When I wrote my last Manifesto blog, I said that I would tell you more about the background to my thoughts on corporate power and the banking system – part of the development of Sir Morgan Mammon and the Pirate. Sometimes, I’ll expand my Manifesto blog like this instead of just going through it line by line. I think it’s terribly interesting!
The American Constitution = an economic document to make the rich richer. It was based on the belief that the private rights of property come before government.
During the Revolutionary War, the soldiers had been paid in IOUs which were practically worthless after the war because nobody believed they would be honoured. The American government decided to redeem them at par. Speculators were told of this before the soldiers. There was an orgy of corruption as shrewd businessmen ripped off the old soldiers and bought up the IOUs very cheaply.
The prime mover in these transactions was Alexander Hamilton one of the ablest and most important men in history. There is no evidence that he was personally corrupt, indeed he left office a poor man. He came from poverty but despised democracy and greatly admired England for its aristocracy. He deliberately promoted corruption which he believed was necessary to give the rich the influence they deserved. Through promoting corruption, he created a plutocracy richer than any aristocracy or monarch had ever been. America became home of the millionaire while a male school teacher earned $15 a month, teachers $1.25 a week.
Hamilton was not alone in his beliefs. “Give me control of a nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.” So said Mayer Amschel Rothschild, founder of the Rothschild international Banking Dynasty in 1790.
This attitude dominated 19th century American economic philosophy - and paved the way for men like Jay Gould, Pierpont Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and JD Rockefeller in the ‘Gilded Age’ (from after the Civil War until the early 20th century).
And now for some of the personalities who shaped and dominated the Gilded Age. We start with Jay Gould, a thug – and a railroad developer and speculator who became the 9th richest man in American history. He was involved in the largest railway financial operations in the United States from 1868-1888. He threatened and bribed legislators to do what he wanted. During a massive railway strike, he hired strike breakers. According to labour unionists, he said at the time, “I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half.”
Gould in turn, fell prey to the robber baron Pierpont Morgan. During the Civil War he sold defective guns to the Union army at inflated prices, and he installed a telegraph line in his office so he could buy and sell gold based on battle news from the front. After the war, he brought the same shrewd instinct to his goal of monopolizing the railroads and established a banking empire which still exists today.
Rockefeller is important, not through his ideas, which were those of his contemporaries, but through his purely practical grasp of the type of organization that would enable him to grow rich. By the mid-1880s, JD Rockefeller was refining and transporting 90% of America’s oil – establishing a monopoly over the entire industry. He had done a deal with the railways to transport his oil at half the price of his competitors. This was good for the railways because once he achieved his monopoly their overheads were drastically reduced. His methods were soon copied by other industrialists who wished to create monopolies.
As soon as he had the contracts with the railways, Rockefeller set to work on other refineries, offering to buy them up at his own valuation. Rockefeller very gently, very kindly, as if deeply concerned with their welfare, would strongly advise them to sell. “Take Standard Oil stock and your family will never know any want,” he would say; and if that failed, he would add, mysteriously: I have ways of making money you know nothing about.” One by one they yielded in fascinated terror.
Andrew Carnegie, the most important person in the development of the steel industry, could be as deliberate as Rockefeller in crushing his competitors—and more aggressive in crushing his workers’ attempt to unionize. After first supporting the right of workers to unionize, he gave his plant manager a free hand in beating back the new American Association of Iron and Steel Workers when the union tried to organize his steel plant outside Pittsburgh. He was a “republican in politics but a monarchist in business”.
At the end of 1900, Morgan bought out Carnegie for $400,000,000. “Mr Carnegie,” he said, “I want to congratulate you on being the richest man in the world.” Carnegie was an exception who then spent the last 20 years of his life giving his money away.
The whole foundation of what happened in the 20th century was laid down in the 19th century by these American monopolies. They are the same people.
Some have called the Gilded Age a time of great progress. Now look at the Manifesto:
Pirate. Leave everything to me. I plunder for you. Stick with me and you might get a share of the bounty. My name is Progress.
AR. But you have stolen imagination. There is hardly anyone left now who believes in a better world. What is the future of unlimited profit in a finite world?
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