We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Monday, August 19, 2013
Congress Has Lost Control of the Big Banks
I had to laugh at this headline because from my reading of history, banksters have always been top dog in the US. It's just that banksters have over the years, and especially under the guidance of neoconservatives and neoliberals, have greatly consolidated their wealth/power to an extent that became obvious to every awake person that they not only made the laws, but were above the laws they made.
From the very beginning of the US after the American Revolution, Alexander Hamilton and war profiteer Robert Morris set about establishing the Bank of North America. From the successful establishment of the Bank of England as a "central bank" in 1694, they clearly saw the wonderful profit opportunities in such a privately owned bank which used the traditional scam of fractional reserve banking, and was authorized to issue a nation's currency backed by the government and all of its instruments of enforcement. However, that bank soon failed because of one missing ingredient--a powerful, centralized government to guarantee and enforce their bank's money as legal tender.
This defect was quickly remedied by the coup that occurred with the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that was supposed to merely reform the Articles of Confederation. Instead they crafted a powerful central government. Then the early banksters made haste to successfully establish the First Bank of the United States which lasted until 1811. Following that bank there was a Second Bank of the United States from 1816 to 1836, and finally the Federal Reserve was established in 1911. All of these central banks along with non-central banks were always heavily involved in major scandals as we see today. Whereas the first two central banks were abolished by government, what is different now is that the government is completely at the mercy of the all-powerful banksters.
Incidentally, the only time that the US government issued its own currency was during the Civil War under Lincoln whose administration issued "greenbacks" to fund the war because the banks demanded exorbitant rates of interest. Lincoln was assassinated after the Civil War and it is likely that his assassination was motivated by this innovation which removed private bankers from using this scam.