Will We Have to Wait for a 21st Century Peasants’ Revolt Before Seeing Any Real Change?

George Washington's picture

While everyone from Tony Blair to Nouriel Roubini is debating whether or not bankers should be hung, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg provide some fascinating historical context.

The journal's Jason Zweig reports:

Financial criminals throughout history have been beaten, tortured and even put to death, with little evidence that severe punishments have consistently deterred people from misconduct that could make them rich.


The history of drastic punishment for financial crimes may be nearly as old as wealth itself.


The Code of Hammurabi, more than 3,700 years ago, stipulated that any Mesopotamian who violated the terms of a financial contract – including the futures contracts that were commonly used in commodities trading in Babylon – “shall be put to death as a thief.” The severe penalty doesn’t seem to have eradicated such cheating, however.


In medieval Catalonia, a banker who went bust wasn’t merely humiliated by town criers who declaimed his failure in public squares throughout the land; he had to live on nothing but bread and water until he paid off his depositors in full. If, after a year, he was unable to repay, he would be executed – as in the case of banker Francesch Castello, who was beheaded in 1360. Bankers who lied about their books could also be subject to the death penalty.


In Florence during the Renaissance, the Arte del Cambio – the guild of mercantile money-changers who facilitated the city’s international trade – made the cheating of clients punishable by torture. Rule 70 of the guild’s statutes stipulated that any member caught in unethical conduct could be disciplined on the rack “or other corrective instruments” at the headquarters of the guild.


But financial crimes weren’t merely punished; they were stigmatized. Dante’s Inferno is populated largely with financial sinners, each category with its own distinctive punishment: misers who roll giant weights pointlessly back and forth with their chests, thieves festooned with snakes and lizards, usurers draped with purses they can’t reach, even forecasters whose heads are wrenched around backward to symbolize their inability to see what is in front of them.


Counterfeiting and forgery, as the historian Marvin Becker noted in 1976, “were much less prevalent in Florence during the second half of the fourteenth century than in Tuscany during the twentieth century” and “the bankruptcy rate stood at approximately one-half [the modern rate].”


In England, counterfeiting was punishable by death starting in the 14th century, and altering the coinage was declared a form of high treason by 1562.


In the 17th century, the British state cracked down ferociously on counterfeiters and “coin-clippers” (who snipped shards of metal off coins, yielding scraps they could later melt down or resell). The offenders were thrown into London’s notorious Newgate prison. The lucky ones, after being dragged on planks through sewage-filled streets, were hanged. Others were smeared with tar from head to toe, tied or shackled to a stake, and then burned to death.


The British government was so determined to stamp out these financial crimes that it put Sir Isaac Newton on the case. Appointed as warden of the Royal Mint in 1696, Newton promptly began uncovering those who violated the financial laws of the nation with the same passion he brought to discovering the physical laws of the universe.


The great scientist was tireless and merciless. Newton went undercover, donning disguises to prowl through prisons, taverns and other dens of iniquity in search of financial fraud. He had suspects brought to the Mint, often by force, and interrogated them himself. In a year and a half, says historian Carl Wennerlind, Newton grilled 200 suspects, “employing means that sometimes bordered on torture.”


When one counterfeiter begged Newton to save him from the gallows – “O dear Sr no body can save me but you O God my God I shall be murderd unless you save me O I hope God will move your heart with mercy and pitty to do this thing for me” – Newton coldly refused.


The counterfeiter was hanged two weeks later.


Until at least the early 19th century, it remained commonplace for counterfeiters and forgers to be put to death; between 1792 and 1829, for example, notes Wennerlind, 618 people were convicted of counterfeiting British paper currency, and most of them were hanged. Many were women.

Bloomberg provides details of one "peasant revolt" stemming from a Libor-like currency manipulation scheme:

During the “Good Parliament” of 1376, public discontent over [manipulation of currency exchange rates similar to the current Libor scandal] came to a head. The Commons, represented by the speaker, Peter de la Mare, accused leading members of the royal court of abusing their position to profit from public funds.

A particular target was the London financier Richard Lyons ....

Initially the government bowed to public pressure. Lyons was imprisoned in the Tower of London and his properties and wealth were confiscated. Other leading courtiers implicated in these abuses, such as Latimer and the king’s mistress, Alice Perrers, were banished from court.


Once parliament had dissolved and the public outcry had died down, however, the king’s eldest son, John of Gaunt, acted to reverse the verdicts of the Good Parliament. Latimer and Perrers soon reappeared at the king’s side and Lyons was released from the Tower and recovered his wealth, while the “whistleblower” de la Mare was thrown in jail. The government also sought to appease the wealthy knights and merchants that dominated parliament by imposing a new, regressive form of taxation, a poll tax paid by everyone rather than a tax levied on goods. This effectively passed the burden of royal finance down to the peasantry.


It seemed as though everything had returned to business as normal and Lyons appeared to have gotten away with it. In 1381, however, simmering discontent over continuing suspicions of government corruption and the poll tax contributed to a massive popular uprising, the Peasants’ Revolt, during which leading government ministers, including Simon of Sudbury (the chancellor and archbishop of Canterbury) and Robert Hales (the treasurer) were executed by the rebels. This time, Lyons did not escape; he was singled out, dragged from his house and beheaded in the street.

If the King had followed the rule of law - and kept Lyons and the boys in jail - everything would have calmed down. The monarchy - just like the present-day government - chose to ignore the rule of law, and protect the thieves and punish the whistleblowers.

We have argued for years that the best way to avoid violence is to reinstate the rule of law.

The Bloomberg article - written by a professor of the history of finance and a professor of finance at the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading - ends on a similar note:

The question now is whether public outrage at the Libor scandal and other financial misdeeds will lead to fundamental reforms of the financial sector -- such as the separation of retail and investment banking or legislation to regulate the “bonus culture” -- or just more cosmetic changes that fail to address the structural issues.


Will we have to wait for a 21st century peasants’ revolt before seeing any real change?

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Widowmaker's picture

Washington, you're not fighting people, you're fighting incorporated ghosts -- no one ever sees a thing.

Perhaps they will see the James Holmes' of the world coming to redefine record bonuses.

"Goldman Sachs and College America ruin your life?  Mine too!"

Waterfallsparkles's picture

The only thing that will cause Revolt will be to stop issuing Welfare Checks.  That would be one of the biggest Revolts ever.

lakecity55's picture

Powerful people, powerful plans....

The best plans by mice and men are often gone astray.

They are not invincible.

They require Participation.

When Indians were not permitted to have unofficial salt, Gandhi went to the sea and collected natural salt.

You retake your republic 1 step at a time.

Break from the Matrix; then awaken another Sleeper.

cynicalskeptic's picture

Problem is that pitchforks and torches are ill suited to combat against militarized police equipped with tanks, predator drones and ever powerful surveillance.

Peasaants could - on rare occasions - prevail against the local nobility by strength of numbers.  But if the rest of the nobility felt threatened by a few local peasants revolting against a particularly egregious local lord, they'd band together and put the revolt down.      Now numbers alone don;t work.  A VERY few - can control far larger groups.   The technological advantage is hughe unless the masses are willing to endure being pounded back to medieval times (as in Iraq and Afghanistan).  Not sure Americans are willing to endure such deprivation.   As long as they're fed and distracted, the Blue pill is preferred.

AldousHuxley's picture

elites control police (force), politicians (power), and media (public opinion and education)


However, elites have only one heart and lives. you just have to expose the truth and people will take care of it.

zyphryx's picture

Not when the people are more concerned with the Kardashians, X-Box, People Magazine, & Katire Couric. I don't believe the PTB need to marshal troops & police to quelch a riot of the masses; they just need to change a judge on American Idol & the rioteers will forget what they were rioting about.

johnQpublic's picture

as long as people can talk shit from behind the safety of the computer screen they will be satisfied with themselves that they have done their share and will not feel the need to do anything more


and none of you here can prove that wrong


or does one of you unibomber types care to step up and out yourself?



there will be no revolution 

ItsDanger's picture

You'll see change when normal people are elected.  Not the career politicians, lawyers, keep it in the family types.

HardAssets's picture

The battle isn't against 'them', but our own - - that is the People's - - self awareness. 'They' can do nothing without our co-operation, because there are many more of us in the world than them.

We need to keep reaching out to those around us, starting with our family and friends. People are beginning to understand that 'something isn't right' in our country and around the world. As things degrade, perhaps they will begin to see what we've been warning people about.

One source of optimism for me is that 'perfect plans' usually never work out that way. 'Shit happens'.  It wasn't all that long ago that the USSR was one of the two world's Super Powers. They had a vast Army with tanks that could over run all of Europe. They had a large Navy. They were a nuclear power with multiple warhead missiles aimed at the west.

Then - - - in a relatively short time, and seemingly at the surprise of everyone - - they were no more.


HardAssets's picture

How about taking away all their ill gotten gains - - - including the loot held by any and all their family members who benefited from it ?   More effective, I would think, than some kind of physical vengence on such criminal psychopaths.

dannynewmexico's picture

the system (finacial, governments etc all) is about to collapse!!



stand back and watch and enjoy.... its going to happen whether or not you enjoy it or not......




Overdrawn's picture

Just been reading this as well:


Individualized Medicine: FDA Approved Ingestible Microchip Tracking Device

The Food and Drug Administration has approved an ingestible digital senor that can track physical health with the assertion that patients are not taking their medication regularly and need a tracking device inside their body to assist them in their medical care. The mainstream medical industry has a term for this new type of spying: individualized medicine.

http://occupycorporatism.com/ individualized-medicine-fda-app roved-ingestible-microchip-tra cking-device/






Short 30 second video showing how it works inside you:  http://vimeo.com/45229049

cynicalskeptic's picture

so...... you get zapped if you don't take your SOMA?

OneTinSoldier66's picture



-- such as the separation of retail and investment banking or legislation to regulate the “bonus culture” --


Just want to say that there is no need to use Government force or coercion to regulate banks and bankers. To me, a good part of the problem is this thinking/believing that Banks need rules, regulation, and regulators. That's what the Banks' lobbyists and their representatives in Government want you to believe!


If the Banks have to stand on their own two feet and have to make an honest profit(no place to turn for a bailout), what would they do? They would either make an honest profit, or go out of business. It's that simple.


How would they go about making honest money? What form a Bank takes in order to make honest money is not the issue. The issue is whether or not it's done honestly. You would know if the Bank is making money honestly if it has to stand all by itself on it's own two feet.


A question that might be tough for some is... should anyone ever lose a deposit they placed in a Bank? Personally, I believe everyone should be responsible for their own money. If you decide to place your money in a Bank that, unbeknownst to you was doing business fraudulently, that's not my fault or responsibility. While I do believe you should be able to do what you can to recover as much as you can and have the fraudster held accountable, I am not responsible for bailing you or the fraudster out!


If Banks are so fraudulent, so criminal, and the behavior is so prevalent in the financial industry that almost none can be trusted, then to me, the solution is simple. Everyone should unplug from the Establishment and be their own Central Bank.


Of course, if everyone were smart enough to do this then we'd be having Ron Paul for President. :-D

spooz's picture

How do you know which bank to trust when you have an ongoing control fraud and all checks and balances have been compromised? So in this libertarian utopia, for which there is no historical example, would some mafioso types be running the money business in true bankster style?

OneTinSoldier66's picture

Hello Spooz,


I don't have all the answers, even though sometimes I might like to think I do. Although I am libertarian, I know there is no such thing as utopia.


How do you  know which Banks to trust? Well, that would be a question of mine as well. As I said, I think everyone should be their own Central Bank right now. That means buy Gold and Silver.


Anyway, I'll take the liberty to ask you what you think. :-) If, for money, we had something that was commodity-based, with weights and measures used to qualify and quantify it, so that money could be considered a real actual 'unit of account' for, let's say, accounting purposes... and there was no FDIC, nor any Federal Reserve money out of thin air System, or any other socialize the losses onto the masses(through force, coercion, propaganda) bailout type of system in place, what do you think would happen?


I believe that money shouldn't be controlled in any way by the Government. There certainly shouldn't be any government agency that issues money 'out of thin air', 'monetize' the public debt into the money itself. That's what we have as a unit of account. A debt instrument. And the Banking Cartel lobbies the Government for more of it. I believe they wrote Dodd-Frank. That's the answer I get back anyway to the question 'who wrote it?', since I know our elected officials don't write the multi-thousand page laws they pass.


I can say something for sure. As for The Fed, it was created to debase, debauch, and devalue Federal Reserve Notes, which are now worth 1/1600 oz. of Gold.  I never swore allegiance or agreed to such a system myself. I never condoned my coinage to be debased by elitists in 1965. And then to find out they have even more devious, subtle and surreptitious ways to debase and devalue the fiat paper once removed completely from gold backing. It's supposed to be our money. We're not supposed to be working for the Government, the Government is supposed to work for us... and where is Jon Corzine?

honestann's picture

No.  You would have your own savings hidden somewhere obscure, or burried far out in the desert or forest, and would not let anyone wearing a nice expensive suit anywhere near your savings.  You would be smart enough to know there is NO honest way to earn expensive suits and huge marble buildings by holding onto the wealth of others.  You would therefore conclude you would be insane to deal with scumbags who are obviously running predatory criminal scams.

As for "money", that's a totally bogus concept if it means anything other than "pieces of real, physical valuable material" that you haven't traded for something else yet.  There is no legitimate "money business".  So-called "money" is nothing more than "your property".  Period.  Why on earth you'd give your life savings to some smooth talking slimeball who is obvious involved in predatory criminal activity is unknown to me or any other rational individual.

HardAssets's picture

How to get it done ?

End the fraud of fractional reserve banking where banks can 'lend' more than in their vaults.

Of course this would produce screams of outrage from bankers, those who they pay, and all those who have been conned by them for centuries. "Not enough 'flexibility' in the financial system" - - meaning not enough of an opportunity for them to profit from fraud.

P.S. - - for those who aren't already familiar with this, the intentionally ignored genius, economist, and historian Murray Rothbard is a terrific source of enlightenment. He wrote about banking, Liberty, and many other subjects very relevant for today.

honestann's picture

How to get it done?  Simple.  Make sure 100% of your "savings" are real, physical, valuable goods - entirely under your own control.  Hold 0% of your "savings" in "paper" of any form (fiat, bonds, stocks, etc).  Refuse to exchange the goods you produce for paper.  The rest will take care of itself as the predators consume everything the rest of the cooperative population thinks they "own", and both predators and prey find themselves unable to con producers out of the goods they need to survive and prosper.

You cannot "get it done" by "overthowing them" --- not at this point in history.  Their prey will help defend them, and their prey are too many to deal with.

Joe A's picture

It is not going to happen. Lone avengers, perhaps. Or Baader-Meinhof kind of groups.

brettd's picture


Yep.  If you're going to have a revolt, you must know who you're revolting against....who's head goes on a pike.

Everyone has a list, and it's usually three deep.  Never gonna happen.

Joe A's picture

What surprises me that in the US people shoot other people in cinemas or in Sikh temples but I never heard of someone shooting up a banker's firm or a financial institution. I mean, if you lost everything due to banker's manipulation I can imagine that you are pissed off.

Bringin It's picture

In the end, it all comes down to food.  Every sofa surfer will get up and move when they haven't eaten in a day.

Help Is Not Coming's picture

They might get up and move when they get hungry but they already riot over towels!



Joe A's picture

A lot of sofa surfers are too fat to get up. And when it comes to food, people with fight eachother over crumbs instead of them whom actually control the food supply.

brettd's picture


Yep.  If you're going to have a revolt, you must know who you're revolting against....who's head goes on a pike.

Everyone has a list, and it's usually three deep.  Never gonna happen.

Overdrawn's picture

Was just reading this:

Government Silently Positions for Martial Law as Financial Collapse Arrives in America

The Deutsche Bank informant says that the cause for the bailout of the banks was a large sum of cash needed quickly to repay China who had purchased large quantities of mortgage-backed securities that went belly-up when the global scam was
realized. When China realized that they had been duped into buying worthless securitized loans which would never be repaid, they demanded the actual property instead. The Chinese were prepared to send their “people” to American shores to seize property as allocated to them through the securitized loan contracts.

To stave this off, the American taxpayers were coerced by former President Bush and former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. During that incident, the US Senate was told emphatically that they had to approve a $700 million bailout or else martial law would be implemented immediately. That money was funneled through the Federal Reserve Bank and wired to China, as well as other countries that were demanding repayment for the fraudulent securitizations.

To further avert financial catastrophe, as well as more debt or property seizure threats by the Chinese, the Euro was imploded there by plunging most of the European countries into an insurmountable free-fall for which they were never intended to recover.     http://occupycorporatism.com/government-silently-positions-for-martial-law-as-financial-collapse-arrives-in-america/ 

ISEEIT's picture

meanwhile, silly troll children play mindlessly simple troll games at sophisticated communication hubs in a certain to fail attempt at staging an absolute coup over the American and by extension, global system of governance.

You are almost there buddy. As has been the case forever.....Almost there.

What a fucking hamster.

honestann's picture

Stop trying to make yourself feel better.  Stop trying to pretend these historical events are likely to repeat.  Humans don't seem to understand.  At this point in history, the predators ARE (and control) every government on earth, every police-force on earth, every military on earth, every court on earth.

Game over.  The producers simply "gave it all away" to the predators.  All the large corporations are also now controlled by predators.  This is a particularly sick joke, "corporations" supposedly being places where "production happens".  And indeed, some production still does happen in some "corporations".  However, all large corporations are now run by the executives entirely to benefit the executives.  The shareholders hold nothing but empty bags at this point in history.

The predators have taken control of everything.  They are still a tiny minority, probably much less even than the so-called 1% that people talk about.  However, somehow they convinced producers the only way the producers can deal with predators is to "reason with them" or "vote in better predators" or some other completely insane notion.  It is difficult to understand why producers... some of whom are fairly intelligent... actually imagine that utterly craven drooling beasts can be dealt with by "reason" or "voting" (when the predators pre-arrange that everyone running is a predator).

I mean, really!  What producers and liberty advocates and all sorts of basically honorable people are trying to do is exactly the functional equivalent of trying to hold a rational conversation with a huge, hungry wild lion intent upon consuming him.  This is literally what the world has come to --- the notion that utterly unscrupulous predator-beasts can be dealt with in the same way we might deal with a meek, ethical, spectacle-wearing scientist.  This is literally what is happening on planet earth at this point in history!  That anyone believes they can deal with utterly unconstrained beasts who operate consistently on their current modus-operandi, which is "get away with whatever you can", no holds barred.

Humans have passed so far beyond the point of infinite psycho-stupido, that mankind is clearly finished.  The methods practiced by the predators are not even subtle or obscure much less "hidden" any more, not beyond uttering completely lame nonsense like "we have to rape you at the airports to keep you safe from distasteful people" or equivalent tripe.  When the predators violate everyone, what passes as "intellectuals" and "commentators" don't even mention that the predators own rules clearly state that the only way to overturn any part of the constitution (the predators own rules) is to pass an ammendment to the constitution.

In other words, even the supposed commentators and protectors of the predator rulebook totally ignore the predator rulebook when it contradicts whatever a predator just happens to want to do at the moment.  This happens EVERY SINGLE DAY in virtually every large, medium and small information outlet.  Even so-called liberty and freedom oriented spokespeople tend to say things like "the law gives the TSA the right to rape everyone at the airports", totally ignoring that is NOT what the predators own laws say at all.  They may mention the contradiction now and then, but then adopt the BLATANT LIE that the predator spokesmen adopt, which is "it is the law", "you must be radiated and/or raped at the airport", and so forth.

Let me make this clear.  To begin with, when a bunch of predators write BS down on a piece of paper, and collect together and raise their hands now and then, that has ZERO to do with me.  It certainly has ZERO legitimate relationship to me.  And, in fact, it cannot have anything real to do with me.  At most you might be able to designate their actions as a "generalized threat" that they intend to hire thugs to abuse everyone at airports (or whatever the issue is).  However, it has ZERO BASIS whatsoever, both "in reality" AND on the basis of their own bogus, irrelevant "laws".

And that's the end of it.  There is no other legitimate conversation to have, except #1, they don't own me, and #2, even by their own rules/laws/documents, even their claims are violations of their own rules/laws, and in fact are clearly treason and direct violations of the oath they must take to hold their fictional "position".

That people are willing to even HAVE other conversations (about the details or implementation or otherwise) is simply pure insanity.  It is inherently insulting to any honest human being to hold discussions that refer to LAW while discussing so-called laws and law-makers and law-enforcers who blatantly and grossly violate their own laws every day in the most egregious ways.  In such a situation, what exactly do people think they are doing when they supposedly "discuss" these topics?  When a wild beast is biting its huge teeth down into your throat, what exactly do you think you're doing when you attempt to utter a comment about the angle his teeth are moving in the fraction of a second before you die?  How insane do human beings intend to get, exactly?

gmj's picture

But we are all predators.  The middle class with its insatiable appetite for big houses and shiny things.  The "professional poor" who spend their time finding new ways to get money from the gov't.  The only difference between the rich and the rest of us is money.  Take some schmoe off the street and make him CEO of JP Morgan, and watch what happens to him.  The seed of evil lies within each of us.  Do you think the rich are responsible for the devastation of this planet that is happening all around us right now?  No, it is driven by the crazed materialism of the US middle class, who believe that they should live like gods, and who have no higher goal in life than to consume as much as possible.

The greed and aggression of Homo sapiens helped to make us the masters of our world.  Now that our world is nearly exhausted, those same qualities are turning us against each other.  It will not be justice that has us at each other's throats; it will be competition for the last stainless steel refrigerator.

AnAnonymous's picture

The "professional poor" who spend their time finding new ways to get money from the gov't.


In US citizen societies, the poor's needs are only satisfied because it gives more to the US citizen middle class.

The US citizen middle class is the king class in US citizenism. Everything is organized to favour the middle class's welfare.

akak's picture


The US citizen middle class is the king class in US citizenism. Everything is organized to favour the middle class's welfare.

Yes.  That is why the US middle class is shrinking, has been shrinking for 40 years, and is actively being destroyed by the policies of the top 0.1% ruling elite.

Your incessant babbled gibberish, your simplistic and collectivistic inanities, and your virulent anti-American bigotry are always good for a laugh, though.

honestann's picture

No, we are not all predators, and there is a very real difference between "producer" and "predator".

I do not doubt that a great many human beings are primarily predator and/or parasite, yet have produced a little bit along the way (probably not by choice).

To "produce" is to take actions that cause things to exist that would not have existed without your actions.  The fact is, "actions have consequences".  Most actions have destructive consequences, but some actions have productive consequences.  To plant seeds, water the field, tend the crops, build fences around them to bar predators and parasites, and then harvest the crops --- is production.  To come onto your property and grab nuts, fruits and veggies from the plants you grew is predatory.

When predators who call themselves "government" steal your food (or money you traded your food for), they are predators and their actions are destructive and predatory.  When those predators send a little of the money/food they stole from you to tens of millions of lazy bums to bribe votes out of them, those lazy bums are parasites who consume left-overs the predators allow them to have.

Your history is blatantly wrong, even as every element contains a grain of reality.  The FACT is, the natural processes of planet earth are sufficient to support less than 1% of the human population.  It was HUMAN PRODUCTION that allowed the human population of earth to explode, and ONLY human production.  Therefore, it was NOT "aggression" and "insatiable appetite for bling bling" that made humans what they are, it was production.

And now that production is being destroyed, humans shall spiral down the tubes of history.  You and the rest of human beings will find out what production meant --- when you no longer have any to support you.

Our world is NOT exhausted.  The earth is a ball of molten hot rock with an average temperature of many hundred if not a couple thousand degrees.  There is plenty of geothermal energy to power a modern existence for billions of humans for millions of years, and plenty of material too.  If converted into an open-core foam structure, earth could support untold population --- not that I'd want to live there with such an insane hoard of chimps!!!!!

Or to put it your way, if humans were willing to exterminate human predators, and also willing to spend 30 hours per week being productive, ALL of mankind could live a high quality life indefinitely.  However, the insistence of mankind to sanction and support the human predators will assure mankind exterminates himself within the next 100 years.

Good riddens to the vast majority who support such insanity.

monad's picture

“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Anconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

“When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears not all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor–your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of -money, Is this what you consider evil?

“Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions–and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

“But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made–before it can be looted or mooched–made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.’

“To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss–the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery–that you must offer them values, not wounds–that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade–with reason, not force, as their final arbiter–it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability–and the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?

“But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality–the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.

“Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values, if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

“Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth–the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one, would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

“Money is your means of survival. The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men’s vices or men’s stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment’s or a penny’s worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you’ll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?

“Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?

“Or did you say it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It’s the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money–and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.

“Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another–their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.

“But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich–will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt–and of his life, as he deserves.

“Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard–the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money–the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law–men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims–then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

“Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

“Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked, ‘Account overdrawn.’

“When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world? You are.

“You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it’s crumbling around you, while you’re damning its life-blood–money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men’s history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, whose names changed, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves–slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody’s mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer, Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers–as industrialists.

“To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money–and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man’s mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being–the self-made man–the American industrialist.

“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose–because it contains all the others–the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money.’ No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity–to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.

“Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters’ continents. Now the looters’ credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide– as, I think, he will.

“Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns–or dollars. Take your choice–there is no other–and your time is running out.”

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, 1957

Yeah, baby!

shuckster's picture

The conviction in this speech is strong, but the credibility weak. Industrialism is a tool of destruction and exploitation. Industrialism should not be the end but the means. Ayn Rand could not see past that point. She saw only industrialism, not it's purpose. I take advice only from those who I admire. Rand was a weird and bitter old lady. She may have provided fodder for the exploiters, like Friedman. It is so easy for a job creator to call everyone else a free loader. Little does he know that he is the freeloader - loading up on cheap labor. Creating junk. Destroying the precious resources of the planet for the sake of his own mental masturbation. Job creators have no credibility. As a class, they sold themselves out - they turned in their chips a long time ago. America needed to be industrialized, to move the piece a block closer to the goal on the board - just like Russia needed to be industrialized. That is why the capitalist system was established, that is why the communist system was established - to industrialize the east and western parts of the globe which until that point had remained in the middle ages. For all her insight - Rand could not see the bigger picture and the ultimate truth - that we are all slaves - slaves to the Zionist kabal that has planned our life from cradle to grave, for the satisfaction of their own ferocious apetite. For blood, for souls, for the insatiable hunger for power. They are the bain of our existence - they are the ones for whom you work and toil, and they are the ones that will forever feed off your labor. Rand was a blissfully ignorant propogandist - she was not inside the loop, and wanting to get into it, she chose to lick the feet of the zionist kabal. Of course she died lonely and weird, just like she was born, and never received her 40 pieces of silver. Just like every dumb Christian (or atheist in her case) slave who chooses to serve the kabal, she sold her soul for a cheap price and never received her payment. It's the oldest trick in the Talmud - offer nothing to a gentile in exchange for his everything. Believe her words at your own peril

PS her love of money is love of the Jew who issues that money - money is evil when the issuer is evil

LithiumWarsWAKEUP's picture

Ahhh,,,,Frankie, it's the 'love' of money...    so sayeth.

Vaiman's picture

Exactly what I was gonna say!  The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.  Money in itself is neutral.  It can be used for good or evil.  It's the intentions of the heart of the one who possesses it that is the real issue.  The bible says you can't love God and money both.  You will love one and hate the other.  It is possible to Love God and have money though.  As long as the money doesn't have you.  If the Lord instructs someone to give money to a need then that person will do so without hesitation if they Love God and want to do his will.

monad's picture

The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide– as, I think, he will.

gmj's picture

We do not have an instinct to produce; we have an instinct to take.  We started out as hunter-gatherers; we took.  We killed those who competed with us for resources.  We learned agriculture when there was nothing left to take.  Now we have a class of hunter-gatherers in the world's banks, corporations and legislatures.  They will not stop until there is nothing left to take.  They are enabled by a population of uninformed, uninterested, lazy citizens who are anaesthetized by popular culture and materialism.  There is no higher purpose in life for most people beyond the pursuit of pleasure and possessions.  This is why revolutions never come from the masses.  They always come from a few disenchanted idealists from the middle or upper classes.  The masses don't have the understanding or vocabulary for revolution.  When they get upset, they prey on each other.  The ancient Greeks and Romans tried democracy, but they knew that the mob could not handle power.  So the mob was represented by the educated gentry.  Ultimately, power was wielded at various times by the army, the nobility, and the clergy.  The masses just don't have the attention span for governing.

We do not need angels or devils.  We are the angels.  We are the devils.  Every one of us has all these facets.  Circumstances decide which facet is visible.  Democracy is probably the best system for restraining our vices.  But it only works if the electorate is conscious and informed. 

CH1's picture

It was HUMAN PRODUCTION that allowed the human population of earth to explode, and ONLY human production.  Therefore, it was NOT "aggression" and "insatiable appetite for bling bling" that made humans what they are, it was production.

Well said, my friend. + 100.

shuckster's picture

People will forever deny the nature of the beast so long as he is not standing in front of them. And when he does, they will say "no, that's not a beast". They are foolish and they will be punished in short order. Nature punishes the foolish people mercilously. I have no sympathy for them. Let them take their punishment. "Let those who will die, die and those who will live live". This is far beyond the point of reasoning. We are in the jaws of the beast. 

It reminds me of a conversation I had with my parents recently. A commercial came on TV and I scoffed at the Navy add which showed an aircraft carrier. They said "that's so cool that we have those" (referring to the aircraft carrier). I couldn't help but say "what are you joking? Those things are a joke! They can be shot out of the ocean with a single missile. They are a complete waste of (our taxpayer) money!" But still, I was alone in my outrage. The world is too ugly a place for some people to look at. They cannot look into the eyes of the beast, because they are too terrified. They'd rather fall into the fetal position than run. They'd rather take the cyanide pill than be conscious when their life is ripped away from them. Ignore them. They are too far gone. Save yourself first

honestann's picture

Indeed.  I must admit my disappointment that those of us who "get it", and who decided to "save ourselves", can't seem to collaborate.  I suppose that's because apparent collaborators so often turn out to be predators in disguise, which makes collaboration a risky gamble.  However, we all know the impressive efficiency gains possible when several people focus on their strengths.  What's that called?  Is it "comparative advantage"?  You know what I mean.

Of course we can never tell how bad it will get in advance, but my latest estimate is... life will get very, extremely bad in the next few years.  Much worse than most pessimists imagine.  Well beyond "inconvenient", and quite far into EXTREMELY BAD.

And frankly, I'm almost certain it is a one-way trip down the tubes for human beings.  Unless a few of us get our butts off this planet, I suspect mankind is finished --- literally.  But I do expect a huge quantity of suffering will occur before the final human lights expire.

The grave of mankind should state: the stupidest lifeform on planet earth - who convinced themselves they were smartest.

CH1's picture

I must admit my disappointment that those of us who "get it"...

My disappointment is that they talk forever, but NEVER ACT.

They are forever waiting for other people to do it, or for someone to grant them permission to do it. But they never grow stones and do it themselves.

NOTHING will change until people ACT. Ever.

honestann's picture

Oh, I am - and have been - taking real actions, no doubt about that!  However, they are rather isolated from and uncoordinated with other actions that other individualists might take, which is my disappointment.

I moved out of dodge a few years ago, I acquired a travel vehicle that can take me 4000km (across fictional borders and open ocean) without refueling (not as good as a wind-powered yacht in many ways, but it has other advantages), I am setting up more and more self-sufficiency in what most people would call "extreme boonies" (with no road access), and so forth.

I am preparing to avoid, not sanction or assist predators (civilian or otherwise).  I will not fight anyone unless directly attacked, which is unlikely in extreme boonies.  For "fighting" to be effective, collaboration would be necessary, and as you say, nobody ever acts in those sort of ways today, except rarely to "sacrifice themself" in some small way to make a protest statement.  I guess that might help a tiny bit on the margins, but any movement needs health and vigor to succeed, not fines and time in cages.

So yes, people are curiously unwilling to act in any coordinated way.  So all that remains are individual actions to implement individual plans.  Well, then.  For all the talk, no coordinated action.  I get it.  So be it.  Individual plans and actions it is.

headless blogger's picture

Yep, it's being done right in front of everyone's face. Nobody can say we didn't warn 'em.

Domestically, the drone program and other high tech surveillance (much of which is being developed at "prestigious" colleges and institutions) is what has my feathers ruffled lately. Besides the ability of these psychopathic "drone operators" being able to see into our daughter's bedroom, etc, they also have the radar systems that see through walls:


I've been trying to talk to people about this but you hit the nail in your comment, in the affect that people just don't care.

People used to oooh and aaaaaah Orwell's 1984, but what we got coming down the pipe now is making that look like child's play.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

"Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave." - Frederick Douglass

In that case, America is Fucked...

Gore Vidal For President - even dead he would be better than what we have or will have....

kilroy's picture

"What about sanctimonious Cromwell and his ironsides that put the women and children of Drogheda to the sword with the bible text God is love pasted round the mouth of his cannon?" - Ulysses, James Joyce

monad's picture

On the 19th of April, 1914, machine guns, used on the strikers in the Paint Creek strike, were placed in position above the tent colony of Ludlow. Major Pat Hamrock and Lieutenant K. E. Linderfelt were in charge of the militia, the majority of whom were, company gun-men sworn in as soldiers.

Early in the morning soldiers approached the colony with a demand from headquarters that Louis Tikas, leader of the Greeks, surrender two Italians. Tikas demanded a warrant for their arrest. They had none. Tikas refused to surrender them. The soldiers returned to quarters. A signal bomb was fired. Then another. Immediately the machine guns began spraying the flimsy tent colony, the only home the wretched families of the miners had, riddling it with bullets. Like iron rain, bullets' upon men, women and children.

The women and children fled to the hills. Others tarried. The men defended their home with their guns. All day long the firing continued. Men fell dead, their faces to the ground. Women dropped. The little Snyder boy was shot through the head, trying to save his kitten. A child carrying water to his dying mother was killed.

By five o'clock in the afternoon, the miners had no more food, nor water, nor ammunition. They had to retreat with their wives and little ones into the hills. Louis Tikas was riddled with shots while he tried to lead women and children to safety. They perished with him.


(John) Rockefeller got busy. Writers were hired to write pamphlets which were sent broadcast to every editor in the country, bulletins. In these leaflets, it was shown how perfectly happy was the life of the miner until the agitators came; how joyous he was with the company's saloon,. the company's pigstys for homes, the cornpany's teachers and preachers and coroners. How the miners hated the state law of an eight-hour working day, begging to be allowed to work ten, twelve. How they hated the state law that they should have their own check weigh-man to see that they were not cheated at the tipple.

And all the while the mothers of the children who died in Ludlow were mourning their dead.

Mother Jones