Fitts' understanding of the global financial system and
the inner workings of the Wall Street-Washington axis are unparalleled. As the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of
Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner, Catherine was one of the first to warn of an approaching housing bubble. Her
prediction that a 'strong dollar policy' would ultimately lead to a weakened federal credit is currently being
The Looting Of America
Former Assistant Secretary of Housing under George H.W. Bush Catherine Austin Fitts blows the
whistle on how the financial terrorists have deliberately imploded the US economy and transferred gargantuan
amounts of wealth offshore as a means of sacrificing the American middle class. Fitts documents how trillions of
dollars went missing from government coffers in the 90's and how she was personally targeted for exposing the
My house is full of those
yellow books that have titles like “Law for Dummies”, “NASCAR for Dummies”, and “Investment Clubs for Dummies”. I
love “Dummies” books and consider myself a life long dummy. The reason I love being “dumb” is because I love to
learn. You can learn anything if you admit you don’t know it and you don’t “get it” until you really do.
I like to start to learn a new topic with a simple basic overview. If I can’t explain
it to you on the back of an envelope, I don’t feel like I understand something. I don’t mind getting into some
detail once I can see a thing whole. I just hate to read too much if I do not understand where the writing is going
and why I am going with it. The most valuable resource we have is our time. It helps to understand why learning a
topic represents a good investment of our time.
I am writing this memo to you to give you my thoughts about:
· What is Economics? · How can you develop a basic understanding of Economics? · What you can get from learning Economics? · Where are the opportunities for young people graduating from high school today who
I hope that you will feel free to send questions back to me through Mr. Hayworth.
Learning is a continual journey, not something that ever starts or finishes.
What Is Economics?
You can’t have everything.
Where would you put it? — Steven Wright
Economics is the study of our optimization (creation, management, allocation and
destruction) of our resources. To optimize something is to make the most of it. Our spiritual and intellectual
resources are infinite. That means there is more of it than we could ever use up. Our resources in the material
world ---such as air, water and land---- are finite. Most of us believe that we have a responsibility to take care
of the land, to take care of each other, and to take care of ourselves. Economics is a body of knowledge that helps
us do that.
I love economics. I love economics because it helps me understand my world. I have
found that while listening to people is useful, paying attention to “how the money and resources” work tells me
even more about what is really happening around me and what it is people really believe, know and do. It helps me
understand whom I can trust to use my time well and whom I can’t trust. Economics helps me understand what I want
to accomplish and how to accomplish it and helps me get that done. Economics helps me understand how to create
value for those I love, including my family, my friends and my neighbors. Economics helps me solve some problems
and avoid others.
Bottom line, Economics is something that -- if you master its basics -- can be hugely
useful to you today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.
Economics: An Overview
Our task is to look at the world and see it whole. —E. F. Schumacher
If economics is the study of the optimization of our resources, we need to first ask
what are our resources?
Let’s divide up all the
resources in our material world into the following categories:
· Human: Human resources are people like you and me. This includes our time and
physical energy and health. Many times you will hear the expression, “ People are our most valuable resource….” One
of the themes I will stress again and again is the value of your time, your health and your well-being. This is
currently and always will be your single most valuable resource. Learning about Economics includes learning how to
invest your time in a way that optimizes your energy and the energy of those with whom you share your
· Animal: The world is full of many living things in addition to humans. We are only
one of many species. Animals include the cows that give us their milk, the birds whose singing fills our days and
the snakes we could live without!
· Natural Resources: Our planet, Earth, has thousands of acres of land, forests,
lakes and ocean and an atmosphere full of oxygen that supports our life. We cultivate and extract from the land and
living energy around us to grow our food and make products that comprise many of our physical assets.
· Knowledge: We have the ability to take our knowledge, experience and intelligence
and transfer it quickly to other humans through books, software, videos, art and other knowledge tools as well as
to imbed it in our surroundings so that things like the design of our cars and buildings are “smarter” for
· Man Made Resources: We build buildings, roads, bridges, water and sewer systems,
electric and gas systems, transportation systems, communication systems and various other forms of property, plant
and equipment and “things” from cars, to lipstick to microwaves to furniture. We also create art and musical
instruments and all sorts of tools that we use for work and for play to make our world safer and more beautiful and
to make it easier for us to stay in touch and connected with each other.
· Financial: Sometimes we own things directly, like owning our own home. Sometimes
instead we accumulate our ownership through participating in a financial instrument that allows us to participate
in owning something or in the value or wealth of it indirectly. So, for example, I can take three homes and put
them in a company, and own the stock of the company instead of the homes. My stock is considered a “financial
asset”. We will talk later about money and financial assets as tools that we use to trade and store our
Resources: Suggested Study
Brainstorm: Get a map of the place in which you live. Draw a circle around the area in which you live, go to school
and spend the majority of your time. Let’s define that place as your neighborhood. Make your best guess as to an
inventory (a list of everything) of all the resources except for financial resources in your neighborhood using no
more than one piece of lined paper for each of the resource categories -- human, animal, natural resources,
knowledge and physical.
How many acres of land, how many trees, how many lakes, how many people, how many
houses, how many dogs, how many cats, how many miles of roads and so forth. Can you envision all the resources in
your day-to-day world? This is much more fun to do in teams, so see if you can get together with some of your
classmates and brainstorm your inventory together. Your local library and the Internet should help you identify and
estimate some of the resources.
Remember, there is no such thing as a right or wrong answer among us dummies, so just
do your best.
Estimated Time: Assuming each person takes the lead on building an inventory of one
of the five resources comprised of no more than one page of lined paper each, invest up to 5-10 hours per team
member in a 4-6-person study team.
B. Who Manages Our Resources?
We have not journeyed all this
way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of
sugar candy. — Winston Churchill
Some resources are owned and managed by individuals. Others of our resources are
managed by teams or groups of people in various forms of organizations who formally or informally share
responsibility for the resources they create, manage and consume. I divide resource management up among the
following “resource players”:
· Individuals: You and I
are both individual humans and we each are responsible for managing some resources, including our time and
· Families: Our family is
responsible for a larger amount of resources than we are alone and we are all expected to share in that
· Communities: Our family
and the individuals and families who live around us constitute our community. We share certain resource
responsibilities as a community. We also sometimes participate in wider communities through our work and schools as
well as through the Internet or other “communities of interest” and networks made possible by phone, mail and
· Companies and Other Private
Organizations: Many of our assets are owned and managed by
companies, whether small businesses or large corporations, or organizations that are like companies but do
not make a profit, such as “not for profits” and associations. For example, our school is a “not-for-profit”
· Governments: In America,
we believe that freedom is our divine right, and that we create and authorize a government to do certain functions
for us so that we, our families, and our communities do not have to do them. This includes management of the assets
we believe should be shared -- like water and air and national forest land -- rather than owned by individuals or
our companies, not for profits and other organizations and corporations.
Government managed assets and related services include everything from national
defense to picking up the garbage In America, we have federal, state and local governments. So, for example, I live
in the town of Hickory Valley, in Hardeman County, (my town or my municipality and my county are my local
government) in the State of Tennessee (that is my state), in the United States of America (my country). Typically,
there are three key parts to most governmental units in America --- the executive branch (which administers the
functions and responsibilities of the governmental unit on a day-to-day basis or “gets the work done”), the court
system (which decides disagreements between various individuals and organizations) and the legislature (which
represents the people in making laws and allocates funding to the other branches).
Resource Players: Suggested Study Brainstorm: OK, get your study team assembled and inventory the resource
players in your neighborhood. Get out your local phone book and go through it. What are the most common types of
companies and other organizations in your neighborhood? Make a list. What are the forms of government represented
in your area, local state and federal? Can you find them in your phone book? Can you find them on the WWW? Can you
tell from reading about them what they do? What companies or other organizations and governments do members of your
family work with a lot? Do you understand what they do?
Make a list of your questions about the resource players in your neighborhood and
bring them to class so that you can brainstorm them and learn the answers together. In addition, make a list of the
three types of companies, organizations or governments that you are most interested in learning more about, perhaps
by visiting on a field trip. Who would you most like to learn more about ---the newspaper, the courts, the local
banks, the city counsel, the library, sewage treatment plant, the electrical utility or the local sports team?
There are an endless number of opportunities, so focus on the ones that you are most curious about and who you
would most enjoy learning more about.
Estimated Time: Invest up
to 5-10 hours per team member in a 4-6-person study team and deliver your lists and questions in 5 pages or
Resource Players: Suggested Workshops and Field Trips: Once the members of the class have defined which
resource players they are most interested in knowing about, I would recommend that you have a class to describe
that type of player in more detail and then have a field trip where a representative of the player in question is
willing to give a presentation and tour on who they are and what they do.
Resources and Resource Players: Suggested Assignment for Extra Credit: Every year I speed-read the new almanac. The World
Almanac is about 1,000 pages long. I skim through the whole thing, page by page, only reading the pages that I am
interested in. What I find most interesting is what information the almanac has in it and the charts and statistics
that describe the economy. If you want to be an investor in the stock market or in business, reading the Almanac is
more useful than almost all national TV and news. (Your local paper is invaluable --- always read your local
C. Tools, Maps, and Systems We Use to Optimize Our
Resource players use lots of
different tools, maps and systems to help them create, manage, distribute, and consume or destroy resources. Let’s
review the major categories, as follows:
1. Legal and Regulatory Systems:Make a law, make a business. — New Jersey street saying
We create laws (formal rules or “statutes” enacted by a legislative majority) and
regulations (administrative rules, put forth by the executive branch, interpreting statutes for day-to-day
application) that reflect our common agreement of how our dealings with each other and our management of resources
may be controlled and conducted. Legislators make most laws, governments execute them and courts interpret them.
After spiritual and natural forces (God and the weather are far more powerful than any man-made system), the law is
the most powerful variable in determining how resources are managed.
If you want to understand how your local economy works, it pays to also read “Law for
Dummies” and to familiarize yourself with not only how the legal system is supposed to work, but also how it really
does work. Most law is written assuming that time has no value. Since time is very valuable and “money talks”, the
law can be applied in very uneven ways.
Legal Systems: Suggested
Brainstorm: If you were some of our European, Asian or African ancestors who arrived in the new world, what did you
have to invent to set up a colony or community. If instead your ancestors were already living here as Indians, how
were you already managing your resources and what were the most important differences between your system and the
ones started by the various immigrant groups? Why? If you had to invent our legal systems all over again, whose
system would you use, the Indians’ or the immigrants’? Why?
Legal Systems: Extra
Credit Reading: If you want to go deeper into this topic, read "Law for Dummies" by John Ventura
2. Money Tools and
Systems:The health of a State depends on a due quantity
and regular circulation of cash as much as the health of an animal body depends upon the due quantity and regular
circulation of the blood. — Alexander Hamilton, 1st Secretary of the Treasury
2a. Currency: If you
really want to understand Economics from the ground up, spend a day trying to get everything done without using
currency. You would have to barter things for other things because you can’t use currency. Once upon a time, people
had to trade pigs for goats, and milk for help cutting down trees etc. There was no such thing as “money.” Money
was a tool that we invented to help us transact and trade our time, our services and various products we make or
land we own much faster and more efficiently.
Currency is really a remarkable tool. By making it easy to buy and sell things, it
was one of the greatest time savers that mankind ever invented. We take currency and money so for granted that we
have lost sight of how it works. At the end of the great depression in the 1930’s, there were over 3,000 community
currency systems in operation in America. While most of them then disappeared, there is a new interest in community
currency, particularly for the prospect that it may help people save time and circulate resources back in their
Study Brainstorm: Get that study team together. Review the websites of organizations like the Schumacher Society on
creation of community currencies like the HOURS and LETS systems. Have each member learn the “411” on one of the
currency systems. Come back into a group and have each team member give a 15-minute description of the local
currency system that teaches that system to the other members of the class. Figure out what system of local
currency you would use for your neighborhood. Write a description in one page or less of what currency your group
chose and why. Make a presentation to the class. After all the presentations discuss the similarities and
differences in the team choices.
Estimated Time: No more
than 5 hours per person to produce no more than 1 page. Alternative: If not all the teams want to work on currency do a quick report on the
current barter systems used in America. Some people estimate that as much as 25% of all worldwide economic activity
is done with bartering goods for other goods and services. Don’t spend more than five hours per person on this and
produce a report that is no more than 2 pages. Describe some of the pros and cons of these systems as compared to
the current American currency system.
Statements: After currency, my second favorite money tool is accounting. Accounting is something I struggled with
mightily in business school. I found it hard to learn, but simply marvelous to know about. Accounting is a system
to track, value and protect the assets owned and managed by any of the resource players. Most accounting has been
developed to track and illuminate assets that can be legally owned (most of our assets -- such as the oceans -- are
shared and not owned by individuals in the traditional sense).
A “snapshot” of a group of accounts for a person, company or government agency at any
particular time is called a “balance sheet”. Income and loss statements and statements of sources and uses of funds
are two other types of financial statements, only these latter statements illustrate uses of resources over periods
of time. Some people produce personal financial statements when they borrow money to buy a house or a car, or when
they report to the tax authorities.
Financial statements for companies and government agencies traditionally include a
balance sheet (an inventory of assets and liabilities and retained equity or savings), an income statement
(revenues, expenses and profits) and a sources and uses of funds statement that shows where all the cash came from
and where it went during the period.
Generally speaking, equity (i.e., ownership) interests in for-profit corporations are
valued in the stock market according to the company’s performance as demonstrated in its financial statements over
a period of time or, in some cases, based on the value of intangible assets held by the company (like patents,
product ideas, software programs, etc.).
While accounting is quite useful, we tend to fall into the trap of valuing things
that are accounted for in financial statements and ignoring the many assets that are not accounted for in this
form. So we think that our money has more value than the oceans because we have no way of watching the value of
oceans fall in the stock market as we trash and pollute them.
Accounting/Financial Statements: Suggested Class: Invite an accountant to give a class on the 20 accounting and financial
statement terms most commonly used in every day life and in the daily news and why each student should take
accounting. I think it is up there with auto mechanics and household plumbing and electrical systems as a “must do”
in your curriculum. However, no need to wait to just learn what all those words mean. What is a balance sheet? What
are liabilities, really? Also, remember, one of the keys to a happy life is to have a wonderful accountant who
teaches you and makes you smart. If you are not going to be an accountant, you certainly want to know one that you
can trust who will keep teaching you as time goes by.
Accounting/Financial Statements: Extra Credit Reading: For those in the class ready
to jump into accounting now, get hold of a copy of "Accounting for Dummies", by John A. Tracey. 2c. Budgets: Another tool I love
is the budget. I have started several businesses and run a government agency. I have discovered that one of the
keys to success in life is learning how to put together and use time and money budgets. Budgets are a plan for what
you are going to do with your resources, while good financial reports and statements show what you really
A time budget is something that estimates the time you have available and how you
intend to invest it. A money budget estimates how much money you have available and how you intend to invest it.
You should definitely enjoy one class on what is a budget and how to put together a simple budget of your time and
Budgets: Suggested Study
Exercise: You have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Make a chart on graph paper by hand or on an Excel
spread sheet on your computer of how you invested your 24 hours in the last 7 days of your life and how you
anticipate spending your 24 hours a day in the next 7 days of your life. Now, take the number of hours that you
spent watching TV in the last 7 days. Multiply that times 52 weeks. What is that total amount of TV time in a
Now, let’s look at what I call “reengineering opportunities.” Those are the
opportunities to change from the “status quo” so that you can get more benefit for the time or money you are
investing. The concept is that you should always be on the lookout to get more for yourself with less expenditure
of effort. That is what makes budgets useful tools – they help us get smarter and that helps us get more for
less. OK, make a list of what other things you could do if you invested that time you spent
watching TV in learning something that you wanted to know how to do, whether it is play an electric guitar, auto
mechanics, gourmet cooking, etc. OK, now calculate how much you could earn if you had a job and worked for those
hours? OK, now make a list of the things you could buy with that much money.
Now, look again at your budget and see if there are additional reengineering
opportunities that you have, not from changing how you spend your time, but by teaming up with other people to help
you share certain things that will help you be more productive as a group and individually. For example, I always
work and learn faster in teams when I can split up the research and brainstorming with other people who have
different skills and abilities than I have. I find that teaming up helps improve my time budget a lot.
Budgets: Suggested Class:Spend a class reviewing the annual budget of your town and
your county. What are the major tasks that your town and county do and what are the revenues and expenses in your
area for those tasks and how much is spent per person by your town and county on you and your family? Work out the
calculations together in class. If possible, invite someone in the budget operation for your town and county to
come explain it all to you. If you are interested, do a second class on your state’s budget with two teams
presenting the pros and cons of your state increasing taxes this year to fund its deficit. See if you and your
classmates can come up with a plan for your state representative. Get on the Internet and find out who your state
representative is, what his or her position is on how to balance the state budget and whether tax increases are
needed. See if he can come listen to your presentation.
2d. Markets: A market is a
system through a place or a process by which buyers and sellers interact to exchange goods and services. For
example, the farmers’ market is a market in a place where farmer come to sell their crops and products to people
who wish to buy them. You will often hear references in the news to the “Jackson market” or the “Tennessee market”
or the “US market.” These refer to all the buying and selling of goods and services in our town, our state and our
country. You will often hear people refer to markets that are not placed based, like the “internet market” or “the
agricultural market” that refers to certain specific ways of buying and selling ---such as doing in on line---or to
certain types of products and services.
Markets: Suggested Study
Games: The best way to understand markets and entire economies is to invent one yourself. Some software games are
great to help you understand how to do this. I used to love to play SimCity and Railroad Tycoon. Check on what
games are available that help you simulate how to invent a local area and market. When I was in high school, we set
the whole gym up with different countries and then had the various countries trade with each other. I started out
as the poorest island nation and ended up as the richest nation. It was the best day I ever had in high school.
That was when my teachers realized that despite my dismal grades, I should go to Wall Street. I did and I loved it.
If you can find and decide on a great game that the whole class could play that would teach you how to invent a
market and “make markets” by buying and selling different goods and services, I would spend two to four weeks
playing it. There is no better way to understand what a market is then to invent one with your friends and
Markets: Suggested Class:
Spend some time in class on how trade works, and what is import-export and how to think of the balance of trade in
your community, county or country. Find some useful examples of how the trade routes developed through history and
how it has effected the development of our civilization. Talk about new technology and how that may impact markets
and where we live and what we do.
Assets/Mortgages, Stocks and Bonds: The human race has created a lot of different types of legal entities in which
to own, trade, borrow on, and manage resources. These include indirect ownership or interest in resources and hard
assets like cars, land, and buildings. . Financial assets can be the interests or participations in the ownership
of the resources or hard assets. Financial assets can also be interests in pools of assets that are owned by companies
and associations and governments. For example, rather than owning many buildings, we can have a company own and
manage the buildings and issue stock to represent the ownership in the company. That way many people can
participate in the ownership of the buildings. If the company borrows, it does not sell a portion of its ownership,
it simply gets money that it promises to give back. This type of borrowing is called a loan, or an I.O.U (I owe
you!) or a bond, or a mortgage if it pays for real estate or certain kinds of physical plant and equipment. Most
state and local government’s finance their operations on a pay as you go basis with taxes paid by taxpayers, but
they sometimes finance their buildings and capital expenditures with bonds, called municipal bonds. Our federal
government is not run on a financially prudent basis, and they issue Treasury bonds to borrow for current
operations because they cannot balance their budget.
Financial Assets/Mortgages, Stocks and Bonds: Suggested Class: Spend a class
discussing the two primary systems of financing assets: debt and equity. There is an old rule of thumb which says,
“neither a borrower nor a lender be.” That is because debt financing often creates different and unhealthy
incentives between people. Debt financing throws us out of alignment with each other. See if you can describe a
start up company where everyone has equity, both the employees and outside investors, and a start up company where
a few people hold all the equity and finance the company with lots of debt from the outside and the employees have
no participation in the equity. See if you can figure out the incentive systems of all the different players in the
company and how that will impact their behavior and their ability to work well together.
Financial Assets/Mortgages, Stocks and Bonds: Extra Credit Reading: For those of you
who are particularly interested in how you will manage your money and finances, including financial assets, read
“Personal Finance for Dummies” by Eric Tyson.
2f. Capital Markets: We
have markets that are dedicated to buying and selling financial assets called capital markets. This includes such
· The Stock Market · The Bond Market · The Currency Market · The Mortgage Market
Often times we discuss these markets by country or continent, so you will hear
references to the London markets or the Japanese markets or the Hong Kong markets or the US markets. Capital
markets are trading around the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Capital Markets: Suggested
Reading: Read a simple and colorful primer to get the basic words and concepts --- The Wall Street Journal Guide to
Understanding Money & Investing by Morris, Morris & Siegal. Go through all your questions in class until
you feel confident that you have the basic ideas down.
Capital Markets: Suggested
Stock Game: Divide the class up in teams. Each team can pick out a group of 3 stocks that it believes will make the
best investment by the end of the semester. Figure out a prize that the team with the biggest increase in its
portfolio value by the end of the semester can win. Then go to it!
Capital Markets: Extra
Curricular: For those of you who want to keep going, why not find and join an investment club in your area? Feel
free to do a special paper on what an investment club is and why the members of the class may want to join one to
help learn more about the capital markets and how to be successful investors. For additional reading, get "Rich
Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money -- That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!" by Kiyosaki
& Lechter and "Investing for Dummies" by Eric Tyson.
3. Resource Management Communication Tools
Many have marked the speed with
which Maud’Dib learned the necessities of Arrakis. The Bene Gesserit, of course, know the basis of this speed. For
the others, we can say that Maud’Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first
lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It is shocking to find how many people do not believe they
can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Maud’Dib knew that every experience carries its
lesson. — Princess Irulan, from Dune by Frank Herbert
3a. Project Management,
Learning and Business Plans Since most resource management requires collaboration among different people in
families, communities and organizations, as well as collaboration among different associations of these groups --
something we often hear called “networks” -- one of the tools used to create a “shared intelligence” about what a
group is going to do and how its members are going to do it is a plan.
A plan may cover how a group will do one project (project management plan) or it
could cover how to start and manage a business (business plan). A plan could cover how a person or group will learn
what it needs to know to do the business or project or to get an education (learning plan). Budgets are one of the
key components of most project management, learning and business plans.
Plans: Suggested Exercise:
Develop a learning plan for yourself through the age of 25. What do you want to learn to do, what do you want to do
and how are you going to do it? Do a time budget to go along with your learning plan. How much time will it take
you to learn the things you want to learn, from buying, driving and fixing a car to knowing how to travel to other
countries to learning how to speak another language?
Suggested Time: Spend 3 hours or less to do a two page plan and a 1 page
Plans: Suggested Class:
Review how the MIT project management responsibility system works and brainstorm how knowing that system can help
your study teams have more fun, work faster and get better results. If you like it, try using it for your study
team projects. I can provide basic materials on the MIT system if you are interested.
3b. Tools for Information
Processing and Problem Solving Skills
Different people process information and solve problems differently. There are
various tests that help us categorize how we process information and solve problems. One of the most popular is the
Myers-Briggs test, which many companies and organizations use as one of the tools that helps them assemble teams of
people to manage resources effectively and helps teams communicate and collaborate effectively. If I know that you
manage information very differently from the way I do, and how, then I have a much better chance of communicating
with you effectively and efficiently.
Tools for Information Processing and Problem Solving Skills: Suggested Class and
Exercise: After a brief review of how the Myers-Briggs classification system works, take the test (which is
available on the Internet) and see what your type is. Now discuss the differences in the way the members of the
class process information and solve problems and what knowledge of your problem solving types might mean to your
creating the ideal study teams for your work in Economics.
Tools for Information Processing and Problem Solving Skills: Extra Credit Reading:
Read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens: The Ultimate Teenage Success Guide by Sean Covey, Steve Covey’s
son, for lots of ideas on how to put your new communication tools to work in practical ways that help you
My gasoline buggy was the first
and for a long time the only automobile in Detroit. I was considered to be something of a nuisance, for it made a
racket and scared the horses . . .. I ran that machine about one thousand miles through 1895 and 1896 and then sold
it to Charlie Ainsley of Detroit for two hundred dollars. That was my first sale. I had built the car not to sell
but only to experiment with. I wanted to start another car. — Henry Ford
One way to become a resource player in organizations beyond your family is to team up
with some other people whom you trust and who have the right sets of skills and start your own company or
organization. Entrepreneurship is a whole topic of its own within the world of economics, so we don’t need to spend
a lot of time on it here. If it is one that you are interested in, get hold of some of the good movies and books
about entrepreneurs who started their own companies. For a good read, try Growing a Business, by Paul Hawken (which
is available on tape). For the best story on the entrepreneur who would “never, never, never give up” and who
rebuilt a government and saved the world (at least for the time being), read William Manchester’s second volume
biography of Winston Churchill, Alone. [Better yet, check out the Kaufman Foundation websites or other potential
sources such as 4H, Junior Achievement for information on small businesses started by teenagers.
Economics: What’s in It for Me?
If you’re not part of the
solution, you’re part of the problem. — Eldridge Cleaver
I divide the benefits of understanding Economics into two categories: mapping and
First, Economics helps me build and maintain a “map” of my world, so that I can
understand more about the guidance and purpose of my life. Economics is a form of sunshine.
Second, Economics helps me get and give energy in a way that helps me accomplish my
purpose, including building a career and companies and managing my assets in a manner that adds value to me and my
family, friends, and communities. Let me describe these in more detail.
The Story of the Island and Gulf of
The Island of California is of one of my favorite maps.
It is a map of the New World. It was drawn in 1701 by Spaniard Herman Moll. The map
shows an American continent with its western coast dominated by a long island of great mass – the Isle of
California. For many years, European explorers sailed the Pacific Ocean to the California coast, secure in the
knowledge that they could not reach the Rocky Mountains without another ocean crossing. I was told that they would
take their boats apart on the Pacific coast and carry them over the mountains so they could sale across the Gulf of
California. Expedition after expedition died in the desert trying to carry their boats to a place that did not
exist. They failed because their map was not accurate.
I was also told that a political problem arose in trying to get the map fixed,
because so many myths had grown up around the official map. Explorers claimed that they had sailed around the Isle
of California and successfully sailed across the Gulf of California to the mainland. Finally, after decades in
circulation, it took an order of the King of Spain to abolish the map.
While we do not know how much a generation of explorers paid to purchase this map, we
can only imagine the price they paid for believing it was accurate.
An accurate map is an excellent investment. A reliable map is an essential tool of
any fiduciary. (A fiduciary is a person who is responsible for managing the assets of others.) Whether managing an
armada and men on a voyage of discovery and conquest – or making sure our business and our families are safe --
performance depends on the quality of our intelligence about where we are and the options available. Success is
more often achieved from a clear understanding of what we know and – perhaps even more important – what we don’t
Understanding “How the Money Works” Helps You Map Out Your World
The first reason that I love
Economics is that , by understanding how the economics of time and money work and how various resource players
manage and transact various resources, I have come to develop a great “mapping” tool. More often than not, I find
that the mainstream media try to tell me things that are as absurd as that California is an island. Economics helps
me understand what does and does not make sense. While the news tries to sell me on the theory that people are
doing things for vague reasons and sentimental notions, economics helps me estimate how the power, money and
operations are really working, who is benefiting, who is being adversely impacted and how.
Understanding “How the Money Works” Helps You Make Economics Energizing For Your
Since economics helps you draw and continuously redraw your maps of how your world
really works, it then helps you proceed to accomplish your personal and family goals within your wider economic
community with the most efficient use of your time. For a great book that helps you think through the philosophy of
how to do this, see Robert Axelrod’s “The Evolution of Cooperation”, which can teach you about how to become a “tit
for tat” resource payer.
With a good map you can see both opportunities and risks along your pathway much more
clearly. I would encourage you to learn more about the history and nature of risk and the art and science of “risk
The History of Risk: Suggested Class: I would recommend that the teacher read
“Against the Gods: A History of Risk” by Peter Bernstein and give you a series of lectures on the history of risk.
It would be wonderful if one of the insurance companies in the area as well as one of the larger local banks could
host one or more classes at their offices on the history of risk in their industry as well as their vision of risk
management and how they handle it. Reducing and managing risk is one of the critical components to any successful
resource management and is at the core of transforming economies from primitive stages to more productive forms of
economies. Remember Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can possibly go wrong, will.” And then there is O’Brien’s Law,
“Murphy was an optimist.” Well, great economics is about facing Murphy’s and O’Brien’s truths and using them to
make sure things come out well despite the typical risks.
Besting Risk: One of my favorite all time books to help you learn how to deal with
real world risk is C.S. Lewis’ “The Screw Tape Letters”.
Economics: Opportunities and Risks for Young
Let’s make no mistake about this: The American Dream starts with the
neighborhoods…to sit on the front steps – whether it’s a veranda in a small town or a concrete stoop in a big city
– and talk to our neighbors ... — Harvey Milk
Here are five areas where I believe that there will be a lot of opportunity for young
Starting a Solari: Moving From a Non-Sustainable Economy to a Sustainable
A solari is a community databank and equity investor that collects and circulates
information about resource use within that place. (For details on the standards that define a solari, see
“http://www.solari.com). A solari is the basic knowledge infrastructure that is necessary for a community to
reengineer its current government investment, to incubate new small businesses that can create equity and compete
successfully in a global market, as well as to enable the community to finance with equity as opposed to municipal
debt. This is critical if we are to move to an economy that promotes capital gains from healing the environment and
ensuring that we are safe. Our current economy is organized to move resource control to large corporations that
make money from extracting resources (as opposed to using resources in a way that heals environments) and from
doing things that decrease personal safety.
A solari will also help a community understand how it can become more self sufficient
--- by growing more food locally, circulating investment locally or prototyping solar energy and other forms of
local energy generation that decrease the need to import from outside the area.
To get started you may want to start or particpate in a Solari Investor Circle. You
can learn more about Solari Investor Circles at www.solari.com
Reengineering Government Sources and Uses of Funds in Your
We have experienced an explosion of new technology and used the energy created to
increase corporate productivity, but not to reengineer and improve government productivity. That is primarily
because government reengineering needs to be done place by place, so that we reengineer total sources and uses for
all government budgets within a place. Operationally and politically we have found this impossible to do. However,
this kind of reengineering will soon become an economic must-do if we are to move to a more sustainable economic
Community Venture Capital: Incubating Small Businesses
There are three parts of every business or operation. There is the business. There is
the “business of the business.” And there is financing the business. So, for example, if I own a company that makes
and sells orange juice, my product and my business is orange juice. However, I can expect that about 30-50% of my
operation will be “the business of the business” -- a term that incorporates accounting, personnel, legal, office
space and all sorts of other things that are required to create a proper infrastructure to support the business.
Finally, I can do a great job at the business and the business of the business, but if I do not finance the
business well, I will not succeed.
One of the reasons that small business is having trouble competing is that a small
business cannot afford to pay the costs of the business of the business and financing the business to a standard
that a large company can. That is where the idea of an “incubator” comes in. A lot has been written about how
incubators build successful high tech companies. Yet few have addressed how incubators could be combined with
community venture capital funds to reengineer the business of the business and financing of the business so that
new small businesses could share these functions in a way that would help them successfully best corporations in
"Voting With Your Resources"
As our economy and markets globalize, things move much too quickly for the normal
governmental regulation and enforcement agencies to keep up with them. Hence there is more and more interest in not
just voting at the polls every two to four years, but “voting” in the marketplace every day with our time and
money. If you search for, “socially responsible investment” on the web, you can learn more about one of the most
rapidly growing areas of the money management business, reflecting greater consumer demand for private market
enforcement of higher standards for corporate behavior.
In a “vote with our money” system we do not purchase from a company that violates our
fundamental values in its operations; we do not deposit money at a bank that violates our fundamental values in its
operations; we do not buy or watch media unless they tell us the truth about “how the money works” and we only
invest in companies that operate with the boundaries we consider to be acceptable behavior for a good global
citizens. To operationalize such a system requires substantially better information for consumers and investors
about who is who in terms of responsible economic behavior.
Economic Warfare: Making Markets Work in the Real World
As globalization increases and organized crime increases as a percent of world Gross
Economic Product, we find more and more of a merging of the traditional areas of the intelligence agencies, the
military, and enforcement services in “information warfare” and “economic warfare.” This is one of the reasons that
recruiting is reported to be up at the Central Intelligence Agency and other places where young people can learn
about economic warfare and how companies and networks really compete in the real marketplace.
One of the ways to live a wonderful life is to learn about those who don’t live
wonderfully and learn how to protect ourselves from them,. That means we will need some talent in economic
Opportunities and Risks: Suggested Class:
Why not have a class in which you brainstorm where you and your classmates see the
economic opportunities in your world as well as the economic risks? Let your conclusion tell you about what are the
most important things that you can learn about economics?
Opportunities and Risks: Go to the Movies
For a cinematic tour of some of the risks we all face in managing resources in
various kinds of organizations, here are some of my recent favorites available at your local video store: (i)
Startup.com, (ii) Anti-Trust, (iii) Bullworth, (iv) Wag the Dog, (v) Gettysburg, (vi) Jesus, The Greatest Story of
all Time and (vii) Other People’s Money. Why not pick one or two to watch and have a class discussion on how you
would have handled the same risks?
I hope you enjoy your learning journey in Economics. If I can be of more assistance,
just let me know. Good luck!
The economy is like a machine. At the most
fundamental level, Bridgewater's Ray Dalio explains in this excellent video introduction, it is a relatively simple
machine. But, he adds, many people don’t understand it – or they don’t agree on how it works – and this has led to
a lot of needless economic suffering. The clip and article below shares his simple but practical economic template
explaining how he believes it works. As he notes "my description of how the economy works is different from most
economists'. It has worked better, allowing me to anticipate the great deleveragings and market changes that most
others overlooked." The likely reason for this is because it is more practical. Simply put, Dalio notes,
"This different way of looking at the economy and markets has allowed us to understand and anticipate
economic booms and busts that others using more traditional approaches have missed."
Here is the excellent 30 minute summary of Ray Dalio's thinking - that is publicly avaliable at his site
How the Economic Machine Works: “A Transactions-Based
An economy is simply the sum of the transactions that make it up. A transaction is a simple thing.
Because there are a lot of them, the economy looks more complex than it really is. If instead of looking at it from
the top down, we look at it from the transaction up, it is much easier to understand.
A transaction consists of the buyer giving money (or credit) to a seller and the seller giving a good, a service
or a financial asset to the buyer in exchange. A market consists of all the buyers and sellers making exchanges for
the same things – e.g., the wheat market consists of different people making different transactions for different
reasons over time. An economy consists of all of the transactions in all of its markets. So, while seemingly
complex, an economy is really just a zillion simple things working together, which makes it look more complex than
it really is.
For any market, or for any economy, if you know the total amount of money (or credit) spent and the total
quantity sold, you know everything you need to know to understand it. For example, since the price of any good,
service or financial asset equals the total amount spent by buyers (total $) divided by the total quantity sold by
sellers (total Q), in order to understand or forecast the price of anything you just need to forecast total $ and
total Q. While in any market there are lots of buyers and sellers, and these buyers and sellers have different
motivations, the motivations of the most important buyers are usually pretty understandable and adding them up to
understand the economy isn’t all that tough if one builds from the transactions up. What I am saying is
conveyed in the simple diagram below. This perspective of supply and demand is different from the traditional
perspective in which both supply and demand are measured in quantity and the price relationship between them is
described in terms of elasticity. This difference has important implications for understanding
The only other important thing to know about this part of the Template is that spending ($) can come in
either of two forms – money and credit. For example, when you go to a store to buy something you can
pay with either a credit card or cash. If you pay with a credit card you have created credit, which is a promise to
deliver money at a later date,1 whereas, if you pay with money, you have no such liability.
In brief, there are different types of markets, different types of buyers and sellers and different ways of
paying that make up the economy. For simplicity, I will put them in groups and summarize how the machine
works. Most basically:
All changes in economic activity and all changes in financial markets’ prices are due to changes in the
amounts of 1) money or 2) credit that are spent on them (total $), and the amounts of these items sold (total
Q). Changes in the amount of buying (total $) typically have a much bigger impact on changes in economic
activity and prices than do changes in the total amount of selling (total Q). That is because there is nothing
that’s easier to change than the supply of money and credit (total $).
For simplicity, let’s cluster the buyers in a few big categories. Buying can come from either 1) the private
sector or 2) the government sector. The private sector consists of “households” and businesses that can be
either domestic or foreign. The government sector most importantly consists of a) the Federal Government,2
which spends its money on goods and services and b) the central bank, which is the only entity that can create
money and, by and large, mostly spends its money on financial assets.
Because money and credit, and through them demand, are easier to create (or stop creating) than the production
of goods and services and investment assets, we have economic and price cycles.
Seeing the economy and the markets through this ”transactions-based” perspective rather than seeing it
through the traditional economic perspective has made all the difference in the world to my understanding of what
is going on and what is likely to happen. It lets me see what is actually happening and why it’s
happening in much more granular ways than the traditional way of looking at things. I will give you a few
1. The traditional way of looking at the relationship between supply, demand and price measures both supply
and demand via the same quantity number (i.e., at any point the demand is equal to the supply which is the
amount of quantity exchanged) and the price is described as changing via what is called velocity. There is no
attention paid to the total amount of spending that occurred, who spent it, and why they spent it. Yet, in any
time and across all time frames, the relationship between the change in the quantities exchanged and the change
in the price will change based on these factors that are being ignored. Throwing all buyers into one group
(rather distinguishing between them and understanding their motivations) and measuring their demand in terms of
quantity bought (rather than in the amount spent) and ignoring whether the spending was paid for via money or
credit, creates a theoretical and imprecise picture of the markets and the economy.
2. Most of what economists call the velocity of money is not the velocity of money of money at all – it is
credit creation. Velocity is a misleading term created to explain how the amount of spending in a year (GDP)
could be paid for by a smaller amount of money. To explain this relationship, people divided the amount of GDP
by the amount of money to convey the picture that money is going around at a speed of so many times per year,
which is the called the velocity. The economy doesn’t work that way. Instead, much of spending comes from
credit creation, and credit creation doesn’t need money to go around in order to occur. Understanding this has
big implications for understanding how the economy and markets will work. For example, whereas one who has the
traditional perspective might think that a large increase in the amount of money will be inflationary, one
using a transactions based approach will understand that it is the amount of spending that changes prices, so
that if the increase in the amount of money is offsetting a decrease in the amount of credit, it won’t make a
difference; in fact, if the amount of credit is contracting and the amount of money is not increased, the
amount of spending will decline and prices will fall.
This different way of looking at the economy and markets has allowed us to understand and anticipate
economic booms and busts that others using more traditional approaches have missed.
The Template: The Three Big Forces
I believe that three main forces drive most economic activity: 1) trend line productivity
growth, 2) the long-term debt cycle and 3) the short-term debt cycle. Figuratively speaking, they look as shown
What follows is an explanation of all three of these forces and how, by overlaying the archetypical
short-term debt cycle on top of the archetypical long-term debt cycle and overlaying them both on top of the
productivity trend line, one can derive a good template for tracking most economic/market
movements. While these three forces apply to all countries’ economies, in this study we will look at
the U.S. economy over the last 100 years or so as an example to convey the Template. This Template will tell you
just about everything I have to say in a nutshell. If you are interested to explore these concepts in more
depth you can go into the next two chapters of this book.
What is the Federal Reserve system? How did it come
into existence? Is it part of the federal government? How does it create money? Why is the public kept in the dark
about these important matters? In this feature-length documentary film, The Corbett Report explores these important
question and pulls back the curtain on America's central bank.
Click here to download an mp3
audio version of this documentary.
Click here to download an mp4
video version of this documentary.
All our lives we’ve been told that economics is boring. It’s dull. It’s not worth the time it takes to
understand it. And all our lives, we’ve been lied to.
War. Poverty. Revolution. They all hinge on economics. And economics all rests on one key concept: money.
Money. It is the economic water in which we live our lives. We even call it ‘currency’; it flows around us,
carries us in its wake. Drowns those who are not careful.
We use it every day in nearly every transaction we conduct. We spend our lives working for it, worrying about
it, saving it, spending it, pinching it. It defines our social status. It compromises our morals. People are
willing to fight, die and kill for it.
But what is it? Where does it come from? How is it created? Who controls it? It is a remarkable fact that, given
its central importance in our lives, not one person in a hundred could answer such basic questions about money
Interviewer: So if you were planning a family, you’d want to know where babies come
from. And this is a lot about banking. So let me ask you: where does money come from?
Interviewee 1: Where does the money come from? The government prints it. It’s printed
Interviewer: How is new money created?
Interviewee 2: By labor. People work and produce wealth, and the money is supposed to
match that wealth.
Interviewee: Where does money come from?
Interviewee 3: Well I have a pretty different outlook on money. It actually comes
from, like, trees, right?
But why is this? How could we be so ignorant about a topic of such importance? “Where does money come from?” is
a basic, childlike question. So why is our only response the childlike answer, meant as a joke: “It grows on
Such a profound state of ignorance could not come about naturally. From the time we are children, we are curious
about the world and eager to learn about the way it works. And what could lead to a better understanding of the way
the world works than a knowledge of money, its creation and destruction? Yet discussion of this topic is
fastidiously avoided in our school years and ignored in our daily life. Our monetary ignorance is artificial, a
smokescreen that has been erected on purpose and perpetrated with the help of complicated systems and insufferable
But it doesn’t take an economist to understand the importance of money. Deep down we all know that the wars, the
poverty, the violence we see around us hinges on this question of money. It seems like a thousand piece jigsaw
puzzle just waiting to be solved. And it is.
The puzzle pieces, taken together, create an image of the Federal Reserve, America’s central bank and the heart
of the country’s banking system. Despite its central importance to the economy, relatively few have heard of it,
and fewer still know what it is, despite the bank’s attempts at self-description:
Our economy runs on a complex system of exchange of goods and services in which money plays a key part.
Coin, currency, savings, and checking accounts; the overall supply of money is managed by the Federal Reserve.
Money is the medium through which economic exchanges take place, and money as a standard of value helps us to
set prices for goods and services. The job of managing money–monetary policy–is to preserve the purchasing
power of the dollar while ensuring that a sufficient amount of money is available to promote economic
The Federal Reserve also promotes the safety and soundness of the institutions where we do our banking. It
ensures that the mechanisms by which we make payments, whether by cash, cheque, or electronic means, operates
smoothly and efficiently.
And in its fiscal role acts as the banker for the United States government.
Now these duties comprise the major responsibilities of our central bank.
But in order to understand the Federal Reserve, we must first understand its origins and context. We must
deconstruct the puzzle.
The first piece of that puzzle lies here, in the White House. This is where the Federal Reserve Act, then known
as the Currency Bill, was signed into law after passing the House and Senate in late December, 1913.
“The Christmas spirit pervaded the gathering. While the ceremony was a little less impressive than that of the
signing of the Tarriff act on Oct. 3 last in the same room, the spectators were much more enthusiastic and seized
every occasion to applaud.”
There in the White House that fateful December evening, President Wilson signed away the last veneer of control
over the American money supply to a cartel; a well-organized gang of crooks so successful, so cunning, so
well-hidden that even now, a century later, few know of its existence, let alone the details of its operations. But
those details have been openly admitted for decades.
Of course, just as we have been taught to find economics boring, we have been taught that this story is boring.
This is the way the Federal Reserve itself tells it:
The United States was facing severe financial problems. At the turn of the century, most banks were issuing
their own currency called “bank notes.” The trouble was, currency that was good in one state was sometimes
worthless in another. People began to lose confidence in their money, since it was only as sound as the bank
that issued it. Fearful that their bank might go out of business, they rushed to exchange their bank notes for
gold or silver. By attempting to do so, they created the panic of 1907.
During the panic, people streamed to the banks and demanded their deposits. The banks could not meet the
demand; they simply did not have enough gold and silver coin available. Many banks went under. People lost
millions of dollars, businesses suffered, unemployment rose, and the stability of our economic system was again
Well, this couldn’t go on. If the country was going to grow and prosper, some means would have to be found
to achieve financial and economic stability.
To prevent financial panics like the one in 1907, President Woodrow Wilson signed The Federal Reserve Act
into law in 1913.
But this is history as told by the victors: a revisionist vision in which the creation of a central bank to
control the nation’s money supply is merely a boring historical footnote, about as important as the invention of
the zipper or an early 20th century hoola-hoop craze. The truth is that the story of the secret banking conclave
that gave birth to that Federal Reserve Act is as exciting and dramatic as any Hollywood screenplay or detective
novel yarn, and all the more remarkable for the fact that it is all true.
We pick up the story, appropriately enough, under cover of darkness. It was the night of November 22, 1910, and
a group of the richest and most powerful men in America were boarding a private rail car at an unassuming railroad
station in Hoboken, New Jersey. The car, waiting with shades drawn to keep onlookers from seeing inside, belonged
to Senator Nelson Aldrich, the father-in-law of billionaire heir to the Rockefeller dynasty, John D. Rockefeller,
Jr. A central figure on the influential Senate Finance Committee where he oversaw the nation’s monetary policy,
Aldrich was referred to in the press as the “General Manager of the Nation.” Joining him that evening was his
private secretary, Shelton, and a who’s who of the nation’s banking and financial elite: A. Piatt Andrew, the
Assistant Treasury Secretary; Frank Vanderlip, President of the National City Bank of New York; Henry P. Davison, a
senior partner of J.P. Morgan Company; Benjamin Strong, Jr., an associate of J.P. Morgan and President of Bankers
Trust Co., and Paul Warburg, heir of the Warburg banking family and son-in-law of Solomon Loeb of the famed New
York investment firm, Kuhn, Loeb & Company.
The men had been told to arrive one by one after sunset to attract as little attention as possible. Indeed,
secrecy was so important to their mission that the group did not use anything but their first names throughout the
journey so as to keep their true identities secret even from their own servants and wait staff. The movements of
any one of them would have been reason enough to attract the attention of New York’s voracious press, especially in
an era where banking and monetary reform was seen as a key issue for the future of the nation; a meeting of all of
them, now that would surely have been the story of the century. And it was.
Their destination? The secluded Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia, home to the prestigious Jekyll Island
Club whose members included the Morgans, Rockefellers, Warburgs and Rothschilds. Their purpose? Davison told
intrepid local newspaper reporters who had caught wind of the meeting that they were going duck hunting. But in
reality, they were going to draft a reform of the nation’s banking industry in complete secrecy.
What happened is the banks decided that since there was going to be legislation anyway to control their
industry, that they wouldn’t just sit back and wait and see what happened and cross their fingers that it would
be OK. They decided to do what so many cartels do today: they decided to take the lead. And they would be the
ones calling for regulations and reform.
They like the word “reform.” The American people are suckers for the word “reform.” You just put that into
any corrupt piece of legislation, call it “reform” and people say “Oh, I’m all for ‘reform’,” and so they vote
for it or accept it.
So that’s what they were doing. They decided, “We will ‘reform’ our own industry.” In other words, “We will
create a cartel and we will give the cartel the power of government. We’ll take our cartel agreement so we can
self-regulate to our advantage and we’ll call it ‘The Federal Reserve Act.’ And then we’ll take this cartel
agreement to Washington and convince those idiots there to pass it into law.”
And that basically was the strategy. It was a brilliant strategy. Of course we see it happening all the
time, certainly in our own day today we see the same thing happened in other cartelized industries. Right now
we’re watching it unfold in the field of healthcare, but at that time it was banking, alright?
And so the banking cartel wrote their own rules and regulations, called it “The Federal Reserve Act,” got it
passed into law, and it was very much to their liking because they wrote it. And in essence what they had
created was a set of rules that made it possible for themselves to regulate their industry, but they went even
beyond that. In fact, it’s clear to me when I was reading their letters and their conversation at the time, and
the debates, that they never dreamed that Congress would go along and also give them the right to issue the
nation’s money supply. Not only were they now going to regulate their own industry, which is what they started
out as wanting to do, but they got this incredible gift that they didn’t dream would be given to them (although
they were negotiating for it), and that was that Congress gave them the authority to issue the nation’s money.
Congress gave away the sovereign right to issue the nation’s money to the private banks.
And so all of this was in The Federal Reserve Act, and the American people were joyous because they were
told, and they were convinced, that this was finally a means of controlling this big creature from Jekyll
Amazingly enough, they were successful, not just in conspiring to write the legislation that would eventually
become the Federal Reserve Act, but in keeping that conspiracy a secret from the public for decades. It was first
reported on in 1916 by Bertie Charles Forbes, the financial writer who would later go on to found Forbes magazine,
but it was never fully admitted until a full quarter century later when Frank Vanderlip wrote a casual admission of
the meeting in the February 9, 1935
edition of The Saturday Evening Post:
“I was as secretive—indeed, as furtive—as any conspirator.[…]I do not feel it is any exaggeration to speak of
our secret expedition to Jekyll Island as the occasion of the actual conception of what eventually became the
Federal Reserve System.”
Over the course of their nine days of deliberation at the Jekyll Island club, they devised a plan so
overarching, so ambitious, that even they could scarcely imagine that it would ever be passed by congress. As
Vanderlip put it,
“Discovery [of our plan], we knew, simply must not happen, or else all our time and effort would be wasted. If
it were to be exposed publicly that our particular group had got together and written a banking bill, that bill
would have no chance whatever of passage by Congress.”
So what, precisely, did this conclave of conspirators devise at their Jekyll Island meeting? A plan for a
central banking system to be owned by the banks themselves, a system which would organize the nation’s banks into a
private cartel that would have sole control over the money supply itself. At the end of their nine day meeting, the
bankers and financiers went back to their respective offices content in what they had accomplished. The details of
the plan changed between its 1910 drafting and the eventual passage of the Federal Reserve Act, but the essential ideas were
But ultimately, this scene on Jekyll Island, too, is just one piece of a larger puzzle. And like any other
puzzle piece, it has to be seen in its wider context for the bigger picture to become visible. To understand the
other pieces of the puzzle and their importance in the creation of the Federal Reserve, we have to travel backward
The story begins in late 17th century Europe. The Nine Years’ War is raging across the continent as Louis XIV of
France finds himself pitted against much of the rest of the continent over his territorial and dynastic claims.
King William III of England, devastated by a stunning naval defeat, commits his court to rebuilding the English
navy. There’s only one problem: money. The government’s coffers have been exhausted by the waging of the war and
William’s credit is drying up.
A Scottish banker, William Paterson, has a banker’s solution: a proposal “to form a company to lend a million
pounds to the Government at six percent (plus 5,000 “management fee”) with the right of note issue.” By 1694 the
idea has been slightly revised (a 1.2 million pound loan at 8 percent plus 4000 for management expenses), but it
goes ahead: the magnanimously titled Bank of England is created.
The name is a carefully constructed lie, designed to make the bank appear to be a government entity. But it is
not. It is a private bank owned by private shareholders for their private profit with a charter from the king that
allows them to print the public’s money out of thin air and lend it to the crown. What happens here at the birth of
the Bank of England in 1694 is the creation of a template that will be repeated in country after country around the
world: a privately controlled central bank lending money to the government at interest, money that it prints out of
nothing. And the jewel in the crown for the international bankers that creates this system is the future economic
powerhouse of the world, the United States.
In many important respects, the history of the United States is the history of the struggle of the American
people against the bankers that wish to control their money. By the 1780s, with colonies still fighting for
independence from the crown, the bankers will get their wish.
In 1781 the United States is in financial turmoil. The Continental, the paper currency issued by the Continental
Congress to pay for the war, has collapsed from overissue and British
counterfeiting. Desperate to find a way to finance the end stages of the war, Congress turns to Robert Morris,
a wealthy shipping merchant who was investigated for war
profiteering just two years earlier. Now as “Superintendent of Finance” of the United States from 1781 to
1784 he is regarded as the most powerful man in America next to General Washington.
In his capacity as Superintendent of Finance, Morris argues for the creation of a privately-owned central bank
deliberately modeled on the Bank of England that the colonies were supposedly fighting against. Congress, backed
into a corner by war obligations and forced to do business with the bankers just like King William in the 1690s,
acquiesces and charters the Bank of North
America as the nation’s first central bank. And exactly as the Bank of England came into existence loaning
the British crown 1.2 million pounds, the B.N.A. started business by loaning $1.2 million to Congress.
By the end of the war, Morris has fallen out of political favor and the Bank of North America’s currency has
failed to win over a skeptical public. The B.N.A. is downgraded from a national central bank to a private
commercial bank chartered by the State of Pennsylvania.
But the bankers have not given up yet. Before the ink is even dry on the constitution, a group led by Alexander
Hamilton is already working on the next privately-owned central bank for the newly formed United States of
So brazen is Hamilton in the forwarding of this agenda that he makes no attempt to hide his aims or those of the banking
interests he serves:
“A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing,” he wrote in a letter to James
Duane in 1781. “It will be a powerful cement of our Union. It will also create a necessity for keeping up taxation
to a degree which, without being oppressive, will be a spur to industry.”
Opposition to Hamilton and his debt-based system for establishing the finances of the US is fierce. Led by
Jefferson and Madison, the bankers and their system of debt-enslavement is called out for the force of destruction
that it is. As Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“[T]he spirit of war and indictment, […] since the modern theory of the perpetuation of debt, has drenched the
earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating.”
Still, Hamilton proves victorious. The First Bank of the United States is chartered in 1791 and follows the
pattern of the Bank of England and the Bank of North America almost exactly; a privately-owned central bank with
the authority to loan money that it creates out of nothing to the government. In fact, it is the very same people
behind the new bank as were behind the old Bank of North America. It was Alexander Hamilton, Robert Morris’ former
aide, who first proposed Morris for the position of Financial Superintendent, and the director of the old Bank of
North America, Thomas Willing, is brought in to serve as the first director of the First Bank of the United States.
Meet the new banking bosses, same as the old banking bosses.
In the first five years of the banks’ existence, the US government borrows 8.2 million dollars from the bank and
prices rise 72%. By 1795, when Hamilton leaves office, the incoming Treasury Secretary announces that the
government needs even more money and sells off the government’s meager 20% share in the bank, making it a fully
private corporation. Once again, the US economy is plundered while the private banking cartel laughs all the way to
the bank that they created.
By the time the bank’s charter comes due for renewal in 1811, the tide has changed for the money interests
behind the bank. Hamilton is dead, shot to death in a duel with Aaron Burr. The bank-supporting Federalist party is
out of power. The public are wary of foreign ownership of the central bank, and what’s more don’t see the point of
a central bank in time of peace. Accordingly, the charter renewal is voted down in the Senate and the bank is
closed in 1811.
Less than a year later, the US is once again at war with England. After 2 years of bitter struggle the public
debt of the US has nearly tripled from $45.2
million to $119.2 million. With trade at a standstill, prices soaring, inflation rising and debt mounting,
President Madison signs the charter for the creation of another central bank, the Second Bank of the United States,
in 1816. Just like the two central banks before it, it is majority privately-owned and is granted the power to loan
money that it creates out of thin air to the government.
The 20 year bank charter is due to expire in 1836, but President Jackson has already vowed to let it die prior
to renewal. Believing that Jackson won’t risk his chance for reelection in 1832 on the issue, the bankers forward a
bill to renew the bank’s charter in July of that year, 4 years ahead of schedule. Remarkably, Jackson vetoes the
renewal charter and stakes his reelection on the people’s support of his move. In his veto message, Jackson writes in no uncertain terms about
his opposition to the bank:
“Whatever interest or influence, whether public or private, has given birth to this act, it can not be found
either in the wishes or necessities of the executive department, by which present action is deemed premature, and
the powers conferred upon its agent not only unnecessary, but dangerous to the Government and country. It is to be
regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.[…]If we can
not at once, in justice to interests vested under improvident legislation, make our Government what it ought to be,
we can at least take a stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any
prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise
and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of political economy.”
The people side with Jackson and he’s reelected on the back of his slogan, “Jackson and No Bank!” The President
makes good on his pledge. In 1833 he announces that the government will stop using the bank and will pay off its
debt. The bankers retaliate in 1834 by staging a financial crisis and attempting to pin the blame on Jackson, but
it’s no use. On January 8, 1835, President Jackson succeeds in paying off the debt, and for the first and only time in its
history the United States is free from the debt chain of the bankers. In 1836 the Second Bank of the United States’
charter expires and the bank loses its status as America’s central bank.
It is 77 years before the bankers can regain the jewel in their crown. But it is not for lack of trying.
Immediately upon the death of the bank, the banking
oligarchs in England react by contracting trade, removing capital from the U.S., demanding payment in hard
currency for all exports, and tightening credit. This results in a financial crisis known as the Panic of 1837, and
once again Jackson’s campaign to kill the bank is blamed for the crisis.
Throughout the late 19th century the United States is rocked by banking panics brought about by wild banking
speculation and sharp contractions in credit. By the dawn of the 20th century, the bulk of the money in the
American economy has been centralized in the hands of a small clique of industrial magnates, each with a near
monopoly on a sector of the economy. There are the Astors in real estate, the Carnegies and the Schwabs in steel,
the Harrimans, Stanfords and Vanderbilts in railroads, the Mellons and the Rockefellers in oil. As all of these
families start to consolidate their fortunes, they gravitate naturally to the banking sector. And in this capacity,
they form a network of financial interests and institutions that centered largely around one man, banking scion and
increasingly America’s informal central banker in the absence of a central bank, John Pierpont Morgan.
John Pierpont Morgan, or “Pierpont” as he prefers to be called, is born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1837 to
Junius Spencer Morgan, a successful banker and financier. Morgan rides his father’s coattails into the banking
business and by 1871 is partnered in his own firm, the firm that was eventually to become J.P. Morgan and
It is Morgan who finances Cornelius Vanderbilt’s New York Central Railroad. It is Morgan that
finances the launch of nearly every major corporation of the period, from AT&T to General Electric to General
Motors to Dupont. It is Morgan who buys out Carnegie and creates the
United States Steel Corporation, America’s first billion dollar company. It is Morgan who brokers a deal with President Grover Cleveland to
“save” the nation’s gold reserves by selling 62 million dollars worth of gold to the Treasury in return for
government bonds. And it is Morgan, who, in 1907, sets in motion the crisis that leads to the creation of the
That year, Morgan begins
spreading rumors about the precarious finances of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, a Morgan competitor and one of the largest
financial institutions in the United States at the time. The resulting crisis, dubbed the Panic of 1907, shakes the
U.S. financial system to its core. Morgan puts himself forward as a hero, boldly offering to help underwrite some
of the faltering banks and brokerage houses to keep them from going under. After a bout of hand-wringing over the
nation’s finances, a Congressional Committee is
assembled to investigate the “money trust,” the bankers and financiers who brought the nation so close to financial
ruin and that wield such power over the nation’s finances. The public follows the issue closely, and in the end a
handful of bankers are identified as key players in the money trust’s operations, including Paul Warburg, Benjamin
Strong, Jr., and J.P. Morgan.
At the beginning of the 20th century there was an investigation following the greatest of these financial
panics, which was in 1907, and this investigation was on “the money trust.” It found that three banking
interests–J.P. Morgan, National City Bank, and the City Bank of New York–basically controlled the entire
financial system. Three banks. The public hatred toward these institutions was unprecedented. There was an
overwhelming consensus in the country for establishing a central bank, but there were many different interests
in pushing this and everyone had their own purpose behind advocating for a central bank.
So to represent most people, you had farmer interests, populists, progressives, who were advocating a
central bank because they couldn’t take the recurring panics, but they wanted government control of the central
bank. They wanted it to be exclusively under the public control because they despised and feared the New York
banks as wielding too much influence, so for them a central bank would be a way to curb the power of these
private financial interests.
On the other hand, those same financial interests were advocating for a central bank to serve as a source of
stability for their control of the system, and also to act as a lender of last resort to them so they would
never have to face collapse. But also, in order to exert more control through a central bank, the private New
York banking community wanted a central bank under the exclusive control of them. There’s a shocker.
So you had all these various interests which converged. Of course, the most influential happened to be the
New York financial houses which were more aligned with the European financial houses than they were with any
other element in American society. The main individual behind the founding of the Federal Reserve was Paul
Warburg, who was a partner with Kuhn, Loeb and Company, a European banking house. His brothers were prominent
bankers in Germany at that time, and he had of course close connections with every major financial and
industrial firm in the United States and most of those existing in Europe. And he was discussing all of these
ideas with his fellow compatriots in advocating for a central bank. In 1910, Warburg got the support of a
Senator named Nelson Aldrich, whose family later married into the Rockefeller family (again, I’m sure just a
coincidence). Aldrich invited Warburg and a number of other bankers to a private, secret meeting on Jekyll
Island just off the coast of Georgia where they met in 1910 to discuss the construction of a central bank in
the United States, but one which would of course be owned by and serve the interests of the private bank.
Aldrich then presented this in 1911 as the “Aldrich Plan” in the U.S. Congress, but it was actually voted
The public, suspicious of Senator Aldrich’s banking connections, ultimately reject the Jekyll Island cabal’s
“Aldrich Plan.” The cabal does not give up, however. They simply revise and rename their plan, giving it a new
public face, that of Representative Carter Glass and Senator Robert Owen.
In the end, the money trust that was behind the Panic of 1907 uses the public’s own outrage against them to
complete their consolidation of control over the banking system. The newly-retitled Federal Reserve Act is signed
into law on December 23, 1913 and the Fed begins operations the next year.
Part Two: How the Scam Works
“The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise
truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it.” -John Kenneth
So how does the Federal Reserve system work? What does it do? Who owns and controls it? These are the basic
questions that would get to the heart of the fundamental question: ‘what is money?’ And that is why the answer to
these questions have been shrouded in impenetrable economic jargon.
Even the Federal Reserve’s own educational propaganda, which has an unusual tendency toward cutesy animation and
talking down to its audience, has a difficult time summarizing the Fed’s mission and responsibilities. According to
To achieve [its] goals, the Fed, then and now, combines centralized national authority through the Board of
Governors with a healthy dose of regional independence through the reserve banks. A third entity, the Federal
Open Market Committee, brings together the first two in setting the nation’s monetary policy.
Precisely what imaginary gaggle of schoolchildren is this economic gibberish aimed at?
The simple truth, hidden behind the sleight of hand of economic jargon and magisterial titles, is that a banking
cartel has monopolized the most important item in our entire economy: money itself.
We are taught to think of money as the pieces of paper printed in government printing presses or coins minted by
government mints. While this is partially true, in this day and age the actual notes and coins circulating in the
economy represent only a tiny fraction of the money in existence. Over 90% of the money supply is in fact created
by private banks as loans that are payable back to the banks at interest.
Although this simple fact is obscured by the wizards of Wall Street and gods of money who want to make the money
creation process into some special art of alchemy carefully overseen by the government, the truth is not hidden
from the public.
In December 1977, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York published another of its dumbed-down cartoon-ridden
information pamphlets for the general public
attempting to explain the functions of the Federal Reserve System. There in black and white they carefully explain
the money creation process:
“Commercial banks create checkbook money whenever they grant a loan, simply by adding new deposit dollars to
accounts on their books in exchange for a borrower’s IOU.[...]Banks create money by ‘monetizing’ the private debts
of businesses and individuals. That is, they create amounts of money against the value of those IOUs.”
There it is, in plain English: the vast majority of money in the economy, the “checkbook” money in our accounts
at the bank and that we use in our electronic transfers and digital payments, is created not by a government
printing press, but by the bank itself. It is created out of thin air as debt, owed back to the bank that created
it at interest. This means that bank loans are not money taken from other bank depositors, but new money simply
conjured into existence and placed into your account. And the bank is able to create much more money than it has
cash to back up those deposits.
The Fed claims to be the entity overseeing and backing up the banking industry. It was established, according to
its own propaganda, to stabilize the system and prevent bank runs like the Panic of 1907 from happening again:
Throughout much of the 1800s, almost any organization that wanted could print its own money. As a result,
many states, banks, and even one New York druggist, did just that. In fact at one time there were over 30,000
different varieties of currency in circulation. Imagine the confusion.
Not only were there multitudes of currencies, some were redeemable in gold and silver, others were backed by
bonds issued by regional governments. It was not unusual for people to lose faith both in the value of their
currency and in the entire financial system. With many people trying to withdraw their deposits at once,
sometimes the banks didn’t have enough money on hand to pay their depositors. Then when the funds ran out the
banks suspended payment temporarily and some even closed. People lost their entire savings. Sometimes regional
Obviously something had to be done. And in 1913, something was. In that year, President Woodrow Wilson
signed into effect the Federal Reserve Act. This act created the Federal Reserve system to provide a safer and
more stable monetary and banking system.
If that was indeed its aim, it signally failed to do so in running up one of the greatest bubbles in American
history to that point in the 1920s, just a decade after its creation. The popping of that bubble, of course, lead
directly into the Great Depression and one of the greatest periods of mass poverty in American history. Economists
have long argued that the Fed itself was the cause of the depression by its complete mismanagement of the money
supply. As former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted in a speech commemorating Fed
critic Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday: “Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry.
But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”
“Price stability” is another cited tenet of the Federal Reserve’s mandate. But here, too, the Fed has completely
failed to live up to its own standards:
Aside from the banking system, the Federal Reserve has another responsibility that’s probably even more
important. It’s in charge of something called “monetary policy.” Basically, it means trying to keep prices
stable to avoid inflation. Say you buy a CD today for $14. But what if next year the price of the CD jumped to
$20 or $50, not because of a change in supply or demand, but because all prices were going up. That’s
There are a lot of different causes of inflation, but one of the most important is too much money. The Fed
can adjust the money supply by injecting money into the system electronically, or by withdrawing money from the
Think of it: the Federal Reserve has the ability to create money, or make it disappear. What’s most
important is what happens as a result. Any time the supply of money is altered, the effects are felt throughout
The Fed’s methods have changed over time to take advantage of the latest computers and electronics, but its
mission remains the same: to aim for stable prices, full employment and a growing economy.
Paper money, too, is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve. Hence the dollars in circulation are not
Treasury notes, not bills of credit, but Federal Reserve Notes, debt-based notes backed up ultimately by the
government’s own promise to pay, its “sovereign bonds” secured by the taxpayers themselves. At one time, the
Federal Reserve Banks were legally required to keep large stockpiles of gold in reserve to back up these notes, but
that requirement was abandoned and today the notes are backed up mostly by government securities. The Fed
no longer keeps any
actual gold on its books, but gold “certificates” issued by the treasury and valued not at the spot
price of $1300 per troy ounce, but an arbitrarily fixed “statutory price” of $42 2/9 per ounce.
Ron Paul: But I do have one question: During the crisis or at any time that you’re aware
of, has the Federal Reserve or the Treasury participated in any gold swap arrangements?
Scott Alvarez: The Federal Reserve does not own any gold at all. We have not owned gold
since 1934 so we have not engaged in any gold swaps.
Ron Paul: But it appears on your balance sheet that you hold gold.
Scott Alvarez: What appears on our balance sheet is gold certificates. When we turned
in…before 1934, we did…the Federal Reserve did own gold. We turned that over by law to the Treasury and
received in return for that gold certificates.
Ron Paul: If the Treasury entered into…because under the Exchange Stabilization Fund I
would assume they probably have the legal authority to do it…they wouldn’t be able to do it then because you
have the securities for essentially all the gold?
Scott Alvarez: No, we have no interest in the gold that is owned by the Treasury. We have
simply an accounting document that is called “gold certificates” that represents the value at a statutory rate
that we gave to the Treasury in 1934.
Ron Paul: And still measured at $42 an ounce which makes no sense whatsoever.
Clearly, there is a discrepancy between what we are led to believe is motivating the Fed and what it actually
does. To understand what the Fed is actually intended to do, it’s first important to understand that the Federal
Reserve is not a bank, per se, but a system. This system codifies, institutionalizes, oversees and undergirds a
form of banking called fractional reserve banking, in which banks are allowed to lend out more money than they
actually have in their vaults.
The process of decay and corruption starts with something called “fractional reserve banking.” That’s the
technical name for it. And what that really means is that as the banking institution developed over several
centuries, starting of course in Europe, it developed a practice of legalizing a certain dishonest accounting
In other words, in the very, very beginning (if you want to go all the way back), people would bring their
gold or silver to the banks for safe keeping. And they said, “give us a paper receipt, we don’t want to guard
our silver and our gold because people could come in in the middle of the night and they could kill us or
threaten us and they’ll get our gold and silver so we can ‘t really guard it so we’ll take it to the bank and
have them guard it and we just want a paper receipt. And we’ll take our receipt back and get our gold anytime
we want.” So in the beginning money was receipt money. Then, instead of changing or exchanging the gold coins,
they could exchange the receipts, and people would accept the receipts just as well as the gold, knowing that
they could get gold. And so these paper receipts being circulated were in essence the very first examples of
Well the banks learned early on in that game that here they were sitting on this pile of gold and all these
paper receipts out there. People weren’t bringing in the receipts anymore, very few of them, maybe five percent
maybe seven percent of the people would bring in their paper receipts and ask for the gold. So they said, “Ah
ha! Why don’t we just sort of give more receipts out then we have gold? They’ll never know because they only
ask for, at the best, seven percent of it. So we can create more receipts for gold then we have. And we can
collect interest on that because we’ll loan that into the economy. We’ll charge interest on this money that we
don’t really have. And it’s a pretty good gimmick don’t ya think?” And they go, “Well, yeah, of course.” And so
that’s how fractional reserve banking started.
And now it’s institutionalized and they teach it in school. No one ever questions the integrity of it or the
ethics of it. They say, “Well, that’s the way banking works, and isn’t it wonderful that we now have this
flexible currency and we have prosperity” and all these sorts of things. So it all starts with this concept of
fractional reserve banking.
The trouble with that is that it works most of the time. But every once and a while there are a few ripples
that come along that are a little bit bigger than the other ripples. Maybe one of them is a wave. And more than
seven percent will come in and ask for their gold. Maybe twenty percent or thirty percent. And well, now the
banks are embarrassed because the fraud is exposed. They say, “well we don’t have your gold” “What do you mean
you don’t have my gold!! I gave it to you and put it on deposit and you said you’d safe guard it.” “Well we
don’t have it, we loaned it out.” So then the word gets out and everyone and their uncle comes out and lines up
for their gold. And of course they don’t have it, the banks are closed, and they have bank holidays. Banks are
embarrassed, people lose their savings. You have these terrible banking crashes that were ricocheting all over
the world prior to this time. And that is what caused the concern of the American people. They didn’t want that
anymore. They wanted to put a stop to that.
And that was the whole purpose, supposedly, of the Federal Reserve system. Was to put a stop to that. But
since the people who designed the plan to put a stop to it were the very ones who were doing it in the first
place, you can not be surprised that their solution was not a very good one so far as the American people were
concerned. Their solution was to expand it. Not to control it, to expand it. See, prior to that time, this
little game of fractional reserve banking was localized at the state level. Each state was doing its own little
fractional reserve banking system. Each state, in essence, had its own Federal Reserve. Central banks were
authorized by state law to do this sort of thing. And that was causing all this problem. So the Federal Reserve
came along and said, “No no, we’re not going to do this at the state level anymore, because look at all the
problem it’s causing. We’re going to consolidate it all together and we’re going to do it at the national
The key to the system, of course, is who controls this incredible power to “regulate” the economy by setting
reserve requirements and targeting interest rates. The answer to this question, too, has been deliberately
The Federal Reserve system is a deliberately confusing mish-mash of public and private interests, reserve banks,
boards and committees, centralized in Washington and spread out across the United States.
So you have the Federal Reserve Board in Washington appointed by the President. That’s the only part of this
system that is directly dependent on the government for input that’s the “federal” part: that the
government–the president specifically–gets to choose a few select governors. The twelve regional banks–the most
influential of which is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which is essentially based in Wall Street to
represent Wall Street–is a representative of the major Wall Street banks who own shares in the private, not
federal, but private Federal Reserve Bank of New York. All of the other regional banks are also private banks.
They vary according to how much influence they wield but the Kansas City fed is influential, the St. Louis fed,
the Dallas fed, but the New York Fed is really the center of this system and precisely because it represents
the Wall Street banks who appoint the leadership of the New York fed.
So the New York fed has a lot of public power, but no public accountability or oversight. It does not answer
to Congress the way that the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors does and even the chairman of
the Federal Reserve board who is appointed by the President, does not answer to the President, does not answer
to Congress. He goes to Congress to testify but the policy that they set is independent. So they have no input
from the government. The government can’t tell them what to do legally speaking, and of course they don’t.
Rep. John Duncan: Do you think it would cause problems for the Fed or for the economy
if that legislation was to pass?
Ben Bernanke: My concern about the legislation is that if the GAO is auditing not only
the operational aspects of our programs and the details of the programs, but is making judgements about our
policy decisions, that would effectively be a takeover of monetary policy by the Congress, a repudiation of
the independence of the Federal Reserve which would be highly destructive to the stability of the financial
system, the dollar, and our national economic situation.
The Federal Open Market Committee is responsible for setting interest rates. Now this committee, which is
enormously powerful, has as its membership the Governor and Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, but on the
Federal Open Market Committee most of the membership is the presidents of the regional Federal Reserve Banks
representing private interests. So they have significant input into setting the interest rates. Interest rates
are not set by a public body, they’re set by private financial and corporate interests. And that’s whose
interests they serve, of course.
The reason that the Federal Reserve goes to such great lengths to make its organizational structure as confusing
as possible is to cover up the massive conflicts of interest that are at the heart of that system. The fact is that
the Federal Reserve system is comprised of a Board of Governors, 12 regional banks, and an open market committee.
The privately-owned member banks of each Federal Reserve Bank vote on the majority of the Reserve Bank’s directors,
and the directors vote on members to serve on the Federal Open Market Committee which determines monetary policy.
What’s more, Wall Street is given a prime seat at the table, with tradition holding that the President of the
powerful New York Federal Reserve Bank be given the Vice Chairmanship of the FOMC and be made a permanent committee
member. In effect, the private banks are the key determinants in the composition of the FOMC which regulates the
According to the Fed “its monetary policy
decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of
government, it does not receive funding appropriated by the Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of
Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms.”
Or, in the words of Alan Greenspan: “The Federal
Reserve is an independent agency and that means there is no other agency of government that can overrule actions
that we take.”
The Fed goes on in its self-mythologization to state that it is “not a private, profit-making institution.” This
characterization is dishonest at best, and an outright lie at worst.
The regional banks are themselves private corporations, as noted in a 1928 Supreme Court ruling: “Instrumentalities like the national banks or the
federal reserve banks, in which there are private interests, are not departments of the government. They are
private corporations in which the government has an interest.” This point is even admitted by the Federal Reserve’s
own senior counsel.
Yvonne Mizusawa: Our regulations do specify overall terms for the lending, but the day
to day operation of the banking activities are conducted by the Federal Reserve Banks. They are banks, and
indeed they do lend…
Peter W. Hall: So they’re their own agency, then, essentially, in that regard.
Yvonne Mizusawa: They are not agencies, your honor, they are “persons” under FOIA. Each
Federal Reserve Bank, the stock is owned by the member banks in the district, 100% privately held, they are
private boards of directors. The majority of those boards are appointed by the independent banks, private banks
in the district. They are not agencies.
These private corporations issue shares that are held by the member banks that make up the system, making the
banks the ultimate owners of the Federal Reserve Banks. Although the Fed’s profits are returned to the Treasury
each year, the member banks’ shares of the Fed do earn them a 6%
dividend. According to the Fed, the fixed nature of these returns mean that they are not being held for
Despite the dishonest nature of this description, however, it is important to understand that the bankers who
own the Federal Reserve indeed do not make their money from the Fed directly. Instead, the benefits are much less
obvious, and much more insidious. The simplest way that this can be understood is that, as a century of history and
the specific example of the last financial crisis shows, the Fed was used as a vehicle to bail out the very bankers
who own the Fed banks in the most obvious example of fascistic collusion imaginable.
A handful of financial institutions have enriched themselves as a result of institutional speculation on a
large scale, as well as manipulation of the market. And secondly what they have done is that they have then
gone to their governments and said, “Well, we are now in a very difficult situation and you need to lend us…you
need to give us money so that we can retain the stability of the financial system.”
And who actually lends the money, or brokers the public debt? The same financial institutions that are the
recipients of the bailout. And so what you have is a circular process. It’s a diabolical process. You’re
lending money…no, you’re not lending money, you’re handing money to the large financial instutions, and then
this is leading up to mounting public debt in the trillions. And then you say to the financial institutions “We
need to establish a new set of treasury bills and government bonds, etc.” which of course are sold to the
public, but they are always brokered through the financial institutions which establish their viability and so
on and so forth. And the financial institutions will probably buy part of this public debt so that in effect
what the government is doing is financing its own indebtedness through the bailouts. It hands money to the
banks, but to hand money to the banks, it becomes indebted to those same financial institutions, and then it
says “We now have to emit large amounts of public debt. Please can you help us?” And then the banks will say:
“Well, your books are not quite in order.” And then the government will say: “Obviously they’re not in order
because we’ve just handed you 1.4 trillion dollars of bailout money and we’re now in a very difficult
situation. So we need to borrow money from the people who are in fact the recipients of the bailout.”
So this is really what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with a circular process.
The 2008 crisis and subsequent bailouts are merely the latest and most brazen examples of the fundamental
conflicts of interest at the heart of America’s privately-owned central banking system.
Beginning with the collapse of Lehman Bros. in September of that year, the Federal Reserve embarked on an
unprecedented program of bailouts and special zero interest lending facilities for the very banks that had caused
the subprime meltdown in the first place. By the cartelization of the Federal Reserve structure, and thus not by
accident, it was the very bank presidents who had overseen their banks’ lending practices that ended up in the
director positions of the Federal Reserve Banks that voted on where to direct the trillions of dollars in bailout
money. And unsurprisingly, they directed it toward their own banks.
A stunning 2011 Government
Accountability Office report examined $16 trillion of bailout facilities extended by the Fed in the wake
of the crisis and exposed numerous examples of blatant
conflicts of interest. Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric served as a director on the board of
the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the same time the Fed provided $16 billion in financing to General
Electric. JP Morgan Chase chief executive, Jamie Dimon, meanwhile, was also a member of the board of the New York
Fed during the period that saw $391 billion in Fed emergency lending directed to his own bank. In all, Federal
Reserve board members were tied to $4 trillion in loans to their own banks. These funds were not simply used to
keep these banks afloat, but actually to return these Fed-connected banks to a period of record profits in the same
period that the average worker saw their real wages actually decrease and the economy on main street slow to a
Then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was confronted about these conflicts of interest by Senator
Bernie Sanders upon the release of the GAO report in June 2012.
Ben Bernanke: Senator, you raised an important point, which is that this is not something
the Federal Reserve created. This is in the statute. Congress in the Federal Reserve Act said “This is the
governance of the Federal Reserve.” And more specifically that bankers would be on the board…
Bernie Sanders: 6 out of 9.
Ben Bernanke: Sorry?
Bernie Sanders: 6 out of 9 in the regional banks are from the banking industry.
Ben Bernanke: That’s correct. And that is in the law. I’ll answer your question, though.
The answer to your question is that Congress set this up, I think we’ve made it into something useful and
valuable. We do get information from it. But if Congress wants to change it, of course we will work with you to
Bernanke is completely right. These conflicts are in fact a part of the institution itself. A structural feature
of the Federal Reserve that was baked into the Federal Reserve Act itself over 100 years ago by the bankers who
conspired to cartelize the nation’s money supply. You could not ask for a more succinct reason why the Federal
Reserve itself, this admitted cartel of banking interests, needs to be abolished…but you could get one.
Part Three: End the Fed
“They who control the credit of a nation, direct the policy of Governments and hold in the hollow of their
hands the destiny of the people.” – Reginald
We now know that for centuries the people of the United States have been at war with the international banking
oligarchs. That war was lost, seemingly for good, in 1913, with the creation of the Federal Reserve. With the
passage of the Federal Reserve Act, President Woodrow Wilson consigned the American population to a century in
which the money supply itself has depended on the whims of the banking cabal. A century of booms and busts, bubbles
and depressions, has led to a wholesale redistribution of wealth toward those at the very top of the system. At the
bottom, the masses toil in relative poverty, single-income households becoming double-income households out of
necessity, their quality of life being slowly eroded as the Federal Reserve Notes that pass for dollars are
Worse yet, the fraud itself perpetuates Alexander Hamilton’s persistent myth that a national debt is necessary
at all. The US is now locked into a system whereby the government issues bonds to generate the funds for their
operations, bonds that are backed up by the taxation of the public’s own labor.
The perpetrators of this fraud, meanwhile, remain in the shadows, largely ignored by a general public that could
instantly recognise the latest Hollywood heartthrob or pop idol, but have no clue what the head of Goldman Sachs or
the New York Fed does, let alone who they are. This cabal bear allegiance to no nationality, no philosophy or
creed, no code of ethics. They are not even motivated by greed, but power. The power that the control of the money
supply inevitably brings with it.
It did not take long for this lust for power to rear its head. In 1921, just 7 years after the Fed began
operations, the same J.P. Morgan-connected banking elite that founded the Federal Reserve incorporated an
organization called The Council on Foreign Relations with the goal of taking over the foreign policy apparatus
of the United States, including the State Department. In this quest, it was remarkably successful. Although
there are only about 4000 members in the organization today, its membership has included 21 Secretaries of
Defense, 18 Treasury Secretaries, 18 Secretaries of State, 16 CIA directors and many other high-ranking
government officials, military officers, business elite, and, of course, bankers. The first Director of the CFR
was John W. Davis, J.P. Morgan’s personal lawyer and a millionaire in his own right.
Together with its sister organizations in Britain and elsewhere around the world, these groups would work
together toward what they called a “New World Order” of total financial and political control directed by the
bankers themselves. As Carroll Quigley, noted Georgetown historian and mentor of Bill Clinton, wrote in his 1966 work, Tragedy and Hope: A History of
The World In Our Time:
“The powers of financial capitalism had [a] 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 Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the
world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”
This is why the bankers and their partners in government and business conspired to bring about the 2008 crisis.
Not for the pursuit of money, but power. In the same way the bankers used the Panic of 1907 to consolidate their
control over the money supply, they hope to use the 2008 crisis and subsequent panics, which they themselves have
created, to consolidate their political control.
The inevitable conclusion, one that flows necessarily from the true understanding of this situation, is that the
Federal Reserve system needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history. After a century of enslavement, it is time
for the American public to finally throw off the bankers’ debt chains.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. You are now better informed on the economic history of the United
States and the truth about the Federal Reserve than 99% of the population. If you do nothing else, then just
working to get those around you educated on this information alone will have a profound effect. Once they learn of
the scam, many are motivated to do something about it, and they, in turn, inform others. This is the viral nature
of suppressed truth, and it is the reason that more people are aware of and energized by the issue of the Federal
Reserve and the nature of money than ever before.
Perhaps even more amazingly, this movement is spreading to other parts of the globe. Recognizing the
interlocking nature of the modern global economy, and the international nature of the banking oligarchy, movements
to abolish the Federal Reserve have sprung up in Europe,
where protests against the cartelized central banking system are taking place in over 100 cities attracting 20,000
people on a weekly basis.
Lars Maehrholz: I started this movement because I realized that the Federal Reserve
Act, in my opinion, is one of the worst laws in the whole world. So a private banking company is lending
America the money, and in my opinion is not democratic anymore. The Federal Reserve tells the government what
to do, and that’s the problem.
Luke Rudkowski: It’s a very big problem, especially in the U.S. Why is it a global
issue, and why are people doing it here in Germany?
Lars Maehrholz: Because when you realize that this finance system, it’s a global system,
you have to go really to the beginning of the system. And in my opinion it’s also the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund and stuff like this, but at the beginning of all this is a law from 1913. Woodrow
Wilson signed it, and this is the beginning of all this hardcore capitalism we are now suffering from. And the
only way to stop this is maybe to break this law.
But what if the burgeoning movement to End The Fed is successful? What system do people propose as the answer?
There have been several proposals along different lines by various researchers. Some argue for a return to America’s colonial roots of
debt-free money issued by state run banks, pointing to the Bank of North Dakota as one already functioning,
successful model of this approach.
Others advocate a
decentralized system of alternative and competing currencies that greatly reduce or even eliminate altogether the
need for a central bank.
Some argue for currencies whose mathematical
nature prevent them from being merely conjured into existence whenever a federal government wants to wage another
war of aggression or forge another link in the seemingly endless train of governmental tyranny and abuse.
Other, even more innovative ideas have been forwarded to harness current technologies to bring credit creation
back to the individual level and revolutionize our concept of money altogether:
Sound money. Cryptocurrencies. State banks. LETS programs. Self-issued credit. These and many other solutions
have all been proposed and many of them are in use in different localities today. Information on all of these ideas
and how they are being applied in various parts of the world are widely available online today. The point is that
the question of what money is and how it should be created is perhaps the single greatest question facing humanity
as a whole, and yet it is one that has been almost completely eliminated from the national conversation…until
For the first time in living memory, people are once again rallying around the monetary issue, and American
politics stands on the threshold of a transformation almost unimaginable just two decades ago.
And so the rest of the story is now in our hands. Once we understand the scam that has taken place, the gradual
consolidation of wealth and power in the hands of an elite few banking oligarchs and the growing impoverishment of
the masses, all in the name of banking funny money created out of nothing and loaned to the public at interest, we
can choose to get active or to do nothing at all.
For those who choose to get active, there are some steps that you can take to help change the course of this
1) Follow the links and resources from the transcript of this documentary at corbettreport.com/federalreserve to familiarize yourself with the
history, the connections and the functions of the Federal Reserve system. If you can’t explain this material to
yourself then you will never be able to teach it to others.
2) Begin reaching out to others to bring them up to speed on the issue. It can be as simple as broaching this
conversation in the Monday morning water cooler talk or passing out a copy of this documentary or sending out links
to this information to your email list. Insert this topic into your conversations. When people start talking about
the national debt or the state of the economy or other political talking points, get them to question the roots of
these issues, and why there is a national debt at all.
3) When you are able to find or create a group of like-minded people in your area who are engaged with the
issue, start a study group on the issue and its solutions. The study group can help source alternative or
complementary currencies in the local area, or, if none exist already, the group can form the basis for a community
of local businesses and customers who are willing to start experimenting with ways to wean themselves off of the
Federal Reserve notes.
4) Use the resources at corbettreport.com, including the Federal Reserve information flyer, or hold DVD
screenings, to attract interest in your group and draw others into studying the true nature of the monetary
The work of building up an alternative to the current system can seem daunting, even at times overwhelming. But
it’s important to keep in mind that the Federal Reserve system that seems so monolithic today has only been around
for one century. Central banks have been defeated in America before and they can be defeated again.
The question of how we decide to change this system is not rhetorical; it will either be answered by an
informed, engaged, active population working together to create viable alternatives and to dismantle the current
system, or it will be answered by the same banking oligarchy that has been controlling the money supply, and indeed
the lifeblood of the country, for generations.
Now, one century after the creation of the Federal Reserve system, we have a choice to make: whether the next
century, like the one before it, will be a century of enslavement, or, transformed by the actions and choices that
we make in the light of this knowledge, a century of empowerment.
Washington is owned by the private global
banking cartel that owns Wall Street. International law does not apply to this criminal cartel. They stole
trillions of dollars from the American people with help from corrupt politicians over a stretch of many decades,
culminating in the government bailout in 2008, and they have not been held accountable.
These bandits and looters could care less if America crashes and burns. In fact,
they want America to die because they want to institute a private world government upon its ruins. And they’re
doing a fantastic job at it because they’ve had decades of practice in nations in Latin America, Africa, and
Asia where they bought off greedy politicians, and robbed their people through the IMF/World Bank/WTO.
The entire business model of the private global banking tricksters is based on stealing the wealth
of nations, and destroying national independence in order to allow lawless multinational corporations to completely
take over. Read this article about how they do it.
Once nations are put into needless debt by these private global bankers, they put the squeeze on
them by forcing them to pay back usurious loans that make them go bankrupt. After the inevitable mayhem that
follows national collapse, they impose a military dictatorship so that the people can’t resist. Damon Vrabel calls
it the “death of nations.” He writes:
The fact is that most countries are not sovereign (the few that are are being attacked by
CIA/MI6/Mossad or the military). Instead they are administrative districts or customers of the global banking
establishment whose power has grown steadily over time based on the math of the bond market, currently ruled by the
US dollar, and the expansionary nature of fractional lending. Their cult of economists from places like Harvard,
Chicago, and the London School have steadily eroded national sovereignty by forcing debt-based, floating currencies
Civilized nations stand up for themselves,
they don’t bow down to private bankers. America can prove to the world that it is civilized, honest, and free by
showing the global banking overlords the door.
The way to fight back against the global robbers at the privately owned Federal Reserve
Bank/IMF/World Bank and the big banks is entirely peaceful. It is a matter of exposing their deviance and deception
to the public, and then hitting the streets. An enemy can’t be defeated unless it remains in the shadows, striking
at will. Directing public light at the private global banking cartel’s evil influence over nations that are thought
to be free and independent by the people is the only way to bring an end to their crimes, and treachery against
A new civilization based on the divine values of freedom, justice, truth, and mutual respect among
nations, and private institutions, can’t be born unless we all come together as global citizens and fight back
against the unlawful rule of the private global banking cartel. Our countries are suffering because of their greed
and ruthless control.
The austerity measures that are being called for by the banks and the elite is bringing chaos onto
the streets of Europe on a scale never before seen, and it won’t be long before America enters the stage. We are
nearing the moment when the globalist conspirators behind the plans for a new world order will openly declare the
end of America. When they do, we shall declare the end of them, and fight for the rebirth of America, and all of
Only an order based on the rule of law and freedom should be accepted. The conspiratorial elite
intend to achieve a new world order through this period of engineered chaos not by law, but by brutal force because
it is the only way to impose a criminal, bank-owned government on a global scale. Despite their rhetoric, these
devilish traitors are not visionary thinkers because corrupt designs for a world state isn’t new in history. Their
arrogance is a cover. They will fail hard. And America will be set free from bondage, along with other nations.
“This is global government, a private corporate global government, taking over every major society
with the same formula. It is fraudulent, and it must be resisted, or we have no future. We cannot allow this new
dark age to begin,” says radio host Alex Jones in a YouTube video message entitled “It’s the Bankers or Us.” Watch
his message, and spread it.
There is a peaceful global revolution against the private global banking cartel, and it can’t be
stopped. Join it and help everyone live free, or die a slave under the empire of debt.
DERIVATIVES : The Debt
The derivatives market is the Las Vegas of the world's financial
super elite, worth anywhere between 2 to 8 quadrillion dollars compared to about 70 trillion dollars of world
GDP. We look at the so-called financial innovations of Wall Street from Collateralized Debt Obligations to
Mortgage Backed Securities.
We also look at US government's complicity; White House and Congress both vested
interests not only as recipients of Wall Street largess in the form of campaign donations but as major players with
criminal asymmetrical information and influence advantages.
24/7 surveillance. Smart grid controls. Carbon rationing. Today we talk to
"Technocracy Rising" author Patrick Wood about the hidden history of technocracy, the dark plan for a
resource-based economy that is being pushed by the Trilateral Commission, the UN, and other globalist institutions
in order to bring about a completely managed, controlled and regulated society.