This is in response to your critical post on LewRockwell.com of October 8, 2010.
First, I would like to thank you for bringing attention to these issues. I’ve done a detailed response to your itemized list of 31 errata, here. I found a few that were useful; thanks for those. I’ll incorporate them in my next revision. I will take out the challenged quotes, not just qualify them (as done now), since they’re so controversial. It won’t change my argument, which isn’t based on what famous people said or didn’t say.
As Eric Blair noted on his excellent post on the Republic Broadcasting website here, “It finally appears that after nearly 100 years of absolute economic control and near complete debasement of the dollar, the Fed’s reign may be coming to an end.” I don’t think you are appreciating that I helped with that. I brought attention to the subject by being an engaging writer, something I have worked very hard at. I loved the comment someone posted on my blog, that he wished Ron Paul’s short “End the Fed” book had ended sooner and that my long book had gone on longer. I was actually afraid I was spending TOO much time on details; my fear was that the whole economy would collapse before I got my book out.
An excellent defense and discussion of the larger issues, written by a blogger unfamiliar to me, is posted here.
My main focus is the need for monetary reform, which can achieve these important goals, among others –
– shift the money power from the creation of a national “debt supply” through parasitic bank loans – a power now held chiefly by Wall Street — to a non-debt money supply created as a public service, operated by and for the benefit of the people.
– provide public benefits including the elimination of the national debt and its interest payment of ~$400 billion/year.
– make the government the employer of last resort, creating full employment and falling prices due to wise investment of this labor (infrastructure, education, etc.).
– create credit at cost as a funding mechanism for public services/goods, with state-level credit creation an important option.
– provide total benefits of at least a trillion dollars a year that we can quickly calculate, and probably more.
Now to your piece. This is my favorite part:
“As of early October, 2010, a Google search for ‘Ellen Brown’ and ‘Web of Debt’ generated close to 600,000 hits. This is huge.”
You have to admit that’s not bad for a self-published author without staff or funding – no foundation backing me, and whether you believe it or not, no political agenda. As Mike Whitney says, I’m just a writer in search of a good subject. People do read my articles and I have a following, enough of one by now that I’ve become a sort of lightning rod for information. I’m in a gateway position between the internet culture and the mainstream media, and I work very hard at being a good, clear writer, throwing light on obscure subjects.
Why do Tea Partiers read my articles? Because I’m strongly for States’ Rights, People Power, Going Local. I don’t just talk about them; I have a viable plan for getting there.
For the last two weeks I’ve been focusing on ForeclosureGate (see my latest two articles, posted on Truthout here and Huffington Post here). That subject is more compelling to me at the moment than the validity of some quotes from the 19th century, but I’ll take some time out to address that issue briefly.
The fascism you say I endorse is actually what I’m fighting to break up. We have fascism today: government control by massive corporations. How are you going to wrest Congress from the grip of Wall Street? Here’s my plan: (1) break up the “too big to fail” banks by freezing foreclosures – ForeclosureGate – something that is happening right now; and (2) eliminate the “too big to fail” mystique by setting up an alternative banking system, one run by the people for the people, involving a partnership of publicly-owned banks and local community banks. (I have many articles on that on my website here, and my public-banking google group has a comprehensive website on it here.)
I don’t have time to respond to all your points now, although I may update this post later. Here are some things I wanted to address to start.
First, since you’ve made so much of my Hitler example and I’ve taken so much grief over it, I’ve quit using it to illustrate my point, even though the transformation of Germany’s absolutely bankrupt economy into one powerful enough to take on the rest of the world in World War II was pretty dramatic. I now turn to less controversial examples of countries that pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps simply by drawing on the credit power of the nation. My favorite one right at the moment is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, but another was featured on NPR just this week. The clip, called “How Fake Money Saved Brazil,” describes how Brazil transformed a collapsed economy and money supply into the nation’s present state of vibrant health, just by issuing a new currency.
On Hitler’s remarkable popular following, I was simply reporting. He DID have a remarkable following in the early thirties, and they were not marching in lockstep for no reason. It was because he had turned an utterly destitute economy around; and he did it basically by putting people back to work, paid for with a new currency backed by nothing but the credit of the government and the people. Your argument that this necessarily leads to fascism is belied by history. It did not lead to fascism when employed in Australia in the first half of the 20th century, or in New Zealand or Canada during that period, or in Guernsey for the past 200 years, or in the American colonies, or in this recent case of Brazil.
On errata in Web of Debt, the book is in its fourth (2010) edition, and it has actually had a few updates in between those four. I collect errata as people point them out to me, and I correct them in the updates if I think they have merit. I’ve said in an author’s note at the beginning that some quotes have turned out to be apocryphal, and where I’ve left them in although questionable, I’ve qualified them with language such as “attributed to.” They are left in, not because some famous person made the statement, but because they make a point. For example: you state in your list that I have “a bogus quote from John Adams on debt as a means of conquest.” Here is what my current text says:
“President John Adams is quoted as saying, ‘There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.’”
He IS quoted as saying that, by many people; and whether he said it or someone else said it really makes no difference. It is a true and quite revealing insight, which worked at that point in my chapter to carry my story forward. I’m trying to make economics interesting for the busy housewife, who isn’t going to spend the time unless I can make it a page turner.
My favorite early review was by someone at the American Free Press, who said Web of Debt was “a book as thrilling as any Tom Clancy novel, except that this book is true.” I loved that! That’s what I was trying to do, turn economics into a Tom Clancy novel. Quotes help with that. I didn’t make them up; I gleaned them from six years of exhaustive research and writing.
Much of that time was spent on improving my prose; I worked and reworked the text to make it into a page turner, which it evidently was, judging by the response. Somebody once said, “Works of art are never finished, just relinquished to the world,” and I only relinquished this one when the two Bear Stearns hedge funds suddenly collapsed in June 2007. (You were off by a year on my publication date.) The book was in print two weeks after that, and it discussed that watershed event in the text. I wasn’t really done fact-checking, but the shoe had dropped and it was time to march. In one of the books that emboldened me to try self-publishing by print-on-demand, I read that you didn’t have to worry too much about errors, because your readers would point them out to you and they could be corrected just by submitting a new pdf (and paying a fee); which is what I have done, perhaps eight times now.
Meanwhile, ForeclosureGate beckons to all of us in the freedom community, and I’m disappointed to read that you somehow see me as the opposition. I think we agree on the source of the problem– a fatally flawed banking system — and the solutions will work themselves out over time. But first we need to get into a position where we can try out our solutions, and for that we need to join forces. As Benjamin Franklin said (I haven’t fact-checked this), “We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.” I like many of your writings, and I quoted you favorably in Web of Debt. Wouldn’t you rather be fighting the real enemy– a parasitic financial system that is devouring economies globally?
Additional thoughts (10-21-10):
On “fascism,” the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it as “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” Germany under Hitler was fascist, but it was not because he broke free of the international banking cartel by printing the nation’s own money. Australia and New Zealand did the same thing in the first half of the twentieth century, and neither was called fascist. The American colonists originated that solution and were not called fascist. I read somewhere, long ago, that Hitler got addicted to amphetamines in his later years, something that could well have driven him to the dark side.
10-28-10, response to your Historical Response 11 posted today:
The relevant change was not “notoriously.” It was “is quoted as saying”, which is quite true, as your 40,000 hits attest. You have no place on your site to respond, which is why I don’t. You’re making your readers search my site for a response, if they have that much interest, which I doubt.