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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Wall Street’s Think Tank

Click here to access this review by Dominic Alexander of a book authored by Laurence H. Shoup from CounterFire (Britain).

In my opinion Shoup is a leading intellectual and writer on the left, and thus his dissection of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as a primary think tank for the Empire should be read seriously. 

We learn from the book review and other sources that the origins of the CFR stems from the merger of Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), a major British think tank, with a group of intellectuals and diplomats connected with Wall Street in 1921. This bi-product of WWI created a close relationship between the ruling capitalist class of the British Empire with Wall Street capitalists of the US. (Carroll Quigley has written about this in his book The Anglo-American Establishment.) 

Much of the first half of the 20th century in which a multi-polar capitalist world existed, there emerged a contest for world dominance between Germany and Britain. Because Wall Street capitalists had in WWI bet heavily (in the form of loans) on Britain and France in this contest, they were soon able to get the US participation in the war to insure victory and the repayment of their loans (with interest). In WWII this rivalry, their earlier defeat, and bitter memories over the Versailles Treaty activated the deep resentment of the Nazis and provoked them into invading France, the Low Countries, and to launch an air attack on Britain (for less than 4 months) in spite of the fact that many Western capitalists had financially backed the German Nazi party as an instrument that would destroy the Soviet Union, a major heretic in an otherwise capitalist world. In was this same division among the allied capitalist countries that enabled the easy early German victories, and not the overwhelming power of the German military.

The British-American origins of this major "think tank" of the US-led Empire has forged an alliance among Anglo-American capitalists that plays a key role in policies and actions of the Empire that we see today. 
While the CFR has a long history, the focus of this book is its role in the formulation and propagation of neoliberalism as the dominant ideological prescription for governments globally since the 1970s. A highly prominent figure within the CFR, David Rockefeller, who was chairman between 1970 and 1985 (and the single largest financial contributor of the organisation’s entire history), was an early enthusiast for Friedrich von Hayek’s free market dogmas at the heart of neoliberal economics.