Summary of section from the book Gods of Money by William Engdahl
The book Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century by William Engdahl takes a look at some of the major players of Wall Street throughout United States history. Engadhl discusses how elites have used their immense amounts of money and power to exact their influence for the advancement of those in their worldwide circles. Chapter Fourteen, titled Nixon walks away from Bretton Woods, examines the history of the U.S. financial system in the context of the efficacious Rockefeller family. Below is a summary of just a few of the power moves made in the course of this chapter.
Bretton Woods System
In the year 550 BC, the region Lydia (now where Turkey lies), was the first to use gold as currency. It wasn’t until 2,500+ years later that currency, and more broadly financial systems, have taken a multitude of different forms. The U.S. dollar, and historically many other nations’ currencies, was backed by gold in a system called the ‘gold standard’ from the 1870s to 1971. In the years between 1944 and 1971 the gold standard was modified under an arrangement known as the Bretton Woods system adopted by Canada, Western European countries, Australia, Japan, and the United States. Under the agreement, a country’s currency was backed by the US dollar rather than gold, however, the dollar was backed by gold. In reality it was still a gold backed currency.
The Bretton Woods rules laid out and agreed upon by a dozen or so countries enabled the US to take advantage of their huge deficits incurred during the Vietnam War. The domestic deficits effectively devalued the dollar, however, trading partners and signatories of the Bretton Woods agreement were forced to pay the same dollar ratio that existed prior to the devaluation. As long as the U.S. kept the dollar to gold ratio the same, trading partners were getting the short end of the stick.
To fund the huge expenses of the Vietnam War, then president Lyndon Johnson, paid nations in the form of U.S. treasury bonds. Buyers of these bonds were nicknamed ‘Belgian Dentists’ after the stereotype that Belgians and particularly dentists were financially conservative and risk averse. During this time when gold was replaced by the U.S. dollar, countries instead of gold, began to stockpile dollars. As the U.S. spent more and more internationally, the market of dollars abroad began to grow larger than the domestic market for dollars. A new term was coined to describe dollars not circulating domestically, the ‘Eurodollar’.
The Eurodollar Market
It was around this time that some of the major banks in the U.S., mostly all in New York, began to consolidate. By the time the dust settled from the mergers, Rockefeller controlled the two major banks in the city, of which the largest five were subsidiaries. Rockefeller essentially controlled 75% of all banking in the country’s financial supercenter.
With the Eurodollar market booming, Rockefeller banks, such as Chase Manhattan and Citibank, moved abroad to reap the benefits of a non-federally controlled dollar market. London, England became particularly dense with Eurodollars and soon after, branches of American banks who wanted to enjoy the benefits of investments and deposits from characters whom the U.S. government would not approve of. Beirut, Lebanon was quickly identified as a prime location for a Chase Manhattan branch as it offered certain tax benefits and indiscretion desirable to big time criminals such as dictators and drug lords. When Lebanon’s only bank became untrustworthy due to suspicious activity, investors withdrew their money and entrusted it with the only other bank available, Chase Manhattan. The profits from handling such enormous amounts of money were outstanding, and served to only deepen the pockets of Rockefeller and those in his inner circle.
This wild west style of international banking started to crumble in 1971 when president Nixon announced that the U.S. would no longer play by the rules laid out in the Bretton Woods agreement. Nixon’s decision meant that the dollar was no longer backed by gold, and therefore, Eurodollars could no longer be redeemed for gold.
Now that the dollar’s value was set by the market it became majorly devalued as the Eurodollar market exploded by 2500% between the years 1971 and the end of the 1990s. The Bilderberg Group, made up of Rockefeller and 83 other European and American elites, held annual, top-secret meetings during which they discussed how best to hold onto their power. In 1973 during a Bilderberg meeting in Sweden they devised a plan to rescue the weakening dollar and thereby the U.S. economy. Based on a rumored 4x increase in OPEC oil reserves, the group realized that an increase in cost of oil meant an increase in value of the dollar due to oil being traded in U.S. dollars.
Institution of the Bilderberg Policy
What is now known as the ‘Bilderberg Policy’ was put into effect. According to Engdahl, through political backchannels and manipulation, the seemingly organic Yom Kippur war was carefully orchestrated by the Bilderberg group. The more the U.S. funded Israel, the more upset the rulers in Saudi Arabia became, threatening an oil embargo on the U.S. It wasn’t too long after that Saudi Arabia, and the other OPEC countries, instituted the embargo, ensuring an increase in oil prices. While OPEC took the blame for causing oil prices to go up, those in the Bilderberg group sat back and reaped in unimaginable profits.
Increased oil prices also made Rockefeller controlled oil companies able to pursue projects such as those offshore in the North Sea, that otherwise would have bankrupted the companies. It also meant that Rockefeller’s banks, which had already been set up around the world, would see increased oil money deposits. Those same banks would then lend that money to oil importing countries such as those in South America or Africa, to help pay for the more expensive oil. Through the process known as ‘petrodollar recycling’, Rockefeller banks earned record profits.
The new ‘petrodollar system’ where the dollar was propped up by oil prices, was bound to fail and the elites knew a new system was needed. Rockefeller realized the potential in emerging Asian economies and built a new group similar to the Bilderberg group, however, this time it included powerful people from Asia. A little-known member of this group, called the Trilateral Commission, was Jimmy Carter, who soon found himself the next President of the United States of America. Upon inauguration, Carter began to staff the White House with 26 other members of the Trilateral Commission. It was in this new government that Carter, or rather Rockefeller, carried out a plan to re-establish the all-powerful U.S. economy and dollar.
End of an Era
Then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, in combination with what is sometimes called the “Trilateral Government”, called for world-wide financial reform that consisted of less government involvement. Allowing businesses and international trade to govern themselves would provide relief from the recession, and on the other hand extend the reach of the U.S. dollar abroad. Volcker raised interest rates by more than 300% from 1979 to 1982 when he was forced to drop them again due to outside pressure. But during those years bondholders and banks were able to reap windfall profits.
Rockefeller’s plan worked well until the early 1980s when it became too expensive to continue, and he and his group left their major posts in the government, taking a backseat to Reagan.
A lot more goes on behind the scenes than most people realize, and this summary of a section from Engdahl’s I tried to showcase that for all to see. There’s plenty more to learn about the powerful elites, such as Rockefeller, who had and still have a strong influence in our world today. So check out the rest of Gods of Money by William Engdahl.
Engdahl, W. (2011). Gods of money: Wall street and the death of the american century. Progressive Press.