Home | About | Donate

How America Became an Oligarchy


How America Became an Oligarchy

Ellen Brown

"The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. . . . You have owners." —George Carlin, The American Dream


A great article. While the roots of this surrender of the power to create money goes back many years in the USA the final nail in the coffin was when a number of international treaties signed in 1974 among the Western nations.

Shortly after Nixon removed backing of the currency with Gold so as to ensure he could continue to finance his war in Vietnam OPEC was formed and inflation increased worldwide. The international bankers claimed this was due to Central banks creating their own currency and insisted that in order to correct the problem of inflation the power of creating money must be signed over to private interests. This is when countries like Canada surrendered control of that ability here in Canada ( This currently being challenged in the courts in a very interesting case).

From 1974 on the debt of nation states increased dramatically and this in turn was blamed on “Entitlements” rather then that banking system.


It’s been a scam from the start. Scholarship has repeatedly exposed the lie. Which is why the curent oligarchy, Kochs, Waltons, etc. are frantic to suppress and bury scholarship. And control the education system. If you are not worried or a little angry, pinch yourself. You may be near death or in a coma.


Yes . Ellen Brown is one of the few that speak to this issue and it remains one of the most important issues to EVERY country on this Globe. Indeed many of those Countries singled out for “Regime Change” are the same countries that maintain(ed) some sort of control over their banking systems domestically.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


I haven’t posted here for months–since after they gave up on Discus and went for commercial posting means like Facebook and Twitter. Glad to see they have made this change, but, like you, I am afraid it may be too late.


A bit confused by your statement that Nixon made a great error in taking us off the gold standard–when Ellen Brown stated that the gold standard effectively put the economy in the bankers’ hands. Scrip is a system not based on a precious metal, yet it proved very helpful as Ellen points out. In my own community scrip was used to pay teachers and to pay the unemployed to do useful community work. More than a hundred local stores accepted it during the Great Depression. Fiat money is not all bad–it’s who creates the money–bankers eager to collect interest or the public with legitimate needs of its own.


The banking system has always been under control of the bankers hands in the USA barring those few short periods she mentioned whether through the control of gold or some other means. Nixon did not remove any powers of the private banks to create that currency when he went off that Gold Standard. it still remained under control of the fed and private banking interests,

I was pointing out the REAL cause of that inflation that hit in the late 1970s. The US currency was still the worlds reserve currency as agreed to under Bretton Woods yet was no longer backed by Gold so could be printed at will.

This lead to inflation the world over as the dollar became worth less in real terms which the BANKERS claimed was because those other countries were printing up too much money. In the USA the FED was formed in 1913 meaning the right to issue the currency was controlled by the private banks that controlled the FED . 1974 and that created crisis allowed this system to expand the world over and co-opt the central banks of other nations.

There nothing wrong with a GOVERNMENT in charge of issuing currency has this is how Canada’s central bank did it up until that point.


Another great article from Ellen, who recognizes that without monetary soverignty, political “voting” is an empty exercise in perception management inflicted upon the masses by their banker and corporate capitalist rulers. Capitalism – like feudalism that it evolved out of – is rule by ownership. George Carlin is right, “You have owners.” The owning class is no longer feudal lords who rule their serfs and manage their agricultural estates by Royal privilege. As the ruling system for the industrial era, capitalist ownership of the financial, industrial and commercial infrastructure supplanted “noble” ownership of agricultural land. The serfs became wage labor. Neither serfs nor laborers “own” the land or industrial equipment they work with, nor do they own the product of their work. Serfs and wage-earners work to enrich their owners, not themselves. Private money issuance made capitalist ownership of the industrial era world possible. If governments had preserved their sovereign power to issue their own money – like America’s colonial governments did – then political governments, not “private” bankers and corporate capitalists, would rule the world today. Private money issuance is the cause of capitalism’s concentration of ownership of the monetary and economic infrastructure, and the fruits of humanity’s technology and work, Public money issuance is the alternative. Without public money issuance – either directly by monetarily sovereign governments who create their economy’s own debt-free money, or indirectly via public banking – get used to being “property”. Because under feudal and capitalist rule, you are either an owner or you are property.


I’ve read that the deal was: With Nixon ending gold convertibility of the US$, America’s rulers needed some other backing to maintain the dollar’s status as the global payments currency. For many years before 1973 the US – which used to be the world’s biggest oil producer – maintained the price of oil at 3 per barrel. The US made a deal with OPEC: you can jack up the price of oil if you agree to sell oil only for US. OPEC agreed, and the oli price rapidly rose to $12 per barrel during the “energy crisis” when OPEC reduced the oil supply by imposing an export embargo. Then with the Iran-Iraq war in 1979 (which took Iraq’s 5% of global oil supply offline), oil spiked to $42 per barrel. Oil enjoys almost an absolute monopoly as the tansportation fuel, and in a national or global economy all goods are transported. Oil is also the feedstock for a wide variety of petrochemicals that are critically necessary to the global industrail economy. Oil is used to make or transport pretty much everything that is produced “for sale”. So there is an oil price component to the final price of virtually all consumer goods. When the price of oil increases 14X (from $3 to 42) within 6 years, there will be consumer price inflation, which was blamed on everything EXCEPT the price of oil. Today any nation that threatens to sell oil in currencies other than US – nations like Libya (Gadaffi committed the even greater sin of developing a pan_African currency – the gold dinar – to replace the US dollars’s monopoly as the inter-national payments currency) and Saddam’s Iraq (Saddam started selling oil for euros) – are bombed into the Stone Age by the US rulers under the guise of “spreading democracy and free markets”. Most people, especially most Americans, completely believe the propaganda and are oblivious to what is really going on in the world.


You mean the real cause of inflation during the seventies had nothing to do with OPEC’s reduction in production? I thought it did.


They were all tied together. It was a confluence of the wars and the leaving the gold standard and OPEC.

Under the old Bretton Woods the US dollar was backed with gold. The dollar was redeemable by ONLY other Countries and NOT individuals for gold.

This limited the amount of dollars the US Government could print as foreign countries began accumulating a lot of US dollars. Under Degaulle there was talk france was look at dumping its dollars in favor of gold.

the Vietnam war was a huge drain on the treasury and Nixon and the US were deficit spending to pay for that war yet all those dollars were ending up in foreign countries. Nixon and his advisers decided that in order to finance that war more dollars needed to be printed but their hands tied by that gold standard.

They decided to unilaterally abandon that standard and would refuse payment of Gold to countries like france if those dollars redeemed. In order to do this and prevent the dollar precipitously crashing and becoming worthless they had to tie the dollar to some commodity that all other nations would need and that was oil.

They struck that bargain with OPEC and started to run the presses. This all led to inflation . There was no single isolated cause. They tied that dollar to oil for a REASON and that was so they could print more money without crashing the dollar. Those US dollars france and other countries held could no longer be redeemed for Gold but were now needed to buy oil.


If not “near death or in a coma”, most likely its terminal denial syndrome which afflicts the majority of Americans.


Thanks for the information. Appreciate your knowledge.


Somewhat ironically, American thinking on this hasn’t been ‘big’ enough. That is, it’s too focused on national government and corporate activity rather than the bigger picture of a global culture that operates on a common belief system. With the now near-ubiquity of the internet a new opportunity has arisen to not only reconsider that belief, that being the belief in the concept of exchange that underlies money use, but also to abandon it in favor of living more like other species, free of the extensive dysfunction of moneydom. Among the many implications of ending the use of money by way of this change in belief would be the one certain way to get money out of politics and government.


The US was an oligarchy from the start, it didn’t start up and then become one at some later date.

One of the markers is that the 1787 Constitution that replaced the Articles of Confederation made no provision for a bill of rights. It was only after George Mason made it plain that he would use all his prestige, which was great, to defeat ratification, that a toothless Bill of Rights was put together by Madison, who was the guy who said he would have given us proles NO voice in the new federal government at all if he hadn’t been sure it would have sparked another Revolution.

By making our so-called Bill of Rights toothless --no provision for automatic enforcement-- he made sure that they’re not rights at all, but merely pious declarations, to be enforced in favor of the rich and ignored when they’d favor us.


Terrific article, Ms. Brown.

I have said this same thing often in the C.D. forum in response to the paid message shapers who insist that every fault of corporations, the MIC, or government officials belongs to voters!

This time, from Ellen Brown and her sources:

“First, running for office became expensive, so that those who seek office require wealthy sponsors to whom they are then beholden. Second, the great majority of voters have little independent knowledge of those for whom they vote or of the issues to be dealt with. Their judgments are, accordingly, dependent on what they learn from the mass media. These media, in turn, are controlled by moneyed interests.”


Or maybe the site has encrypted better Internet technology so that sock puppet names (all coming from the same handful of posters) can no longer DOMINATE these threads by repeating the same Talking Points.


Your Libertarian screed props of “Free Enterprise” and its captains of often dangerous, unfair, and polluting industry as kings.

Just as the former Soviet Union operated as a strong check-balance against U.S. imperialism, if Government does its intended job (OF the people) in protecting the majority of citizens (rather than the 1%) it acts as a counterbalance to the rapacious, conscienceless profit motive of most big businesses.

You want to take government totally out of the way by demonizing government, yet without any restrictive entity left in place, the corporate robber barons can continue their rape of persons, places, and priceless ecosystems.

Your path has been the norm for the past few decades since Reagan used his B-rated acting skills to demonize government functions, and was followed by Clinton merging both parties into one entity loyal and beholden to the biggest corporate donors.

Sorry, yourself!


Well, genius… considering it’s all about globalism now and former U.S. corporations have found it more profitable to offshore their earnings and tax base, what you seek to pin on the American people for their alleged lack of caring (and/or ignorance, lack of engagement, ad nauseum) would also apply to most of the world’s citizens.

The game is about power and those without it have little say.

It’s fascinating that Ms. Brown begins her article explaining WHY voters are largely impotent since in a capitalist system, capital rules… but still we see the former Tag Team members tasked with endlessly repeating the Blame Voters meme all back in line like obedient circus animals performing the same recognizable tricks!

Here it is again… the item that you and your back-up team work 24/7 to hide or discredit or gloss over:

“According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America’s political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.”