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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Curious Ignorance of the American People

This is the first page of a book I just began reading... 'The Secrets of the Temple - How the federal reserve runs the country' by William Greider

I felt it's relevance to today was stunning even though the book was copyrighted 1987... Of course it followed the 1980 - 1982 recession and Carter years of huge inflation and the Volker regime...

I am in violation of copyright laws I guess even by posting a single page but oh well... Living life on the edge lol

In the American system, citizens were taught that the transfer of political power accompanied elections, formal events when citizens made orderly choices about who will govern. Very few Americans, therefore, understood that the transfer of power might also occur, more subtly, without elections. Even the President did not seem to grasp this possibility, until too late. He would remain in office, surrounded still by the aura of presidential authority, but he was no longer fully in control of his government.

The American system depended upon deeper transactions than elections. It provided another mechanism of government, beyond the reach of the popular vote, one that managed the continuing conflicts of democratic capitalism, the natural tension between those two words, "democracy" and "capitalism". It was part of the national government, yet deliberately set outside the electoral process, insulated from the control of mere politicians. Indeed, it had the power to resist the random passions of popular will and even to discipline the society at large. This other structure of American governance coexisted with the elected one, shared power with Congress and the President, and collaborated with them. In some circumstances, it opposed them and thwarted them.

Citizens were taught that it's activities were mechanical and nonpolitical, unaffected by the self-interested pressures of competing economic groups, and it's pervasive influence over American life was largely ignored by the continuing political debate. It's decisions and internal disputes and the large consequences that flowed from them remained remote and indistinct, submerged beneath the visible politics of the nation. The details of it's actions were presumed o be too esoteric for ordinary citizens to understand.

The Federal Reserve System was was the crucial anomaly at the very core of representative democracy, an uncomfortable contradiction with the civic mythology of self-government. Yet the American system accepted the inconsistency. The community of elected politicians acquiesced to its power. The private economy responded to its direction. Private capital depended on it for protection. The governors of the Federal Reserve decided the largest questions of the political economy, including who shall proper and who shall fail, yet their role remained opaque and mysterious. The Federal Reserve was shielded from scrutiny partly by its own own official secrecy, but also by the curious ignorance of the American people.

Is it time to wake up yet? Is that "curious ignorance of the American people" with us still?!

Thanks for your time


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