Ali’s blog

Mostly quant stuff with occasional digressions

The Gnomes of Zurich

Posted by alifinmath on April 7, 2009

Back in 1974, when I was living in Shiraz, Iran (Shiraz 1974 … the intoxicating air, the scent of the Spring flowers, the cute little brunette I lost my heart and soul to …), I came across a book by Taylor Caldwell, titled “Captains and the Kings.” A plot synopsis can be found at the wikipedia site here:

In The Captains and the Kings (1976) Caldwell takes on the global power brokers. In this book we find, running through the story line, a description of the way the international financiers and industrialists (all private consortiums owned by an elite of the world’s richest families and persons) hijack governments around the globe; instigating wars and gaining control over the warring countries through manipulation of the enormous debts incurred during a war. Mentioned too is the Council on Foreign Relations; and while a disclaimer states that all persons portrayed in the book are fictional, it is clear that the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as another major organization of the globalist}globalists]] are both very real organizations. Also described is the idea that political systems everywhere, and certainly in the US, are almost totally dominated by the ruling elite; and that no one even gets into the running for a major political office unless the elite believes the person is under their control. It is explained that this can be direct control; e.g., the candidate takes a solemn oath to be true to that organization above all others; or indirect control: the candidate is known to have done something illegal or scandalous, and then the threat of public exposure can be used to bend the person to the will of the elite. Politicians can also be compromised through a “set-up”. When necessary the elite will play that hand (conform or be ruined by the controlled media). It is further explained that there have been a few who were not under the control of the elite (back in the 40s and 50s) and who had some success on their own.

(Incidentally, 1976 is the wrong date: that was when the TV miniseries came out; the book itself was published in 1972)

I was a young fellow of 14 at the time and had neither the experience nor the analytical ability to be able to critically assess the novelist’s claims. The book made a great impression on me by way of explaining history in terms of conspiracies on the part of elites. Not all conspiracy theories need be assigned to the wastepaper basket. Some are credible and plausible. And we should bear in mind that ruling elites typically act conspirationally — this is what makes them an elite. Machiavelli teaches us that conspiracy is the most natural thing in the world of realpolitik as those who would be rulers attempt to supplant those in power and as those in power attempt to thwart those who would take it away from them.

The issue of a transnational ruling elite has again come to the fore during the last year or so as the world has been experiencing severe economic travail and people have been wondering how it came about and who has really been calling the shots. Here is Alex Jones’ take on the issue when he was interviewed by the Russia Today network:


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