint precisely when the ‘Bailout Bubble’ will burst, we are certain it will. When it does, it should be understood that a major war could follow.”[11]

However, this “bailout bubble” that Celente was referring to at the time was the $12.8 trillion reported by Bloomberg. As of July, estimates put this bubble at nearly double the previous estimate.

As the Financial Times reported in late July of 2009, while the Fed and Treasury hail the efforts and impact of the bailouts, “Neil Barofsky, special inspector-general for the troubled asset relief programme, [TARP] said that the various US schemes to shore up banks and restart lending exposed federal agencies to a risk of $23,700bn  [$23.7 trillion] – a vast estimate that was immediately dismissed by the Treasury.” The inspector-general of the TARP program stated that there were “fundamental vulnerabilities . . . relating to conflicts of interest and collusion, transparency, performance measures, and anti-money laundering.”

Barofsky also reports on the “considerable stress” in commercial real estate, as “The Fed has begun to open up Talf to commercial mortgage-backed securities to try to influence credit conditions in the commercial real estate market. The report draws attention to a new potential credit crunch when $500bn worth of real estate mortgages need to be refinanced by the end of the year.” Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Fed, and Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary and former President of the New York Fed, are seriously discussing extending TALF (Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility) into “CMBS [Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities] and other assets such as small business loans and whether to increase the size of the programme.” It is the “expansion of the various programmes into new and riskier asset classes is one of the main bones of contention between the Treasury and Mr Barofsky.”[12]

Testifying before Congress, Barofsky said, “From programs involving large capital infusions into hundreds of banks and other financial institutions, to a mortgage modification program designed to modify millions of mortgages, to public-private partnerships using tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to purchase ‘toxic’ assets from banks, TARP has evolved into a program of unprecedented scope, scale, and complexity.” He explained that, “The total potential federal government support could reach up to 23.7 trillion dollars.”[13]

Is a Future Bailout Possible?

In early July of 2009, billionaire investor Warren Buffet said that, “unemployment could hit 11 percent and a second stimulus package might be needed as the economy struggles to recover from recession,” and he further stated that, “we’re not in a recovery.”[14] Also in early July, an economic adviser to President Obama stated that, “The United States should be planning for a possible second round of fiscal stimulus to further prop up the economy.”[15]

In August of 2009, it was reported that, “THE Obama administration will consider dishing out more money to rein in unemployment despite signs the recession is ending,” and that, “Treasury secretary Tim Geithner also conceded tax hikes could be on the agenda as the government worked to bring its huge recovery-related deficits under control.” Geithner said, “we will do what it takes,” and that, “more federal cash could be tipped into the recovery as unemployment benefits amid projections the benefits extended to 1.5 million jobless Americans will expire without Congress’ intervention.” However, any future injection of money could be viewed as “a second stimulus package.”[16]

The Washington Post reported in early July of a Treasury Department initiative known as “Plan C.” The Plan C team was assembled “to examine what could yet bring [the economy] down and has identified several trouble spots that could threaten the still-fragile lending industry,” and “the internal project is focused on vexing problems such as the distressed commercial real estate markets, the high rate of delinquencies among homeowners, and the struggles of community and regional banks.”

Further, “The team is also responsible for considering potential government responses, but top officials within the Obama administration are wary of rolling out initiatives that would commit massive amounts of federal resources.” The article elaborated in saying that, “The creation of Plan C is a sign that the government has moved into a new phase of its response, acting preemptively rather than reacting to emerging crises.” In particular, the near-term challenge they are facing is commercial real estate lending, as “Banks and other firms that provided such loans in the past have sharply curtailed lending,” leaving “many developers and construction companies out in the cold.” Within the next couple years, “these groups face a tidal wave of commercial real estate debt — some estimates peg the total at more than $3 trillion — that they will need to refinance. These loans were issued during this decade’s construction boom with the mistaken expectation that they would be refinanced on the same generous terms after a few years.”

However, as a result of the credit crisis, “few developers can find anyone to refinance their debt, endangering healthy and distressed properties.” Kim Diamond, a managing director at Standard & Poor’s, stated that, “It’s not a degree to which people are willing to lend,” but rather, “The question is whether a loan can be made at all.” Important to note is that, “Financial analysts said losses on commercial real estate loans are now the single largest cause of bank failures,” and that none of the bailout efforts enacted “is big enough to address the size of the problem.”[17]

So the question must be asked: what is Plan C contemplating in terms of a possible government “solution”? Another bailout? The effect that this would have would be to further inflate the already monumental bailout bubble.

The Great European Bubble

In October of 2008, Germany and France led a European Union bailout of 1 trillion Euros, and “World markets initially soared as European governments pumped billions into crippled banks. Central banks in Europe also mounted a new offensive to restart lending by supplying unlimited amounts of dollars to commercial banks in a joint operation.”[18]

The American bailouts even went to European banks, as it was reported in March of 2009 that, “European banks declined to discuss a report that they were beneficiaries of the $173 billion bail-out of insurer AIG,” as “Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and a host of other U.S. and European banks had been paid roughly $50 billion since the Federal Reserve first extended aid to AIG.” Among the European banks, “French banks Societe Generale and Calyon on Sunday declined to comment on the story, as did Deutsche Bank, Britain’s Barclays and unlisted Dutch group Rabobank.” Other banks that got money from the US bailout include HSBC, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, Banco Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland. Because AIG was essentially insolvent, “the bailout enabled AIG to pay its counterparty banks for extra collateral,” with “Goldman Sachs and Deutsche bank each receiving $6 billion in payments between mid-September and December.”[19]

In April of 2009, it was reported that, “EU governments have committed 3 trillion Euros [or $4 trillion dollars] to bail out banks with guarantees or cash injections in the wake of the global financial crisis, the European Commission.”[20]

In early February of 2009, the Telegraph published a story with a startling headline, “European banks may need 16.3 trillion pound bail-out, EC document warns.” Type this headline into google, and the link to the Telegraph appears. However, click on the link, and the title has changed to “European bank bail-out could push EU into crisis.” Further, they removed any mention of the amount of money that may be required for a bank bailout. The amount in dollars, however, nears $25 trillion. The amount is the cumulative total of the troubled assets on bank balance sheets, a staggering number derived from the derivatives trade.

The Telegraph reported that, “National leaders and EU officials share fears that a second bank bail-out in Europe will raise government borrowing at a time when investors – particularly those who lend money to European governments – have growing doubts over the ability of countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Britain to pay it back.”[21]

When Eastern European countries were in desperate need of financial aid, and discussion was heated on the possibility of an EU bailout of Eastern Europe, the EU, at the behest of Angela Merkel of Germany, denied the East European bailout. However, this was more a public relations stunt than an actual policy position.

While the EU refused money to Eastern Europe in the form of a bailout, in late March European leaders “doubled the emergency funding for the fragile economies of central and eastern Europe and pledged to deliver another doubling of International Monetary Fund lending facilities by putting up 75bn Euros (70bn pounds).” EU leaders “agreed to increase funding for balance of payments support available for mainly eastern European member states from 25bn Euros to 50bn Euros.”[22]

As explained in a Times article in June of 2009, Germany has been deceitful in its public stance versus its actual policy decisions. The article, worth quoting in large part, first explained that:

Europe is now in the middle of a perfect storm – a confluence of three separate, but interconnected economic crises which threaten far greater devastation than Britain or America have suffered from the credit crunch: the collapse of German industry and employment, the impending bankruptcy of Central European homeowners and businesses; and the threat of government debt defaults from loss of monetary control by the Irish Republic, Greece and Portugal, for instance on the eurozone periphery.

Taking the case of Latvia, the author asks, “If the crisis expands, other EU governments – and especially Germany’s – will face an existential question. Do they commit hundreds of billions of euros to guarantee the debts of fellow EU countries? Or do they allow government defaults and devaluations that may ultimately break up the single currency and further cripple German industry, as well as the country’s domestic banks?” While addressing that, “Publicly, German politicians have insisted that any bailouts or guarantees are out of the question,” however, “the pass has been quietly sold in Brussels, while politicians loudly protested their unshakeable commitment to defend it.”

The author addressed how in October of 2008:

[…] a previously unused regulation was discovered, allowing the creation of a 25 billion Euros “balance of payments facility” and authorising the EU to borrow substantial sums under its own “legal personality” for the first time. This facility was doubled again to 50 billion Euros in March. If Latvia’s financial problems turn into a full-scale crisis, these guarantees and cross-subsidies between EU governments will increase to hundreds of billions in the months ahead and will certainly mutate into large-scale centralised EU borrowing, jointly guaranteed by all the taxpayers of the EU.

[…] The new EU borrowing, for example, is legally an ‘off-budget’ and ‘back-to-back’ arrangement, which allows Germany to maintain the legal fiction that it is not guaranteeing the debts of Latvia et al. The EU’s bond prospectus to investors, however, makes quite clear where the financial burden truly lies: “From an investor’s point of view the bond is fully guaranteed by the EU budget and, ultimately, by the EU Member States.”[23]

So Eastern Europe is getting, or presumably will get bailed out. Whether this is in the form of EU federalism, providing loans of its own accord, paid for by European taxpayers, or through the IMF, which will attach any loans with its stringent Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) conditionalities, or both. It turned out that the joint partnership of the IMF and EU is what provided the loans and continues to provide such loans.

As the Financial Times pointed out in August of 2009, “Bank failures or plunging currencies in the three Baltic nations – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – could threaten the fragile prospect of recovery in the rest of Europe. These countries also sit on one of the world’s most sensitive political fault-lines. They are the European Union’s frontier states, bordering Russia.” In July, Latvia “agreed its second loan in eight months from the IMF and the EU,” following the first one in December. Lithuania is reported to be following suit. However, as the Financial Times noted, the loans came with the IMF conditionalities: “The injection of cash is the good news. The bad news is that, in return for shoring up state finances, the new IMF deal will require the Latvian government to impose yet more pain on its suffering population. Public-sector wages have already been cut by about a third this year. Pensions have been sliced. Now the IMF requires Latvia to cut another 10 per cent from the state budget this autumn.”[24]

If we are to believe the brief Telegraph report pertaining to nearly $25 trillion in bad bank assets, which was removed from the original article for undisclosed reasons, not citing a factual retraction, the question is, does this potential bailout still stand? These banks haven’t been rescued financially from the EU, so, presumably, these bad assets are still sitting on the bank balance sheets. This bubble has yet to blow. Combine this with the $23.7 trillion US bailout bubble, and there is nearly $50 trillion between the EU and the US waiting to burst.

An Oil Bubble

In early July of 2009, the New York Times reported that, “The extreme volatility that has gripped oil markets for the last 18 months has shown no signs of slowing down, with oil prices more than doubling since the beginning of the year despite an exceptionally weak economy.” Instability in the oil and gas prices has led many to “fear it could jeopardize a global recovery.” Further, “It is also hobbling businesses and consumers,” as “A wild run on the oil markets has occurred in the last 12 months.” Oil prices reached a record high last summer at $145/barrel, and with the economic crisis they fell to $33/barrel in December. However, since the start of 2009, oil has risen 55% to $70/barrel.

As the Times article points out, “the recent rise in oil prices is reprising the debate from last year over the role of investors — or speculators — in the commodity markets.” Energy officials from the EU and OPEC met in June and concluded that, “the speculation issue had not been resolved yet and that the 2008 bubble could be repeated.”[25]

In June of 2009, Hedge Fund manager Michael Masters told the US Senate that, “Congress has not done enough to curb excessive speculation in the oil markets, leaving the country vulnerable to another price run-up in 2009.” He explained that, “oil prices are largely not determined by supply and demand but the trading desks of large Wall Street firms.” Because “Nothing was actually done by Congress to put an end to the problem of excessive speculation” in 2008, Masters explained, “there is nothing to prevent another bubble in oil prices in 2009. In fact, signs of another possible bubble are already beginning to appear.”[26]

In May of 2008, Goldman Sachs warned that oil could reach as much as $200/barrel within the next 12-24 months [up to May 2010]. Interestingly, “Goldman Sachs is one of the largest Wall Street investment banks trading oil and it could profit from an increase in prices.”[27] However, this is missing the key point. Not only would Goldman Sachs profit, but Goldman Sachs plays a major role in sending oil prices up in the first place.

As Ed Wallace pointed out in an article in Business Week in May of 2008, Goldman Sachs’ report placed the blame for such price hikes on “soaring demand” from China and the Middle East, combined with the contention that the Middle East has or would soon peak in its oil reserves. Wallace pointed out that:

Goldman Sachs was one of the founding partners of online commodities and futures marketplace Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). And ICE has been a primary focus of recent congressional investigations; it was named both in the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ June 27, 2006, Staff Report and in the House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s hearing last December. Those investigations looked into the unregulated trading in energy futures, and both concluded that energy prices’ climb to stratospheric heights has been driven by the billions of dollars’ worth of oil and natural gas futures contracts being placed on the ICE—which is not regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.[28]

Essentially, Goldman Sachs is one of the key speculators in the oil market, and thus, plays a major role in driving oil prices up on speculation. This must be reconsidered in light of the resurgent rise in oil prices in 2009. In July of 2009, “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. posted record earnings as revenue from trading and stock underwriting reached all-time highs less than a year after the firm took $10 billion in U.S. rescue funds.”[29] Could one be related to the other?

Bailouts Used in Speculation

In November of 2008, the Chinese government injected an “$849 billion stimulus package aimed at keeping the emerging economic superpower growing.”[30] China then recorded a rebound in the growth rate of the economy, and underwent a stock market boom. However, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out in July of 2009, “Its growth is now fuelled by cheap debt rather than corporate profits and retained earnings, and this shift in the medium term threatens to undermine China’s economic decoupling from the global slump.” Further, “overseas money has been piling into China, inflating foreign exchange reserves and domestic liquidity. So perhaps it is not surprising that outstanding bank loans have doubled in the last few years, or that there is much talk of a shadow banking system. Then there is China’s reputation for building overcapacity in its industrial sector, a notoriety it won even before the crash in global demand. This showed a disregard for returns that is always a tell-tale sign of cheap money.”

China’s economy primarily relies upon the United States as a consumption market for its cheap products. However, “The slowdown in U.S. consumption amid a credit crunch has exposed the weaknesses in this export-led financing model. So now China is turning instead to cheap debt for funding, a shift suggested by this year’s 35% or so rise in bank loans.”[31]

 In August of 2009, it was reported that China is experiencing a “stimulus-fueled stock market boom.” However, this has caused many leaders to “worry that too much of the $1-trillion lending binge by state banks that paid for China’s nascent revival was diverted into stocks and real estate, raising the danger of a boom and bust cycle and higher inflation less than two years after an earlier stock market bubble burst.”[32]

The same reasoning needs to be applied to the US stock market surge. Something is inherently and structurally wrong with a financial system in which nothing is being produced, 600,000 jobs are lost monthly, and yet, the stock market goes up. Why is the stock market going up?

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which provided $700 billion in bank bailouts, started under Bush and expanded under Obama, entails that the US Treasury purchases $700 billion worth of “troubled assets” from banks, and in turn, “that banks cannot be asked to account for their use of taxpayer money.”[33]

So if banks don’t have to account for where the money goes, where did it go? They claim it went back into lending. However, bank lending continues to go down.[34] Stock market speculation is the likely answer. Why else would stocks go up, lending continue downwards, and the bailout money be unaccounted for?

What Does the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Have to Say?

In late June, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank of the world’s central banks, the most prestigious and powerful financial organization in the world, delivered an important warning. It stated that, “fiscal stimulus packages may provide no more than a temporary boost to growth, and be followed by an extended period of economic stagnation.”

The BIS, “The only international body to correctly predict the financial crisis … has warned the biggest risk is that governments might be forced by world bond investors to abandon their stimulus packages, and instead slash spending while lifting taxes and interest rates,” as the annual report of the BIS “has for the past three years been warning of the dangers of a repeat of the depression.” Further, “Its latest annual report warned that countries such as Australia faced the possibility of a run on the currency, which would force interest rates to rise.” The BIS warned that, “a temporary respite may make it more difficult for authorities to take the actions that are necessary, if unpopular, to restore the health of the financial system, and may thus ultimately prolong the period of slow growth.”

Of immense import is the BIS warning that, “At the same time, government guarantees and asset insurance have exposed taxpayers to potentially large losses,” and explaining how fiscal packages posed significant risks, it said that, “There is a danger that fiscal policy-makers will exhaust their debt capacity before finishing the costly job of repairing the financial system,” and that, “There is the definite possibility that stimulus programs will drive up real interest rates and inflation expectations.” Inflation “would intensify as the downturn abated,” and the BIS “expressed doubt about the bank rescue package adopted in the US.”[35]

The BIS further warned of inflation, saying that, “The big and justifiable worry is that, before it can be reversed, the dramatic easing in monetary policy will translate into growth in the broader monetary and credit aggregates,” the BIS said. That will “lead to inflation that feeds inflation expectations or it may fuel yet another asset-price bubble, sowing the seeds of the next financial boom-bust cycle.”[36]

Major investors have also been warning about the dangers of inflation. Legendary investor Jim Rogers has warned of “a massive inflation holocaust.”[37] Investor Marc Faber has warned that, “The U.S. economy will enter ‘hyperinflation’ approaching the levels in Zimbabwe,” and he stated that he is “100 percent sure that the U.S. will go into hyperinflation.” Further, “The problem with government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and the Fed should increase interest rates, they will be very reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate.”[38]

Are We Entering A New Great Depression?

In 2007, it was reported that, “The Bank for International Settlements, the world’s most prestigious financial body, has warned that years of loose monetary policy has fuelled a dangerous credit bubble, leaving the global economy more vulnerable to another 1930s-style slump than generally understood.” Further:

The BIS, the ultimate bank of central bankers, pointed to a confluence a worrying signs, 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.

[…] In a thinly-veiled rebuke to the US Federal Reserve, the BIS said central banks were starting to doubt the wisdom of letting asset bubbles build up on the assumption that they could safely be “cleaned up” afterwards – which was more or less the strategy pursued by former Fed chief Alan Greenspan after the dotcom bust.[39]

In 2008, the BIS again warned of the potential of another Great Depression, as “complex credit instruments, a strong appetite for risk, rising levels of household debt and long-term imbalances in the world currency system, all form part of the loose monetarist policy that could result in another Great Depression.”[40]

In 2008, the BIS also said that, “The current market turmoil is without precedent in the postwar period. With a significant risk of recession in the US, compounded by sharply rising inflation in many countries, fears are building that the global economy might be at some kind of tipping point,” and that all central banks have done “has been to put off the day of reckoning.”[41]

In late June of 2009, the BIS reported that as a result of stimulus packages, it has only seen “limited progress” and that, “the prospects for growth are at risk,” and further “stimulus measures won’t be able to gain traction, and may only lead to a temporary pickup in growth.” Ultimately, “A fleeting recovery could well make matters worse.”[42]

The BIS has said, in softened language, that the stimulus packages are ultimately going to cause more damage than they prevented, simply delaying the inevitable and making the inevitable that much worse. Given the previous BIS warnings of a Great Depression, the stimulus packages around the world have simply delayed the coming depression, and by adding significant numbers to the massive debt bubbles of the world’s nations, will ultimately make the depression worse than had governments not injected massive amounts of money into the economy.

After the last Great Depression, Keynesian economists emerged victorious in proposing that a nation must spend its way out of crisis. This time around, they will be proven wrong. The world is a very different place now. Loose credit, easy spending and massive debt is what has led the world to the current economic crisis, spending is not the way out. The world has been functioning on a debt based global economy. This debt based monetary system, controlled and operated by the global central banking system, of which the apex is the Bank for International Settlements, is unsustainable. This is the real bubble, the debt bubble. When it bursts, and it will burst, the world will enter into the Greatest Depression in world history.

Notes

[1]        Barrie McKenna, End of housing slump? Try telling that to buyers, sellers and the unemployed. The Globe and Mail: August 6, 2009:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/end-of-housing-slump-try-telling-that-to-buyers-sellers-and-the-unemployed/article1240418/

[2]        Gene Sperling, Double-Bubble Trouble in Commercial Real Estate: Gene Sperling. Bloomberg: May 9, 2009:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601110&sid=a.X91SkgOd8g

[3]        AL Sull, Commercial Real Estate – The Other Real Estate Bubble. Financial Post: July 23, 2009:
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpmagazinedaily/archive/2009/07/23/commercial-real-estate-the-other-real-estate-bubble.aspx

[4]        Hui-yong Yu, U.S. Office Vacancies Rise to Three-Year High, Cushman Says. Bloomberg: April 16, 2009:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aegH6dXG8H8U

[5]        Parija B. Kavilanz, Malls shedding stores at record pace. CNN Money: April 14, 2009:
http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/10/news/economy/retail_malls/index.htm

[6]        Ilaina Jonas and Emily Chasan, General Growth files largest U.S. real estate bankruptcy. Reuters: April 16, 2009:
http://www.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUSTRE53F68P20090417

[7]        Jamil Anderlini, China property prices ‘likely to halve’. The Financial Times: April 13, 2009:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9a36b342-280e-11de-8dbf-00144feabdc0.html

[8]        Reuters, Fed Might Extend TALF Support to Five Years. Money News: April 17, 2009:
http://moneynews.newsmax.com/financenews/talf/2009/04/17/204120.html?utm_medium=RSS

[9]        Francesco Guerrera and Greg Farrell, US banks warn on commercial property. The Financial Times: July 22, 2009:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3a1e9d86-76eb-11de-b23c-00144feabdc0.html

[10]      Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry, Financial Rescue Nears GDP as Pledges Top $12.8 Trillion. Bloomberg: March 31, 2009:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=armOzfkwtCA4

[11]      Gerald Celente, The “Bailout Bubble” – The Bubble to End All Bubbles. Trends Research Institute: May 13, 2009:
http://geraldcelentechannel.blogspot.com/2009/05/gerald-celente-bubble-to-end-all.html

[12]      Tom Braithwaite, Treasury clashes with Tarp watchdog on data. The Financial Times: July 20, 2009:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ab533a38-757a-11de-9ed5-00144feabdc0.html

[13]      AFP, US could spend 23.7 trillion dollars on crisis: report. Agence-France Presse: July 20, 2009:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iuL1HParBuO4WyHJIxw6rlOKdz-A

[14]      John Whitesides, Warren Buffett says second stimulus might be needed. Reuters: July 9, 2009:
http://www.reuters.com/article/pressReleasesMolt/idUSTRE5683MZ2009070

[15]      Vidya Ranganathan, U.S. should plan 2nd fiscal stimulus: economic adviser. Reuters: July 7, 2009:
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE56611D20090707

[16]      Carly Crawford, US may increase stimulus payments to rein in unemployment. The Herald Sun: August 3, 2009:
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25873672-664,00.html

[17]      David Cho and Binyamin Appelbaum, Treasury Works on ‘Plan C’ To Fend Off Lingering Threats. The Washington Post: July 8, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/07/AR2009070702631.html?hpid=topnews

[18]      Charles Bremner and David Charter, Germany and France lead €1 trillion European bailout. Times Online: October 13, 2009:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article4937516.ece

[19]      Douwe Miedema, Europe banks silent on reported AIG bailout gains. Reuters: March 8, 2009:
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE5270YD20090308

[20]      Elitsa Vucheva, European Bank Bailout Total: $4 Trillion. Business Week: April 10, 2009:
http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/apr2009/gb20090410_254738.htm?chan=globalbiz_europe+index+page_top+stories

[21]      Bruno Waterfield, European bank bail-out could push EU into crisis. The Telegraph: February 11, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/4590512/European-banks-may-need-16.3-trillion-bail-out-EC-dcoument-warns.html

[22]      Ian Traynor, EU doubles funding for fragile eastern European economies. The Guardian: March 20, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/20/eu-imf-emergency-funding

[23]      Anatole Kaletsky, The great bailout – Europe’s best-kept secret. The Times Online: June 4, 2009:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/anatole_kaletsky/article6426565.ece

[24]      Gideon Rachman, Europe prepares for a Baltic blast. The Financial Times: August 3, 2009:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b497f5b6-8060-11de-bf04-00144feabdc0.html

[25]      JAD MOUAWAD, Swings in Price of Oil Hobble Forecasting. The New York Times: July 5, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/06/business/06oil.html

[26]      Christopher Doering, Masters says signs of oil bubble starting to appear. Reuters: June 4, 2009:
http://www.reuters.com/article/Inspiration/idUSTRE55355620090604

[27]      Javier Blas and Chris Flood, Analyst warns of oil at $200 a barrel. The Financial Times: May 6, 2008:
http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto050620081414392593

[28]      Ed Wallace, The Reason for High Oil Prices. Business Week: May 13, 2009:
http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/may2008/bw20080513_720178.htm

[29]      Christine Harper, Goldman Sachs Posts Record Profit, Beating Estimates. Bloomberg: July 14, 2009:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a2jo3RK2_Aps

[30]      Peter Martin and John Garnaut, The great China bailout. The Age: November 11, 2008:
http://business.theage.com.au/business/the-great-china-bailout-20081110-5lpe.html

[31]      Paul Cavey, Now China Has a Credit Boom. The Wall Street Journal: July 30, 2009:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574319261337617196.html

[32]      Joe McDonald, China’s stimulus-fueled stock boom alarms Beijing. The Globe and Mail: August 2, 2009:
http://www.globeinvestor.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090802.wchina02/GIStory/

[33]      Matt Jaffe, Watchdog Refutes Treasury Claim Banks Cannot Be Asked to Account for Bailout Cash. ABC News: July 19, 2009:
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Politics/story?id=8121045&page=1

[34]      The China Post, Bank lending slows down in U.S.: report. The China Post: July 28, 2009:
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/business/americas/2009/07/28/218141/Bank-lending.htm

[35]      David Uren. Bank for International Settlements warning over stimulus benefits. The Australian: June 30, 2009:
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25710566-601,00.html

[36]      Simone Meier, BIS Sees Risk Central Banks Will Raise Interest Rates Too Late. Bloomberg: June 29, 2009:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601068&sid=aOnSy9jXFKaY

[37]      CNBC.com, We Are Facing an ‘Inflation Holocaust’: Jim Rogers. CNBC: October 10, 2008:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/27097823

[38]      Chen Shiyin and Bernard Lo, U.S. Inflation to Approach Zimbabwe Level, Faber Says. Bloomberg: May 27, 2009:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601110&sid=avgZDYM6mTFA

[39]      Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, BIS warns of Great Depression dangers from credit spree. The Telegraph: June 27, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/2811081/BIS-warns-of-Great-Depression-dangers-from-credit-spree.html

[40]      Gill Montia, Central bank body warns of Great Depression. Banking Times: June 9, 2008:
http://www.bankingtimes.co.uk/09062008-central-bank-body-warns-of-great-depression/

[41]      Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, BIS slams central banks, warns of worse crunch to come. The Telegraph: June 30, 2008:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/2792450/BIS-slams-central-banks-warns-of-worse-crunch-to-come.html

[42]      HEATHER SCOFFIELD, Financial repairs must continue: central banks. The Globe and Mail: June 29, 2009:
http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090629.wcentralbanks0629/BNStory/HEATHER+SCOFFIELD/

Forging a “New World Order” Under a One World Government

Forging a “New World Order” Under a One World Government
Global Power and Global Government: Part 4
Global Research, August 13, 2009

This article is Part 4 in the series, “Global Power and Global Government,” published by Global Research.

Part 1: Global Power and Global Government: Evolution and Revolution of the Central Banking System
Part 2: Origins of the American Empire: Revolution, World Wars and World Order
Part 3: Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve



Globalization and the New World Order

The 1990s saw the emergence of what was called the New World Order. This was a term that emerged in the early 1990s to describe a more unipolar world, addressing the collapse of the Soviet Union and the newfound role of the United States as the sole and unchallenged global power. The New World Order was meant to represent a new phase in the global political economy in which world authority rested in one place, and for the time, that place was to be the United States.

This era saw the continual expansion and formation of regional blocs, with the formation of the European Union, the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the creation of the WTO. The World Trade Organization was officially formed in 1995, as the successor to the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was formed in 1944 at the Bretton-Woods Conference. The WTO manages the international liberal trading order.

The first Director-General of the WTO was Peter D. Sutherland, who was previously the director general of GATT, former Attorney General of Ireland, and currently is Chairman of British Petroleum and Goldman Sachs International, as well as being special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for migrations. He is also a member of the board of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, goodwill ambassador to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, is a member of the Bilderberg Group, and is European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, and he was presented with the Robert Schuman Medal for his work on European Integration and the David Rockefeller Award of the Trilateral Commission.[1] Clearly, the WTO was an organ of the western banking elite to be used as a tool in expanding and institutionalizing their control over world trade.

The European Superstate

In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty was signed, which officially formed the European Union in 1993. In 1994, the European Monetary Institute (EMI) was formed, with the European Central Bank (ECB) being formed in 1998, and the single European currency, the Euro, debuting in 1999. In 2004, the European Constitution was to be signed by all 25-member states of the EU, which was a treaty to establish a constitution for the entire European Union.

The Constitution was a move towards creating a European superstate, creating an EU foreign minister, and with it, coordinated foreign policy, with the EU taking over the seat of Britain on the UN Security Council, representing all EU member states, forcing the nations to “actively and unreservedly” follow an EU foreign policy; set out the framework to create an EU defence policy, as an appendage to or separate from NATO; the creation of a European Justice system, with the EU defining “minimum standards in defining offences and setting sentences,” and creates common asylum and immigration policy; and it would also hand over to the EU the power to “ensure co-ordination of economic and employment policies”; and EU law would supercede all law of the member states, thus making the member nations relative to mere provinces within a centralized federal government system.[2]

Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, had stated that he feared that the concept of a stronger and more centralized European Union, as “the developments in the E.U. are really dangerous with regard to moving out of a free society and moving more and more toward masterminding control and regulation,” and that, “We [the Czech Republic] spent a half-century under communist eyes. We are more sensitive than some other West Europeans. We feel things, we see things, we touch things that we don’t like. For us, the European Union reminds us of COMECON [Moscow’s organization for economic control of the Soviet bloc].” He elaborated saying that the similarity with COMECON is not ideologically based, but in its structure, “The decisions are made not in your own country. For us who lived through the communist era, this is an issue.”[3]

The Constitution was largely written up by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former President of the French Republic from 1974 to 1981. Giscard d’Estaing also happens to be a member of the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and is also a close friend of Henry Kissinger, having co-authored papers with him. In 2005, French and Dutch voters answered the referendums in their countries, in which they rejected the EU Constitution, which required total unanimity in order to pass.

In 2007, a move was undertaken to introduce what was called the Lisbon Treaty, to be approved by all member-states. Giscard d’Estaing wrote an article for the Independent in which he stated that, “The difference between the original Constitution and the present Lisbon Treaty is one of approach, rather than content.” He described the process of creating the Lisbon Treaty: “It was the legal experts for the European Council who were charged with drafting the new text. They have not made any new suggestions. They have taken the original draft constitution, blown it apart into separate elements, and have then attached them, one by one, to existing treaties. The Treaty of Lisbon is thus a catalogue of amendments. It is unpenetrable for the public.” The main difference was that the word “constitution” was removed and banished from the text.[4]

The Telegraph reported that though the Treaty dropped the word “constitution,” it remained the same in “giving the EU the trappings of a global power and cutting national sovereignty.” It contained plans to create an EU President, who “will serve a two and half year term but unlike democratic heads of state he or she will be chosen by Europe’s leaders not by voters” and “will take over key international negotiations from national heads of government.” The Constitution’s “Foreign Minister” becomes the “High Representative,” who “will run a powerful EU diplomatic service and will be more important on the global and European stage than national foreign ministers.” It sets out to create an “Interior Ministry” which will “centralise databases holding fingerprints and DNA,” and “make EU legislation on new police and surveillance powers.” The ability for EU nations to use vetoes will end, and the Treaty “includes a clause hardwiring an EU “legal personality” and ascendancy over national courts.”[5]

One country in Europe has it written into its constitution that it requires a referendum on treaties, and that country is Ireland. In June of 2008, the Irish went to vote on the Treaty of Lisbon, after weeks and months of being badgered by EU politicians and Eurocrats explaining that the Irish “owe” Europe a “Yes” vote because of the benefits the EU had bestowed upon Ireland. History will show, however, that the Irish don’t take kindly to being bossed around and patronized, so when they went to the polls, “No” was on their lips and on their ballots. The Irish thus rejected the Lisbon Treaty.

North American Integration

The Canada-US Free Trade Agreement of 1989, was signed by President George HW Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. The FTA had devastating consequences for the people of Canada and the United States, while enriching the corporate and political elite. For example, GDP growth decreased, unemployment increased the most since the Great Depression,[6] and meanwhile, Brian Mulroney entered the corporate world, of which he now sits as a board member of Barrick Gold Corporation, as well as sitting on the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations,[7] of which David Rockefeller remains on as Honorary Chairman.

In 1990, the private sector lobbying groups and think tanks began the promotion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to expand the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement to include Mexico. NAFTA was signed by then Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, US President George H.W. Bush and Mexican President Carlos Salinas, in 1993, and went into effect in 1994. It was negotiated during a time in which Mexico was undergoing liberal economic reforms, so NAFTA had the effect of cementing those reforms in an “economic constitution for North America.”[8]

David Rockefeller played a role in the push for NAFTA. In 1965, he had founded the Council for Latin America (CLA), which, as he wrote in a 1966 article in Foreign Affairs, was to mobilize private enterprise throughout the hemisphere “to stimulate and support economic integration.” The CLA, David wrote, “provides an effective channel of cooperation between businessmen in the United States and their counterparts in the countries to the south. It also offers a means of continuing communication and consultation with the White House, the State Department and other agencies of our government.”[9]

The CLA later changed its name to the Council of the Americas (CoA) and maintains a very close relationship with the Americas Society, founded at the same time as the CLA, of which David Rockefeller remains to this day as Chairman of both organizations. As David wrote in his autobiography, Memoirs, in the lead up to NAFTA, the Council of the Americas sponsored a Forum of the Americas, which was attended by President George H.W. Bush, which resulted in the call for a “Western Hemisphere free trade area.”[10]

In 1993, David Rockefeller wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal, in the run up to NAFTA, in which he advocated for the signing of NAFTA as essential, describing it as a vital step on the road to fulfilling his life long work, and that, “Everything is in place — after 500 years — to build a true “new world” in the Western Hemisphere,” and further, that “I truly don’t think that “criminal” would be too strong a word to describe an action on our part, such as rejecting Nafta, that would so seriously jeopardize all the good that has been done — and remains to be done.”[11]

In 1994, Mexico entered into a financial crisis, often referred to as the Mexican peso crisis. The 1980s debt crisis, instigated by the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes on international loans, caused Mexico to default on its loans. The IMF had to enter the scene with its newly created Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) and reform Mexico’s economy along neoliberal economic policies.

In the late 1980s, “the United States accounted for 73 percent of Mexico’s foreign trade,”[12] and when NAFTA came into effect in 1994, it “immediately opened US and Canadian markets to 84 percent of Mexican exports.”[13] Mexico even became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The peso crisis, which began at the end of 1994, with the ascension of Mexican President Zedillo, went into 1995, and the US organized a bailout worth $52 billion.[14] The bailout did not help the Mexican economy, as it was simply funneled into paying back loans to banks, primarily American banks, and the “crisis in 1995 was declared [by the IMF to be] over as soon as the banks and international lenders started to get repaid; but five years after the crisis, workers were just getting back to where they were beforehand.”[15]

In 2002, Robert Pastor, Director of the Center for North American Studies at the American University in Washington, D.C., prepared a report that he presented to the Trilateral Commission meeting of that same year. The report, A North American Community: A Modest Proposal to the Trilateral Commission, advocated a continuation of the policy of “deep integration” in North America, recommending, “a continental plan for infrastructure and transportation, a plan for harmonizing regulatory policies, a customs union, [and] a common currency.”[16] The report advocated the formation of a North American Community and Pastor wrote that, “a majority of the public in all three countries is prepared to join a larger North American country.”[17]

In 2003, prior to Paul Martin becoming Prime Minister of Canada, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), formerly the BCNI, published on their website, a press release in which they, “urged Paul Martin to take the lead in forging a new vision for North America.” Thomas d’Aquino, CEO of the Council, “urged that Mr. Martin champion the idea of a yearly summit of the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States in order to give common economic, social and security issues the priority they deserve in a continental, hemispheric and global context.” Among the signatories to this statement were all the Vice Chairmen of the CCCE, including David Emerson, who would go on to join Martin’s Cabinet.[18]

The CCCE then launched the North American Security and Prosperity Initiative, advocating “redefining borders, maximizing regulatory efficiencies, negotiation of a comprehensive resource security pact, reinvigorating the North American defence alliance, and creating a new institutional framework.”[19]

The Independent Task Force on the Future of North America was then launched in 2005, composed of an alliance and joint project between the CCCE in Canada, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in the United States, and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations in Mexico. A press release was given on March 14, 2005, in which it said, “The chairs and vice-chairs of the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America today issued a statement calling for a North American economic and security community by 2010.”[20]

On March 23, 2005, a mere nine days following the Task Force press release, the leaders of Canada, the US, and Mexico, (Paul Martin, George W. Bush, and Vicente Fox, respectively), announced “the establishment of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,” which constituted a course of “action into a North American framework to confront security and economic challenges.”[21]

Within two months, the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America released their final report, Building a North American Community, proposing the continuation of “deep integration” into the formation of a North American Community, that “applauds the announced ‘Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,’ but proposes a more ambitious vision of a new community by 2010 and specific recommendations on how to achieve it.”[22]

At the 2006 meeting of the SPP, the creation of a new group was announced, called the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), made up of corporate leaders from all three countries who produce an annual report and advise the three governments on how to implement the SPP process of “deep integration”. The Secretariat in Canada is the CCCE, and the Secretariat of the group in the US is made up of the US Chamber of Commerce and the Council of the Americas.[23] The Council of the Americas was founded by David Rockefeller, of which he is still Honourary Chairman, and other board members include individuals from J.P. Morgan, Merck, McDonald’s, Ford, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, General Electric, Chevron, Shell, IBM, ConocoPhillips, Citigroup, Microsoft, Pfizer, Wal-Mart, Exxon, General Motors, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and the US Department of Treasury.[24]

The process of integration is still underway, and the formation of a North American Community is not far off, only to be followed by a North American Union, modeled on the structure of the European Union, with talk of a North American currency being formed in the future,[25] which was even proposed by Canada’s former Governor of the Bank of Canada.[26]

The New World Order in Theory

In a 1997 article of Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, Anne-Marie Slaughter discussed the theoretical foundations of the New World Order. Building on George HW Bush’s proclamation of a New World Order in 1991, Slaughter wrote that many saw this as “the promise of 1945 fulfilled, a world in which international institutions, led by the United Nations, guaranteed international peace and security with the active support of the world’s major powers.” However, this concept, she explained, was largely infeasible, as “It requires a centralized rule-making authority, a hierarchy of institutions, and universal membership.” Instead, she explains the emergence of what she called a “new medievalism” as opposed to liberal internationalism. “Where liberal internationalists see a need for international rules and institutions to solve states’ problems, the new medievalists proclaim the end of the nation-state,” where “The result is not world government, but global governance. If government denotes the formal exercise of power by established institutions, governance denotes cooperative problem- solving by a changing and often uncertain cast.”[27]

However, Slaughter challenges the assumptions of both the liberal internationalists and the new medievalists, and states that, “The state is not disappearing, it is disaggregating into its separate, functionally distinct parts. These parts—courts, regulatory agencies, executives, and even legislatures—are networking with their counterparts abroad, creating a dense web of relations that constitutes a new, transgovernmental order,” and that, “transgovernmentalism is rapidly becoming the most widespread and effective mode of international governance.”[28] Slaughter was Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University from 2002-2009, is currently Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, and has previously served on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Reconstructing Class Structure Under a World Government

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, a former executive with Goldman Sachs, stated in his speech at the International Economic Forum of the Americas, that, “Globalized product, capital, and labour markets lie at the heart of the New World Order to which we should aspire. However, the next wave of globalization needs to be more firmly grounded and its participants more responsible,” and that, “Within our economies, major stock adjustments in inventories, labour, and capital will be required.” It is worth quoting him at length in saying:

Although global demand and trade levels appear to be approaching bottom, and inventory and labour adjustments have already been substantial, there is still more to come. Unemployment will likely rise further across the G-7, with the sharpest increases still to come in those economies with the least-flexible labour markets. Uncertainty over the employment outlook will weigh on consumption in most major economies for some time. The capital stock adjustment process will take longer, and global investment growth is likely to remain negative well into 2010. This will serve as a significant drag on global growth and can be expected to reduce potential growth in most major economies.[29] [Emphasis added]

In terms of labour adjustments within the New World Order, there are some important and vital factors to take into account. Primary among these concerns is the notion of transnational classes. Capitalism largely functions through class divides, with the ruling class owning the means of production, which, as a class, is subject to its own hierarchy over which those that control and issue currencies preside.

In Western, industrialized nations, there has been a large middle class which thrives on consumption, enriching the upper class bourgeoisie, while the lower class, (or proletariat in Marxist terms), consists of the labour class. In non-western, industrialized nations, generally referred to as the “Third World”, “developing world” or the “Global South” (consisting of Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia), there is a greater divide in terms in class lines, where there is a ruling class, and a labour class, largely remaining vacant of a vast, educated middle class. Class structures vary from country to country and region to region.

However, in the past several decades, the reality of class structures has been undergoing drastic changes, and with this, the structure of labour has changed. In the past few decades, a concurrent class restructuring has been taking place, in which the middle classes of the world descend into debt bondage while the upper classes of the world have began a process of transnationalizing. What we have witnessed and are witnessing with recent events, is the transnationalization of class structures, and with that, labour forces.

Social Constructivism

A fascinating theoretical school of thought within the field of Global Political Economy is that of Social Constructivism. Social Constructivists argue that, “The social and political world, including the world of international relations, is not a physical entity or material object that is outside human consciousness. Consequently, the study of international relations must focus on the ideas and beliefs that inform the actors on the international scene as well as the shared understandings between them.” Expanding upon this idea:

The international system is not something ‘out there’ like the solar system. It does not exist on its own. It exists only as an intersubjective awareness among people; in that sense the system is constituted by ideas, not by material forces. It is a human invention or creation not of a physical or material kind but of a purely intellectual and ideational kind. It is a set of ideas, a body of thought, a system of norms, which has been arranged by certain people at a particular time and place.

Examples of socially constructed structures within the global political economy are national borders, as they have no physical line, but are rather formed by a shared understanding between various actors as to where the border is. The nation itself is a social construct, as it has no physical, over-arching form, but is made up of a litany of shared values, ideas, concepts, institutions, beliefs and symbols. Thus, “If the thoughts and ideas that enter into the existence of international relations change, then the system itself will change as well, because the system consists in thoughts and ideas. That is the insight behind the oft-repeated phrase by constructivist Alexander Wendt: ‘anarchy is what states make of it’.”[30]

Class Structure and Social Constructivism

William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris write in Science & Society Journal, that, “One process central to capitalist globalization is transnational class formation, which has proceeded in step with the internationalization of capital and the global integration of national productive structures. Given the transnational integration of national economies, the mobility of capital and the global fragmentation and decentralization of accumulation circuits, class formation is progressively less tied to territoriality.”[31] They argued that a Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC) has emerged, “and that this TCC is a global ruling class. It is a ruling class because it controls the levers of an emergent transnational state apparatus and of global decision making.”[32] This class has no borders, and is composed of the technocratic, media, corporate, banking, social and political elite of the world.

As Jackson and Sorenson point out in relation to social constructivist theory, “If ‘anarchy is what states make of it’ there is nothing inevitable or unchangeable about world politics,” and that, “The existing system is a creation of states and if states change their conceptions of who they are, what their interests are, what they want, etc. then the situation will change accordingly.” As an example, they stated that states could decide “to reduce their sovereignty or even to give up their sovereignty. If that happened there would no longer be an international anarchy as we know it. Instead, there would be a brave new, non-anarchical world – perhaps one in which states were subordinate to a world government.”[33]

As Robinson and Harris explain in their essay, with the rise of the Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC), there is also a rise in the apparatus of a Transnational State (TNS), which is “an emerging network that comprises transformed and externally integrated national states, together with the supranational economic and political forums; it has not yet acquired any centralized institutional form.”[34] Among the economic apparatus of the TNS we see the IMF, World Bank, WTO and regional banks. On the political side we see the Group of 7, Group of 22, United Nations, OECD, and the European Union. This was further accelerated with the Trilateral Commission, “which brought together transnationalized fractions of the business, political, and intellectual elite in North America, Europe, and Japan.” Further, the World Economic Forum has made up an important part of this class, and, I might add, the Bilderberg Group. Robinson and Harris point out that, “Studies on building a global economy and transnational management structures flowed out of think tanks, university centers, and policy planning institutes in core countries.”[35]

The TNS apparatus has been a vital principle of organization and socialization for the transnational class, “as have world class universities, transnationally oriented think tanks, the leading bourgeois foundations, such as Harvard’s School of International Business, the Ford [and Rockefeller] and the Carnegie Foundations, [and] policy planning groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations.” These “elite planning groups are important forums for integrating class groups, developing new initiatives, collective strategies, policies and projects of class rule, and forging consensus and a political culture around these projects.”[36]

Robinson and Harris identify the World Economic Forum as “the most comprehensive transnational planning body of the TCC and the quintessential example of a truly global network binding together the TCC in a transnational civil society.”[37] I would take issue with this, and instead propose the Bilderberg Group, of which they make no mention in their article, as THE quintessential transnational planning body of the TCC, as it is composed of the elite of the elite, totally removed from public scrutiny, and acts as “a secretive global think-tank” of the world’s 130 most powerful individuals.[38]

Many Bilderberg critics will claim that the group acts as a “secret world government” or as the organization “that makes all the key decisions for the world.” However, this is not the case. Bilderberg is simply the most influential planning body, sitting atop a grand hierarchy of various planning bodies and institutions, and is itself a key part of the apparatus of the formation of a Transnational State, but is not, in and of itself, a “world government.” It is a global think tank, which holds the concept of a “world government” in high regard and often works to achieve these ends, but it should not be confused with being the end it seeks.

The economic crisis is perhaps the greatest “opportunity” ever given to the TCC in re-shaping the world order according to their designs, ideals and goals. Through destruction, comes creation; and for these high-placed individuals within the TCC, destruction is itself a form of creation.

In terms of reshaping labour and class structures, the economic crisis provides the ground on which a new global class structure will be built. A major problem for the Transnational Capitalist Class and the formation of a Transnational State, or world government, is the lack of continuity in class structures and labour markets throughout the world. A transnational ruling class, or “Superclass” as David Rothkopf referred to it in his book of the same name (and is, himself, a member of the Superclass), has emerged. It has no borders, yet has built a general continuity and consensus of goals among its members, albeit there are differences and conflicts within the class, but they are based upon the means of achieving the stated ends, rather than on the ends itself. There is not dissent within the ruling class on the aims of achieving a world governing body; the dissent is in how to achieve this, and in terms of what kind of structure, theoretical and philosophical leanings, and political orientation such a government would have.

To achieve these ends, however, all classes must be transnationalized, not simply the ruling class. The ruling class is the first class to be transnationalized, because transnationalization was the goal of the ruling classes based in the powerful Western European nations, (and later in the United States), that started the process of transnationalization or internationalization. Now that there is an established “Superclass” of a transnational composition, the other classes must follow suit. The middle class is targeted for elimination in this sense, because most of the world has no middle class, and to fully integrate and internationalize a middle class, this would require industrialization and development in places such as Africa, and certain places in Asia and Latin America, and would represent a massive threat to the Superclass, as it would be a valve through which much of their wealth and power would escape them. Their goal is not to lose their wealth and power to a transnational middle class, but rather to extinguish the notion of a middle class, and transnationalize a lower, uneducated, labour oriented class, through which they will secure ultimate wealth and power.

The economic crisis serves these ends, as whatever remaining wealth the middle class holds is in the process of being eliminated, and as the crisis progresses, or rather, regresses, and accelerates, the middle classes of the world will suffer, while a great percentage of lower classes of the world, poverty-stricken even prior to the crisis, will suffer the greatest, most probably leading to a massive reduction in population levels, particularly in the “developed” or “Third World” states.

Many would take issue with such a thesis as being an objective of the Transnational Capitalist Class, as capitalism needs a large population, specifically a middle class population, in order to have a market of consumers for their products. Though this is true with how we presently understand the capitalist system and structure, we must also take note that capitalism, itself, is always changing and redefining itself. Through a social constructivist perspective, which I would argue, is very apt in this analysis, such a notion is not inconceivable, as if the capitalist class were to redefine capitalism itself, capitalism itself would change.

It must be addressed that there would be a great many individuals within the TCC or Superclass (Rothkopf estimates the number at 6,000 individuals within the ruling class), who would take issue with eliminating their base for profit making, however, as a total restructuring of the capitalist system and global political economy as a whole is undertaken, the TCC itself is not immune to such drastic and rapid changes itself. In fact, it would be unimaginable to think that it would remain as it currently is.

Rothkopf explains that with 6,000 members of the Superclass, that equals roughly one member of the superclass for every 1 million people in the world. As the composition, class structures, and numbers of the world population drastically alter over the next years and decades, so too will the superclass itself. It too, will be subject to a “cleansing” so to speak, in which the big players will collapse and consolidate many of the smaller players.

The Monetary Structure of a Global Government

A Global Currency

Following the April 2009 G20 Summit, leaders issued a communiqué which set the groundwork for the creation of a global currency to replace the US dollar as the world reserve currency. The communiqué stated that, “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. Conspiracy theorists will love it.”[39]

In 1988, the Economist featured an article called “Get Ready for the Phoenix,” which said, “THIRTY years from now, Americans, Japanese, Europeans, and people in many other rich countries and some relatively poor ones will probably be paying for their shopping with the same currency. Prices will be quoted not in dollars, yen or D-marks but in, let’s say, the phoenix. The phoenix will be favoured by companies and shoppers because it will be more convenient than today’s national currencies, which by then will seem a quaint cause of much disruption to economic life in the late twentieth century.” The article, written in the wake of the 1987 stock market crash, stated 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. This points to a muddled sequence of emergency followed by patch-up followed by emergency, stretching out far beyond 2018-except for two things. As time passes, the damage caused by currency instability is gradually going to mount; and the very trends that will make it mount are making the utopia of monetary union feasible.”[emphasis added][40]

Paul Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System, said in 2000, that, “If we are to have a truly global economy, a single world currency makes sense,” and a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank reaffirmed Volcker’s comment, stating that, “we might one day have a single world currency. Maybe European integration, in the same way as any other regional integration, could be seen as a step towards the ideal situation of a fully integrated world. If and when this world will see the light of day is impossible to say. However, what I can say is that this vision seems as impossible now to most of us as a European monetary union seemed 50 years ago, when the process of European integration started.”[41]

A Central Bank of the World

Jeffrey Garten has written several articles calling for the creation of a global central bank, or a “global fed.” Garten was former Dean of the Yale School of Management, former Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, previously served on the White House Council on International Economic Policy under the Nixon administration and on the policy planning staffs of Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance of the Ford and Carter administrations, former Managing Director at Lehman Brothers, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 1998, he wrote an article for the New York Times stating that the world “needs a global central bank,” and that, “An independent central bank with responsibility for maintaining global financial stability is the only way out. No one else can do what is needed: inject more money into the system to spur growth, reduce the sky-high debts of emerging markets, and oversee the operations of shaky financial institutions. A global central bank could provide more money to the world economy when it is rapidly losing steam.”[42]

Following the outbreak of the current financial crisis, Garten wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he called for the “establishment of a Global Monetary Authority to oversee markets that have become borderless.”[43] In October of 2008, he wrote an article for Newsweek stating that, “leaders should begin laying the groundwork for establishing a global central bank.” He explained that, “There was a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve played this role [as governing financial authority of the world], as the prime financial institution of the world’s most powerful economy, overseeing the one global currency. But with the growth of capital markets, the rise of currencies like the euro and the emergence of powerful players such as China, the shift of wealth to Asia and the Persian Gulf and, of course, the deep-seated problems in the American economy itself, the Fed no longer has the capability to lead single-handedly.”[44]

Regionalism

Building upon the model of the European Union, the world is being divided into large continental regional blocs, with regional monetary systems and governments. This will make up the managed blocs of a global government, and mark a significant process in the “hard road to world order,” as Richard N. Gardner called it, in which national sovereignty is eroded piece by piece. Regionalism marks the current phase of the move to the formation of a global government. Friedrich List critiqued liberal cosmopolitanism, stating that economic integration had never preceded political integration, however the elites have and are successfully challenging this notion. In the New World Order, economic integration is preceding political integration into a world governance structure.

The European Union began as a series of free trade agreements, became a monetary union, and is in the process of being formed into a single continental superstate. North American integration began with a series of free trade agreements, defense and security agreements, and is in the process of moving towards monetary and bureaucratic integration into a North American Community. A Union and North American superstate are not far in the distance. A North American currency is openly discussed and proposed by leading think tanks, billionaire investors, as well as the Governor of the Bank of Canada. The likely name of such a currency is the Amero.[45]

Meanwhile, globally, markets are heavily integrating. In 2007, it was reported that the European Union and the United States were beginning the process of transatlantic economic integration.[46] In 2008, it was announced that, “Canadian and European officials say they plan to begin negotiating a massive agreement to integrate Canada’s economy with the 27 nations of the European Union,” under “deep economic integration negotiations,” and “The proposed pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA.”[47] This, essentially, is a means of integrating with the North American Community before the Community is officially formed; an act of pre-emptive integration.

In 2007, the Council on Foreign Relations journal, Foreign Affairs, ran an article titled, “The End of National Currency.” Discussing the volatility of national currencies, the article stated that, “The right course is not to return to a mythical past of monetary sovereignty, with governments controlling local interest and exchange rates in blissful ignorance of the rest of the world. Governments must let go of the fatal notion that nationhood requires them to make and control the money used in their territory. National currencies and global markets simply do not mix; together they make a deadly brew of currency crises and geopolitical tension and create ready pretexts for damaging protectionism. In order to globalize safely, countries should abandon monetary nationalism and abolish unwanted currencies, the source of much of today’s instability.”

Further, “Monetary nationalism is simply incompatible with globalization. It has always been, even if this has only become apparent since the 1970s, when all the world’s governments rendered their currencies intrinsically worthless.” The author states that, “Since economic development outside the process of globalization is no longer possible, countries should abandon monetary nationalism. Governments should replace national currencies with the dollar or the euro or, in the case of Asia, collaborate to produce a new multinational currency over a comparably large and economically diversified area.”[48]

In 2008, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was formed, “a regional body aimed at boosting economic and political integration in the region,”[49] which will “seek a common currency as part of the region’s integration efforts,” as well as a common central bank.[50]

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional bloc of Arab Middle Eastern governments, is pursuing economic integration in the form of a common central bank and a common currency.[51] Similarly, there has been much discussion of an Asian Monetary Union and East Asian economic integration, specifically being touted as a solution to the prevention of future economic crises in East Asia like that which hit it in 1997.[52] Integration would be modeled upon the East Asian regional block of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and in 2008, “ASEAN bank deputy governors and financial deputy ministers have met in Vietnam’s central Da Nang city, discussing issues on the financial and monetary integration and cooperation in the region.”[53] Further, Africa is being organized as a regional bloc under the African Union, and is also pursuing regional economic integration, and has even set the agenda for the creation of a continental African central bank and the formation of a single African currency.[54]

In 2006, the Bank for International Settlements “suggested ditching many national currencies in favour of a small number of formal currency blocks based on the dollar, euro and renminbi or yen.”[55]

Constructing the Political Structure of a Global Government

Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton administration from 1994 to 2001, is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission and is currently President of the Brookings Institution, a prominent US think tank. In 1992, before becoming Deputy Secretary of State, he wrote an article for Time Magazine originally titled, “The Birth of the Global Nation,” which has now, in the Time Magazine archives, been renamed “America Abroad.” In the article, he states that within the next 100 years, “nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. A phrase briefly fashionable in the mid-20th century — “citizen of the world” — will have assumed real meaning by the end of the 21st.”

Interestingly, Talbott endorses the social constructivist perspective of nation-states and international order, stating that, “All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary. Through the ages, there has been an overall trend toward larger units claiming sovereignty and, paradoxically, a gradual diminution of how much true sovereignty any one country actually has.”

He explained that empires “were a powerful force for obliterating natural and demographic barriers and forging connections among far-flung parts of the world,” and following that, “Empire eventually yielded to the nation-state,” and that, “The main goal driving the process of political expansion and consolidation was conquest. The big absorbed the small, the strong the weak. National might made international right. Such a world was in a more or less constant state of war.” Talbott states that, “perhaps national sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.”

He continued, saying that, “it has taken the events in our own wondrous and terrible century to clinch the case for world government. With the advent of electricity, radio and air travel, the planet has become smaller than ever, its commercial life freer, its nations more interdependent and its conflicts bloodier.” Further, “Each world war inspired the creation of an international organization, the League of Nations in the 1920s and the United Nations in the ’40s.” He explained, “The plot thickened with the heavy-breathing arrival on the scene of a new species of ideology — expansionist totalitarianism — as perpetrated by the Nazis and the Soviets. It threatened the very idea of democracy and divided the world. [Thus] The advocacy of any kind of world government became highly suspect.” However, as Talbott points out, Soviet expansion led the way for NATO expansion, and “The cold war also saw the European Community pioneer the kind of regional cohesion that may pave the way for globalism.”

On top of that, “the free world formed multilateral financial institutions that depend on member states’ willingness to give up a degree of sovereignty. The International Monetary Fund can virtually dictate fiscal policies, even including how much tax a government should levy on its citizens. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade regulates how much duty a nation can charge on imports. These organizations can be seen as the protoministries of trade, finance and development for a united world.” In addressing crises, Talbott wrote that, “Globalization has also contributed to the spread of terrorism, drug trafficking, AIDS and environmental degradation. But because those threats are more than any one nation can cope with on its own, they constitute an incentive for international cooperation.” Thus, out of crisis, comes opportunity; out of chaos comes order.

In prescribing a solution, Talbott postulates that, “The best mechanism for democracy, whether at the level of the multinational state or that of the planet as a whole, is not an all-powerful Leviathan or centralized superstate, but a federation, a union of separate states that allocate certain powers to a central government while retaining many others for themselves.”[56]

In a 1974 issue of Foreign Affairs, Richard N. Gardner wrote about the formation of the New World Order. Gardner, a former American ambassador to the United Nations, Italy and Spain, is also a member of the Trilateral Commission. In his article, The Hard Road to World Order, Gardner wrote that, “The quest for a world structure that secures peace, advances human rights and provides the conditions for economic progress—for what is loosely called world order—has never seemed more frustrating but at the same time strangely hopeful.”[57] He explained that, “few people retain much confidence in the more ambitious strategies for world order that bad wide backing a generation ago—‘world federalism,’ ‘charter review,’ and “world peace through world law’.” Further, “The same considerations suggest the doubtful utility of bolding a [UN] Charter review conference.”[58]

Gardner wrote, “If instant world government, Charter review, and a greatly strengthened International Court do not provide the answers, what hope for progress is there? The answer will not satisfy those who seek simple solutions to complex problems, but it comes down essentially to this: The hope for the foreseeable future lies, not in building up a few ambitious central institutions of universal membership and general jurisdiction as was envisaged at the end of the last war, but rather in the much more decentralized, disorderly and pragmatic process of inventing or adapting institutions of limited jurisdiction and selected membership to deal with specific problems on a case-by-case basis, as the necessity for cooperation is perceived by the relevant nations.”

He then stated, “In short, the “house of world order” will have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great “booming, buzzing confusion,” to use William James’ famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault.”[59]

In the 2001 issue of Foreign Affairs, Richard Falk and Andrew Strauss wrote an article titled, “Toward Global Parliament.” They wrote that, “International governance is no longer limited to such traditional fare as defining international borders, protecting diplomats, and proscribing the use of force. Many issues of global policy that directly affect citizens are now being shaped by the international system. Workers can lose their jobs as a result of decisions made at the WTO or within regional trade regimes.”[60] In 2006, a UN report stated that, “the nation-state is an old-fashioned concept that has no role to play in a modern globalised world.”[61]

Further, “As with citizen groups, elite business participation in the international system is becoming institutionalized. The best example is the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In the 1980s, the WEF transformed itself from an organization devoted to humdrum management issues into a dynamic political forum. Once a year, a thousand of the world s most powerful business executives get together with another thousand of the world’s senior policymakers to participate in a week of roundtables and presentations. The WEF also provides ongoing arenas for discussion and recommendations on shaping global policy.” They continue in explaining that, “The Davos assembly and overlapping networks of corporate elites, such as the International Chamber of Commerce, have been successful in shaping compatible global policies. Their success has come in the expansion of international trade regimes, the modest regulation of capital markets, the dominance of neoliberal market philosophy, and the supportive collaboration of most governments, especially those of rich countries.”[62]

In explaining the purpose of a global parliament, essentially to address the “democratic deficit” created by international organizations, the authors wrote that, “Some business leaders would certainly oppose a global parliament because it would broaden popular decision-making and likely press for transnational regulations. But others are coming to believe that the democratic deficit must be closed by some sort of stakeholder accommodation. After all, many members of the managerial class who were initially hostile to such reform came to realize that the New Deal—or its social-democratic equivalent in Europe—was necessary to save capitalism. Many business leaders today similarly agree that democratization is necessary to make globalization politically acceptable throughout the world.” Essentially, its purpose would be to give globalization “grassroots acceptance and legitimacy.”[63]

David Rothkopf, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, former Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, former managing director of Kissinger and Associates, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently wrote a book titled, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making. As a member of that “superclass,” his writing should provide a necessary insight into the construction of this “New World Order.” He states that, “In a world of global movements and threats that don’t present their passports at national borders, it is no longer possible for a nation-state acting alone to fulfill its portion of the social contract.” He wrote that, “progress will continue to be made,” however, it will be challenging, because it “undercuts many national and local power structures and cultural concepts that have foundations deep in the bedrock of human civilization, namely the notion of sovereignty.” He further wrote that, “Mechanisms of global governance are more achievable in today’s environment,” and that these mechanisms “are often creative with temporary solutions to urgent problems that cannot wait for the world to embrace a bigger and more controversial idea like real global government.”[64]

Jacques Attali, founder and former President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and economic adviser to French President Nicholas Sarkozy, interviewed on EuroNews, said that, “either we’re heading towards a world government or we’re going to put national issues first.” The interviewer stated that the idea of world government will frighten many people, to which Attali responded, “Indeed, that’s only to be expected, because it seems like a fantasy. But there is already global authority in many areas,” and that, “even if it’s hard to think of a European government at the moment, which is there, but very weak, Europe can at least press on its experience to the world. If they’re not capable of creating an economic framework along side a political framework, then they’re never going to do it on a global scale. And then the world economic model will break up, and we’ll be back to the Great Depression.”[65]

In December of 2008, the Financial Times published an article titled, “And Now for A World Government,” in which the author, former Bilderberg attendee, Gideon Rachman, wrote that, “for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible,” and that, “A ‘world government’ would involve much more than co-operation between nations. It would be an entity with state-like characteristics, backed by a body of laws. The European Union has already set up a continental government for 27 countries, which could be a model. The EU has a supreme court, a currency, thousands of pages of law, a large civil service and the ability to deploy military force.”

He stated that, “it is increasingly clear that the most difficult issues facing national governments are international in nature: there is global warming, a global financial crisis and a ‘global war on terror’.” He wrote that the European model could “go global” and that a world government “could be done,” as “The financial crisis and climate change are pushing national governments towards global solutions, even in countries such as China and the US that are traditionally fierce guardians of national sovereignty.” He quoted an adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy as saying, “Global governance is just a euphemism for global government,” and that the “core of the international financial crisis is that we have global financial markets and no global rule of law.” However, Rachman states that any push towards a global government “will be a painful, slow process.” He then states that a key problem in this push can be explained with an example from the EU, which “has suffered a series of humiliating defeats in referendums, when plans for ‘ever closer union’ have been referred to the voters. In general, the 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. [Emphasis added]”[66]

In November of 2008, the United States National Intelligence Council (NIC), the US intelligence community’s “center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking,” released a report that it produced in collaboration with numerous think tanks, consulting firms, academic institutions and hundreds of other experts, among them are the Atlantic Council of the United States, the Wilson Center, RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, Texas A&M University, the Council on Foreign Relations and Chatham House in London.[67]

Outlining the global trends that the world will be going through up to the year 2025, the report states that the financial crisis “will require long-term efforts to establish a new international system.” It suggests that as the “China-model” for development becomes increasingly attractive, there may be a “decline in democratization” for emerging economies, authoritarian regimes, and “weak democracies frustrated by years of economic underperformance.” Further, the dollar will cease to be the global reserve currency, as there would likely be a “move away from the dollar.”[68]

Further, the dollar will become “something of a first among equals in a basket of currencies by 2025. This could occur suddenly in the wake of a crisis, or gradually with global rebalancing.”[69] The report elaborates on the construction of a new international system, stating that, “By 2025, nation-states will no longer be the only – and often not the most important – actors on the world stage and the ‘international system’ will have morphed to accommodate the new reality. But the transformation will be incomplete and uneven.” Further, it would be “unlikely to see an overarching, comprehensive, unitary approach to global governance. Current trends suggest that global governance in 2025 will be a patchwork of overlapping, often ad hoc and fragmented efforts, with shifting coalitions of member nations, international organizations, social movements, NGOs, philanthropic foundations, and companies.” It also notes that, “Most of the pressing transnational problems – including climate change, regulation of globalized financial markets, migration, failing states, crime networks, etc. – are unlikely to be effectively resolved by the actions of individual nation-states. The need for effective global governance will increase faster than existing mechanisms can respond.”[70]

The report discusses regionalism, and stated that, “Asian regionalism would have global implications, possibly sparking or reinforcing a trend toward three trade and financial clusters that could become quasi-blocs (North America, Europe, and East Asia).” These blocs “would have implications for the ability to achieve future global World Trade Organization agreements and regional clusters could compete in the setting of trans-regional product standards for IT, biotech, nanotech, intellectual property rights, and other ‘new economy’ products.”[71]

In discussing democracy and democratization, the report stated that, “advances are likely to slow and globalization will subject many recently democratized countries to increasing social and economic pressures that could undermine liberal institutions.” This is largely because “the better economic performance of many authoritarian governments could sow doubts among some about democracy as the best form of government.  The surveys we consulted indicated that many East Asians put greater emphasis on good management, including increasing standards of livings, than democracy.” Further, “even in many well-established democracies, surveys show growing frustration with the current workings of democratic government and questioning among elites over the ability of democratic governments to take the bold actions necessary to deal rapidly and effectively with the growing number of transnational challenges.”[72] In other words, “well established democracies,” such as those in Western Europe and North America, will, through successive crises (climate, finance, war), erode and replace their democratic systems of government with totalitarian structures that are able to “take the bold actions necessary” to deal with “transnational challenges.”

David Rockefeller wrote in his book, Memoirs, that, “For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure–one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” (Empahsis added) [73]

The Global Economic Crisis in Context

The current global economic crisis has its roots not in the Bush administration, which is linear and diluted thinking at best, but in the systematic nature of the global capitalist system. Crisis is not separate from capital; crisis is capitalist expansion. In addressing the foundations of the economic crisis, neo-Marxist theory can help explain much of the actions and functions that led to the crisis.

In 2006, Walden Bello wrote an article for Third World Quarterly, in which he explained that, “The crisis of globalisation and over-accumulation is one of the three central crises that are currently eroding US hegemony. The other two are the over-extension of US military power and the crisis of legitimacy of liberal democracy.” He explained that, “Monetary manipulation, via the high interest rate regime initiated by Federal Reserve Chief Paul Volcker in the late 1980s, while directed at fighting inflation, was also geared strategically at channeling global savings to the USA to fuel economic expansion. One key consequence of this momentous move was the Third World debt crisis of the early 1980s, which ended the boom of the economies of the South and led to their resubordination to the Northern capitalist centres.”[74]

The economic foundations of the current crisis were laid in the “Clinton globalist project.” As Bello explained, “The administration embraced globalisation as its ‘Grand Strategy’—that is, its fundamental foreign policy posture towards the world.” Further, “The dominant position of the USA allowed the liberal faction of the US capitalist class to act as a leading edge of a transnational ruling elite in the process of formation—a transnational elite alliance that could act to promote the comprehensive interest of the international capitalist class.”[75]

Bello then explained that, “the dominant dynamic of global capitalism during the Clinton period—one that was the source of its strength as well as its Achilles’ Heel—was not the movement of productive capital but the gyrations of finance capital.” The dominance of finance capital was “a result of the declining profitability of industry brought about by the crisis of overproduction. By 1997 profits in US industry had stopped growing. Financial speculation, or what one might conceptualise as the squeezing of value from already created value, became the most dynamic source of profitability.” This was termed “financialization,” and it had many components that composed its structure and led way for its dominance. Among these were the “Elimination of restrictions dating back to the 1930s that had created a Chinese Wall between investment banking and commercial banking in the USA opened up a new era of rapid consolidation in the US financial sector.”[76]

Specifically, this is in reference to the repealing of the Glass-Steagall Act, put in place in 1933 in response to the actions that created the Great Depression, which undertook banking reforms, specifically those designed to limit speculation. In 1987, the Federal Reserve Board voted to ease regulations under Glass-Steagall, after hearing “proposals from Citicorp, J.P. Morgan and Bankers Trust advocating the loosening of Glass-Steagall restrictions to allow banks to handle several underwriting businesses, including commercial paper, municipal revenue bonds, and mortgage-backed securities.” And, “In August 1987, Alan Greenspan — formerly a director of J.P. Morgan and a proponent of banking deregulation – [became] chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.” In 1989, “the Fed Board approve[d] an application by J.P. Morgan, Chase Manhattan, Bankers Trust, and Citicorp to expand the Glass-Steagall loophole to include dealing in debt and equity securities in addition to municipal securities and commercial paper.” In 1990, “J.P. Morgan [became] the first bank to receive permission from the Federal Reserve to underwrite securities.”

In 1998, the House of Representatives passed “legislation by a vote of 214 to 213 that allow[ed] for the merging of banks, securities firms, and insurance companies into huge financial conglomerates.” And in 1999, “After 12 attempts in 25 years, Congress finally repeal[ed] Glass-Steagall, rewarding financial companies for more than 20 years and $300 million worth of lobbying efforts.”[77]

It was in “the late 1990s, with the stock market surging to unimaginable heights, large banks merging with and swallowing up smaller banks, and a huge increase in banks having transnational branches, Wall Street and its many friends in congress wanted to eliminate the regulations that had been intended to protect investors and stabilize the financial system. Hence the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 repealed key parts of Glass-Steagall and the Bank Holding Act and allowed commercial and investment banks to merge, to offer home mortgage loans, sell securities and stocks, and offer insurance.”[78]

One of the architects of the repeal of Glass-Steagall was Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Rubin spent 26 years with Goldman Sachs before entering the Treasury. Robert Rubin worked closely with Alan Greenspan to oppose the regulation of derivatives, and was backed up by his Deputy Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers. Rubin, upon leaving the Treasury, went to work as an executive with Citigroup.[79] Robert Rubin is currently the Co-Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. Lawrence Summers was a former Chief Economist for the World Bank before being Deputy Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration. He then became President of Harvard University, and is now Director of the White House National Economic Council in the Obama administration. The current Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, was former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and is also a Robert Rubin protégé.

The Clinton years saw the rise of derivatives, which are financial instruments (or contracts), the prices of which are derived from one or more underlying assets, indexes, or other items. The value of a derivative changes as the value of the underlying asset changes. They are used to hedge risks but also as instruments of speculation. Derivatives, “which monetised and traded risk in the exchange of a whole range of commodities,” are a key factor that led to the economic crisis.

Another cause of the crisis was “The creation of massive consumer credit to fuel consumption, with much of the source of this capital coming from foreign investors,” which “created a dangerous gap between the consumers’ debt and their income, opening up the possibility of consumer collapse or default that would carry away both consumers and their creditors.” Further, the stock market’s role in driving growth played a part in paving the way for a financial crisis. “Stock market activity drove, in particular, the so-called technology sector, creating a condition of ‘virtual capitalism’ whose dynamics were based on the expectation of future profitability rather than on current performance, which was the iron rule in the ‘real economy’.”[80]

The Federal Reserve, under Alan Greenspan, initially created the dot-com bubble, providing liquidity for speculation into the stock market and “virtual capitalism,”[81] and when that dot-com bubble burst, as all bubbles do, Greenspan and the Fed created the housing bubble by cutting interests rates and offering more Adjustable Rate Mortgages (AMRs), with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac encouraging banks to make the high-risk loans.[82]

Speculation had proven itself to be a powerful weapon of finance capital. In the 1990s, this was first exemplified by “a speculative attack on the peso that had investors in panic cashing their pesos for dollars, leading to the devaluation and collapse of the Mexican economy in 1994,” and later in “East Asia in 1997. One hundred billion dollars in speculative capital flooded into the region between 1994 and 1997 as countries liberalised their capital accounts.” This speculative money flowed into real estate and the stock market, which resulted in over-investment, and “Smelling crisis in the air, hedge funds and other speculators targeted the Thai baht, Korean won and other currencies, triggering a massive financial panic that led to the drastic devaluation of these currencies and laid low Asia’s tiger economies. In a few short weeks in the summer of 1997 some $100 billion rushed out of the Asian economies, leading to a drastic reversal of the sizzling growth that had marked those economies in the preceding decade. In less than a month, some 21 million Indonesians and one million Thais found themselves thrust under the poverty line.”[83] This was known as the East Asian Financial Crisis.

This crisis “helped precipitate the Russian financial crisis in 1998, as well as financial troubles in Brazil and Argentina that contributed to the spectacular unraveling of Argentina’s economy in 2001 and 2002, when the economy that had distinguished itself as the most faithful follower of the IMF’s prescriptions of trade and financial liberalisation found itself forced to declare a default on $100 billion of its $140 billion external debt.”[84]

The current crisis is not over. The parallels between the current crisis and the Great Depression are frightening. This trend of building speculative bubbles is reminiscent of the 1920s stock market speculation-driven bubble; built by the Federal Reserve, which eased interest rates, provided liquidity to the banks and actively encouraged speculation. Bubbles that were created then burst.

In 1932, Congressman Louis T. McFadden stated before the Congress that the Federal Reserve banks are not government agencies, but “are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders.”[85] Following the creation of the Fed in 1913, Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh said, “From now on, depressions will be scientifically created.” Indeed, he was right. The current crisis, likely leading to a Great Depression, is being used as the primary means through which a global government is being constructed.

In 2007, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for a new world order in reforming the UN, World Bank, IMF and G7.[86] When the bank Bear Stearns collapsed, due to its heavy participation in the mortgage securities market, the Federal Reserve purchased the bank for JP Morgan Chase, whose CEO sits on the board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Shortly after this action, a major financial firm released a report saying that banks face a “new world order” of “consolidation and acquisitions.”[87]

In October of 2008, Gordon Brown said that we “must have a new Bretton Woods – building a new international financial architecture for the years ahead.” He continued in saying that, “we must now reform the international financial system around the agreed principles of transparency, integrity, responsibility, good housekeeping and co-operation across borders.” An article in the Telegraph reported that Gordon Brown would want “to see the IMF reformed to become a ‘global central bank’ closely monitoring the international economy and financial system.”[88] In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Gordon Brown wrote that the “new Bretton Woods” should build upon the concept of  “global governance.”[89] There were also calls for a “global economic policeman,” perhaps in the form of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).[90] In November of 2008, it was reported that Baron David de 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.”[91]

Out of the ashes of the financial crisis, a new world order will emerge in constructing a global government.

Notes

[1]        Membership, Peter Sutherland. The Trilateral Commission: October 2007: http://www.trilateral.org/membship/bios/ps.htm

[2]        Daily Mail, EU Constitution – the main points. The Daily Mail: June 19, 2004: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-307249/EU-Constitution–main-points.html

[3]        Time, 10 Questions For Vaclav Klaus. Time Magazine: March 13, 2005: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1037613,00.html

[4]        Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing: The EU Treaty is the same as the Constitution. The Independent: October 30, 2007: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/valeacutery-giscard-destaing-the-eu-treaty-is-the-same-as-the-constitution-398286.html

[5]        Bruno Waterfield, Lisbon Treaty resurrects the defeated EU Constitution. The Telegraph: June 13, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/2123045/EU-Treaty-Lisbon-Treaty-resurrected-defeated-EU-Constitution.html

[6]        Mel Hurtig, The Vanishing Country: Is It Too Late to Save Canada? (McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 2002), page 365

[7]        CFR, Brian Mulroney. About US, Leadership and Staff: International Advisory Board: http://www.cfr.org/bios/9841/brian_mulroney.html

[8]        Robert O’Brien and Marc Williams, Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics, 2nd ed. (Palgrave Macmillan: 2007), page 226

[9]        David Rockefeller, What Private Enterprise Means to Latin America. Foreign Affairs: Vol. 44, No. 3 (April, 1966): page 411

[10]      David Rockefeller, Memoirs. New York: Random House: 2002: Pages 436-437

[11]      David Rockefeller, A hemisphere in the balance. The Wall Street Journal: October 1, 1993

[12]      Alexander Dawson, First World Dreams: Mexico Since 1989. Fernwood Books, 2006: Pages 8-9

[13]      Alexander Dawson, First World Dreams: Mexico Since 1989. Fernwood Books, 2006: Page 29

[14]      Alexander Dawson, First World Dreams: Mexico Since 1989. Fernwood Books, 2006: Page 120

[15]      Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents. W.W. Norton & Co.: 2003: page 121

[16]      Robert Pastor, A North American Community: A Modest Proposal to the Trilateral Commission. The Trilateral Commission: Toronto, Ontario: November 1-2, 2002: www.american.edu/internationalaffairs/cnas/PastorTrilateral.pdf : page 4

[17]      Robert Pastor, A North American Community: A Modest Proposal to the Trilateral Commission. The Trilateral Commission: Toronto, Ontario: November 1-2, 2002: www.american.edu/internationalaffairs/cnas/PastorTrilateral.pdf : page 6

[18]      News and Information, Paul Martin Urged to Take the Lead in Forging a New Vision for North American Cooperation. CCCE: November 5, 2003: http://www.ceocouncil.ca/en/view/?document_id=38&type_id=1

[19]      CCCE, North American Security and Prosperity. http://www.ceocouncil.ca/en/north/north.php

[20]      News and Information, Trinational Call for a North American Economic and Security Community by 2010. CCCE: March 14, 2005: http://www.ceocouncil.ca/en/view/?document_id=395

[21]      Office of the Press Secretary, Joint Statement by President Bush, President Fox, and Prime Minister Martin. The White House: March 23, 2005: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/03/20050323-2.html

[22]      CFR, Building a North American Community. Independent Task Force on the Future of North America: May 2005: http://www.cfr.org/publication/8102/building_a_north_american_community.html

[23]      Issues Center, North American Competitiveness Council (NACC). US Chamber of Commerce: http://www.uschamber.com/issues/index/international/nacc.htm

[24]      CoA, Board of Directors. The Council of the Americas: http://coa.counciloftheamericas.org/page.php?k=bod

[25]      Herbert Grubel, Fix the Loonie. The Financial Post: January 18, 2008:

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=245165

Herbert Grubel, The Case for the Amero. The Fraser Institute: September 1, 1999:

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.Web/publication_details.aspx?pubID=2512

Thomas Courchene and Richard Harris, From Fixing to Monetary Union: Options for  North American Currency Integration. C.D. Howe Institute, June 1999:

http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=research-fiscal&year=1999

Consider a Continental Currency, Jarislowsky Says. The Globe and Mail: November  23, 2007:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071123.RDOLLAR23/TPStory/?query=%22Steven%2BChase%22b

[26]      Barrie McKenna, Dodge Says Single Currency ‘Possible’. The Globe and Mail: May 21, 2007

[27]      Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Real New World Order. Foreign Affairs: September/October, 1997: pages 183-184

[28]      Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Real New World Order. Foreign Affairs: September/October, 1997: pages 184-185

[29]      Mark Carney, Remarks by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada to the International Economic Forum of the Americas / Conference of Montreal. The Bank of Canada: June 11, 2009: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/speeches/2009/sp110609.html

[30]      Robert Jackson and Georg Sørensen, Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches, Third Edition, OUP 2006: page 162

[31]      William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris, Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class. Science & Society, Vol. 64, No. 1, Spring 2000: pages 11-12

[32]      William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris, Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class. Science & Society, Vol. 64, No. 1, Spring 2000: page 12

[33]      Robert Jackson and Georg Sørensen, Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches, Third Edition, OUP 2006: page 258

[34]      William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris, Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class. Science & Society, Vol. 64, No. 1, Spring 2000: page 27

[35]      William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris, Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class. Science & Society, Vol. 64, No. 1, Spring 2000: page 28

[36]      William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris, Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class. Science & Society, Vol. 64, No. 1, Spring 2000: page 29

[37]      William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris, Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class. Science & Society, Vol. 64, No. 1, Spring 2000: page 30

[38]      Glen McGregor, Secretive power brokers meeting coming to Ottawa? Ottawa Citizen: May 24, 2006: http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=ff614eb8-02cc-41a3-a42d-30642def1421&k=62840

[39]      Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The G20 moves the world a step closer to a global currency. The Telegraph: April 3, 2009: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/5096524/The-G20-moves-the-world-a-step-closer-to-a-global-currency.html

[40]      Get ready for the phoenix. The Economist: Vol. 306: January 9, 1988: pages 9-10

[41]      ECB, The euro and the dollar – new imperatives for policy co-ordination. Speeches and Interviews: September 18, 2000: http://www.ecb.int/press/key/date/2000/html/sp000918.en.html

[42]      Jeffrey E. Garten, Needed: A Fed for the World. The New York Times: September 23, 1998: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/23/opinion/needed-a-fed-for-the-world.html

[43]      Jeffrey Garten, Global authority can fill financial vacuum. The Financial Times: September 25, 2008: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7caf543e-8b13-11dd-b634-0000779fd18c.html?nclick_check=1

[44]      Jeffrey Garten, We Need a Bank Of the World. Newsweek: October 25, 2008: http://www.newsweek.com/id/165772

[45]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, North-American Monetary Integration: Here Comes the Amero. Global Research: January 20, 2008: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7854

[46]      Commission Européenne, EU and US to sign up to transatlantic economic integration plan at Washington Summit on 30 April. UN: April 27, 2007: http://www.eu-un.europa.eu/articles/fr/article_6987_fr.htm

[47]      Andrew Coyne, The crossroads of international trade. Macleans: September 18, 2008: http://www2.macleans.ca/tag/council-of-canadians/

[48]      Benn Steil, The End of National Currency. Foreign Affairs: Vol. 86, Issue 3, May/June 2007: pages 83-96

[49]      BBC, South America nations found union. BBC News: May 23, 2008: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7417896.stm

[50]      CNews, South American nations to seek common currency. China View: May 26, 2008: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-05/27/content_8260847.htm

[51]      AME Info, GCC: Full steam ahead to monetary union. September 19, 2005: http://www.ameinfo.com/67925.html

John Irish, GCC Agrees on Monetary Union but Signals Delay in Common Currency. Reuters: June 10, 2008: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=6&section=0&article=110727&d=10&m=6&y=2008

Forbes, TIMELINE-Gulf single currency deadline delayed beyond 2010. Forbes: March 23, 2009: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2009/03/24/afx6204462.html

Agencies, ‘GCC need not rush to form single currency’. Business 24/7: March 26, 2009: http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/3/pages/25032009/03262009_4e19de908b174f04bfb3c37aec2f17b3.aspx

[52]      Barry Eichengreen, International Monetary Arrangements: Is There a Monetary Union in Asia’s Future? The Brookings Institution: Spring 1997: http://www.brookings.edu/articles/1997/spring_globaleconomics_eichengreen.aspx

atimes.com, After European now Asian Monetary Union? Asia Times Online: September 8, 2001: http://www.atimes.com/editor/CI08Ba01.html

ASEAN, China, Japan, SKorea, ASEAN Makes Moves for Asian Monetary Fund. Association of Southeast Asian Nations: May 6, 2005: http://www.aseansec.org/afp/115.htm

Reuven Glick, Does Europe’s Path to Monetary Union Provide Lessons for East Asia? Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco: August 12, 2005: http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/letter/2005/el2005-19.html

AFP, Asian Monetary Fund may be needed to deal with future shocks. Channel News Asia: July 2, 2007: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world_business/view/285700/1/.html

AFX News Limited, East Asia monetary union ‘feasible’ but political will lacking – ADB. Forbes: September 19, 2007: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2007/09/19/afx4133743.html

[53]      Lin Li, ASEAN discusses financial, monetary integration. China View: April 2, 2008: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-04/02/content_7906391.htm

[54]      Paul De Grauwe, Economics of Monetary Union. Oxford University Press, 2007: pages 109-110

Heather Milkiewicz and Paul R. Masson, Africa’s Economic Morass—Will a Common Currency Help? The Brookings Institution: July 2003: http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2003/07africa_masson.aspx

John Gahamanyi, Rwanda: African Central Bank Governors Discuss AU Financial Institutions. The New Times: August 23, 2008: http://allafrica.com/stories/200808230124.html

Eric Ombok, African Union, Nigeria Plan Accord on Central Bank. Bloomberg: March 2, 2009: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601116&sid=afoY1vOnEMLA&refer=africa

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, AFRICA IN THE QUEST FOR A COMMON CURRENCY. Republic of Kenya: March 2009: http://www.mfa.go.ke/mfacms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=346&Itemid=62

[55]      Edmund Conway, UK policy blamed for soaring debt levels. The Telegraph: February 20, 2006: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2932605/UK-policy-blamed-for-soaring-debt-levels.html

[56]      Strobe Talbott, America Abroad. Time Magazine: July 20, 1992: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,976015,00.html

[57]      Richard N. Gardner, The Hard Road to World Order. Foreign Affairs: April, 1974: page 556

[58]      Richard N. Gardner, The Hard Road to World Order. Foreign Affairs: April, 1974: page 557

[59]      Richard N. Gardner, The Hard Road to World Order. Foreign Affairs: April, 1974: page 558

[60]      Richard Falk and Andrew Strauss, Toward Global Parliament. Foreign Affairs: January/February, 2001: page 213

[61]      Philip Thornton, UN unveils plan to release untapped wealth of…$7 trillion (and solve the world’s problems at a stroke). The Independent: January 30, 2006: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/un-unveils-plan-to-release-untapped-wealth-of7-trillion-and-solve-the-worlds-problems-at-a-stroke-525173.html

[62]      Richard Falk and Andrew Strauss, Toward Global Parliament. Foreign Affairs: January/February, 2001: page 215

[63]      Richard Falk and Andrew Strauss, Toward Global Parliament. Foreign Affairs: January/February, 2001: page 218

[64]      David Rothkopf, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making. (Toronto: Penguin Books, 2008), pages 315-316

[65]      EuroNews, European Elections. Jacques Attali: the euronews interview: April 6, 2009: http://www.euronews.net/2009/06/04/jacques-attali-the-euronews-interview/

[66]      Gideon Rachman, And now for a world government. The Financial Times: December 8, 2008: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7a03e5b6-c541-11dd-b516-000077b07658.html

[67]      NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: Acknowledgements: http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[68]      NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 11-12:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[69]      NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 94:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[70]      NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 81:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[71]      NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 83:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[72]      NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 87:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[73]      David Rockefeller, Memoirs. Random House, New York, 2002: page 405

[74]      Walden Bello, The Capitalist Conjuncture: Over-accumulation, Financial Crises, and the retreat from globalization. Third World Quarterly: Vol. 27, No. 8: 2006: pages 1346-1348

[75]      Walden Bello, The Capitalist Conjuncture: Over-accumulation, Financial Crises, and the retreat from globalization. Third World Quarterly: Vol. 27, No. 8: 2006: pages 1348-1349

[76]      Walden Bello, The Capitalist Conjuncture: Over-accumulation, Financial Crises, and the retreat from globalization. Third World Quarterly: Vol. 27, No. 8: 2006: page 1350

[77]      PBS, The Long Demise of Glass-Steagall. Frontline: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/wallstreet/weill/demise.html

[78]      Robert Buzzanco, Bring Back Glass-Steagall? History News Network: October 21, 2008: http://hnn.us/articles/55548.html

[79]      PETER S. GOODMAN, Taking Hard New Look at a Greenspan Legacy. The New York Times: October 8, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/09/business/economy/09greenspan.html?_r=1

[80]      Walden Bello, The Capitalist Conjuncture: Over-accumulation, Financial Crises, and the retreat from globalization. Third World Quarterly: Vol. 27, No. 8: 2006: page 1350

[81]      Bill Virgin, et. al, The Insider: Dot-com boom just another of ‘Greenspan’s Bubbles’. Seattle PI: February 10, 2008: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/350766_theinsider11.html?source=rss

[82]      Richard C. Cook, They Did It On Purpose: The Housing Bubble & Its Crash were Engineered by the US Government, the Fed & Wall Street. Global Research: October 23, 2008: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10654

[83]      Walden Bello, The Capitalist Conjuncture: Over-accumulation, Financial Crises, and the retreat from globalization. Third World Quarterly: Vol. 27, No. 8: 2006: pages 1351-1352

[84]      Walden Bello, The Capitalist Conjuncture: Over-accumulation, Financial Crises, and the retreat from globalization. Third World Quarterly: Vol. 27, No. 8: 2006: page 1352

[85]      Louis T. McFadden, Congressional Record. June 10, 1932: pages 12595-12596 http://www.scribd.com/doc/16502353/Congressional-Record-June-10-1932-Louis-T-McFadden

[86]      Larry Elliott, Brown calls for overhaul of UN, World Bank and IMF. The Guardian: January 17, 2007: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/jan/17/globalisation.internationalaidanddevelopment

[87]      Andrea Ricci, Banks face “new world order,” consolidation: report. Reuters: March 17, 2008: http://www.reuters.com/article/innovationNews/idUSN1743541720080317

[88]      Robert Winnett, Financial Crisis: Gordon Brown calls for ‘new Bretton Woods’. The Telegraph: October 13, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/3189517/Financial-Crisis-Gordon-Brown-calls-for-new-Bretton-Woods.html

[89]      Gordon Brown, Out of the Ashes. The Washington Post: October 17, 2008: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/16/AR2008101603179.html

[90]      Gordon Rayner, Global financial crisis: does the world need a new banking ‘policeman’? The Telegraph: October 8, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/3155563/Global-financial-crisis-does-the-world-need-a-new-banking-policeman.html

[91]      Rupert Wright, The first barons of banking. The National: November 6, 2008: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20081106/BUSINESS/167536298/1005

The Bilderberg Plan for 2009: Remaking the Global Political Economy

The Bilderberg Plan for 2009: Remaking the Global Political Economy
Global Research, May 26, 2009

From May 14-17, the global elite met in secret in Greece for the yearly Bilderberg conference, amid scattered and limited global media attention. Roughly 130 of the world’s most powerful individuals came together to discuss the pressing issues of today, and to chart a course for the next year. The main topic of discussion at this years meeting was the global financial crisis, which is no surprise, considering the list of conference attendees includes many of the primary architects of the crisis, as well as those poised to “solve” it.

The Agenda: The Restructuring of the Global Political Economy

Before the meeting began, Bilderberg investigative journalist Daniel Estulin reported on the main item of the agenda, which was leaked to him by his sources inside. Though such reports cannot be verified, his sources, along with those of veteran Bilderberg tracker, Jim Tucker, have proven to be shockingly accurate in the past. Apparently, the main topic of discussion at this year’s meeting was to address the economic crisis, in terms of undertaking, “Either a prolonged, agonizing depression that dooms the world to decades of stagnation, decline and poverty … or an intense-but-shorter depression that paves the way for a new sustainable economic world order, with less sovereignty but more efficiency.” Other items on the agenda included a plan to “continue to deceive millions of savers and investors who believe the hype about the supposed up-turn in the economy. They are about to be set up for massive losses and searing financial pain in the months ahead,” and “There will be a final push for the enactment of Lisbon Treaty, pending on Irish voting YES on the treaty in Sept or October,”[1] which would give the European Union massive powers over its member nations, essentially making it a supranational regional government, with each country relegated to more of a provincial status.

Shortly after the meetings began, Bilderberg tracker Jim Tucker reported that his inside sources revealed that the group has on its agenda, “the plan for a global department of health, a global treasury and a shortened depression rather than a longer economic downturn.” Tucker reported that Swedish Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, “Made a speech advocating turning the World Health Organization into a world department of health, advocating turning the IMF into a world department of treasury, both of course under the auspices of the United Nations.” Further, Tucker reported that, “Treasury Secretary Geithner and Carl Bildt touted a shorter recession not a 10-year recession … partly because a 10 year recession would damage Bilderberg industrialists themselves, as much as they want to have a global department of labor and a global department of treasury, they still like making money and such a long recession would cost them big bucks industrially because nobody is buying their toys…..the tilt is towards keeping it short.”[2]

After the meetings finished, Daniel Estulin reported that, “One of Bilderberg’s primary concerns according to Estulin is the danger that their zeal to reshape the world by engineering chaos in order to implement their long term agenda could cause the situation to spiral out of control and eventually lead to a scenario where Bilderberg and the global elite in general are overwhelmed by events and end up losing their control over the planet.”[3]

On May 21, the Macedonian International News Agency reported that, “A new Kremlin report on the shadowy Bilderberg Group, who this past week held their annual meeting in Greece, states that the West’s financial, political and corporate elite emerged from their conclave after coming to an agreement that in order to continue their drive towards a New World Order dominated by the Western Powers, the US Dollar has to be ‘totally’ destroyed.” Further, this same unconfirmed Kremlin report, stated that, “most of the West’s wealthiest elite convened at an unprecedented secret meeting in New York called for and led by” David Rockefeller, “to plot the demise of the US Dollar.”[4] This report, which was not acknowledged by other media sources, requires verification.

The Secret Meeting of Billionaires

The meeting being referred to was a secret meeting where, “A dozen of the richest people in the world met for an unprecedented private gathering at the invitation of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to talk about giving away money,” held at Rockefeller University, and included notable philanthropists such as Gates, Buffett, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Eli Broad, Oprah Winfrey, David Rockefeller Sr. and Ted Turner. One attendee stated that, “It wasn’t secret,” but that, “It was meant to be a gathering among friends and colleagues. It was something folks have been discussing for a long time. Bill and Warren hoped to do this occasionally. They sent out an invite and people came.” Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer said, “Given how serious these economic times are, I don’t think it’s surprising these philanthropists came together,” and that, “They don’t typically get together and ask each other for advice.” The three hosts of the meeting were Buffet, Gates and David Rockefeller.[5] [See: Appendix 2: Bilderberg Connections to the Billionaire’s Meeting].

At the meeting, “participants steadfastly refused to reveal the content of the discussion. Some cited an agreement to keep the meeting confidential. Spokesmen for Mr. Buffett, Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Gates, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Soros and Ms. Winfrey and others dutifully declined comment, though some confirmed attendance.”[6] Reports indicate that, “They discussed how to address the global slump and expand their charitable activities in the downturn.”[7]

The UK newspaper The Times reported that these “leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population,” and that they “discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change.” Interestingly, “The informal afternoon session was so discreet that some of the billionaires’ aides were told they were at ‘security briefings’.” Further, “The billionaires were each given 15 minutes to present their favourite cause. Over dinner they discussed how they might settle on an ‘umbrella cause’ that could harness their interests,” and what was decided upon was that, “they agreed that overpopulation was a priority.” Ultimately, “a consensus emerged that they would back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat,” and that, “They need to be independent of government agencies, which are unable to head off the disaster we all see looming.” One guest at the meeting said that, “They wanted to speak rich to rich without worrying anything they said would end up in the newspapers, painting them as an alternative world government.”[8]

The Leaked Report

Bilderberg investigative reporter Daniel Estulin reportedly received from his inside sources a 73-page Bilderberg Group meeting wrap-up for participants, which revealed that there were some serious disagreements among the participants. “The hardliners are for dramatic decline and a severe, short-term depression, but there are those who think that things have gone too far and that the fallout from the global economic cataclysm cannot be accurately calculated if Henry Kissinger’s model is chosen. Among them is Richard Holbrooke. What is unknown at this point: if Holbrooke’s point of view is, in fact, Obama’s.” The consensus view was that the recession would get worse, and that recovery would be “relatively slow and protracted,” and to look for these terms in the press over the next weeks and months.

Estulin reported, “that some leading European bankers faced with the specter of their own financial mortality are extremely concerned, calling this high wire act “unsustainable,” and saying that US budget and trade deficits could result in the demise of the dollar.” One Bilderberger said that, “the banks themselves don’t know the answer to when (the bottom will be hit).” Everyone appeared to agree, “that the level of capital needed for the American banks may be considerably higher than the US government suggested through their recent stress tests.” Further, “someone from the IMF pointed out that its own study on historical recessions suggests that the US is only a third of the way through this current one; therefore economies expecting to recover with resurgence in demand from the US will have a long wait.” One attendee stated that, “Equity losses in 2008 were worse than those of 1929,” and that, “The next phase of the economic decline will also be worse than the ’30s, mostly because the US economy carries about $20 trillion of excess debt. Until that debt is eliminated, the idea of a healthy boom is a mirage.”[9]

According to Jim Tucker, Bilderberg is working on setting up a summit in Israel from June 8-11, where “the world’s leading regulatory experts” can “address the current economic situation in one forum.” In regards to the proposals put forward by Carl Bildt to create a world treasury department and world department of health under the United Nations, the IMF is said to become the World Treasury, while the World Health Organization is to become the world department of health. Bildt also reaffirmed using “climate change” as a key challenge to pursue Bilderberg goals, referring to the economic crisis as a “once-in-a-generation crisis while global warming is a once-in-a-millennium challenge.” Bildt also advocated expanding NAFTA through the Western hemisphere to create an American Union, using the EU as a “model of integration.”

The IMF reportedly sent a report to Bilderberg advocating its rise to becoming the World Treasury Department, and “U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner enthusiastically endorsed the plan for a World Treasury Department, although he received no assurance that he would become its leader.” Geithner further said, “Our hope is that we can work with Europe on a global framework, a global infrastructure which has appropriate global oversight.”[10]

Bilderberg’s Plan in Action?

Reorganizing the Federal Reserve

Following the Bilderberg meeting, there were several interesting announcements made by key participants, specifically in regards to reorganizing the Federal Reserve. On May 21, it was reported that US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “is believed to be leaning heavily towards giving the Federal Reserve a central role in future regulation,” and “it is understood that the Fed would take on some of the work currently undertaken by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.”[11]

On Wednesday, May 20, Geithner spoke before the Senate Banking Committee, at which he stated that, “there are important indications that our financial system is starting to heal.” In regards to regulating the financial system, Geithner stated that, “we must ensure that international rules for financial regulation are consistent with the high standards we will be implementing in the United States.”[12]

Bloomberg reported that, “The Obama administration may call for stripping the Securities and Exchange Commission of some of its powers under a regulatory reorganization,” and that, “The proposal, still being drafted, is likely to give the Federal Reserve more authority to supervise financial firms deemed too big to fail. The Fed may inherit some SEC functions, with others going to other agencies.” Interestingly, “SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro’s agency has been mostly absent from negotiations within the administration on the regulatory overhaul, and she has expressed frustration about not being consulted.”

It was reported that “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was set to discuss proposals to change financial regulations last night at a dinner with National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers [who was also present at Bilderberg], former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker [also at Bilderberg], ex-SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt and Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor who heads the congressional watchdog group for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.”[13] The Federal Reserve is a privately owned central bank, owned by its shareholders, consisting of the major banks the make up each regional Fed bank (the largest of which is JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York). This plan would essentially give a privately owned bank, which has governmental authority, the ability to regulate the banks that own it. It’s the equivalent of getting a Colonel to guard a General to whom he is directly answerable. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. It is literally granting ownership over the financial regulator to the banks being regulated.

As Market Watch, an online publication of the Wall Street Journal, reported, “The Federal Reserve, created nearly 100 years ago in the aftermath of a financial panic, could be transformed into a different agency as the Obama administration reinvents the way government interacts with the financial system.” Referring to Geithner’s Senate appearance, it was reported that, “Geithner was also grilled on the cozy relationships that exist between the big banks and the regional Federal Reserve banks. Before Geithner joined the administration, he was president of the New York Fed, which is a strange public-private hybrid institution that is actually owned and run by the banks.” In response, “Geithner insisted that the private banks have no say over the policies of the New York Fed, but he acknowledged that the banks do have a say in hiring the president, who does make policy. The chairman of the New York Fed, Stephen Friedman, was forced to resign earlier this month because of perceived conflicts of interest due to his large holdings in Goldman Sachs.”[14]

The IMF as a Global Treasury

The Bilderberg agenda of creating a global treasury has already been started prior to the Bilderberg meeting, with decisions made during the G20 financial summit in April. Although the G20 seemed to frame it more in context of being formed into a global central bank, although it is likely the IMF could fill both roles.

Following the G20 meeting at the beginning of April, 2009, it was reported that, “The world is a step closer to a global currency, backed by a global central bank, running monetary policy for all humanity,” as the Communiqué released by the G20 leaders stated that, “We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity,” and that, “SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century.” Essentially, “they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body.”[15] [See Appendix 2: Creating a Central Bank of the World]

Following the Bilderberg meeting, “President Obama has asked Congress to authorize $100 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help create a $500 billion global bailout fund,” which would give the IMF the essential prerogative of a global treasury, providing bailouts for countries in need around the world. Further, “the bill would allow the IMF to borrow up to $100 billion from the U.S. and increase the U.S. fiscal contribution to the IMF by $8 billion.” Elaborating on the program, it was reported that, “World leaders began on the global bailout initiative, called the New Arrangement for Borrowing (NAB), at the G-20 summit in early April. The president agreed at that time to make the additional funds available.” Obama wrote that, “Treasury Secretary Geithner concluded that the size of the NAB is woefully inadequate to deal with the type of severe economic and financial crisis we are experiencing, and I agree with him.”[16]

With the G20 decision to increase the usage of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), forming a de facto world currency, it was recently reported that, “Sub-Saharan Africa will receive around $10 billion from the IMF in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to help its economies weather the global financial crisis,” and that, “As part of a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the world economic downturn agreed at April’s G20 summit, the IMF will issue $250 billion worth of SDRs, which can be used to boost foreign currency reserves.”[17]

Recent reports have also indicated that the IMF’s role in issuing SDRs goes hand in hand with the Bilderberg discussion on the potential collapse of the US dollar, and, “Transforming the dollar standard into an SDR-based system would be a major break with a policy that has lasted more than 60 years.” It was reported that, “There are two ways in which the dollar’s role in the international monetary system can be reduced. One possibility is a gradual, market-determined erosion of the dollar as a reserve currency in favor of the euro. But, while the euro’s international role – especially its use in financial markets – has increased since its inception, it is hard to envisage it overtaking the dollar as the dominant reserve currency in the foreseeable future.” However, “With the dollar’s hegemony unlikely to be seriously undermined by market forces, at least in the short and medium-term, the only way to bring about a major reduction in its role as a reserve currency is by international agreement.” This is where the SDRs come into play, as “One way to make the SDR the major reserve currency relatively soon would be to create and allocate a massive amount of new SDRs to the IMF’s members.”[18] This is, interestingly, exactly what is happening with Africa and the IMF now.

Former IMF Managing Director Jacques de Larosière recently stated that the current financial crisis, “given its scope, presents a unique opening to improve institutions, and there is already a danger that the chance might be missed if the different actors cannot agree to changes by the time economic growth resumes.” He is now an adviser with BNP Paribas, a corporation highly represented at Bilderberg meetings, and he was head of the Treasury of France when Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was President of France, who is a regular of the Bilderberg Group.[19]

The Guardian Covers Bilderberg

The British paper, the Guardian, was the only major mainstream news publication to provide ongoing coverage of the Bilderberg meeting over the weekend. His first columns were satirical and slightly mocking, referring to it as, “A long weekend at a luxury hotel, where the world’s elite get to shake hands, clink glasses, fine-tune their global agenda and squabble over who gets the best sun loungers. I’m guessing that Henry Kissinger brings his own, has it helicoptered in and guarded 24/7 by a CIA special ops team.”[20] However, as the weekend dragged on, his reporting took a change of tone. He reported on the Saturday that, “I know that I’m being followed. I know because I’ve just been chatting to the plainclothes policemen I caught following me,” and he was arrested twice in the first day of the meetings for attempting to take photographs as the limousines entered the hotel.[21]

He later reported that he wasn’t sure what they were discussing inside the hotel, but that he has “a sense of something rotten in the state of Greece,” and he further stated, “Three days and I’ve been turned into a suspect, a troublemaker, unwanted, ill at ease, tired and a bit afraid.” He then went on to write that, “Bilderberg is all about control. It’s about “what shall we do next?” We run lots of stuff already, how about we run some more? How about we make it easier to run stuff? More efficient. Efficiency is good. It would be so much easier with a single bank, a single currency, a single market, a single government. How about a single army? That would be pretty cool. We wouldn’t have any wars then. This prawn cocktail is GOOD. How about a single way of thinking? How about a controlled internet?,” and then, “How about not.”

He makes a very astute point, countering the often postulated argument that Bilderberg is simply a forum where people can speak freely, writing: “I am so unbelievably backteeth sick of power being flexed by the few. I’ve had it flexed in my face for three days, and it’s up my nose like a wasp. I don’t care whether the Bilderberg Group is planning to save the world or shove it in a blender and drink the juice, I don’t think politics should be done like this,” and the author, Charlie Skelton, eloquently stated, “If they were trying to cure cancer they could do it with the lights on.” He further explained that, “Bilderberg is about positions of control. I get within half a mile of it, and suddenly I’m one of the controlled. I’m followed, watched, logged, detained, detained again. I’d been put in that position by the “power” that was up the road.”[22]

On Sunday, May 17, Skelton reported that when he asked the police chief why he was being followed, the chief responded asking, “Why you here?” to which Skelton said he was there to cover the Bilderberg conference, after which the chief stated, “Well, that is the reason! That is why! We are finished!”[23] Do reporters get followed around and stalked by police officers when they cover the World Economic Forum? No. So why does it happen with Bilderberg if all it is, is a conference to discuss ideas freely?

On the Monday following the conference, Skelton wrote that, “It isn’t just me who’s been hauled into police custody for daring to hang around half a mile from the hotel gates. The few journalists who’ve made the trip to Vouliagmeni this year have all been harassed and harried and felt the business end of a Greek walkie-talkie. Many have been arrested. Bernie, from the American Free Press, and Gerhard the documentarian (sounds like a Dungeons and Dragons character) chartered a boat from a nearby marina to try to get photos from the sea. They were stopped three miles from the resort. By the Greek navy.” As Skelton said himself, “My dispatches on the 2009 conference, if they mean anything at all, represent nothing more acutely than the absence of thorough mainstream reporting.”[24]

Skelton’s final report on Bilderberg from May 19, showed how far he had gone in his several days of reporting on the meeting. From writing jokingly about the meeting, to discovering that he was followed by the Greek State Security force. Skelton mused, “So who is the paranoid one? Me, hiding in stairwells, watching the pavement behind me in shop windows, staying in the open for safety? Or Bilderberg, with its two F-16s, circling helicopters, machine guns, navy commandos and policy of repeatedly detaining and harassing a handful of journalists? Who’s the nutter? Me or Baron Mandelson? Me or Paul Volker, the head of Obama’s economic advisory board? Me or the president of Coca-Cola?”

Skelton stated that, “Publicity is pure salt to the giant slug of Bilderberg. So I suggest next year we turn up with a few more tubs. If the mainstream press refuses to give proper coverage to this massive annual event, then interested citizens will have to: a people’s media.”

Amazingly, Skelton made the pronouncement that what he learned after the Bilderberg conference, was that, “we must fight, fight, fight, now – right now, this second, with every cubic inch of our souls – to stop identity cards,” as, “It’s all about the power to ask, the obligation to show, the justification of one’s existence, the power of the asker over the subservience of the asked.” He stated that he “learned this from the random searches, detentions, angry security goon proddings and thumped police desks without number that I’ve had to suffer on account of Bilderberg: I have spent the week living in a nightmare possible future and many different terrible pasts. I have had the very tiniest glimpse into a world of spot checks and unchecked security powers. And it has left me shaken. It has left me, literally, bruised.” Pointedly, he explains that, “The identity card turns you from a free citizen into a suspect.”[25]

Who was there?

Royalty

Among the members of the Bilderberg Group are various European monarchs. At this years meeting, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was present, who happens to be the largest single shareholder in Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest corporations. She was joined by one of her three sons, Prince Constantijn, who also attended the meeting. Prince Constantijn has worked with the Dutch European Commissioner for the EU, as well as having been a strategic policy consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton in London, a major strategy and technology consulting firm with expertise in Economic and Business Analysis, Intelligence and Operations Analysis and Information Technology, among many others. Prince Constantijn has also been a policy researcher for RAND Corporation in Europe. RAND was initially founded as a global policy think tank that was formed to offer research and analysis to the US Armed Forces, however, it now works with governments, foundations, international organizations and commercial organizations.[26] Also present among European Royalty was Prince Philippe of Belgium, and Queen Sofia of Spain.

Private Bankers

As usual, the list of attendees was also replete with names representing the largest banks in the world. Among them, David Rockefeller, former CEO and Chairman of Chase Manhattan, now JP Morgan Chase, of which he was, until recently, Chairman of the International Advisory Board; and still sits as Honourary Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chairman of the Board of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, Honourary Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, which he founded alongside Zbigniew Brzezinski; also a founding member of the Bilderberg Group, prominent philanthropist and is the current patriarch of one of the world’s richest and most powerful banking dynasties.

Also present was Josef Ackermann, a Swiss banker who is CEO of Deutsche Bank, also a non-executive director of Royal Dutch Shell; Deputy Chairman of Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering corporation; he is also a member of the International Advisory Council of Zurich Financial Services Group; Chairman of the Board of the Institute International of Finance, the world’s only global association of financial institutions; and Vice Chairman of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.[27]

Roger Altman was also present at the Bilderberg meeting, an investment banker, private equity investor and former Deputy Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration. Other bankers at this years meeting include Ana Patricia Botin, Chairman of the Spanish bank, Banco Español de Crédito, formerly having worked with JP Morgan; Frederic Oudea, CEO and newly appointed Chairman of the Board of French bank Societe Generale; Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, an Italian banker and economist, formerly Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance; Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman of Investor AB; Marcus Wallenberg, CEO of Investor AB; and George David, CEO of United Technologies Corporation, who also sits on the board of Citigroup, member of the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, and is Vice Chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. [For more on the Peterson Institute, see: Appendix 1]

Canadian bankers include W. Edmund Clark, President and CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, also a member of the board of directors of the C.D. Howe Institute, a prominent Canadian think tank; Frank McKenna, Deputy Chairman of TD Bank Financial Group, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, former Premier of New Brunswick; and Indira Samarasekera, President of the University of Alberta, who is also on the board of Scotiabank, one of Canada’s largest banks.

Central Bankers

Of course, among the notable members of the Bilderberg Group, are the world’s major central bankers. Among this years members are the Governor of the National Bank of Greece, Governor of the Bank of Italy, President of the European Investment Bank, James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, and Nout Wellink, on the board of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).[28] Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank was also present.[29] There is no indication that the Governor of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke was present, which would be an odd turn of events, considering that the Federal Reserve Governor is always present at Bilderberg meetings, alongside the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William C. Dudley. I have contacted the New York Fed inquiring if Dudley visited Greece or went to any meetings in Greece between May 14-17, or if another senior representative from the New York Fed went in his stead. I have yet to get a response.

The Obama Administration at Bilderberg

The Obama administration was heavily represented at this years Bilderberg meeting. Among the attendees were Keith B. Alexander, a Lieutenant General of U.S. Army and Director of the National Security Agency, the massive spying agency of the United States; Timothy Geithner, US Treasury Secretary and former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan; General James Jones, United States National Security Advisor; Henry Kissinger, Obama’s special envoy to Russia, longtime Bilderberg member and former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor; Dennis Ross, special advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; David Patraeus, Commander of CENTCOM, (U.S. Central Command, in the Middle East), Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House’s National Economic Council, former Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration, former President of Harvard University, former Chief Economist of the World Bank; Paul Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System and Chair of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board; Robert Zoellick, former Chairman of Goldman Sachs and current President of the World Bank;[30] and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.[31]

Other Notable Names

Among many others present at the meeting are Viscount Étienne Davignon, former Vice President of the European Commission, and Honourary Chairman of the Bilderberg Group; Francisco Pinto Balsemão, former Prime Minister of Portugal; Franco Bernabè, CEO of Telecom Italia and Vice Chairman of Rothschild Europe; Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden; Kenneth Clarke, Shadow Business Secretary in the UK; Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services (MI6); Donald Graham, CEO of the Washington Post Company; Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, Secretary-General of NATO; John Kerr, member of the British House of Lords and Deputy Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell; Jessica Matthews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute; Romano Prodi, former Italian Prime Minister; J. Robert S. Prichard, CEO of Torstar Corporation and President Emeritus of the University of Toronto; Peter Sutherland, former Director General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), first Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and is currently Chairman of British Petroleum (BP) and Goldman Sachs International as well as being a board member of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, Vice Chairman of the European Roundtable of Industrialists, and longtime Bilderberg member; Peter Thiel, on the board of directors of Facebook; Jeroen van der Veer, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell; Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator of the Financial Times newspaper; and Fareed Zakaria, US journalist and board member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[32] There were also some reports that this years meeting would include Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as well as Wall Street Journal Editor Paul Gigot,[33] both of whom attended last years meeting.[34]

Conclusion

Clearly, it was the prerogative of this year’s Bilderberg meeting to exploit the global financial crisis as much as possible to reach goals they have been striving toward for many years. These include the creation of a Global Treasury Department, likely in conjunction with or embodied in the same institution as a Global Central Bank, both of which seem to be in the process of being incorporated into the IMF.

Naturally, Bilderberg meetings serve the interests of the people and organizations that are represented there. Due to the large amount of representatives from the Obama administration that were present, US policies revolving around the financial crisis are likely to have emerged from and serve the interests of the Bilderberg Group. Given the heavy representation of Obama’s foreign policy establishment at the Bilderberg meeting, it seemed surprising to not have received any more information regarding US foreign policy from this year’s meeting, perhaps having to do with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

However, the US recently decided to fire the general who oversaw the Afghan war, being replaced with “Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former Green Beret who recently commanded the military’s secretive special operations forces in Iraq.”[35] From 2003 to 2008, McChrystal “led the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces, including the Army’s Delta Force,” and who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh singled out as the head of VP Cheney’s “executive assassination wing.”[36]

So, given these recent changes, as well as the high degree of representation Obama’s foreign policy establishment held at Bildebrerg this year, there were likely to have been some decisions or at least discussion of the escalation of the Afghan war and expansion into Pakistan. However, it is not surprising that the main item on the agenda was the global financial crisis. Without a doubt, the next year will be an interesting one, and the elite are surely hoping to make it a productive one.


APPENDIX 1: Bilderberg Connections to the Billionaire’s Meeting

Peter G. Peterson, one of the guests in attendance at the secret billionaires meeting, was the former United States Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon administration, Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc., from 1977 to 1984, he co-founded the prominent private equity and investment management firm, the Blackstone Group, of which he is currently Senior Chairman, and in 1985, he became Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, taking over when David Rockefeller stepped down from that position. He founded the Peterson Institute for International Economics and was Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 2000-2004. The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a major world economic think tank, which seeks to “inform and shape public debate,” from which, “Institute studies have helped provide the intellectual foundation for many of the major international financial initiatives of the past two decades: reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), adoption of international banking standards, exchange rate systems in the G-7 and emerging-market economies, policies toward the dollar, the euro, and other important currencies, and responses to debt and currency crises (including the current crisis of 2008–09).” It has also “made important contributions to key trade policy decisions” such as the development of the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, APEC, and East Asian regionalism.[37]

It has a prominent list of names on its board of directors. Peter G. Peterson is Chairman of the board; George David, Chairman of United Technologies is Vice Chairman, as well as being a board member of Citigroup, and was a guest at this year’s Bilderberg meeting; Chen Yuan, Governor of the China Development Bank and former Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China (China’s central bank); Jessica Einhorn, Dean of Washington’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University, former Visiting Fellow of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), former Managing Director of the World Bank, and currently on the board of Time Warner and the Council on Foreign Relations; Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, former Vice President at the World Bank, former Managing Director at the IMF, former Vice Chairman of Citigroup, and has also been a regular participant in Bilderberg meetings; Carla A. Hills, former US Trade Representative, and was the prime negotiator of NAFTA, she sits on the International Advisory Boards of American International Group, the Coca-Cola Company, Gilead Sciences, J.P. Morgan Chase,  member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, and played a key part in the CFR document, “Building a North American Community,” which seeks to remodel North America following along the lines of the European Union, and she has also been a prominent Bilderberg member; David Rockefeller also sits on the Peterson Institute’s board, as well as Lynn Forester de Rothschild; Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, who is at every Bilderberg meeting; Paul A. Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System, regular participant of Bilderberg meetings, and current Chair of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Honourary Directors of the Peterson Institute include Bilderbergers Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, a prime architect of the current crisis; Frank E. Loy, former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, and is on the boards of Environmental Defense, the Pew Center for Global Climate Change, Resources for the Future, and Population Services International; George P. Shultz, former US Secretary of State in the Reagan administration, President and Director of Bechtel Group and former Secretary of the Treasury.[38]

APPENDIX 2: Creating a Central Bank of the World

Jeffrey Garten, Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, former Dean of the Yale School of Management, previously served on the White House Council on International Economic Policy under the Nixon administration and on the policy planning staffs of Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance of the Ford and Carter administrations. He also was a managing director of Lehman Brothers and the Blackstone Group, is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As early as 1998, Garten wrote an article for the New York Times in which he advocated the creation of a global central bank.[39]

Amid the current financial crisis, Garten wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he advocated for “the establishment of a Global Monetary Authority to oversee markets that have become borderless,” acting as a global central bank.[40] In late October, Garten wrote an article for Newsweek in which he said that world “leaders should begin laying the groundwork for establishing a global central bank.”[41]

Three days after the publication of Garten’s Newsweek article, it was reported that, “The International Monetary Fund may soon lack the money to bail out an ever growing list of countries crumbling across Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia, raising concerns that it will have to tap taxpayers in Western countries for a capital infusion or resort to the nuclear option of printing its own money.” Further, “The nuclear option is to print money by issuing Special Drawing Rights, in effect acting as if it were the world’s central bank.”[42]

[For a detailed look at the moves to create a global central bank, regional currencies, a global reserve currency and a world governing body, see: Andrew G. Marshall, The Financial New World Order: Towards a Global Currency and World Government: Global Research, April 6, 2009]

Endnotes

[1] CFP, Annual Elite Conclave, 58th Bilderberg Meeting to be held in Greece, May 14-17. Canadian Free Press: May 5, 2009:
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/10854

[2] Paul Joseph Watson, Bilderberg Wants Global Department Of Health, Global Treasury. Prison Planet: May 16, 2009:
http://www.infowars.com/bilderberg-wants-global-department-of-health-global-treasury/

[3] Paul Joseph Watson, Bilderberg Fears Losing Control In Chaos-Plagued World. Prison Planet: May 18, 2009:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/bilderberg-fears-losing-control-in-chaos-plagued-world.html

[4] Sorcha Faal, Bilderberg Group orders destruction of US Dollar? MINA: May 21, 2009:
http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/6807/53/

[5] Kristi Heim, What really happened at the billionaires’ private confab. The Seattle Times: May 20, 2009:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thebusinessofgiving/2009244202_what_really_happened_at_the_bi.html

[6] A. G. Sulzberger, The Rich Get … Together (Shhh, It Was a Secret). The New York Times: May 20, 2009:
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/the-rich-get-together-shhh-it-was-a-secret/

[7] Chosun, American Billionaires Gather to Discuss Slump. The Chosun Ilbo: May 22, 2009:
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/05/22/2009052200772.html

[8] John Harlow, Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation. The Sunday Times: May 24, 2009:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6350303.ece

[9] Press Release, Investigative Author, Daniel Estulin Exposes Bilderberg Group Plans. PRWeb: May 22, 2009:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/Bilderberg_Group_Meeting/Daniel_Estulin/prweb2453144.htm

[10] James P. Tucker Jr., BILDERBERG AGENDA EXPOSED. American Free Press: June 1, 2009:
http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/bilderberg_2009_179.html

[11] James Quinn, Tim Geithner to reform US financial regulation. The Telegraph: May 21, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance
/5359527/Tim-Geithner-to-reform-US-financial-regulation.html

[12] Greg Menges, U. S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner speech before the Senate Banking Committee. Examiner: May 20, 2009:
http://www.examiner.com/x-8184-Boston-Investing-Examiner~y2009m
5d20-U-S-Secretary-of-the-Treasury-Timothy-F-Geithner-speech-before-the-Senate-Banking-Committee

[13] Robert Schmidt and Jesse Westbrook, U.S. May Strip SEC of Powers in Regulatory Overhaul. Bloomberg: May 20: 2009:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a18ctNv3FDcw

[14] Rex Nutting, Fed could be completely retooled, Geithner says. Market Watch: May 20, 2009:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-could-be-completely-retooled-geithner-says

[15] Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The G20 moves the world a step closer to a global currency. The Telegraph: April 3, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/5096524/The-G20-moves-the-world-a-step-closer-to-a-global-currency.html

[16] Marie Magleby, Obama Wants U.S. to Loan $100 Billion to Global Bailout Fund. CNS News: May 20, 2009:
http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=48329

[17] Joe Bavier, Sub-Saharan Africa to receive $10 bln in SDRs-IMF. Reuters: May 25, 2009:
http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLP336909

[18] Onno Wijnholds, The Dollar’s Last Days? International Business Times: May 18, 2009:
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20090518/dollar-rsquolast-days.htm

[19] MATTHEW SALTMARSH, Former I.M.F. Chief Sees Opportunity in Crisis. The New York Times: May 22, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/23/business/global/23spot.html?ref=global

[20] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: in pursuit of the world’s most powerful cabal. The Guardian: May 13, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/13/in-search-of-bilderberg

[21] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: They’re watching and following me, I tell you. The Guardian: May 15, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/15/bilderberg-charlie-skelton-dispatch

[22] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: I’m ready to lose control, but they’re not. The Guardian: May 15, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/15/bilderberg-charlie-skelton-dispatch1

[23] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: ‘You are not allowed to take pictures of policemen!’ The Guardian: May 17, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/17/charlie-skelton-bilderberg

[24] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: Fear my pen. The Guardian: May 18, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/18/bilderberg-charlie-skelton-dispatch

[25] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: Let’s salt the slug in 2010. The Guardian: May 19, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2009/may/19/bilderberg-skelton-greece

[26] Dutch Royal House, Work and official duties. Prince Constantijn:
http://www.koninklijkhuis.nl/english/content.jsp?objectid=18215

[27] Deutsche Bank, Management Board. Our Company:
http://www.db.com/en/content/company/management_board.htm

[28] InfoWars, Bilderberg 2009 Attendee List (revised). May 18, 2009:
http://www.infowars.com/bilderberg-2009-attendee-list/

[29] Demetris Nellas, Greek nationalists protest Bilderberg Club meeting. AP: May 14, 2009:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jep_nbEq1srzJHFQ8fRGNQO3P38QD987H3200

[30] InfoWars, Bilderberg 2009 Attendee List (revised). May 18, 2009:
http://www.infowars.com/bilderberg-2009-attendee-list/

[31] MRT, Top US official arrives in Greece. Macedonian Radio and Television: May 15, 2009:
http://www.mrt.com.mk/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6112&Itemid=28

[32] InfoWars, Bilderberg 2009 Attendee List (revised). May 18, 2009:
http://www.infowars.com/bilderberg-2009-attendee-list/

[33] WND, Google joins Bilderberg cabal. World Net Daily: May 17, 2009:
http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=98469

[34] Adam Abrams, Are the people who ‘really run the world’ meeting this weekend? Haaretz: May 14, 2009:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1085589.html

[35] YOCHI J. DREAZEN and PETER SPIEGEL, U.S. Fires Afghan War Chief. The Wall Street Journal: May 12, 2009:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124206036635107351.html

[36] M.J. Stephey, Stan McChrystal: The New U.S. Commander in Afghanistan. Time Magazine: May 12, 2009:
http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1897542,00.html

[37] PIIE, About the Institute. Peterson Institute for International Economics:
http://www.petersoninstitute.org/institute/aboutiie.cfm

[38] PIIE, Board of Directors. Peterson Institute for International Economics:
http://www.petersoninstitute.org/institute/board.cfm#52

[39] Jeffrey E. Garten, Needed: A Fed for the World. The New York Times: September 23, 1998:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/23/opinion/needed-a-fed-for-the-world.html

[40] Jeffrey Garten, Global authority can fill financial vacuum. The Financial Times: September 25, 2008:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7caf543e-8b13-11dd-b634-0000779fd18c,Authorised=false.html?_i_
location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2F7caf543e-8b13-11dd-b634-000077
9fd18c.html&_i_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwilliamnotes.wordpress.com%2F2008%2F09%2F30%2Fgarten-on-a-global-monetary-authority%2F

[41] Jeffrey Garten, We Need a Bank Of the World. Newsweek: October 25, 2009: http://www.newsweek.com/id/165772

[42] Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, IMF may need to “print money” as crisis spreads. The Telegraph: October 28, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans
_pritchard/3269669/IMF-may-need-to-print-money-as-crisis-spreads.html

The Financial New World Order: Towards a Global Currency and World Government

The Financial New World Order: Towards a Global Currency and World Government
Global Research, April 6, 2009

Introduction

Following the 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. Conspiracy theorists will love it.”[1]

The article continued in stating that, “There is now a world currency in waiting. In time, SDRs are likely to evolve into a parking place for the foreign holdings of central banks, led by the People’s Bank of China.” Further, “The creation of a Financial Stability Board looks like the first step towards a global financial regulator,” or, in other words, a global central bank.

It is important to take a closer look at these “solutions” being proposed and implemented in the midst of the current global financial crisis. These are not new suggestions, as they have been in the plans of the global elite for a long time. However, in the midst of the current crisis, the elite have fast-tracked their agenda of forging a New World Order in finance. It is important to address the background to these proposed and imposed “solutions” and what effects they will have on the International Monetary System (IMS) and the global political economy as a whole.

A New Bretton-Woods

In October of 2008, Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK, said that we “must have a new Bretton Woods – building a new international financial architecture for the years ahead.” He continued in saying that, “we must now reform the international financial system around the agreed principles of transparency, integrity, responsibility, good housekeeping and co-operation across borders.” An article in the Telegraph reported that Gordon Brown would want “to see the IMF reformed to become a ‘global central bank’ closely monitoring the international economy and financial system.”[2]

On October 17, 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he said, “This week, European leaders came together to propose the guiding principles that we believe should underpin this new Bretton Woods: transparency, sound banking, responsibility, integrity and global governance. We agreed that urgent decisions implementing these principles should be made to root out the irresponsible and often undisclosed lending at the heart of our problems. To do this, we need cross-border supervision of financial institutions; shared global standards for accounting and regulation; a more responsible approach to executive remuneration that rewards hard work, effort and enterprise but not irresponsible risk-taking; and the renewal of our international institutions to make them effective early-warning systems for the world economy.[Emphasis added]”[3]

In early October 2008, it was reported that, “as the world’s central bankers gather this week in Washington DC for an IMF-World Bank conference to discuss the crisis, the big question they face is whether it is time to establish a global economic “policeman” to ensure the crash of 2008 can never be repeated.” Further, “any organisation 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 suggested that, “the answer might already be staring us in the face, in the form of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS),” however, “The problem is that it has no teeth. The IMF tends to couch its warnings about economic problems in very diplomatic language, but the BIS is more independent and much better placed to deal with this if it is given the power to do so.”[4]

Emergence of Regional Currencies

On January 1, 1999, the European Union established the Euro as its regional currency. The Euro has grown in prominence over the past several years. However, it is not to be the only regional currency in the world. There are moves and calls for other regional currencies throughout the world.

In 2007, Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, ran an article titled, The End of National Currency, in which it began by discussing the volatility of international currency markets, and that very few “real” solutions have been proposed to address successive currency crises. The author poses the question, “will restoring lost sovereignty to governments put an end to financial instability?” He answers by stating that, “This is a dangerous misdiagnosis,” and that, “The right course is not to return to a mythical past of monetary sovereignty, with governments controlling local interest and exchange rates in blissful ignorance of the rest of the world. Governments must let go of the fatal notion that nationhood requires them to make and control the money used in their territory. National currencies and global markets simply do not mix; together they make a deadly brew of currency crises and geopolitical tension and create ready pretexts for damaging protectionism. In order to globalize safely, countries should abandon monetary nationalism and abolish unwanted currencies, the source of much of today’s instability.”

The author explains that, “Monetary nationalism is simply incompatible with globalization. It has always been, even if this has only become apparent since the 1970s, when all the world’s governments rendered their currencies intrinsically worthless.” The author states that, “Since economic development outside the process of globalization is no longer possible, countries should abandon monetary nationalism. Governments should replace national currencies with the dollar or the euro or, in the case of Asia, collaborate to produce a new multinational currency over a comparably large and economically diversified area.” Essentially, according to the author, the solution lies in regional currencies.[5]

In October of 2008, “European Central Bank council member Ewald Nowotny said a “tri-polar” global currency system is developing between Asia, Europe and the U.S. and that he’s skeptical the U.S. dollar’s centrality can be revived.”[6]

The Union of South American Nations

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was established on May 23, 2008, with the headquarters to be in Ecuador, the South American Parliament to be in Bolivia, and the Bank of the South to be in Venezuela. As the BBC reported, “The leaders of 12 South American nations have formed a regional body aimed at boosting economic and political integration in the region,” and that, “The Unasur members are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.”[7]

The week following the announcement of the Union, it was reported that, “Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday that South American nations will seek a common currency as part of the region’s integration efforts following the creation of the Union of South American Nations.” He was quoted as saying, “We are proceeding so as, in the future, we have a common central bank and a common currency.”[8]

The Gulf Cooperation Council and a Regional Currency

In 2005, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional trade bloc among Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced the goal of creating a single common currency by 2010. It was reported that, “An economically united and efficient GCC is clearly a more interesting proposition for larger companies than each individual economy, especially given the impediments to trade evident within the region. This is why trade relations within the GCC have been a core focus of late.” Further, “The natural extension of this trend for increased integration is to introduce a common currency in order to further facilitate trade between the different countries.” It was announced that, “the region’s central bankers had agreed to pursue monetary union in a similar fashion to the rules used in Europe.”[9]

In June of 2008, it was reported that, “Gulf Arab central bankers agreed to create the nucleus of a joint central bank next year in a major step forward for monetary union but signaled that a new common currency would not be in circulation by an agreed 2010 target.”[10] In 2002, it was announced that the “Gulf states say they are seeking advice from the European Central Bank on their monetary union programme.” In February of 2008, Oman announced that it would not be joining the monetary union. In November of 2008, it was announced that the “Final monetary union draft says Gulf central bank will be independent from governments of member states.”[11]

In March of 2009, it was reported that, “The GCC should not rush into forming a single currency as member states need to work out the framework for a regional central bank, Saudi Arabia’s Central Bank Governor Muhammad Al Jasser.” Jasser was further quoted as saying, “It took the European Union 45 years to put together a single currency. We should not rush.” In 2008, with the global financial crisis, new problems were posed for the GCC initiative, as “Pressure mounted last year on the GCC members to drop their currency pegs as inflation accelerated above 10 per cent in five of the six countries. All of the member states except Kuwait peg their currencies to the dollar and tend to follow the US Federal Reserve when setting interest rates.”[12]

An Asian Monetary Union

In 1997, the Brookings Institution, a prominent American think tank, discussed the possibilities of an East Asian Monetary Union, stating that, “the question for the 21st century is whether analogous monetary blocs will form in East Asia (and, for that matter, in the Western Hemisphere). With the dollar, the yen, and the single European currency floating against one another, other small open economies will be tempted to link up to one of the three.” However, “the linkage will be possible only if accompanied by radical changes in institutional arrangements like those contemplated by the European Union. The spread of capital mobility and political democratization will make it prohibitively difficult to peg exchange rates unilaterally. Pegging will require international cooperation, and effective cooperation will require measures akin to monetary unification.”[13]

In 2001, Asia Times Online wrote an article discussing a speech given by economist Robert A. Mundell at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, at which he stated that, “[t]he “Asean plus three” (the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan, and Korea) ‘should look to the European Union as a model for closer integration of monetary policy, trade and eventually, currency integration’.”[14]

On May 6, 2005, the website of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced that, “China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to expand their network of bilateral currency swaps into what could become a virtual Asian Monetary Fund,” and that, “[f]inance officials of the 13 nations, who met in the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) annual conference in Istanbul, appeared determined to turn their various bilateral agreements into some sort of multilateral accord, although none of the officials would directly call it an Asian Monetary Fund.”[15]

In August of 2005, the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank published a report on the prospects of an East Asian Monetary Union, stating that East Asia satisfies the criteria for joining a monetary union, however, it states that compared to the European initiative, “The implication is that achieving any monetary arrangement, including a common currency, is much more difficult in East Asia.” It further states that, “In Europe, a monetary union was achievable primarily because it was part of the larger process of political integration,” however, “There is no apparent desire for political integration in East Asia, partly because of the great differences among those countries in terms of political systems, culture, and shared history. As a result of their own particular histories, East Asian countries remain particularly jealous of their sovereignty.”

Another major problem, as presented by the San Francisco Fed, is that, “East Asian governments appear much more suspicious of strong supranational institutions,” and thus, “in East Asia, sovereignty concerns have left governments reluctant to delegate significant authority to supranational bodies, at least so far.” It explains that as opposed to the steps taken to create a monetary union in Europe, “no broad free trade agreements have been achieved among the largest countries in the region, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China.” Another problem is that, “East Asia does not appear to have an obvious candidate for an internal anchor currency for a cooperative exchange rate arrangement. Most successful new currencies have been started on the back of an existing currency, establishing confidence in its convertibility, thus linking the old with the new.”

The report concludes that, “exchange rate stabilization and monetary integration are unlikely in the near term. Nevertheless, East Asia is integrating through trade, even without an emphasis on formal trade liberalization agreements,” and that, “there is evidence of growing financial cooperation in the region, including the development of regional arrangements for providing liquidity during crises through bilateral foreign exchange swaps, regional economic surveillance discussions, and the development of regional bond markets.” Ultimately, “East Asia might also proceed along the same path [as Europe], first with loose agreements to stabilize currencies, followed later by tighter agreements, and culminating ultimately in adoption of a common anchor—and, after that, maybe an East Asia dollar.”[16]

In 2007, it was reported that, “Asia may need to establish its own monetary fund if it is to cope with future financial shocks similar to that which rocked the region 10 years ago,” and that, “Further Asian financial integration is the best antidote for Asian future financial crises.”[17]

In September of 2007, Forbes reported that, “An East Asian monetary union anchored by Japan is feasible but the region lacks the political will to do it, the Asian Development Bank said.” Pradumna Rana, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) economist, said that, “it appears feasible to establish a currency union in East Asia — particularly among Indonesia, Japan, (South) Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand,” and that, “The economic potential for monetary integration in Asia is strong, even though the political underpinnings of such an accord are not yet in place.” Further, “the real integration at the trade levels ‘will actually reinforce the economic case for monetary union in Asia, in a similar way that real-sector integration did so in Europe,” and ultimately, “the road to an Asian monetary union could proceed on a ‘multi-track, multi-speed’ basis with a seamless Asian free trade area the goal on the trade side.”[18] In April of 2008, it was reported that, “ASEAN bank deputy governors and financial deputy ministers have met in Vietnam’s central Da Nang city, discussing issues on the financial and monetary integration and cooperation in the region.”[19]

African Monetary Union

Currently, Africa has several different monetary union initiatives, as well as some existing monetary unions within the continent. One initiative is the “monetary union project of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” which is a “regional group of 15 countries in West Africa.” Among the members are those of an already-existing monetary union in the region, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The ECOWAS consists of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Cape Verde, Liberia, Ghana, Gambia, and Nigeria.[20]

The African Union was founded in 2002, and is an intergovernmental organization consisting of 53 African states. In 2003, the Brookings Institution produced a paper on African economic integration. In it, the authors started by stating that, “Africa, like other regions of the world, is fixing its sights on creating a common currency. Already, there are projects for regional monetary unions, and the bidding process for an eventual African central bank is about to begin.” It states that, “A common currency was also an objective of the Organization for African Unity and the African Economic Community, the predecessors of the AU,” and further, that, “The 1991 Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community outlines six stages for achieving a single monetary zone for Africa that were set to be completed by approximately 2028. In the early stages, regional cooperation and integration within Africa would be strengthened, and this could involve regional monetary unions. The final stage involves the establishment of the African Central Bank (ACB) and creation of a single African currency and an African Economic and Monetary Union.”

The paper further states that the African Central Bank (ACB) “would not be created until around 2020, [but] the bidding process for its location is likely to begin soon,” however, “there are plans for creating various regional monetary unions, which would presumably form building blocks for the single African central bank and currency.”[21]

In August of 2008, “Governors of African Central Banks convened in Kigali Serena Hotel to discuss issues concerning the creation of three African Union (AU) financial institutions,” following “the AU resolution to form the African Monetary Fund (AMF), African Central Bank (ACB) and the African Investment Bank (AIB).” The central bank governors “agreed that when established, the ACB would solely issue and manage Africa’s single currency and monetary authority of the continent’s economy.”[22]

On March 2, 2009, it was reported that, “The African Union will sign a memorandum of understanding this month with Nigeria on the establishment of a continental central bank,” and that, “The institution will be based in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs Maxwell Mkwezalamba told reporters.” Further, “As an intermediate step to the creation of the bank, the pan- African body will establish an African Monetary Institute within the next three years, he said at a meeting of African economists in the city,” and he was quoted as saying, “We have agreed to work with the Association of African Central Bank Governors to set up a joint technical committee to look into the preparation of a joint strategy.”[23]

The website for the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that, “The African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs Dr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba has expressed optimism for the adoption of a common currency for Africa,” and that the main theme discussed at the AU Commission meeting in Kenya was, “Towards the Creation of a Single African Currency: Review of the Creation of a Single African Currency: Which optimal Approach to be adopted to accelerate the creation of the unique continental currency.”[24]

A North American Monetary Union and the Amero

In January of 2008, I wrote an article documenting the moves toward the creation of a North American currency, likely under the name Amero. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, North-American Monetary Integration: Here Comes the Amero. Global Research: January 20, 2008] I will briefly outline the information presented in that article here.

In 1999, the Fraser Institute, a prominent and highly influential Canadian think tank, published a report written by Economics professor and former MP, Herbert Grubel, called, The Case for the Amero: The Economics and Politics of a North American Monetary Union. He wrote that, “The plan for a North American Monetary Union presented in this study is designed to include Canada, the United States, and Mexcio,” and a “North American Central Bank, like the European Central Bank, will have a constitution making it responsible only for the maintenance of price stability and not for full employment.”[25] He opined that, “sovereignty is not infinitely valuable. The merit of giving up some aspects of sovereignty should be determined by the gains brought by such a sacrifice,” and that, “It is important to note that in practice Canada has given up its economic sovereignty in many areas, the most important of which involve the World Trade Organization (formerly the GATT), the North American Free Trade Agreement,” as well as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.[26]

Also in 1999, the C.D. Howe Institute, another of Canada’s most prominent think tanks, produced a report titled, From Fixing to Monetary Union: Options for North American Currency Integration. In this document, it was written that, “The easiest way to broach the notion of a NAMU [North American Monetary Union] is to view it as the North American equivalent of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and, by extension, the euro.”[27] It further stated that the fact that “a NAMU would mean the end of sovereignty in Canadian monetary policy is clear. Most obviously, it would mean abandoning a made-in-Canada inflation rate for a US or NAMU inflation rate.”[28]

In May of 2007, Canada’s then Governor of the Central Bank of Canada, David Dodge, said that, “North America could one day embrace a euro-style single currency,” and that, “Some proponents have dubbed the single North American currency the ‘amero’.” Answering questions following his speech, Dodge said that, “a single currency was ‘possible’.”[29]

In November of 2007, one of Canada’s richest billionaires, Stephen Jarislowsky, also a member of the board of the C.D. Howe Institute, told a Canadian Parliamentary committee that, “Canada should replace its dollar with a North American currency, or peg it to the U.S. greenback, to avoid the exchange rate shifts the loonie has experienced,” and that, “I think we have to really seriously start thinking of the model of a continental currency just like Europe.”[30]

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, while appearing on Larry King Live in 2007, was asked a question regarding the possibility of a common currency for Latin America, to which he responded by saying, “Long term, very long term. What we propose together, President Bush and myself, it’s ALCA, which is a trade union for all of the Americas. And everything was running fluently until Hugo Chavez came. He decided to isolate himself. He decided to combat the idea and destroy the idea.” Larry King then asked, “It’s going to be like the euro dollar, you mean?” to which Fox responded, “Well, that would be long, long term. I think the processes to go, first step into is trading agreement. And then further on, a new vision, like we are trying to do with NAFTA.”[31]

In January of 2008, Herbert Grubel, the author who coined the term “amero” for the Fraser Institute report, wrote an article for the Financial Post, in which he recommends fixing the Canadian loonie to the US dollar at a fixed exchange rate, but that there are inherent problems with having the US Federal Reserve thus control Canadian interest rates. He then wrote that, “there is a solution to this lack of credibility. In Europe, it came through the creation of the euro and formal end of the ability of national central banks to set interest rates. The analogous creation of the amero is not possible without the unlikely co-operation of the United States. This leaves the credibility issue to be solved by the unilateral adoption of a currency board, which would ensure that international payments imbalances automatically lead to changes in Canada’s money supply and interest rates until the imbalances are ended, all without any actions by the Bank of Canada or influence by politicians. It would be desirable to create simultaneously the currency board and a New Canadian Dollar valued at par with the U.S. dollar. With longer-run competitiveness assured at US90¢ to the U.S. dollar.”[32]

In January of 2009, an online publication of the Wall Street Journal, called Market Watch, discussed the possibility of hyperinflation of the United States dollar, and then stated, regarding the possibility of an amero, “On its face, while difficult to imagine, it makes intuitive sense. The ability to combine Canadian natural resources, American ingenuity and cheap Mexican labor would allow North America to compete better on a global stage.” The author further states that, “If forward policy attempts to induce more debt rather than allowing savings and obligations to align, we must respect the potential for a system shock. We may need to let a two-tier currency gain traction if the dollar meaningfully debases from current levels,” and that, “If this dynamic plays out — and I’ve got no insight that it will — the global balance of powers would fragment into four primary regions: North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In such a scenario, ramifications would manifest through social unrest and geopolitical conflict.”[33]

A Global Currency

The Phoenix

In 1988, The Economist ran an article titled, Get Ready for the Phoenix, in which they wrote, “THIRTY years from now, Americans, Japanese, Europeans, and people in many other rich countries and some relatively poor ones will probably be paying for their shopping with the same currency. Prices will be quoted not in dollars, yen or D-marks but in, let’s say, the phoenix. The phoenix will be favoured by companies and shoppers because it will be more convenient than today’s national currencies, which by then will seem a quaint cause of much disruption to economic life in the late twentieth century.”

The article stated that, “The market crash [of 1987] taught [governments] that the pretence of policy cooperation can be worse than nothing, and that until real co-operation is feasible (ie, until governments surrender some economic sovereignty) further attempts to peg currencies will flounder.” Amazingly the article states 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. This points to a muddled sequence of emergency followed by patch-up followed by emergency, stretching out far beyond 2018-except for two things. As time passes, the damage caused by currency instability is gradually going to mount; and the very trends that will make it mount are making the utopia of monetary union feasible.”

Further, the article stated that, “The phoenix zone would impose tight constraints on national governments. There would be no such thing, for instance, as a national monetary policy. The world phoenix supply would be fixed by a new central bank, descended perhaps from the IMF. The world inflation rate-and hence, within narrow margins, each national inflation rate-would be in its charge. Each country could use taxes and public spending to offset temporary falls in demand, but it would have to borrow rather than print money to finance its budget deficit.” The author admits that, “This means a big loss of economic sovereignty, but the trends that make the phoenix so appealing are taking that sovereignty away in any case. Even in a world of more-or-less floating exchange rates, individual governments have seen their policy independence checked by an unfriendly outside world.”

The article concludes in stating that, “The phoenix would probably start as a cocktail of national currencies, just as the Special Drawing Right is today. In time, though, its value against national currencies would cease to matter, because people would choose it for its convenience and the stability of its purchasing power.” The last sentence states, “Pencil in the phoenix for around 2018, and welcome it when it comes.”[34]


Recommendations for a Global Currency

In 1998, the IMF Survey discussed a speech given by James Tobin, a prominent American economist, in which he argued that, “A single global currency might offer a viable alternative to the floating rate.” He further stated that, “there was still a great need” for “lenders of last resort.”[35]

In 1999, economist Judy Shelton addressed the US House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Financial Services. In her testimony, she stated that, “The continued expansion of free trade, the increased integration of financial markets and the advent of electronic commerce are all working to bring about the need for an international monetary standard—a global unit of account.” She further explained that, “Regional currency unions seem to be the next step in the evolution toward some kind of global monetary order. Europe has already adopted a single currency. Asia may organize into a regional currency bloc to offer protection against speculative assaults on the individual currencies of weaker nations. Numerous countries in Latin America are considering various monetary arrangements to insulate them from financial contagion and avoid the economic consequences of devaluation. An important question is whether this process of monetary evolution will be intelligently directed or whether it will simply be driven by events. In my opinion, political leadership can play a decisive role in helping to build a more orderly, rational monetary system than the current free-for-all approach to exchange rate relations.”

She further stated that, “As we have seen in Europe, the sequence of development is (1) you build a common market, and (2) you establish a common currency. Indeed, until you have a common currency, you don’t truly have an efficient common market.” She concludes by stating, “Ideally, every nation should stand willing to convert its currency at a fixed rate into a universal reserve asset. That would automatically create a global monetary union based on a common unit of account. The alternative path to a stable monetary order is to forge a common currency anchored to an asset of intrinsic value. While the current momentum for dollarization should be encouraged, especially for Mexico and Canada, in the end the stability of the global monetary order should not rest on any single nation.”[36]

Paul Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, stated in 2000, that, “If we are to have a truly global economy, a single world currency makes sense.” In a speech delivered by a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, it was stated that Paul Volcker “might be right, and we might one day have a single world currency. Maybe European integration, in the same way as any other regional integration, could be seen as a step towards the ideal situation of a fully integrated world. If and when this world will see the light of day is impossible to say. However, what I can say is that this vision seems as impossible now to most of us as a European monetary union seemed 50 years ago, when the process of European integration started.”[37]

In 2000, the IMF held an international conference and published a brief report titled, One World, One Currency: Destination or Delusion?, in which it was stated that, “As perceptions grow that the world is gradually segmenting into a few regional currency blocs, the logical extension of such a trend also emerges as a theoretical possibility: a single world currency. If so many countries see benefits from currency integration, would a world currency not maximize these benefits?”

It outlines how, “The dollar bloc, already underpinned by the strength of the U.S. economy, has been extended further by dollarization and regional free trade pacts. The euro bloc represents an economic union that is intended to become a full political union likely to expand into Central and Eastern Europe. A yen bloc may emerge from current proposals for Asian monetary cooperation. A currency union may emerge among Mercosur members in Latin America, a geographical currency zone already exists around the South African rand, and a merger of the Australian and New Zealand dollars is a perennial topic in Oceania.”

The summary states that, “The same commercial efficiencies, economies of scale, and physical imperatives that drive regional currencies together also presumably exist on the next level—the global scale.” Further, it reported that, “The smaller and more vulnerable economies of the world—those that the international community is now trying hardest to help—would have most to gain from the certainty and stability that would accompany a single world currency.”[38] Keep in mind, this document was produced by the IMF, and so its recommendations for what it says would likely “help” the smaller and more vulnerable countries of the world, should be taken with a grain – or bucket – of salt.

Economist Robert A. Mundell has long called for a global currency. On his website, he states that the creation of a global currency is “a project that would restore a needed coherence to the international monetary system, give the International Monetary Fund a function that would help it to promote stability, and be a catalyst for international harmony.” He states that, “The benefits from a world currency would be enormous. Prices all over the world would be denominated in the same unit and would be kept equal in different parts of the world to the extent that the law of one price was allowed to work itself out. Apart from tariffs and controls, trade between countries would be as easy as it is between states of the United States.”[39]

Renewed Calls for a Global Currency

On March 16, 2009, Russia suggested that, “the G20 summit in London in April should start establishing a system of managing the process of globalization and consider the possibility of creating a supra-national reserve currency or a ‘super-reserve currency’.” Russia called for “the creation of a supra-national reserve currency that will be issued by international financial institutions,” and that, “It looks expedient to reconsider the role of the IMF in that process and also to determine the possibility and need for taking measures that would allow for the SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) to become a super-reserve currency recognized by the world community.”[40]

On March 23, 2009, it was reported that China’s central bank “proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund.” The goal would be for the world reserve currency that is “disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.” The chief China economist for HSBC stated that, “This is a clear sign that China, as the largest holder of US dollar financial assets, is concerned about the potential inflationary risk of the US Federal Reserve printing money.” The Governor of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, “suggested expanding the role of special drawing rights, which were introduced by the IMF in 1969 to support the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate regime but became less relevant once that collapsed in the 1970s.” Currently, “the value of SDRs is based on a basket of four currencies – the US dollar, yen, euro and sterling – and they are used largely as a unit of account by the IMF and some other international organizations.”

However, “China’s proposal would expand the basket of currencies forming the basis of SDR valuation to all major economies and set up a settlement system between SDRs and other currencies so they could be used in international trade and financial transactions. Countries would entrust a portion of their SDR reserves to the IMF to manage collectively on their behalf and SDRs would gradually replace existing reserve currencies.”[41]

On March 25, Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary and former President of the New York Federal Reserve, spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations, when asked a question about his thoughts on the Chinese proposal for the global reserve currency, Geithner replied that, “I haven’t read the governor’s proposal.  He’s a remarkably — a very thoughtful, very careful, distinguished central banker.  Generally find him sensible on every issue.  But as I understand his proposal, it’s a proposal designed to increase the use of the IMF’s special drawing rights.  And 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 [Emphasis added].”[42]

In late March, it was reported that, “A United Nations panel of economists has proposed a new global currency reserve that would take over the US dollar-based system used for decades by international banks,” and that, “An independently administered reserve currency could operate without conflicts posed by the US dollar and keep commodity prices more stable.”[43]

A recent article in the Economic Times stated that, “The world is not yet ready for an international reserve currency, but is ready to begin the process of shifting to such a currency. Otherwise, it would remain too vulnerable to the hegemonic nation,” as in, the United States.[44] Another article in the Economic Times started by proclaiming that, “the world certainly needs an international currency.” Further, the article stated that, “With an unwillingness to accept dollars and the absence of an alternative, international payments system can go into a freeze beyond the control of monetary authorities leading the world economy into a Great Depression,” and that, “In order to avoid such a calamity, the international community should immediately revive the idea of the Substitution Account mooted in 1971, under which official holders of dollars can deposit their unwanted dollars in a special account in the IMF with the values of deposits denominated in an international currency such as the SDR of the IMF.”[45]

Amidst fears of a falling dollar as a result of the increased open discussion of a new global currency, it was reported that, “The dollar’s role as a reserve currency won’t be threatened by a nine-fold expansion in the International Monetary Fund’s unit of account, according to UBS AG, ING Groep NV and Citigroup Inc.” This was reported following the recent G20 meeting, at which, “Group of 20 leaders yesterday gave approval for the agency to raise $250 billion by issuing Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, the artificial currency that the IMF uses to settle accounts among its member nations. It also agreed to put another $500 billion into the IMF’s war chest.”[46] In other words, the large global financial institutions came to the rhetorical rescue of the dollar, so as not to precipitate a crisis in its current standing, so that they can continue with quietly forming a new global currency.

Creating a World Central Bank

In 1998, Jeffrey Garten wrote an article for the New York Times advocating a “global Fed.” Garten was former Dean of the Yale School of Management, former Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, previously served on the White House Council on International Economic Policy under the Nixon administration and on the policy planning staffs of Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance of the Ford and Carter administrations, former Managing Director at Lehman Brothers, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In his article written in 1998, he stated that, “over time the United States set up crucial central institutions — the Securities and Exchange Commission (1933), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (1934) and, most important, the Federal Reserve (1913). In so doing, America became a managed national economy. These organizations were created to make capitalism work, to prevent destructive business cycles and to moderate the harsh, invisible hand of Adam Smith.”

He then explained that, “This is what now must occur on a global scale. The world needs an institution that has a hand on the economic rudder when the seas become stormy. It needs a global central bank.” He explains that, “Simply trying to coordinate the world’s powerful central banks — the Fed and the new European Central Bank, for instance — wouldn’t work,” and that, “Effective collaboration among finance ministries and treasuries is also unlikely to materialize. These agencies are responsible to elected legislatures, and politics in the industrial countries is more preoccupied with internal events than with international stability.”

He then postulates that, “An independent central bank with responsibility for maintaining global financial stability is the only way out. No one else can do what is needed: inject more money into the system to spur growth, reduce the sky-high debts of emerging markets, and oversee the operations of shaky financial institutions. A global central bank could provide more money to the world economy when it is rapidly losing steam.” Further, “Such a bank would play an oversight role for banks and other financial institutions everywhere, providing some uniform standards for prudent lending in places like China and Mexico. [However, t]he regulation need not be heavy-handed.” Garten continues, “There are two ways a global central bank could be financed. It could have lines of credit from all central banks, drawing on them in bad times and repaying when the markets turn up. Alternately — and admittedly more difficult to carry out — it could be financed by a very modest tariff on all trade, collected at the point of importation, or by a tax on certain global financial transactions.”

Interestingly, Garten states that, “One thing that would not be acceptable would be for the bank to be at the mercy of short-term-oriented legislatures.” In essence, it is not to be accountable to the people of the world. So, he asks the question, “To whom would a global central bank be accountable? It would have too much power to be governed only by technocrats, although it must be led by the best of them. One possibility would be to link the new bank to an enlarged Group of Seven — perhaps a ”G-15” [or in today’s context, the G20] that would include the G-7 plus rotating members like Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Poland, India, China and South Korea.” He further states that, “There would have to be very close collaboration” between the global bank and the Fed, and that, “The global bank would not operate within the United States, and it would not be able to override the decisions of our central bank. But it could supply the missing international ingredient — emergency financing for cash-starved emerging markets. It wouldn’t affect American mortgage rates, but it could help the profitability of American multinational companies by creating a healthier global environment for their businesses.”[47]

In September of 2008, Jeffrey Garten wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he stated that, “Even if the US’s massive financial rescue operation succeeds, it should be followed by something even more far-reaching – the establishment of a Global Monetary Authority to oversee markets that have become borderless.” He emphasized the “need for a new Global Monetary Authority. It would set the tone for capital markets in a way that would not be viscerally opposed to a strong public oversight function with rules for intervention, and would return to capital formation the goal of economic growth and development rather than trading for its own sake.”

Further, the “GMA would be a reinsurer or discounter for certain obligations held by central banks. It would scrutinise the regulatory activities of national authorities with more teeth than the IMF has and oversee the implementation of a limited number of global regulations. It would monitor global risks and establish an effective early warning system with more clout to sound alarms than the BIS has.” Moreover, “The biggest global financial companies would have to register with the GMA and be subject to its monitoring, or be blacklisted. That includes commercial companies and banks, but also sovereign wealth funds, gigantic hedge funds and private equity firms.” He recommends that its board “include central bankers not just from the US, UK, the eurozone and Japan, but also China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. It would be financed by mandatory contributions from every capable country and from insurance-type premiums from global financial companies – publicly listed, government owned, and privately held alike.”[48]

In October of 2008, it was reported that Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack stated 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.”[49]

In late October of 2008, Jeffrey Garten wrote an article for Newsweek in which he stated that, “leaders should begin laying the groundwork for establishing a global central bank.” He explained that, “There was a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve played this role [as governing financial authority of the world], as the prime financial institution of the world’s most powerful economy, overseeing the one global currency. But with the growth of capital markets, the rise of currencies like the euro and the emergence of powerful players such as China, the shift of wealth to Asia and the Persian Gulf and, of course, the deep-seated problems in the American economy itself, the Fed no longer has the capability to lead single-handedly.”

He explains the criteria and operations of a world central bank, saying that, “It could be the lead regulator of big global financial institutions, such as Citigroup or Deutsche Bank, whose activities spill across borders,” as well as “act as a bankruptcy court when big global banks that operate in multiple countries need to be restructured. It could oversee not just the big commercial banks, such as Mitsubishi UFJ, but also the “alternative” financial system that has developed in recent years, consisting of hedge funds, private-equity groups and sovereign wealth funds—all of which are now substantially unregulated.” Further, it “could have influence over key exchange rates, and might lead a new monetary conference to realign the dollar and the yuan, for example, for one of its first missions would be to deal with the great financial imbalances that hang like a sword over the world economy.”

He further postulates that, “A global central bank would not eliminate the need for the Federal Reserve or other national central banks, which will still have frontline responsibility for sound regulatory policies and monetary stability in their respective countries. But it would have heavy influence over them when it comes to following policies that are compatible with global growth and financial stability. For example, it would work with key countries to better coordinate national stimulus programs when the world enters a recession, as is happening now, so that the cumulative impact of the various national efforts do not so dramatically overshoot that they plant the seeds for a crisis of global inflation. This is a big threat as government spending everywhere goes into overdrive.”[50]

In January of 2009, it was reported that, “one clear solution to avoid a repeat of the problems would be the establishment of a “global central bank” – with the IMF and World Bank being unable to prevent the financial meltdown.” Dr. William Overholt, senior research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, formerly with the Rand Institute, gave a speech in Dubai in which he said that, “To avoid another crisis, we need an ability to manage global liquidity. Theoretically that could be achieved through some kind of global central bank, or through the creation of a global currency, or through global acceptance of a set of rules with sanctions and a dispute settlement mechanism.”[51]

Guillermo Calvo, Professor of Economics, International and Public Affairs at Columbia University wrote an article for VOX in late March of 2009. Calvo is the former Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank, and is currently a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and President of the International Economic Association and the former Senior Advisor in the Research Department of the IMF.

He wrote that, “Credit availability is not ensured by stricter financial regulation. In fact, it can be counterproductive unless it is accompanied by the establishment of a lender of last resort (LOLR) that radically softens the severity of financial crisis by providing timely credit lines. With that aim in mind, the 20th century saw the creation of national or regional central banks in charge of a subset of the capital market. It has now become apparent that the realm of existing central banks is very limited and the world has no institution that fulfils the necessary global role. The IMF is moving in that direction, but it is still too small and too limited to adequately do so.”

He advocates that, “the first proposal that I would like to make is that the topic of financial regulation should be discussed together with the issue of a global lender of last resort.” Further, he proposed that, “international financial institutions must be quickly endowed with considerably more firepower to help emerging economies through the deleveraging period.”[52]

A “New World Order” in Banking

In March of 2008, following the collapse of Bear Stearns, Reuters reported on a document released by research firm CreditSights, which said that, “Financial firms face a ‘new world order’,” and that, “More industry consolidation and acquisitions may follow after JPMorgan Chase & Co.” Further, “In the event of future consolidation, potential acquirers identified by CreditSights include JPMorganChase, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.”[53]

In June of 2008, before he was Treasury Secretary in the Obama administration, Timothy Geithner, as head of the New York Federal Reserve, wrote an article for the Financial Times following his attendance at the 2008 Bilderberg conference, in which he wrote that, “Banks and investment banks whose health is crucial to the global financial system should operate under a unified regulatory framework,” and he said that, “the US Federal Reserve should play a “central role” in the new regulatory framework, working closely with supervisors in the US and around the world.”[54]

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.”[55]

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.”[56] But of course, the ones that are shaping this new banking system are the champions of the previous banking system. The solutions that will follow are simply the extensions of the current system, only sped up through the necessity posed by the current crisis.

An Emerging Global Government

A recent article in the Financial Post stated that, “The danger in the present course is that if the world moves to a “super sovereign” reserve currency engineered by experts, such as the “UN Commission of Experts” led by Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, we would give up the possibility of a spontaneous money order and financial harmony for a centrally planned order and the politicization of money. Such a regime change would endanger not only the future value of money but, more importantly, our freedom and prosperity.”[57]

Further, “An uncomfortable characteristic of the new world order may well turn out to be that global income gaps will widen because the rising powers, such as China, India and Brazil, regard those below them on the ladder as potential rivals.” The author further states that, “The new world order thus won’t necessarily be any better than the old one,” and that, “What is certain, though, is that global affairs are going to be considerably different from now on.”[58]

In April of 2009, Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, said that, “If leaders are serious about creating new global responsibilities or governance, let them start by modernising multilateralism to empower the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank Group to monitor national policies.”[59]

David Rothkopf, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, former Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, and former managing director of Kissinger and Associates, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently wrote a book titled, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making, of which he is certainly a member. When discussing the role and agenda of the global “superclass”, he states that, “In a world of global movements and threats that don’t present their passports at national borders, it is no longer possible for a nation-state acting alone to fulfill its portion of the social contract.”[60]

He writes that, “even the international organizations and alliances we have today, flawed as they are, would have seemed impossible until recently, notably the success of the European Union – a unitary democratic state the size of India. The evolution and achievements of such entities against all odds suggest not isolated instances but an overall trend in the direction of what Tennyson called “the Parliament of Man,” or ‘universal law’.” He states that he is “optimistic that progress will continue to be made,” but it will be difficult, because it “undercuts many national and local power structures and cultural concepts that have foundations deep in the bedrock of human civilization, namely the notion of sovereignty.”[61]

He further writes that, “Mechanisms of global governance are more achievable in today’s environment,” and that these mechanisms “are often creative with temporary solutions to urgent problems that cannot wait for the world to embrace a bigger and more controversial idea like real global government.”[62]

In December of 2008, the Financial Times ran an article written by Gideon Rachman, a past Bilderberg attendee, who wrote that, “for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible,” and that, “A ‘world government’ would involve much more than co-operation between nations. It would be an entity with state-like characteristics, backed by a body of laws. The European Union has already set up a continental government for 27 countries, which could be a model. The EU has a supreme court, a currency, thousands of pages of law, a large civil service and the ability to deploy military force.”

He then asks if the European model could “go global,” and states that there are three reasons for thinking that may be the case. First, he states, “it is increasingly clear that the most difficult issues facing national governments are international in nature: there is global warming, a global financial crisis and a ‘global war on terror’.” Secondly, he states that, “It could be done,” largely as a result of the transport and communications revolutions having “shrunk the world.” Thirdly, this is made possible through an awakening “change in the political atmosphere,” as “The financial crisis and climate change are pushing national governments towards global solutions, even in countries such as China and the US that are traditionally fierce guardians of national sovereignty.”

He quoted an adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy as saying, “Global governance is just a euphemism for global government,” and that the “core of the international financial crisis is that we have global financial markets and no global rule of law.” However, Rachman states that any push towards a global government “will be a painful, slow process.” He then states that a key problem in this push can be explained with an example from the EU, which “has suffered a series of humiliating defeats in referendums, when plans for “ever closer union” have been referred to the voters. In general, the 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. [Emphasis added]”[63]

In November of 2008, the United States National Intelligence Council (NIC), the US intelligence community’s “center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking,” released a report that it produced in collaboration with numerous think tanks, consulting firms, academic institutions and hundreds of other experts, among them are the Atlantic Council of the United States, the Wilson Center, RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, Texas A&M University, the Council on Foreign Relations and Chatham House in London.[64]

The report, titled, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, outlines the current global political and economic trends that the world may be going through by the year 2025. In terms of the financial crisis, it states that solving this “will require long-term efforts to establish a new international system.”[65] It suggests that as the “China-model” for development becomes increasingly attractive, there may be a “decline in democratization” for emerging economies, authoritarian regimes, and “weak democracies frustrated by years of economic underperformance.” Further, the dollar will cease to be the global reserve currency, as there would likely be a “move away from the dollar.”[66]

It states that the dollar will become “something of a first among equals in a basket of currencies by 2025. This could occur suddenly in the wake of a crisis, or gradually with global rebalancing.”[67] The report elaborates on the construction of a new international system, stating that, “By 2025, nation-states will no longer be the only – and often not the most important – actors on the world stage and the ‘international system’ will have morphed to accommodate the new reality. But the transformation will be incomplete and uneven.” Further, it would be “unlikely to see an overarching, comprehensive, unitary approach to global governance. Current trends suggest that global governance in 2025 will be a patchwork of overlapping, often ad hoc and fragmented efforts, with shifting coalitions of member nations, international organizations, social movements, NGOs, philanthropic foundations, and companies.” It also notes that, “Most of the pressing transnational problems – including climate change, regulation of globalized financial markets, migration, failing states, crime networks, etc. – are unlikely to be effectively resolved by the actions of individual nation-states. The need for effective global governance will increase faster than existing mechanisms can respond.”[68]

The report discusses the topic of regionalism, stating that, “Greater Asian integration, if it occurs, could fill the vacuum left by a weakening multilaterally based international order but could also further undermine that order. In the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, a remarkable series of pan-Asian ventures—the most significant being ASEAN + 3—began to take root.  Although few would argue that an Asian counterpart to the EU is a likely outcome even by 2025, if 1997 is taken as a starting point, Asia arguably has evolved more rapidly over the last decade than the European integration did in its first decade(s).” It further states that, “movement over the next 15 years toward an Asian basket of currencies—if not an Asian currency unit as a third reserve—is more than a theoretical possibility.”

It elaborates that, “Asian regionalism would have global implications, possibly sparking or reinforcing a trend toward three trade and financial clusters that could become quasi-blocs (North America, Europe, and East Asia).” These blocs “would have implications for the ability to achieve future global World Trade Organization agreements and regional clusters could compete in the setting of trans-regional product standards for IT, biotech, nanotech, intellectual property rights, and other ‘new economy’ products.”[69]

Of great importance to address, and reflecting similar assumptions made by Rachman in his article advocating for a world government, is the topic of democratization, saying that, “advances are likely to slow and globalization will subject many recently democratized countries to increasing social and economic pressures that could undermine liberal institutions.” This is largely because “the better economic performance of many authoritarian governments could sow doubts among some about democracy as the best form of government.  The surveys we consulted indicated that many East Asians put greater emphasis on good management, including increasing standards of livings, than democracy.” Further, “even in many well-established democracies, surveys show growing frustration with the current workings of democratic government and questioning among elites over the ability of democratic governments to take the bold actions necessary to deal rapidly and effectively with the growing number of transnational challenges.”[70]

Conclusion

Ultimately, what this implies is that the future of the global political economy is one of increasing moves toward a global system of governance, or a world government, with a world central bank and global currency; and that, concurrently, these developments are likely to materialize in the face of and as a result of a decline in democracy around the world, and thus, a rise in authoritarianism. What we are witnessing is the creation of a New World Order, composed of a totalitarian global government structure.

In fact, the very concept of a global currency and global central bank is authoritarian in its very nature, as it removes any vestiges of oversight and accountability away from the people of the world, and toward a small, increasingly interconnected group of international elites.

As Carroll Quigley explained in his monumental book, Tragedy and Hope, “[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able  to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”[71]

Indeed, the current “solutions” being proposed to the global financial crisis benefit those that caused the crisis over those that are poised to suffer the most as a result of the crisis: the disappearing middle classes, the world’s dispossessed, poor, indebted people. The proposed solutions to this crisis represent the manifestations and actualization of the ultimate generational goals of the global elite; and thus, represent the least favourable conditions for the vast majority of the world’s people.

It is imperative that the world’s people throw their weight against these “solutions” and usher in a new era of world order, one of the People’s World Order; with the solution lying in local governance and local economies, so that the people have greater roles in determining the future and structure of their own political-economy, and thus, their own society. With this alternative of localized political economies, in conjunction with an unprecedented global population and international democratization of communication through the internet, we have the means and possibility before us to forge the most diverse manifestation of cultures and societies that humanity has ever known.

The answer lies in the individual’s internalization of human power and destination, and a rejection of the externalization of power and human destiny to a global authority of which all but a select few people have access to. To internalize human power and destiny is to realize the gift of a human mind, which has the ability to engage in thought beyond the material, such as food and shelter, and venture into the realm of the conceptual. Each individual possesses – within themselves – the ability to think critically about themselves and their own life; now is the time to utilize this ability with the aim of internalizing the concepts and questions of human power and destiny: Why are we here? Where are we going? Where should we be going? How do we get there?

The supposed answers to these questions are offered to us by a tiny global elite who fear the repercussions of what would take place if the people of the world were to begin to answer these questions themselves. I do not know the answers to these questions, but I do know that the answers lie in the human mind and spirit, that which has overcome and will continue to overcome the greatest of challenges to humanity, and will, without doubt, triumph over the New World Order.

Endnotes

[1] Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The G20 moves the world a step closer to a global currency. The Telegraph: April 3, 2009: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/5096524/The-G20-moves-the-world-a-step-closer-to-a-global-currency.html

[2] Robert Winnett, Financial Crisis: Gordon Brown calls for ‘new Bretton Woods’. The Telegraph: October 13, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/3189517/Financial-Crisis-Gordon-Brown-calls-for-new-Bretton-Woods.html

[3] Gordon Brown, Out of the Ashes. The Washington Post: October 17, 2008: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/16/AR2008101603179.html

[4] Gordon Rayner, Global financial crisis: does the world need a new banking ‘policeman’? The Telegraph: October 8, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/3155563/Global-financial-crisis-does-the-world-need-a-new-banking-policeman.html

[5] Benn Steil, The End of National Currency. Foreign Affairs: Vol. 86, Issue 3, May/June 2007: pages 83-96

[6] Jonathan Tirone, ECB’s Nowotny Sees Global `Tri-Polar’ Currency System Evolving. Bloomberg: October 19, 2008: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=apjqJKKQvfDc&refer=home

[7] BBC, South America nations found union. BBC News: May 23, 2008: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7417896.stm

[8] CNews, South American nations to seek common currency. China View: May 26, 2008: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-05/27/content_8260847.htm

[9] AME Info, GCC: Full steam ahead to monetary union. September 19, 2005: http://www.ameinfo.com/67925.html

[10] John Irish, GCC Agrees on Monetary Union but Signals Delay in Common Currency. Reuters: June 10, 2008: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=6&section=0&article=110727&d=10&m=6&y=2008

[11] Forbes, TIMELINE-Gulf single currency deadline delayed beyond 2010. Forbes: March 23, 2009: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2009/03/24/afx6204462.html

[12] Agencies, ‘GCC need not rush to form single currency’. Business 24/7: March 26, 2009: http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/3/pages/25032009/03262009_4e19de908b174f04bfb3c37aec2f17b3.aspx

[13] Barry Eichengreen, International Monetary Arrangements: Is There a Monetary Union in Asia’s Future? The Brookings Institution: Spring 1997: http://www.brookings.edu/articles/1997/spring_globaleconomics_eichengreen.aspx

[14] atimes.com, After European now Asian Monetary Union? Asia Times Online: September 8, 2001: http://www.atimes.com/editor/CI08Ba01.html

[15] ASEAN, China, Japan, SKorea, ASEAN Makes Moves for Asian Monetary Fund. Association of Southeast Asian Nations: May 6, 2005: http://www.aseansec.org/afp/115.htm

[16] Reuven Glick, Does Europe’s Path to Monetary Union Provide Lessons for East Asia? Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco: August 12, 2005: http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/letter/2005/el2005-19.html

[17] AFP, Asian Monetary Fund may be needed to deal with future shocks. Channel News Asia: July 2, 2007: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world_business/view/285700/1/.html

[18] AFX News Limited, East Asia monetary union ‘feasible’ but political will lacking – ADB. Forbes: September 19, 2007: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2007/09/19/afx4133743.html

[19] Lin Li, ASEAN discusses financial, monetary integration. China View: April 2, 2008: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-04/02/content_7906391.htm

[20] Paul De Grauwe, Economics of Monetary Union. Oxford University Press, 2007: pages 109-110

[21] Heather Milkiewicz and Paul R. Masson, Africa’s Economic Morass—Will a Common Currency Help? The Brookings Institution: July 2003: http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2003/07africa_masson.aspx

[22] John Gahamanyi, Rwanda: African Central Bank Governors Discuss AU Financial Institutions. The New Times: August 23, 2008: http://allafrica.com/stories/200808230124.html

[23] Eric Ombok, African Union, Nigeria Plan Accord on Central Bank. Bloomberg: March 2, 2009: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601116&sid=afoY1vOnEMLA&refer=africa

[24] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, AFRICA IN THE QUEST FOR A COMMON CURRENCY. Republic of Kenya: March 2009: http://www.mfa.go.ke/mfacms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=346&Itemid=62

[25] Herbert Grubel, The Case for the Amero. The Fraser Institute: September 1, 1999: Page 4: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.Web/publication_details.aspx?pubID=2512

[26] Herbert Grubel, The Case for the Amero. The Fraser Institute: September 1, 1999: Page 17: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.Web/publication_details.aspx?pubID=2512

[27] Thomas Courchene and Richard Harris, From Fixing to Monetary Union: Options for North American Currency Integration. C.D. Howe Institute, June 1999: Page 22:

http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=research-fiscal&year=1999

[28] Thomas Courchene and Richard Harris, From Fixing to Monetary Union: Options for North American Currency Integration. C.D. Howe Institute, June 1999: Page 23:

http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=research-fiscal&year=1999

[29] Barrie McKenna, Dodge Says Single Currency ‘Possible’. The Globe and Mail: May 21, 2007

[30] Consider a Continental Currency, Jarislowsky Says. The Globe and Mail: November 23: 2007:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071123.RDOLLAR23/TPStory/?query=%22Steven%2BChase%22b

[31] CNN, CNN Larry King Live. Transcripts: October 8, 2007:  http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0710/08/lkl.01.html

[32] Herbert Grubel, Fix the Loonie. The Financial Post: January 18, 2008:

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=245165

[33] Todd Harrison, How realistic is a North American currency? Market Watch: January 28, 2009: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Do-we-need-a-North/story.aspx?guid={D10536AF-F929-4AF9-AD10-250B4057A907}

[34] Get ready for the phoenix. The Economist: Vol. 306: January 9, 1988: pages 9-10

[35] IMF, IMF Survey. Volume 27, No. 9: May 11, 1998: pages 146-147:

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/pdf/051198.pdf

[36] Judy Shelton, Hearing on Exchange Rate Stability in International Finance. Testimony of Judy Shelton Before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Financial Services: May 21, 1999: http://financialservices.house.gov/banking/52199she.htm

[37] ECB, The euro and the dollar – new imperatives for policy co-ordination. Speeches and Interviews: September 18, 2000: http://www.ecb.int/press/key/date/2000/html/sp000918.en.html

[38] IMF, One World, One Currency: Destination or Delusion? Economic Forums and International Seminars: November 8, 2000: http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/ecforums/110800.htm

[39] Robert A. Mundell, World Currency. The Works of Robert A. Mundell:  http://www.robertmundell.net/Menu/Main.asp?Type=5&Cat=09&ThemeName=World%20Currency

[40] Itar-Tass, Russia proposes creation of global super-reserve currency. ITAR-TASS News Agency: March 16, 2009: http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=13682035&PageNum=0

[41] Jamil Anderlini, China calls for new reserve currency. The Financial Times: March 23, 2009: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7851925a-17a2-11de-8c9d-0000779fd2ac.html

[42] CFR, A Conversation with Timothy F. Geithner. Council on Foreign Relations Transcripts: March 25, 2009: http://www.cfr.org/publication/18925/

[43] news.com.au, UN backs new new global currency reserve. The Sunday Telegraph: March 29, 2009: http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,27753,25255091-462,00.html

[44] Ashima Goyal, Is world ready for a global currency? The Economic Times: April 3, 2009: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ET-Debate/Is-world-ready-for-a-global-currency/articleshow/4352581.cms

[45] R Agarwala, SDR should become the global currency. The Economic Times: April 3, 2009: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ET-Debate/SDR-should-become-the-global-currency/articleshow/4352573.cms

[46] Kim Kyoungwha and David Yong, Dollar’s Role Is Safe as IMF Expands Own Currency. Bloomberg: April 3, 2009: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aBbu9JB2mGkc&refer=home

[47] Jeffrey E. Garten, Needed: A Fed for the World. The New York Times: September 23, 1998: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/23/opinion/needed-a-fed-for-the-world.html

[48] Jeffrey Garten, Global authority can fill financial vacuum. The Financial Times: September 25, 2008: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7caf543e-8b13-11dd-b634-0000779fd18c.html?nclick_check=1

[49] CNBC, Morgan’s Mack: Firm Was Excessively Leveraged. CNBC: October 16, 2008: http://www.cnbc.com/id/27216678

[50] Jeffrey Garten, We Need a Bank Of the World. Newsweek: October 25, 2008: http://www.newsweek.com/id/165772

[51] Sean Davidson, ‘Global central bank could prevent future crisis’. Business 24/7: January 10, 2009: http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/1/pages/01102009_350bc822e4ee4508b724e55b0f1393df.aspx

[52] Guillermo Calvo, Lender of last resort: Put it on the agenda! VOX: March 23, 2009: http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3327

[53] Walden Siew, Banks face “new world order,” consolidation: report. Reuters: March 17, 2008: http://www.reuters.com/article/innovationNews/idUSN1743541720080317

[54] James Politi and Gillian Tett, NY Fed chief in push for global bank framework. The Financial Times: June 8, 2008: http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto060820081850443845

[55] Rupert Wright, The first barons of banking. The National: November 6, 2008: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20081106/BUSINESS/167536298/1005

[56] Michael Lafferty, New world order in banking necessary after abject failure of present model. The Times Online: February 24, 2009: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/management/article5792585.ece

[57] James A. Dorn, Dangers in G20 currency moves. The Financial Post: April 2, 2009: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/04/02/dangers-in-g20-currency-moves.aspx

[58] Richard Gwyn, Change not necessarily for the better. The Toronto Star: April 3, 2009: http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/612822

[59] FE, Growth to slow down hitting hard the poor countries. The Financial Express: April 1, 2009: http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/search_index.php?page=detail_news&news_id=62661

[60] David Rothkopf, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making. (Toronto: Penguin Books, 2008), page 315

[61] David Rothkopf, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making. (Toronto: Penguin Books, 2008), pages 315-316

[62] David Rothkopf, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making. (Toronto: Penguin Books, 2008), page 316

[63] Gideon Rachman, And now for a world government. The Financial Times: December 8, 2008: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7a03e5b6-c541-11dd-b516-000077b07658.html

[64] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: Acknowledgements: http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[65] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: page 11: http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[66] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 11-12:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[67] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 94:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[68] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 81:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[69] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 83:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[70] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 87:  http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[71] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan Company, 1966), 324