Even now, the collective madness grows.
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.
As the late great U.S. comedian and social commentator extraordinaire George Carlin once said, the table is tilted, the game is rigged. Nowhere is this truer than in today’s Europe, where power is increasingly concentrated in the hands of unelected, unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats. The result is that representative democracy is on its last legs and national sovereignty (that dirty “S” word) could soon be a thing of the past.
Europe’s tilted table is dominated by the five presidents of its main institutions. Politico calls them, the “Five Horsemen of the Euro’s Future.” Or as I call them, the “Five Horsemen of Europe’s Monetary Apocalypse.” At the head of the table – the same negotiating table that is now being used as a platform for browbeating Greece’s upstart leaders into submission (see this image for that table and those sitting around it) – is Mario Draghi, Europe’s central banker-in-chief.
It is no surprise that Draghi enjoys pride of place at the top of the table. As the historian Carroll Quigley documented in his book Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, it is the world’s central bankers who are the true power brokers of today’s increasingly globalized world.
This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury of all other economic groups.
No region of the world has been more exposed to this incremental process of financial centralization than Europe. As President of the ECB, Draghi heads an organization that supervises the continent’s 130 biggest banks and controls the Eurozone’s monetary policy. He has arguably more power than any other public official on the continent, perhaps even including Angela Merkel. Ultimately it’s his institution that can – and quite possibly will – sever Greece’s ELA lifeline, triggering one almighty final run on the nation’s banks, capital controls, and complete disintegration of the economy.
To Draghi’s right is Christine Lagarde, the president of the IMF, an institution that has played a frontline role in just about every financial bailout or crisis of the last 30 years. In every case, from Mexico to Thailand and Greece, it has sacrificed each nation’s middle and lower classes on the altar of bondholders. As the former IMF economist-turned-whistleblower Davison L Budhoo told the New Internationalist, “I dare anyone in the Fund to point to a country and say it is much better off economically today because of a Fund program.”
In the case of Greece the bailout enabled huge financial institutions from France, Germany, the UK and elsewhere to dump — at or close to par — the vast bulk of their Greek “assets” onto unsuspecting European taxpayers. Now much of Greece’s debt is owned by the Troika institutions. If there’s another Greek default in the coming months, it will be European (and quite possibly US) taxpayers — and not European banks — left holding the bag.
Lagarde (I include her as an honorary member of the six horsemen/woman) recently introduced herself to Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis as “the criminal in chief,” in reference to Tsipras’s claim that the IMF bore “criminal responsibility” for the situation in Greece. Lagarde was joking of course.
Alas, Lagarde’s two predecessors, Rodrigo Rato and Dominque Strauss Kahn, are accused of a litany of financial misdemeanors, indiscretions, and outright crimes (Rato) as well as sexual predation (Strauss Kahn). In a fairer world they would both be behind bars. As for Lagarde herself, she is suspected of involvement in the high-profile Bernard Tapie corruption scandal in France, as I reported in the article “Christine Lagarde, the World’s Most Powerful Yes Woman.”
Europe’s Other Horsemen
Also close to the head of Europe’s top table are three more of Europe’s five presidents:
- Jean Claude Juncker, the president of the Commission and former prime-minister of Luxembourg, one of Europe’s largest tax havens (along with Switzerland and the City of London). Juncker has repeatedly warned that the economic and monetary union is irreversible: If Greece leaves, he argues, the “Anglo-Saxons” will try to break the Eurozone apart piece by piece.
- Donald Tusk, the president of the EC Council.
- Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup, chief negotiator in Greece’s latest bailout/default.
Europe’s other “horseman” is Martin Schulz, the table-banging president of the European Parliament. Perhaps he was too busy trying to whip up last-minute support in Parliament for the deeply unpopular EU-US trade treaty TTIP and couldn’t attend the Greek negotiations or didn’t make the picture for other reasons.
The five horsemen (and one horsewoman) have three obvious things in common: first, none of them were elected to the office they currently hold; two, they are all fervent believers in a federalized Europe; and three, they all share a huge power delusion – the belief that might makes right – as well as an acute lack of foresight. As Raúl Ilargi Meijer points out, this can be an extremely dangerous cocktail of human qualities:
These people don’t see ahead, they project ahead. They are under the self-reinforcing collective illusion that the future will bring what they want it to bring. They honestly think they have the power to control history. And control all of Europe. Their vision of the future is one that they look good in.
And that can in turn only possibly bring about mayhem. Or actually, as the Greece crisis tells us, it already has. Something the leadership in Brussels, Paris and Berlin will flatly deny, because, as Paulo Coelho once said: “Collective madness is called sanity”.
What better illustration of collective madness than the creation, in 1999, of the euro, a woefully misconstructed currency union that bound together starkly different European economies in a monetary strait jacket. As experts warned at the time, many of those economies did not belong together, including Greece of course. But those experts were ignored, drowned out by the cacophony of pro-euro voices. It was yet another example of projection trumping foresight.
Even now, the collective madness grows. The more the monetary strait jacket frays at the edges, the tighter the eurocrats try to pull it back together. In a report published last week titled “The Five Presidents: Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union,” the fearsome five call for increased integration at the fiscal, monetary and economic level. Meanwhile efforts are under way to establish continental-wide digital union, energy union, and defense union.
Even as Greece totters, Spain dithers, Britain demands a referendum, France’s Marine Le Pen calls for Fr-exit, and financial pressures continue to build across the continent, the gear is stuck in fifth and the foot remains firmly on the gaspedal. There will be no slowing down and no going back. The madness must go on. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.
Our conniving leaders are once again forced back to the drawing board. Read… Democracy on Hold: President of European Parliament Suspends Vote on Secretive U.S.-EU Trade Pact as Tide Turns Against It
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Wonder how many of the 6 horsemen (Lagarde looks like a man) are ex Government Sacks alum? Mario the leading whoresman is for sure ex-GS. Christine the Mario’s wingman heads the IMF whose modus operandi is to choke the country via severe austerity and heavy handed interventions at the expense of the people under banker subjugation.
IMHO – this world will be ruled by banksters ushering in the 1 global cashless electronic currency, 1 “leader” to rule the earth, and for our “safety” we have to wear an invisible tatoo or a chip in order to buy and sell as well as track our movements. I think these predictions along the horsemen were already made 2000 yrs ago in the Book of Revelation…
Lagarde is a lawyer, worked for Baker & McKenzie, the world’s largest law firm, for a couple of decades, became its first female chairman, and ended up as president of its global strategic committee before Sarkozy called her back to France. No Goldman blood in her veins. At least not directly.
Most people fear digital currencies, but they have an upside the central banker morons haven’t counted on, they can be easily replicated and even subverted. If you think the financial system is fragile now, just wait.
My favorite passage from Game of Thrones, all credit due to George RR Martin:
Where does power reside?
Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.
The true apocalypse is that so many people can believe in 6 people.
Mao came out with several truisms.
It is pointless going to bed early to save on candles when the result is twins.
Religious organizations are poison to the people.
Also translated as (organized religion is Etc).
Ultimately, Political power, comes out of the barrel of a gun.
#3 could be why Wolfs horsemen have had a large hand in shrinking the military establishment in the EU zone, to a pathetic weakling.
Draghi in italian means “dragons”. All this talking about horsemen and dragons reminds me a videogame I used to play when I was a kid: “the dragon’s lair”, like in that game we’ll have to fight the dragons to conquer our freedom back!
This is a classic exhibit demonstrating Ayn Rand’s observation that these subjectivists believe that their MINDS create Reality. They see humanity collectivized into one neck controlled by one leash. And the sad part is that you are expected to willingly put your neck in it. The only power they have is that which the extort from their willing victims. Do not be a victim.
BIS: “… a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were (are) themselves private corporations.”
Here in the USA, our history has been written to a large degree by the forces that control the issuance of the dollar. Since 1913 it has been written by the Federal Reserve which was set up under the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.
1784: Isaac Roosevelt and Alexander Hamilton start the Bank of New York.
1790: Mayer Amschel Rothschild states, “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.”
1791: The Rothschilds get control the USA’s currency through Alexander Hamilton (their agent in Washington’s cabinet) when they set up a central bank called the First Bank of the United States. This is established with a 20 year charter.
1792: The Bank of New York becomes the first corporate stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
1811: The 20 year charter expires and Congress votes against its renewal. Rothschild issues a threat, “Teach those impudent Americans a lesson. Bring them back to colonial status.”
1812: The British declare war on the U. S., and as planned, the cost of war creates debt.
1816: Congress passes another bill permitting yet another Rothschild dominated central bank to control the money supply again. The Second Bank of the United States is created and given, yes you guessed it, a 20 year charter. The British war with the USA end with thousands dead, but the Rothschilds back in control of the dollar.
1833: Andrew Jackson begins to remove the government’s deposits from the Second Bank to banks directed by independent bankers. The Rothschilds contract the money supply and cause a depression.
1835: An assassination attempt on President Jackson fails.
1836: Jackson defeats the Rothschilds, and the Second Bank’s charter expires and is not renewed by Congress.
1861: Lincoln approaches the big banks in New York to obtain loans for the Civil War, but the banks which are largely under Rothschild influence seek 24% to 36% interest on monies loaned. Instead, Lincoln prints debt free currency and informs the public that this is now legal tender for both public and private debts.
1862: By April, $449,383,902 of Lincoln’s debt free money has been printed and circulated. He states, “We gave the people of this republic the greatest blessing they ever had, their own paper money to pay their own debts.”
1865: Lincoln is assassinated.
1881: President Garfield (who lasted 100 days) states two weeks before being assassinated, “Whoever controls the volume of money in our country is absolute master of of all industry and commerce …and when you realize that the entire system is very easily, by one way or another by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate.”
1913: The Fed is born.
1963: On 4 June, JFK signs Executive Order 11110 which returned to the U. S. the power to issue currency without going through the Federal Reserve. 171 days later, JFK is assassinated.
1971: Nixon takes the dollar off the gold standard. The dollar has no guaranteed intrinsic value from time forward.
2015: The national debt is larger than GDP, and will be for decades. The Fed has complete control of the USA; it must keep interest rates near zero which transfers wealth to Wall Street, or let them rise which will destroy the economy … and enrich those holding capital!
For any nation or republic to survive with health and sovereignty, it MUST have and keep control of its money supply!
I pity those poor souls in Athens who’re pawns to the Five Horsemen (and One Horsewoman).
Private equity and new, tech-finance firms are slowly undermining the corner banker. bitcoin…the central bankers. I don’t find these ‘five’ horsemen abhorrent – just incompetent. Best…PJS
A fitting Thomas Jefferson quote: “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money …the banks and corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children wake up homeless …”
From Ben Franklin: “The refusal of King George the Third to allow the Colonies to operate an honest money system which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators was probably the prime cause of the revolution.”
It’s amazing how so many commenters miss the one obvious fact that answers most of the questions!
This financial state of affairs closely follows the old fable about the “Goose that laid the golden eggs”
These greedy fools are killing the goose & when they are done it will be their own end!
These NWO people are power hungry psychopaths who are clever rather then wise! A fatal flaw in clever people is their belief that everyone else is stupid.
The financial template they are working from was developed in the 17th & 18th centuries for a European social system based on the aristocracy’s wealth based on land worked by hordes of peasants! This world no longer exists!There was hardly any affluent middle class at that time & very little in the way of manufactured goods for them to buy.
Today Europe’s prosperity depends on workers,no longer peasants, who are consumers of goods produced by corporations owned by the financial elites.They are destroying their consumer base [middle class/workers] through their Austerity programs.With no consumers they have no customers to buy the products of the companies they are invested in.These companies will fall into deflationary bankruptcy for lack of business! What makes their problems even worse is the fact that their investments are highly leveraged & cannot survive serious deflation!
The EU bankers are guilty of one great mistake,they are destroying the economic base of the EU.,…they are fouling their own base of operations.As was once said “You don’t shit where you eat”.
What the future holds is not the dreams of the bankers & plutocrats.What the future holds is very radical politics & chaos,..perhaps even war.The bankers will be overthrown & in their place will emerge a new generation of Franco’s & Mussolini’s who will ‘make the trains run on time’.
I agree, retired. Order will not arise until chaos approaches totality. This could be a very long time indeed. I keep thinking about a test tube experiment designed to plot the bell curve. Yeast grown in nutrient agar. The rise in population begins slowly, then explodes upward until the food/waste hits 50/50, drops as fast it went up and ended with the death of all the organisms. This is a closed system of course with no choice on the part of cells, but it does resemble our current state of affairs.