On August 6, 2012, I published the article, Daily Bell, show us independent confirmation of your readership numbers, and then we’ll believe you.
As of November 18, 2012, we now have independent confirmation of their readership numbers, thanks to them adopting an “elite methodology” they had previous blasted — Alexa’s website rankings.
The independent confirmation shows conclusively that they lied about their readership numbers.
As of November 18, 2012, their “Certified Site Metrics” show that they only receive an average of 6,717 daily visitors and 14,800 daily pageviews. Projected out over an entire year, that would give them only 2,451,705 annual visitors and 5,402,000 annual pageviews — a far cry from the 17 million page hits they claimed in a single month after their Alexa ranking had tanked below 100,000.
I first blew the whistle on the veracity of the Daily Bell’s claims about its readership numbers in my January 1, 2012 article, I call bollocks on the Daily Bell’s reported monthly page hits.
Despite the mounting evidence against their claims, they continued to perpetuate their unfounded claims, and as recently as November 10, a regular Daily Bell reader tried defending their readership number claims, showing that people are willing to cling to obviously false claims, facts and logic be damned.
I don’t rule out the possibility that they reached 17 million hits in a month through deceptive means like pinging their own servers, but that would be as honest as me claiming I received a call from the President of the United States because I called myself with a Skype ID of “President of the United States.”
My question to the so-called alternative media is, now that it’s been documented that the Daily Bell lied, what will you do about it?
I predict that their readership will continue to go up, and that Lew Rockwell and Alex Jones will continue to link to their articles, thereby calling Lew Rockwell’s and Alex Jones’ own credibility into question, at least on the basis of having such well-funded, highly-rated sites, yet not mustering the basic resources to uncover what I uncovered myself on an unpaid, part-time basis.
Debunking another cornerstone of the Austrian-Keynesian dialectic: do central banks really control the money supply?
Austrian economists have, since Ludwig von Mises, tended to blame central banking for almost all our economic and societal woes. According to the Daily Bell, a noted Austro-libertarian “alternative” media outlet:
“The boom-bust cyclicality of modern economies can be laid directly at the feet of central banking, with its monetary stimulation, which first expands an economy and then contracts it when the expansion has gone too far. Thus, central banking is responsible for the manifold disasters that have overtaken the Western world in the past century at least.
Wars, industrial collapse, recessions and depressions can all be laid at the feet of central banking and the great families that insist on its ongoing implementation.”
In fact, the “End the Fed” mantra has become so prevalent among Libertarians that they do not even bother to verify the Austrian claim that central banks are truly in control of the money supply. To be fair, the Keynesian school, the mainstream-approved dialectical “opposite” of the Austrian school, also promotes this idea, so much that this meme has permeated both mainstream and “alternative” thinking.
However, authentic truthseekers have a duty to inform themselves and seek confirming evidence before accepting the “central banking dogma” at face value, especially because it is a cornerstone of both the Keynesian and Austrian schools, two elite creations.
I should make it clear at the outset that my goal, with this article, is not to defend the institution of central banking. Rather, my aim is to confront the central banking dogma with facts and empirical evidence, in an effort to establish the truth about the control of our money supply.
Endogenous versus exogenous theories of money creation
According to the mainstream neo-Keynesian economic theory, money creation is an “exogenous” phenomenon (in the sense that it is exogenous to the economy), and the broad money supply is a function of the quantity of “government money” (the “monetary base”) and the money multiplier (the inverse of the reserve ratio) which constrains the amount of credit created by commercial banks.
Interestingly, Austrian economists are for the most part in agreement with this statement. While some Austrians denounce the credit expansion generated via fractional-reserve banking, they generally consider “central bank printing” to be the main source of inflation.
On the other hand, several non-mainstream economic schools have suggested an alternative, “endogenous” model of creation, beginning with Knut Wicksell and “renegade” Austrian Joseph Schumpeter. According to this model, loans create deposits and private banks are not reserve-constrained in practice.
The endogenous model, which predicts that central banks have little or no control over the broad money supply, is considered to be a “heterodox” economic theory associated with the post-Keynesian school. Offshoots and associated schools include Chartalism (or Modern Monetary Theory), Circuit theory, and Horizontalism.
A few prominent bankers, no doubt based on their practical experience, publicly rejected the exogenous theory. Already in 1969, Alan Holmes, vice-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, ridiculed the exogenous model, noting that it “suffers from a naive assumption that the banking system only expands loans after the system (or market factors) have put reserves in the banking system.” According to Holmes, “in the real world, banks extend credit, creating deposits in the process, and look for the reserves later… the reserves required to be maintained by the banking system are predetermined by the level of deposits existing two weeks earlier.”
Post-Keynesian economist Basil Moore, associated with Horizontalism, was perhaps the first researcher to provide extensive data suggesting that bank lending was not reserve-constrained, leading him to propose instead that loans “cause” deposits which then lead to increased reserves.
However, the most convincing debunking of the exogenous theory was unexpectedly provided by neoclassical economists Kydland and Prescott, co-winners of the 2004 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. In an article titled “Business Cycles: Real Facts and a Monetary Myth”, published in 1990, they found “no evidence that either the monetary base or M1 leads the cycle, although some economists still believe this monetary myth”. In fact, they observed that “the monetary base lags the cycle slightly” and that the “difference of M2-M1” leads the cycle by “about three quarters”, prompting them to conclude that:
“The fact that the transaction component of real cash balances (M1) moves contemporaneously with the cycle while the much larger nontransaction component (M2) leads the cycle suggests that credit arrangements could play a significant role in future business cycle theory. Introducing money and credit into growth theory in a way that accounts for the cyclical behavior of monetary as well as real aggregates is an important open problem in economics.”
More recently, Carpenter and Demiralp (2010) have shown that “changes in reserves are unrelated to changes in lending, and open market operations do not have a direct impact on lending”, concluding that “the textbook treatment of money in the transmission mechanism can be rejected”.
The tail that wags the dog?
According to the available data, it seems that the endogenous model is a clear winner: the evidence strongly suggests that loans are created first by private banks, and that the central bank then adds reserves to match loan creation. The statistics also show that, contrary to the textbook model, it is private banks, rather than central banks, that create most of the additional purchasing power “out of thin air”. Finally, this newly-created purchasing power is achieved by nothing more than double-entry bookkeeping: credit expansion does not require prior savings. Schumpeter offers a clear summary: “It is always a question, not of transforming purchasing power which already exists in someone’s possession, but of the creation of new purchasing power out of nothing”.
As noted by Moore, central banks have to accommodate the need for reserves if they want to avoid a credit crunch: “once deposits have been created by an act of lending, the central bank must somehow ensure that the required reserves are available at the settlement date. Otherwise the banks, no matter how hard they scramble for funds, could not in the aggregate meet their reserve requirements”. This means that the money multiplier is a poor control mechanism: increasing the amount of reserves will merely decrease the money multiplier ratios (for instance, the M2 to base money ratio).
In fact, this is what has happened since the Federal Reserve embarked on a reckless program of quantitative easing in 2008: the ratio of the broad money supply to the monetary base has decreased tremendously, meaning that in spite of all the “central bank money printing” so virulently denounced by Austrians, the effect on the broad money supply has been surprisingly limited. To put it simply: no matter how much they print, central banks cannot force commercial banks to lend.
Central banks still retain a modicum of control over the money supply through interest rates, but the impact of the official interest rate is mostly limited to the quantity of reserves held by private banks and, indirectly, the relative profitability of privately-created loans. Furthermore, this is mostly a one-sided tool: while high official interest rates may effectively induce private banks to increase their reserves and reduce the quantity of private credit, the recent crisis has shown that even zero or near-zero interest rates have little impact on commercial bank lending.
In conclusion, commercial banks, rather than being simply the “distribution arm” of central banks, are truly the “tail that wags the dog”. The broad money supply, 97% of which corresponds to credit created by commercial banks, is in fact modulated according to the market’s demand for credit rather than by government or central bank intervention. This turns the “money multiplier” mechanism on its head and renders the entire concept of “reserves” irrelevant.
Although Austrians may wish to blame “paper money” for this situation, claiming that this would not happen if we used a commodity-based currency, credit created by commercial banks had already replaced notes as the most important form of money in the 19th century, while the United States were still under the gold standard, according to Congressman Wright Patman’s Primer on Money.
The role of the central banking dogma in the Austrian-Keynesian dialectic
The obvious question to ask, after considering the evidence in favor of the endogenous model, is why both Austrians and mainstream Keynesian economists are still defending the exogenous theory, although it is unsupported by the data. My view is that Keynesianism and Austrianism are two poles of an elite dialectic, focusing mostly on four dualities:
|Government||Big||Small or none|
|Control of the money supply||Central banks||The “free market” (ideally)|
|Causes of recession||Excessive saving||Government intervention|
This is evidently an oversimplification. Nevertheless, I think that it captures the essential dichotomies between these two theories. However, while these dichotomies are important and meaningful, they do not reveal what is obfuscated by both schools. In that context, it is remarkable that both schools want us to believe that central banks play an important role (good or bad), a claim that is debunked by the available evidence. It is likely that the goal of these apparently competing elite memes is to conceal the role of private banks and the importance of commercial credit behind the false “central banks versus free market” dichotomy.
Moreover, although both schools make a sharp distinction between central banks and private banking, the data tend to support the idea that the banking system is one (which as we know is controlled mostly by the same people), with central banks acting simply as a backstop to stabilize the system and justify the legal monopoly on currency. Viewed in that light, proposed reforms to the banking system, such as the BIS raising “capital reserve requirements”, can be seen as mere posturing: a pathetic effort to maintain the illusion that reserves and the “money multiplier” effect actually matter.
Finally, let us not forget that each school ascribes the cause of economic recessions to a phenomenon which is actually endorsed by its “opponent” (Austrians support “excessive saving” while Keynesians favor government intervention), but both ignore what is likely the main reason for our economic problems: usury.
Thanks to Anthony Migchels
Mindless attacks on anti-usury activists have become the Daily Bell’s modus operandi in recent months, so the tenor of this article did not surprise us too much. However, there are some blatant inaccuracies and misstatements that deserve to be pointed out:
‘Gesell’s theories were tried famously at Wörgl in Germany.’
Actually, Wörgl is located in Austria, although it is true that the town is close to the German border. Nevertheless, this is a blatant error, given that a long debate on Wörgl had already taken place on the Daily Bell (see feedbacks), and that bionic mosquito’s articles on Wörgl, endorsed by the Bell, clearly stated that the town was located in Austria. The truth is that this “mistake” was probably intentional: the Bell is reluctant to associate, even implicitly, the words “Wörgl” and “Austria”, to avoid confusing the average naïve Austro-libertarian sympathizer.
More importantly, although the Bell seems to conclude, in agreement with bionic mosquito (hereafter BM), that the Wörgl experiment was a “funny-money miracle fallacy”, neither the Daily Bell nor BM convincingly analyzed the effect of demurrage on velocity. To be fair, BM eventually addressed the issue of velocity in a reply to a comment by Memehunter, but his arguments have been thoroughly debunked by Anthony Migchels (here, here and here).
‘Fabians were an upper crust phenomenon – along with the Bloomsbury Group – that sought to replace Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand with increasingly virulent socialism … the regulatory hand of government, in other words.’
As pointed out by blogger (and Daily Knell commentator) Tao Jonesing, Adam Smith’s original use of the expression “Invisible hand” refers to “a sort of system of social pressure that persuades the wealthy to do, of their own volition, what the society around them requires”, quite unlike the meaning ascribed to this phrase by contemporary Austro-libertarians. Indeed, the first appearance of the “Invisible Hand” is found in Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, and the “socialist” connotations of this sentence are unmistakable:
“The rich…are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society…”
‘The Fabians reportedly published a lot of both Gesell and Douglas’s work, in part because much of what these two were proposing probably couldn’t have come to pass without government compulsion.’
To our knowledge, there is absolutely no evidence that the Fabians published or supported the publication of Gesell’s work. It is likely that this is pure speculation on the part of the Daily Bell, perhaps motivated by Keynes’ endorsement of Gesell’s ideas. Gesell himself wrote in German and in Spanish. The Natural Economic Order, perhaps his most important book,was only translated in English in 1929 (one year before his death), and most of his work has not yet been translated to this day.
Speaking of Fabian connections, the Bell should mention that Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek was himself a member of the Fabian Society and taught at the London School of Economics, an offshoot of the Fabian Society. Besides Hayek, Ludwig von Mises also collaborated with Lord Lionel Robbins, head of the London School of Economics.
‘This is the real reason that proponents of free markets are attacked by followers of Gesell and Douglas.’
Interestingly, Gesell was seen by many as a proponent of free markets and fair competition. Of course, Gesell’s vision of a true “free market” differs considerably from the anarcho-capitalist utopia envisioned by the Daily Bell and other Austro-libertarians.
Here is a relevant quote from Harper’s Magazine:
“If Karl Marx can be called the prophet of socialism, Silvio Gesell can be seen as the prophet of free private economy. But oddly enough, few businessmen have ever heard of Gesell; he has been consistently neglected by orthodox economic theorists and not one nation has put his teachings into practice. Of course there are reasons for this; but nevertheless the day may come when we realise this to have been one of the greatest ironies of world history.
Most people believe in freedom in theory and many have given their lives for it. But in practice, most people seem to seek freedom only for themselves, for their group or class, but still desiring power and control over others, even to the extent of accepting the danger of social unrest, revolution or war. Silvio Gesell wanted freedom for all and like others in the past whose call was directed to mankind as a whole, he found devoted followers in all countries, but no party that fought for his ideas. It is time such a party was founded.”
And here is a paragraph from Wikipedia:
“Taking selfishness into account, Gesell called for free, fair business competition with equal chances for all. This included the removal of all legal and inherited privileges. Everyone should rely only on his personal abilities in order to make a living. In the “natural economic order” which he aimed for, the most talented people would have the highest income, without distortion by interest and rent charges. The economic status of the less talented would also improve, because they would not be forced to pay interest and rent charges. According to Gesell, this would lead to an equalization between the poor and the rich. Further, there would be more means available to help the poor because the higher average income would mean that everyone would have enough money to spare what was necessary to help.”
Finally, unlike Austro-libertarians, who have turned Mises and Murray Rothbard into quasi-deities, we are not strict “followers of Gesell and Douglas”. We do not necessarily agree with everything Gesell wrote but, as explained by Anthony Migchels, the aim is to take the best ideas from each school but to refuse to become enslaved by any single one.
‘The Anglosphere model of Keynesian inflation, high taxes and multinational corporatism is coming under attack as never before. The “alternative media” has emphasized ancient verities of sound money (gold and silver), low taxes and republican forms of government at the local level.’
The problem with Wile’s narrative here is that by advocating for the reduction or destruction of government, the neoliberal ideologues of the Mont Pèlerin Society and their Austro-libertarian associates are paving the way for a global takeover by transnational corporations and globalist concerns. The belief that Austro-libertarianism is a real opposition to the elites is dangerously misguided.
A feedbacker made an interesting comment in reply to this article:
“But how come libertarians have not succeeded in putting their leaders out front in the national stage if its tenets, as you say, are the most ideal for today’s problems?
Much like communism that hastily labels anyone an evil capitalist if he or she does not subscribe to their ways, you also quickly judge anyone who is not a libertarian a “power elite puppet” who’ll simply carry on business and politics as usual. Are you sure a libertarian would not do the same once such an individual occupies the White House? I believe you fell flat on your face when you exhorted libertarians not to vote. That was a big mistake! Why? Because the nation never got the chance to see how many you were had you all voted for that 3rd candidate whose name escapes me.
And about this “currency to be determined by free markets,” ever heard of the Mafia? If only Dr Mises factored in greed, he wouldn’t be all too ecstatic in espousing this free market thing because at the end of the day, a market system devoid of government is like saying Utopia exists. Greed and the urge to control is in man’s DNA, which is also the reason why the power elite came to be in the first place. Someone or some group is definitely bound to create a system that would give them the most advantageous position and limitless amount of resources even in your so-called “free market” society. Nothing man-made – or man-thought – is meant to last.
You want to be really free of the power elite? Go Amish. “
The Daily Bell replied:
”But how come libertarians have not succeeded in putting their leaders out front in the national stage if its tenets, as you say, are the most ideal for today’s problems?”
‘Money Power. Ron Paul was starting to win and he was stopped. Jefferson was a libertarian. The US was founded on Libertarian principles. Money Power is a great distorter. That’s why we value the Internet Reformation.’
Ironically, Ron Paul is himself supported by elite elements, such as Peter Thiel (a member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg), and the Rothschild- and Rockefeller-connected Agora. Moreover, the Bell’s reply does not address the valid points made by the feedbacker regarding the fact that “some group is definitely bound to create a system that would give the most advantageous position and limitless amount of resources even in your so-called “free-market”. The feedbacker also perceptively notes that the Bell is quick to “judge anyone who is not a libertarian a “power elite puppet”, a tendency we also highlighted in our previous Daily Bell review.
The Daily Bell’s analysis of Gesell’s theories and of the Wörgl experiment is marred, as usual, by a litany of errors, misstatements, and dubious interpretations. Importantly, the Bell’s attempt to paint Gesell as an opponent of free markets falls flat on its face: Gesell was an advocate of freedom, but of a very different kind of freedom than the fake neoliberal and neofeudalist “freedom” that is the end goal of anarcho-capitalism. More generally, Austro-libertarians try to sell their ideology as the only real pathway to true freedom, whereas we have shown time and time again that this ideology is just another cleverly disguised elite meme.
Today, we introduce what may become a semi-regular feature here at the Daily Knell: the Daily Bell review, where we comment on the Austro-libertarian propaganda peddled by this well-known “alternative” website.
For our first “Daily Bell review”, we focus on a couple of articles posted in the last week on the Daily Bell, and especially on Detlev Schlichter’s interview and the ensuing comments and discussion that this interview generated.
‘In fact, what the modern system does is create huge flows of fiat money that end up building an entirely artificial system beholden to central bank facilities.’
Actually, 97% of our money supply is created as credit by commercial banks, but that won’t stop the Daily Bell and others from focusing exclusively on “central bank facilities”. In fact, the Daily Bell is rehashing the typical Austro-libertarian cliché: central banks are evil statist institutions creating untold amounts of money, while private banks are simply wonderful financial institutions that would function perfectly in a utopian “free market”, but whose operations are distorted by central banks. Basically, the Daily Bell and their friends forget, or rather do not want to admit, that the banking system is one.
‘A funny thing happened on a way to a “movement.” It was exposed. The alternative media, including The Daily Bell, pointed out the various contradictions, suspicious funding and general nonsensical nature of this manufactured effort. And that has helped sink it, or at least diminish it.’
Similarly, we at the Daily Knell have pointed out the “suspicious funding” and elite connections of most of the Austro-libertarian alternative media, including the Daily Bell. We have also demonstrated that the so-called “Ron Paul revolution” was a manufactured effort for the most part, even though it was branded as a “grassroots movement”.
Schlichter: “The Cobden Centre is an educational charity that promotes honest money, free trade and peace. […]There is no political agenda or political affiliation, which I like.”
No “political agenda”? Are you sure, Mr. Schlichter? Maybe you forgot to mention that the Cobden Centre is part of the Atlas Network, a family of inter-related neoliberal think-tanks that are all ultimately controlled by the Mont Pèlerin Society (see our analysis of the Mont Pèlerin Society). In fact, the Cobden Centre would fit perfectly in the left-hand lower corner of our Libertarian network chart.
Schlichter: “The supply of gold is relatively inelastic, largely outside political control (or anybody else’s control), and gold has a long global tradition as money.”
According to Schlichter, the supply of gold is “largely outside political control or anybody else’s control”.
However, here is what the Daily Bell elves themselves replied to a feedbacker elsewhere:
‘But this is a statement otherwise of absolute lunacy: “Commodity (or quasi-commodity) money has a predetermined supply, that cannot be altered arbitrarily by anyone.” As Rothbard as pointed out, the circulating supply of gold (and silver) – the only supply that counts within the context of monetary utility – can be affected by hoarding and dis-hoarding deponent to value. Others have made the same argument regarding the price sensitivity of mining.’
So who is right, Schlichter or the Bell elves? This is a crucial issue, as one of the purported advantages of commodity money, according to some Austrians, is that its supply cannot be controlled arbitrarily. Austrians can’t have it both ways and suggest that gold is outside political control when it suits them, and then elsewhere claim that this is a statement “of absolute lunacy”.
It is also important to ask ourselves if it is better to have the money supply controlled by gold miners and entities hoarding large quantities of gold (including elite familial dynasties and, in spite of the Bell’s claims, central bank vaults) rather than, wait for it… central banks controlled by the same elite familial dynasties? Granted, it may not be a pure monopoly in the first case, but it would not take long for the Money Power to have a complete corner on gold. Does this sound like a true alternative or more like another phony elite dialectic?
Although the Bell recognizes that Rothschild, Rockefeller, and their allies control the central banks, it disputes the claim that the Rothschild dynasty controls the world’s gold. But the Bell elves, who collaborated with Rothschild associate Lord Rees-Mogg, should know that Rothschild fixed the gold price until 2004 and is likely still in charge behind the scenes.
Schlichter: ‘Injections of new money are always disruptive.’
Schlichter (in response to another question): ‘A growing economy that uses an unchanging quantity of a monetary asset (let’s say a fixed supply of gold) as money will probably experience moderate secular deflation, that’s all, and it is no problem.’
This is the typical Austrian position: a fixed money supply is preferable, even with an expanding population and growing economy. What this means is that Austrians are in favor of a currency whose purchasing power is increasing or at best stable, but never decreasing. This is very favorable to rentiers, moneylenders, and those sitting on large amounts of gold, but not for debtors or for the majority of the workers.
In fact, Austrianism is the perfect economic school for lenders: 1) they want a hard, commodity-based currency (which is why they would prefer the “means of exchange” to be an “asset”), 2) they accept and justify usury and reject as “cranks” all theorists and schools that denounce interest, and 3) they don’t mind deflation at all (Schlichter is quite explicit about this) but they hate inflation as if it’s the worst possible thing that could happen to mankind.
Schlichter: ‘This whole excitement about the anthropologist David Graeber and the idea that he dethroned Adam Smith and, one assumes, by extension all of modern monetary theory is not only nonsense, it provides a classic example of how, without proper theory you misinterpret historical facts. I may not be an anthropologist but David Graeber is certainly no economist. […]So even if the state invented money, the benefits of money accrue directly to everybody who uses it – to this day.’
Clearly, Schlichter is quite uncomfortable with the research of David Graeber and other advocates of the “Credit theory of money”. Some readers may find this puzzling: after all, why should a contemporary Austrian economist worry about some historical findings?
There is an interesting subtext here: Austrians rely heavily on their claims that money evolved out of barter, and that commodity-based forms of money were chosen by the “free market”. Now that Graeber and others have debunked this theory and shown that money likely appeared as a statist (gasp!) institution, Austrians are deeply troubled as the historical credibility of their narrative is thrown into question.
As an aside, given that Ludwig von Mises got his degree in law, Schlichter’s dismissal of Graeber’s economic theories on the basis of his training as an anthropologist implies a dubious double standard. More importantly, since Austrian economists reject the empirical reductionist methodology, as well as any attempts to use mathematical models to quantify economic phenomena, an anthropological approach does not seem so difficult to reconcile with praxeology, catallactics, and other concepts developed by the author of Human Action.
The Schlichter interview also generated a vigorous discussion. We will address some interesting comments by the Daily Bell elves:
Daily Bell (in reply to a feedbacker): ‘We are simply applying an Austrian analysis to Ms. Kennedy’s critique. As she and her husband are long-term UN affiliates and deeply green we tend to distrust her anyway. And Austrian economics tells us it is very difficult if not impossible to quantify an economy with exactitude.’
Margrit Kennedy’s conclusions regarding interest as a primary wealth transfer mechanism are based on the work of German economist Helmut Creutz, whose book The Money Syndrome is now available in English. Now, Mr. Creutz is also “green”, so that is probably enough for the Bell to “distrust” him. However, we believe that, “green” or not, Creutz’s work should be judged on its own merits. In any case, if affiliations are a sufficient criterion to “distrust” someone, one would be well-advised to “distrust” most of the Austro-libertarian propaganda, as our regular readers surely know (see below).
Daily Bell (in reply to a feedbacker): ‘If you can find ANY active, FORMAL modern endorsement of the power elite of a legitimate Austrian anarcho-capitalist, provide it on these pages and we’ll treat it with the seriousness it deserves.’
Oooh, that’s a difficult one… How about the Rockefeller Foundation being Mises’s main sponsor for nineteen years (1926 to 1945)? How about elite member Lord William Rees-Mogg founding the libertarian propaganda behemoth Agora? How about Council on Foreign Relations co-founder Walter Lippmann establishing the neoliberal agenda in 1937 together with Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, and the director of the Bank of International Settlements? Or how about well-connected Jesuit James Sadowsky, the teacher of future “Black Pope” Peter-Hans Kolvenbach and a member of the Mont Pèlerin Society, the grey eminence behind Murray Rothbard and Thomas Woods?
Finally, the discussion included a somewhat surprising analysis of the Gesell-inspired “Wörgl experiment” by blogger (and Austrian sympathizer) bionic mosquito. But given that bionic mosquito has now written two articles on the Wörgl experiment, we will comment on his efforts in a separate article.
Schlichter is basically regurgitating the archetypal nonsense of Austrianism. He can be forgiven: he does not believe in “conspiratorial history”, meaning he’s completely in the dark and using economics as a nice mindgame, instead of a tool to understand reality. Hence his blindness to the obvious benefits of deflation to the monied classes. Like many Austro-libertarians, Schlichter and the Daily Bell focus almost exclusively on the public/private dichotomy, with the State being the source of all evil. They essentially ignore class differences and the fact that the aims and goals of the monied classes, comprising the rentiers, moneylenders, and “old money” families, are often in direct opposition to those of the working population.
Let us be clear: Austrianism, with its insistence on commodity money, its justification of usury, its praise of deflation, and its connection to globalist and transnational interests, is the economic theory of choice of the wealthy. No wonder that David Rockefeller considers himself “a follower of Austrian economics”. But by ignoring “conspirational history” or by reducing everything to the public/private dichotomy, Austro-libertarian propagandists try to pull the wool over our eyes and convince us that their ideology is one of “freedom” and “liberty”. It is no coincidence that the Daily Bell is becoming quicker than ever in dismissing competing viewpoints solely on the basis of their affiliations, while trying to sweep under the carpet the obvious elite connections of many, if not most, Austro-libertarian writers.
After their Alexa.com ranking tanked, the gold bug site the Daily Bell shot the messenger in calling Alexa’s ranking system an “elite methodology.”
Well, look who’s adopted an “elite methodology” now. As of November 8, 2012, none other than the Daily Bell, itself, has adopted one, by installing Alexa’s paid service, “CERTIFIED PRO,” on their servers.
This from the same site that claimed it had received 17 million monthly page views, without providing any evidence whatsoever for such a bold claim, considering other sites with far higher rankings report that amount of traffic in an entire year.
For how much longer will the majority of those in the alternative research community who frequent that site continue to let such claims and contradictions go unchallenged? Is it just entertainment for most people?
Far from being merely a “debate club”, the Mont Pèlerin Society is an elite globalist organization that played a leading role in shaping the economic policies of several countries and in creating numerous think-tanks devoted to propagating the theories of the Chicago and Austrian schools of economics. In this article, Memehunter delves into the origins and goals of the MPS, and analyzes its impact on postwar economic policies.
The globalist origins of the Mont Pèlerin Society: Lippmann, Rappard, and Rockefeller money
Although the birth of the Mont Pèlerin Society (MPS) officially took place in 1947, its conception can be traced back to 1938. Capitalizing on American journalist Walter Lippmann’s visit to Paris, French right-wing philosopher Louis Rougier decided to organize a “Walter Lippmann Colloquium” (WLC) that would build upon the ideas presented in Lippmann’s recent book The Good Society and promote the neoliberal ideology that was threatened by the emergence of fascist and communist regimes in Europe.
Lippmann (1889-1974), who came from an upper-class German-Jewish background, was initially very influenced by the views of the Fabian Society: he was a founder and president of the Harvard Socialist Club as a student. Soon, Lippmann began moving in elite circles. Already in 1917, he was working with “colonel” Edward Mandell House as an advisor to President Woodrow Wilson and participated in drafting the famous “Fourteen Points” speech.
Together with House, Lippmann was one of the founding members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Lippmann, who viewed journalism as “intelligence work”, was very interested in the manipulation of public opinion, as evidenced by his book by that same title published in 1922. His political views apparently changed in the 1930s, and he openly began discussing liberalism as a viable alternative to socialism.
Upon hearing the news about Lippmann’s visit, Rougier, who already in 1934 had received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to investigate totalitarianism in Central Europe, contacted Swiss academic William Rappard to discuss a list of attendees for the colloquium. Rappard, a hardcore globalist, had known both Lippmann and House for several years (he taught at Harvard in 1911-12), and had been instrumental in convincing Wilson to choose Geneva for the seat of the League of Nations in 1920. Rappard’s globalist achievements are celebrated nowadays in the form of the Center William Rappard, the headquarters of the World Trade Organization in Geneva.
Rappard was also the co-founder of the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva. The Institute for International Studies, which hosted several professors and visiting scholars associated with the neoliberal or Austrian ideologies, such as Friedrich von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Michael Heilperin, and Wilhelm Röpke, was almost entirely funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Not surprisingly, Rougier’s list of invitees to the WLC included, in addition to the above-mentioned scholars, the name of Tracy B. Kittredge, a longtime trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation.
As pointed out in The Road from Mont Pèlerin, the list of attendees to the WLC reads like a who’s who of postwar economic and political prominence: we find a future Nobel Prize (Hayek), the first general secretary of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (Robert Marjolin), De Gaulle’s financial adviser (Jacques Rueff), the director of the Bank of International Settlements (Roger Auboin) and its manager (Marcel van Zeeland), Ronald Reagan’s adviser on the Star Wars project (Stephan T. Possony), and a prominent French philosopher (Raymond Aron), to name but a few.
From the Walter Lippmann Colloquium to the Mont Pèlerin Society
Although there were some dissensions between Austrian economists such as Mises and “softer” neoliberals like Lippmann and German economist Alexander Rüstow, WLC participants agreed on an agenda which would provide the cornerstone of the postwar neoliberal propaganda. One of the fundamental tenets of this agenda was that “only the mechanism by which prices are determined by the free market allows the optimal organization of the means of production and leads to the maximal satisfaction of human needs”.
The WLC led to the creation of the “Society for the Renovation of Liberalism”, whose activities were interrupted by the onset of World War II. Nevertheless, the seed was planted, and as soon as the war ended, Hayek, Mises, Röpke and their colleagues devoted their energies to creating a society that would further the neoliberal aims enunciated at the WLC. This led in 1947 to the first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society in Switzerland, a reunion which was sponsored by the Volker Fund, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), and most notably the multinational bank Credit Suisse, which paid 93% of the total conference costs.
The continuity between the WLC and the MPS becomes obvious when one considers than 12 of the 26 participants to the WLC participated in the first meeting of the MPS, and another four eventually joined. Moreover, it was the arch-globalist Rappard, who was at the center of the WLC network, who gave the opening address of the first-ever MPS meeting.
From a modest gathering of 36 attendees in 1947, the MPS grew quickly to include 167 members in 1951, and 500 members by the late 1990s. Nevertheless, the MPS remained an exclusive club whose members are co-opted and must generally first attend as guests.
The impact of the Mont Pèlerin Society on postwar economics and politics
Hayek’s goal was to mold the MPS into an intellectual meeting place which would help disseminate the neoliberal agenda. He was keenly aware that ideas were more powerful in the long run than politics, and he knew that the opinions of scholars carried more weight than those of businessmen and bankers.
However, this should not be construed to mean that the MPS was merely a “debate club”. On the contrary, MPS members often ended up occupying leading positions in their respective countries, and ideas first enunciated behind closed doors at MPS meetings were eventually disseminated to a wider public by think-tanks and journalists, and became official policies a few decades later.
Chancellor Ludwig Erhard (West Germany), President Luigi Einaudi (Italy), Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Arthur Burns, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus (Czech Republic) are among the best-known examples of MPS members who later occupied prominent public positions. In addition, no less than eight MPS members, including Hayek, Milton Friedman, and George Stigler, won Nobel prizes in economics.
In essence, the MPS became the prototype for all the neoliberal think-tanks that proliferated in the decades following WWII. The first of the neoliberal think-tank breeders was Antony Fisher, a successful chicken farmer who was elected to the MPS in 1954. The following year, he founded the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London and was soon joined by Ralph Harris, who eventually became president of the MPS from 1982 to 1984. Over the ensuing decades, the IEA spawned a dozen of think-tanks (including the Atlas network), that mostly function as fronts for the MPS.
Harris candidly admitted in a 1996 interview that “the Mont Pèlerin Society created the IEA, which comes to be called ‘Thatcher’s think-tank,’ but we were running long before Thatcher. We weren’t Thatcherites, but she was an ‘IEA-ite.’ ” Harris added that MPS founder Hayek was dubbed a “Companion of Honor” of the British Empire by the Queen, one of only 60 to ever receive that title. Following Thatcher’s election, Harris himself became Lord Harris of High Cross, while Fisher was knighted.
Edwin Feulner, MPS president (1996-1998) and treasurer (2004-2006), emulated Fisher on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and co-founded the Heritage Foundation in 1973. The impact of the neoliberal wave was similarly powerful across the pond: Of 76 economic advisers on Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign staff, 22 were MPS members. In Chile, “free-market” policies inspired by the Chicago school of economics and supported by Friedman and Hayek were implemented soon after Pinochet took power. In fact, according to Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind, “Hayek admired Pinochet’s Chile so much that he decided to hold a meeting of his Mont Pèlerin Society in Viña del Mar, the seaside resort where the coup against Allende was planned.”
Mont Pèlerin Society, Black Nobility, Bilderberg, and Pan-Europa: all in it together
The MPS was also, from its inception, associated with elite European aristocrats. Thus, Max von Thurn und Taxis, the head of an ancient and extremely wealthy family, as well as Otto von Habsburg, putative heir to the throne of Austria, were both influential members of the MPS. Von Thurn even served as the general secretary of the MPS from 1976 to 1988. This association between neoliberals and members of the Black nobility lends credence to the suspicion that the MPS ultimately seeks to promote a neo-feudalist society under the guise of the “free market” utopia.
Moreover, MPS members often took part in Bilderberg meetings, a clear indication of high-level connections between neoliberal thinkers and globalist policymakers: Frenchmen Aron, Rueff, and Marjolin attended multiple annual meetings in the 1950s and 60s, whilst economist Heilperin was invited twice in the 1950s.
Finally, several MPS members had close ties to pan-European organizations. Besides Otto von Habsburg, who was president of the Pan-Europa Movement from 1973 until 2004, the best example is probably Marjolin, recipient of a Rockefeller scholarship in 1931, whose name is associated with the 1962 “Marjolin Memorandum”, the official starting point of monetary integration in Europe.
The relationship between the Mont Pèlerin Society and Austrian economics
Austrian sympathizers, when confronted with the apparent paradox of Hayek’s and especially Mises’ prominent role in an elitist organization such as the MPS, often emphasize the distinctions between the Chicago and Austrian schools. They also conclude from the oft-told anecdote that Mises stormed out of the initial MPS meeting shouting “You’re all a bunch of socialists” that he quickly became disenchanted with the MPS.
To be sure, there were two antagonistic factions in the MPS, identified by longtime MPS secretary general Albert Hunold as “the laissez-faire liberals… and the neoliberals,” and Mises was not alone in complaining about the collectivist tendencies of some of his colleagues. A group of American businessmen led by Jasper Crane of the DuPont company, along with the Volker Fund and the FEE, wanted Mises and his “hardcore” Austrian followers to play a larger role in the MPS.
However, after being urged by Harold Luhnow (director of the Volker Fund) to attend the second MPS meeting in 1949, Mises seems to have gotten over his initial disappointment, as he became an active participant to MPS meetings until 1965 (when he was 84 years old), even giving a keynote in 1958 at Princeton.
In spite of his sometimes tense relationship with the neoliberal wing, there is no doubt that Mises himself was a globalist. Indeed, he wrote in 1927 that “the [classical] liberal therefore demands that the political organization of society be extended until it reaches its culmination in a world state that unites all nations on an equal basis,” even going so far as to hope that “a world superstate really deserving of the name may someday be able to develop that would be capable of assuring the nations the peace that they require”. Later, Mises worked on currency issues for the Pan-Europa movement, founded by his fellow Austrian exile Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi.
Following Mises, several prominent Austrian economists have been active in MPS circles, including Murray Rothbard, Israel Kirzner, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Jesus Huerta de Soto, and Thomas Di Lorenzo. In addition, George Roche III and Larry Arnn, the last two presidents of Hillsdale College, a conservative institution which houses Mises’ personal library, were MPS members.
In a blatant display of the close links between the MPS, the globalist elites, and the most anti-statist factions of the Austro-libertarian movement, Otto von Habsburg, an active MPS member and noted pan-Europeanist whom Mises served as economic advisor, was the first-ever winner (in 1999) of the $10,000 Schlarbaum Prize, awarded by the Ludwig von Mises Institute “to a public intellectual or distinguished scholar” for “lifetime defense of liberty”.
From its earliest origins to its contemporary incarnation, the MPS has served globalist interests. Despite its appearances as a mere intellectual meeting place, the MPS became the ultimate neoliberal Trojan horse, influencing the public opinion and infiltrating political movements worldwide, with a pronounced impact on economic policies. Although there have been tensions between the “laissez-faire” and “true neoliberal” wings of the MPS, Austro-libertarian economists in the Mises/Rothbard mold have always found a home in the MPS, indicating the close ties between the “free-market” anti-statist ideology and the “one-world” agenda of the transnational plutarchy.
Libertarian network chart:
We have updated our chart depicting the networks orchestrating the Libertarian propaganda.
By all appearances, Thomas Woods Jr., a noted promoter of the “Catholic” strand of Austrian economics, is being groomed as the heir apparent to Lew Rockwell in the Libertarian propaganda network. Given Woods’ increasing role and visibility, his background and ideas deserve to be explored further, and the contradictions between the Catholic doctrine and Austrian economics need to be exposed.
As documented in The “Catholic” Arm of Libertarianism, the Jesuits’ involvement in the Libertarian-Communist false dialectic is nothing new, and has in fact been ongoing for several centuries. In fact, according to Mises Institute’s founder Lew Rockwell, the Spanish Jesuits of the University of Salamanca were the founders of modern “free-market” thinking. Not surprisingly, Jesuits are also behind several of the Austrian think-tanks and propaganda outlets that have sprouted all over America in the last century.
While the Jesuits’ involvement with education and intellectual life may be laudable in some respects, many readers will no doubt be aware that the Jesuits occupy a significant position in the globalist elite’s hierarchy, and that their ideologies and goals often differ substantially from those associated with the traditional Catholic doctrine. In fact, as I wrote in The “Catholic” Arm of Libertarianism, Jesuits are likely part of a long-term Illuminati plot to “infiltrate and subvert Catholicism from within”.
Clearly, Thomas Woods Jr. is being positioned to slowly take over Rockwell and continue this dubious tradition of “Catholic” Austrian economics. In fact, Woods has devoted a considerable part of his output to justifying the “free market” from a “Catholic” perspective (see for instance The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy).
However, there are apparently indissoluble differences between the Catholic and Austrian perspectives, and Woods, despite his scholarship and clever arguments, has not been able to avoid them entirely. In this article, we will first expose Woods’ connections to the Jesuit hierarchy as well as to other “controlled opposition” movements, before discussing some of the contradictions inherent in his intellectual positions.
Father James Sadowsky, SJ: the éminence grise behind Rothbard and Woods
The term “éminence grise” (grey eminence) was first used to describe a French monk who advised Cardinal Richelieu behind the scenes. The tradition continues today with Jesuit priests discreetly advising and guiding academics who are then charged of disseminating their ideas to an unsuspecting public.
One such grey eminence was Father James Sadowsky (1923-2012), who taught at Fordham University for 38 years. Sadowsky, a co-president of the International Philosophy Quarterly and a member of the Mont Pèlerin Society, was no run-of-the-mill Jesuit: while he was teaching in Beirut (prior to his appointment at Fordham), one of his students was Peter-Hans Kolvenbach who later became the General Superior of the Jesuits and, according to some alternative researchers, one of the most powerful men on the planet.
Sadowsky, described as an “anarcho-catholic priest”, was a close friend of Murray Rothbard from the early 1960s until Rothbard’s death. While we are told that Sadowsky and Rothbard mutually influenced each other and did not always agree on everything, it is reasonable to suspect that Sadowsky was behind many of Rothbard’s ideas, given what we know of the Jesuits’ modus operandi.
Sadowsky likely exerted a major influence on Woods as well: Woods cited Sadowsky’s writings several times in The Church and the Market and openly sought to acknowledge Sadowsky’s contribution to his book.
Besides the questionable Jesuit infiltration of the Catholic doctrine, it is important to document Woods’ and Rothbard’s connections with Sadowsky as this corroborates the evidence already presented on this blog and elsewhere regarding the Jesuits’ centuries-old campaign for the acceptance of usury in Catholic countries, as well as their unremitting role in fanning the flames of the Libertarian-Communist dialectic.
Woods’ ties to the John Birch Society
I have already shown how the John Birch Society was part of an operation orchestrated by Rothschild and Rockefeller operatives to channel the anti-Communist movement into an essentially harmless organization entirely under the control of the Money Power elites. As such, members and affiliates of the John Birch Society can generally be regarded as gatekeepers who may be telling the truth on many topics, but who generally remain silent on Freemasonry, Zionism, or the Jesuits’ involvement in the elites’ plans for a global takeover. A notable example is G. Edward Griffin.
Unlike Griffin, Woods does not seem to be openly affiliated with the JBS, so we do not know whether he is a bona fide member of the organization (perhaps some better-informed readers can confirm this). However, we know that Woods has given numerous speeches at JBS-sponsored conventions, and videos of his speeches and interviews are available on the JBS website. This strongly suggests that, knowingly or not, Woods is associated with an organization that fits the “controlled opposition” label to a T.
Woods’ cognitive dissonances on government, usury, and the Church
Can one denounce government and “statism” and at the same time be a faithful Christian? Although we are not necessarily in favor of “big government” here at the Daily Knell, we also do not claim to strictly follow religious edicts. However, the following passage from Paul’s Letter to the Romans is a seemingly insoluble dilemma for any minarchist or anarcho-capitalist Libertarian who claims to follow the Bible:
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. […] For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due to them – taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due.”
As noted by this blogger, “it seems very difficult to reconcile Christianity with any kind of anti-state ideology, left or right”.
Usury is another fundamental point of dissent between the Catholic and Austrian doctrines. As I pointed out in my earlier article, “Woods has struggled mightily to justify the Austrian School’s endorsement of usury which goes against authentic Catholic teachings”. In fact, Woods resorted to quoting a Jesuit, Leonard Lessius (1554-1623), who “played a significant role in eroding the interest prohibition”, to wiggle himself out of this uncomfortable position.
The plain truth is that it is impossible to reconcile any form of usury with the Catholic doctrine, as explained in this remarkable article by Anthony Santelli, a former student in economics at George Mason University who reverted to Catholicism and came to the conclusion that “all along it has been usury that lies at the root of many social ills.”
Finally, it is difficult to understand how Woods, as a practicing Catholic, can praise the work of some of his Austrian predecessors such as Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises. Indeed, Rothbard wrote at length about the Church’s hatred of liberalism, while the atheist Mises claimed that Christianity had become a “religion of hatred”. Here, it may be relevant to note that both Woods and his advisor Sadowsky are converts: Sadowsky was originally an Anglican, whereas Woods was a Lutheran.
Like his mentor Rockwell, Woods’ role is to convince Catholics, and more generally “right-wing” traditionalist Christians, that usury, along with the “free-market” anarcho-capitalist utopia of Austrian economics and its Satanic core, are compatible with their religious beliefs. This, of course, is a lie, as many writers have shown. In his attempts to defile Christian precepts with Libertarian propaganda, while refusing to address the true causes of our social and economic problems, Woods dutifully fulfills his role as a Jesuit-controlled gatekeeper.
Libertarian network chart:
See our new page where we will periodically update our chart depicting the networks orchestrating the Libertarian propaganda. Recommended for new readers or if you need to refresh your memory about the names and roles of the main Libertarian propagandists and their elite handlers.