Tag Archive | economic crisis

“Follow the Money”–Debunked!

By SlayerX3

One of the central passages of Thrive is a section often referred to as “Follow the Money,” which Thrive fans treat as some sort of slogan. This section contains Foster Gamble and others’ views on fractional reserve banking, the Federal Reserve, the economic crisis, and conspiracy theories related to these. This article debunks those ideas.

Fraction Reserve Banking

Disclaimer:

Before the Wikipedia bashing begins, I’m using Wikipedia for two reasons: (1) Simplicity, and (2) it works well for summaries of information, even though I will provide further sources and more detailed information links than Wikipedia can provide.

PS: This part of the movie is incredibly complicated for anyone involved here to deal with, as given that most people don’t understand how economy and politics work by themselves, much less together, unless you’re well-versed in mathematics, economics or political science. Comments that simply complain about how wrong or rigged the actual political and economic systems are will be seen basically as an opinion and not fact.

It also doesn’t help that for the makers of Thrive the current economic system is a scam/conspiracy created by a powerful Financial Elite to perpetuate their own power. Arguing the existence of this conspiracy (Thrive mostly uses misinterpretations and opinions that they exist instead of verifiable facts) feels like beating a dead horse, thanks to our good old friend Confirmation Bias.

When they begin talking about Fractional Reserve Banking, Foster Gamble and and David Icke get a few things right at the beginning. They are right about how saving deposits are used by banks for loans and financing, but the film cuts short the explanation of why this happens and the economic reasons to use fractional reserve banking. Instead of explaining the real reasons behind this, the movie simply dismisses it by saying “it creates money out of nowhere.”

What is Fractional Reserve Banking?

Fractional Reserve Banking (FRB) is a form of banking where the deposits made on the bank are separated in two parts. The first is the amount the bank is allowed to loan and the second is the part the banks is obligated to keep as a reserve. This amount is dictated by the central bank of the country where the bank is operating.

Does it really “create money out of nowhere?”

The answer will depend of which kind of money you’re talking about. If you’re referring to printed money, it can’t “create money out of nowhere,” as the values being loaned and being circulated haven’t been made or printed yet.

If you’re talking about value: yes it can create more value since there is more money circulating than there is physical printed money.

This is much better explained by the links I’ll provide.

Why do banks work with FRB and how come they don’t “run out of money”?

Because it is fluid, FRB allows banks to generate profit and still provide access to people or business to acquire money for whatever reasons they need it–for example, to buy a house or start a business. FRB guarantees there will be money circulating for investments, consumer goods and to accommodate a growing and active economy.

[Muertos comment: this is not a new invention. If we did not have FRB in some form, our economy would be stuck in the early 19th century. The whole concept of modern banking, historically, developed as a means to permit sufficient capital to be accumulated to fund large-scale projects, both public and private. Without something like FRB, we would not have public works projects like dams, sewer systems or transportation, and we would not have privately-funded industries such as computers and information technology, because it simply wouldn’t be possible to get enough capital together to even begin to pay for these things. This is the historical reality that critics of FRB refuse to understand.]

The influx of savings deposits and payments on loans that they make usually are enough for most banks to be secure they will have the money needed to honor the withdrawals, as there are more people making payments and saving deposits than there are people making withdrawals of their own savings and assets.

What if there are more people making more withdrawals than the bank has money on reserve?

Remember the credit crisis that started in 2008 and is still kicking? One of the reasons why it went from bad to worse and from worse to a total disaster was because of this–people making more withdrawals than banks had in reserve. In times of economic crisis, if there is a doubt that the banks will be able to honor the deposits made on them, this leads to people and investors to withdraw all their assets within the bank in a really short amount of time, before other depositors can withdraw their share. This creates a cascade effect that can possibly (almost certainly) cause a bank run. This forces the bank to call in its short term loans, draw upon credit lines with other banks or ask for last resort rescue loans from the central bank.

Okay, but how this is bad for people?

In time of a stable economy this not bad for financially responsible people, those who take out loans that are smaller than their average yearly income and can make sure that the accumulated interest won’t surpass all their earnings during the intended financing period. Take for example financing the purchase of a house with a 10 year mortgage plan. It is, however, extremely dangerous for people who to borrow who are in unstable financial situations (like no job security, health problems, addictions) or do not measure how much interest they’re incurring compared to how much they earn, or people who simply don’t care about the long term consequences of their lack of foresight (I can’t miss the chance to throw this jab at the American reader).

In times of instability, however, irresponsible borrowing (and lending) can hit hard even the responsible people hard. This is what happened in 2008.

Gamble continues with a story telling how the fractional reserve banking system was born.

Setting aside Mr. Gamble’s implications of how it is used to create money on the backs of people (which is an arguable question), if you want to know how central banks and fractional reserve banking came to be, look for the history of the  Bank of Amsterdam.

Here are some links that further explain what FRB is and how it came about:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractional_reserve_banking

http://www.canadabanks.net/default.aspx?article=Fractional-Reserve+Banking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH2-37rTA8U (Khan Academy on FRB, quite educational I must add, as long as you avoid the comments section).

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/Modern_Money_Mechanics.pdf

http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/wpawuwpma/0203005.htm (look for the download link)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_fractional_reserve_banking

Later Gamble states how FRB is used to create a population that is tied to their debts to the bank.

Then Thrive provides us with this quote: “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning” – Henry Ford, 1922

The quote appears to be completely fake. Although it is commonly cited on conspiracy theorist, 9/11 Truth and “End the Fed” websites, there is no source and no context linking it to Henry Ford. Not even the dates that Ford supposedly said it are consistent.

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Henry_Ford

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Conspiracy#Attributed

[Muertos comment: conspiracy theorists love to use fake quotes, and this is not the only fake quote in Thrive–there’s a quote by Henry Kissinger that is equally false. The problem with these quotes is that, once it gets out there and conspiracy theorists decide they like it, a quote gets repeated all over the place on all sorts of conspiracy theorist websites–thus creating the erroneous impression that, because the quote appears so often, it must be true and accurate. If you don’t believe that this happens all the time, just think back on all the things comedian George Carlin is supposed to have said–only a small fraction of them are actually real Carlin quotes, and as he is dead, he can’t dispute that he didn’t say them.

When conspiracy theorists are challenged on fake quotes, many of them will say something like, “Well, you can’t prove that he didn’t say it!” That, of course, is asinine. You can’t just make up any crap you like, put it in someone’s mouth and then challenge people to prove they didn’t say it. But, sadly, this is how conspiracy theorists think. Quotes about banking are particularly attractive to conspiracy theorists because they love the idea of respected figures from history having supposedly “warned” us about the dangers that they (conspiracy theorists) insist are right around the corner.]

After the fake Henry Ford quote, Gamble resumes his rant on how we have become debt slaves of a financial elite who has rigged the system to their benefit.

Take this as you will, but you’ll become a debt slave if you decide to acquire (too much) debt in the first place. For many this seems unavoidable.

[Muertos comment: the term “debt slave” bothers me because it’s misleading. Suppose you have a good job and a family. You take out a 30-year mortgage at a reasonable interest rate in order to buy a bigger house to raise your kids in. You can easily make the payments and your house increases in equity in the meantime. Are you still a “debt slave” for the next 30 years? If you decide to sell the house you pay off the mortgage, and can take the equity and invest in a bigger house elsewhere. How is this “slavery”? And what’s the alternative–live in a smaller, crappier place and try to raise your kids there, where you don’t have room for them? Why is taking advantage of the opportunities that debt creates necessarily a bad thing? Thrive doesn’t see distinctions along these lines. In its ideology, all debt is bad.]

Catherine Austin Fitts

From Muertos’s article debunking the trailer:

Catherine Austin Fitts was Assistant Secretary for Housing in 1989-90 under the first George Bush. She is also a Wall Street banker. She currently works for an investment advisory firm called Solari, Inc.”

Ms. Fitts, along with Mr. Gamble, keeps reaffirming how FRB is used to print more money and enslave more people through debt. Later she makes a comparison with ordinary people counterfeiting money being a crime, while the [central] banks printing money being called “increasing the money supply” as if there’s no distinction here. There is a distinction. I don’t know, maybe it’s related to the fact that central banks are trusted institutions, and they are an effective way to control interest rates and the amount of money being circulated so as to make sure hyperinflation or hyper-deflation do not take place. Yes, said measures can fail, but it’s certainly not the same as “printing money” just for the hell of it.

Gamble then cites the gathering of the “secret” Morgans and Rockefellers on Jekyll Island, where (he says) the draft of the Federal Reserve was created.

First he fails to mention that a central banking system was already in place in Europe–especially in Germany–long before the bankers and politicians in US were considering using a central banking system. Second, politicians in US were already studying alternatives to the US Treasury bonds and lack of liquidity and access to credit, mostly in response to the Panic of 1907.

After this Gamble beings talking about the creation of the Fed and the Internal Revenue Service in the same year, “forcing us to pay for the politicians’ debt”, and introduces the viewer to G. Edward Griffin and his book.

G. Edward Griffin

Writer of “The Creature from Jekyll Island” which is about the creation the Fed, Griffin is a critic of the current banking system and advocates private currency as being “real money.” Needless to say, his ideas are quite popular amongst libertarian circles.

(If you want to know how bad this idea of “real money” is, just imagine going to the state next to yours just to find out that the private currency of your local bank, backed by a commodity like silver or gold, is worthless because the other state operates at different standards or doesn’t accept your currency. Or, worse yet, imagine if the bank goes bankrupt, all your assets in said bank are gone, and there is no central bank or institution to guarantee the bank will have the resources to honor its deposits).

[Muertos comment: we had precisely this problem in the Great Depression, which resulted in an entity called the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation–an agency that makes sure that you, as a bank depositor, will be able to retrieve your money from that bank (up to $250,000, I think) even if the bank fails. Where would the money come from if the FDIC had to make you whole after your bank fails? It would come from a fund administered by the federal government. Doesn’t sound so bad when you think about it like that, does it?]

Griffin goes on about how the central banks are cartels that work with governments and have the legal power to create money out of nothing when the government needs it.

I think the “out of nothing” part of the money is not entirely nothing. There seems to be a massive misconception that when a central bank prints more currency, it’s simply creating more money out of nothing. First, it doesn’t happen this way. Even though the money is not backed by a scarce commodity (like gold), the value attributed to it is related to how trusted and reliable the country’s central bank is. Printing more money without the generation of wealth decreases the value of the money. This is why you can trade one US Dollar for 10,000 Zimbabwe Dollars, and the same reason why the Zimbabwe 1000 Dollar bill is worth less than the paper it’s printed on. Printing more money without generation of wealth will lead to inflation and the loss of value for the currency.

[Muertos comment: this has been proven time and time again historically, such as in the U.S. when “greenbacks” were printed to help finance the Civil War. It didn’t work then either.]

The central banks are not only able to create more money. They are also capable of removing money from circulation when needed. For example, during Christmas the US Federal Reserve prints more money to assure all the withdraws will be possible, and then they remove the extra bills from circulation afterwards.

When this happens, the fiat currency doesn’t lose its value because it is just a representation of the wealth that already does exist, even though most of this wealth is in form of data like the amount you have in your bank or how much all your declared belongs are worth. It doesn’t mean it’s worthless. It’s a representation. It’s not wealth itself.

Let’s put this way. The amount of wealth in dollars is X and the amount of printed paper money is Y. Because most of the wealth being traded, stored or transferred is in the form of savings, credits, stocks, checks and representations other than printed fiat currency, X will be always higher than Y, but when people are making withdrawals, collecting their payments or selling things, more money will begin to circulate from hand to hand. Since there is more money in data form than there is in the form of printed money, the Central Banks print the money and send bills to the local banks to make sure they are capable of handling all the money being moved and spent. This will make Y approach the amount of X, but if the amount of Y being printed and in circulation is  getting closer to the amount of X, there is a chance that Y will surpass X. This will lead to the devaluation of the currency on which X and Y operate, leading to inflation.

To put it in even more simple terms: when you print currency to represent wealth, you’re not creating money out of nowhere. When you print more currency than you have wealth, you’re lowering the value of the money. The amount of wealth is still the same but the value of the currency changes.

Bill Still on the Federal Reserve

Bill Still is another Libertarian film producer, highly critical of the monetary system in US.  He is also seeking the nomination from the Libertarian Party for the 2012 elections.

During his short appearance in Thrive, Mr. Still claims that the Fed is a privately-owned bank made to look like a government bank. To get his point across he says the Federal Reserve, instead of being on the blue government pages in the Washington DC area phone books, is on the white pages. He thinks this is evidence!

Since I don’t live in the US and I didn’t look at a phone book from the DC area during my short but pleasant stay in US, I have to say that was a really bad choice for evidence.

[Muertos comment: there are a lot of stupid assertions in Thrive, but this one has got to be in the top five most ridiculous things in the entire movie. I can’t believe Mr. Gamble let this one through–it’s simply insulting to the intelligence.]

Alan Greenspan on the government’s relations with the Federal Reserve

At 1:00:02 of the movie there is a short video clip in which Alan Greenspan claims that the Federal Reserve doesn’t take direct orders from the president or the Congress. This is used to show the Fed as a rogue agency that answers to no one.

This is totally wrong. Mr. Greenspan’s quote is taken out of context.

For starters, all members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, are handpicked by the president and approved by Senate vote. They are required by law to have a “fair representation of the financial, agricultural, industrial, and commercial interests and geographical divisions of the country.” This means they have to be scholars in economics, politics and above all they must represent the economic interests of the nation, not the interests of the Congress and not of the president. They are accountable for their actions which can lead to members of the board not being nominated again as well the formal and informal relationships of the board members with the president and the Congress.

There is a really good reason why the central banks usually don’t answer directly the executive chief in office and the Congress: if they did, politicians could use these banks for political gain and directly affect the economy. We need an independent Federal Reserve.

A brief study of history, especially looking at some South American countries and African countries, will show that when the politicians can control the decisions of the central banks and therefore dictate the course of the economy, the results are not pretty. More often than not this is completely disastrous for the country.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QkmLnNEvdU

Even though the title of the linked video and the comment section of the youtube page follow the same line of thought of the people featured in Thrive, I’d like the viewer to see the part beginning at 8:00 where Greenspan remembers that the actions taken by the Fed would hurt G.H.W. Bush’s reelection. Just think about that for a few minutes. What if Bush was able to change the decisions of the Fed for his own political gain? What would that do to the economy of the United States? This could potentially harm the economy more than it was already harmed in 1992 (which at that time was in a deep recession). This is why the Congress and the president don’t have much say in the decisions of the Fed, but the Fed is still accountable for its decisions. The people on the Federal Reserve Board were chosen by the president and approved by the Senate in the first place, making them accountable for their actions inside the Federal Reserve.

Here are some documents containing detailed explanations of the relations of the Federal Reserve with other branches of the US Government. As you will see, it’s far from an unaccountable rogue entity.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-federal-reserve.htm

http://useconomy.about.com/od/governmentagencies/p/fed.htm

http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2000/20001024.htm

http://www.publiceye.org/conspire/flaherty/flaherty3.html

“Economic parasite”

After this, Mr. Gamble and Ms. Fitts give us analogies on how the bankers use their data on the economy to benefit themselves at expense of others. I won’t argue much with that because it is happening, but not for the reasons  Gamble & friends would you like to believe.

FBI Raid

Since it is Mr. Gamble talking about the FBI raiding her (Ms. Fitts’s) company not her saying it, and nowhere in her company’s website or her bio mentions the said raid, I’m skeptical that it even happened. I also tried to look for news articles mentioning this raid hoping to see something like the paper shot Gamble gave us on the screen, but the only places I saw any mention of it were 9/11 Truth websites and a few truthers’ blogs without any external links or sources to this event beyond what their word for it.

[Muertos comment: always be skeptical of anything that appears on 9/11 Truth websites and nowhere else. 9/11 Truthers are notoriously incapable of getting almost anything right.]

Unless Ms. Fitts herself can come forward and explain in her own words what happened, or if someone can provide me a reliable link or newsfeed with info validating Mr. Gamble’s characterization of what happened, I’ll keep my sense of disbelief about the big government suppressing her findings, specially someone with credentials and political reach like her. (Blogs or forums do not count as reliable source; I’m talking about newspaper articles or public data).

[Muertos comment: given the fact that ten people who appear in Thrive have signed a letter repudiating the film and saying the movie was misrepresented to them, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if what Ms. Fitts would say about what happened would differ significantly from the way Mr. Gamble puts it in the film.]

The Dollar and the Sub-prime crisis:

Gamble begins this part with a moot point about the devaluation of the dollar, showing it from 1913 to 2010.

Remember when I discussed the matter of currency in circulation vs. the real value of wealth? Well, this is what happened: when the Federal Reserve came into being, having a regular universally recognized currency made trade easier both on the internal market as well the international market. It made the US economy more open to these markets, generating more trade, and as result more currency started to circulate. To compensate for the new amount of money circulating and more people earning more money, prices rose, because people where consuming more. This effect is called “demand-pull inflation.” This is regarded as the good kind of inflation because it shows that the country is THRIVING.

This doesn’t make people poor. If the prices are rising, so are peoples’ wages. Even if products have higher prices they still hold the same value. (The kind of inflation that rises both price and value is called “cost-push inflation,” and this happens due to the increase of production cost or scarcity. This is the bad kind of inflation).

But why doesn’t the currency return to its original value after a while? This happens because of an economic effect called “built-in inflation,” where past experiences dictate how the wages and prices will rise. Workers expect inflation to pinch in the future, so they start asking for higher wages to compensate. As a result, companies start raising the price of their products so they don’t lose their profit margins. Because this builds over time it becomes something like a change of currency or a hard economic crisis, where money is being hoarded and trading comes to a halt.

Even if you look to Mr. Gamble’s graph you’ll notice the periods when the dollar’s value rose were in the interwar period and during WWII, when US was still suffering from the 1929 stock crash that brought the US economy to its knees, and during WWII where all the US economy was focused on the war effort instead of producing consumer goods and trading. After those periods were over, trading resumed and, as expected, the value of the dollar declined as more currency began circulating again.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-causes-inflation.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Built-in_inflation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost-push_inflation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demand-pull_inflation

Wealth Gap

Same case as the “economic parasite” claim: the gap in wealth is a big problem, but Thrive has the wrong take on what is the cause.

No, I don’t have a magic bullet solution for wealth disparity. No one does. I do, however, support several policies involving fiscal responsibility, fair taxation, better public health and education plans, transparency from both government and corporate business and not reelecting the same politicians with histories of corruption and incompetence.

Bankers and crisis

Gamble tries to correlate the stock crash of 1929 and the Great Depression to the creation of the Fed. Logically correlation does not equal causation. If you take a look at what happened, the stock crash of 1929 was caused by reckless investments on high risk and speculative shares. With the investments boom more people where buying shares and raising market prices. This would only become viable if the stock market kept rising at a quick rate. If the rise wasn’t fast enough, halted or went into a downturn, those shares would lose their value. This was combined with the massive loans stock brokers were making to investors (called “margin”). The investor only had to pay 50% of the share value and the broker would complete the rest with his own money. Thousands of people taking loans to purchase more shares didn’t help as it was creating a massive economic bubble. As expected, once the stock market faced a downturn, mass panic selling followed, forcing the share’s values down creating a cycle where investors had to sell their shares to pay their brokers and avoid losing too much money with shares that by this time had lost all their value.

[Muertos comment: the causes of the Great Depression are still highly controversial today. There is no one clear answer, but what you’ve identified is clearly part of the problem–any basic book on the crash will make this case. It’s also not limited to 1929. I was working in the financial sector during the “dot com bust” of 2000-2001, and much the same thing happened–shares were grossly overvalued, and there was too much credit attached to financial speculation. When dot coms started to post less than impressive profit numbers, the whole thing collapsed. Something similar happened in 2008, except instead of stocks it was financial products tied to real estate.]

It is also worth remembering that the both people buying and selling the shares are normal people, prone to make mistakes, get nervous or act on impulse. This means one bad rumor in a highly volatile place such as the stock market can cause many stocks’ value to plummet. Do this on a large scale and you can get yourself a nice big crisis on your hands.

http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/Bierman.Crash

http://stocks.fundamentalfinance.com/stock-market-crash-of-1929.php (this is a TL;DR version of the previous link)

I also would like to have access to this “research” Mr. Gamble claims did on the “major banks” moving their money away from the stock market before the crash, because I’m not able to find any reliable link or article showing that this in fact happened.

The 2008’s credit bubble crisis

This is the only thing preventing me to copy paste the debunking of Zeitgeist here and calling it a day.

But where do I start? First Foster Gamble and David Icke and their “research” (really, I’d like to see the data Gamble uses to make his statements) want to lead the viewer to believe the 2008 economic crash was a ploy engineered by the major banks to consolidate their power by breaking smaller business and seizing their assets.

But there are a few problems with this. For one those assets (mostly houses) have become worthless, and the bail outs are not even close to the amount lost by the banks during the crisis. Plus, why create an economic crisis in the first place? The last thing you want, if you’re a banker or an industrialist, is an economic crisis where people stop spending and the economy stagnates.

So what happened in the 2008’s subprime crisis?

It was caused by a combination of lack of foresight, greed, high interest rates, high risk investments and a complete lack of regulations for the financial sector (I can hear from here all the libertarians shrieking in horror after reading this).

Putting it in layman’s terms, before the 2008 crisis the housing sector in United States was one of the most attractive investments for a few reasons. First, the continuous rise of housing prices and the demand for new houses, and second the too low interest rates from the Federal Reserve that were not attractive to the investors anymore (they were around 1% during 2008).

Okay, what was the banks’ deal then?

They were buying the mortgages from lenders and then reselling them to investors looking for investments with better rates. The banks would proceed to lend more money, mostly from other major banks and from central banks, to acquire more mortgages. Then the banks would generate massive profits from all the homeowners paying their mortgages.

So far so good. But for them there was a problem: since this was one relatively safe and high profit deal, the banks wanted more people paying more mortgages on the rising housing prices.

When a financing company sold the mortgages for the banks, if the homeowner went into default the bank would get the house. This was attractive for the bank because the housing prices were rising at the time. This meant that when the mortgage broker sells the house at a new higher price, the lenders and the banks would make a better profit with the new mortgage payers.

Okay, but where do the problems begin?

The number of AAA home buyers (meaning, reliable and financially responsible people) buying houses was too low to sustain the kind of profits they wanted to make selling and flipping mortgages. So, not wanting to miss the opportunity of selling the houses at higher prices and collecting the higher mortgages, the banks and lenders started selling the houses to subprime families (non reliable people) that they knew would go into default in a matter of time so they could resell the house again and again. Major profits were made this way. The lender would sell the mortgage for the banks and then the bank would sell it to an investor willing to take the risk.

With this happening soon the number of houses going into default was increasing. The number of houses being placed on the market for sale was also rising, but the number of people looking for a house was not. Actually most of the people who could afford a house already had one and with the subprime families simply not paying, this was starting to drive the housing prices down. To make things worse, the people who could afford their high mortgages simply started abandoning their houses because now they were worth a fraction of what they used to be worth, and yet their mortgage was the same.

This left the banks with a lot of houses, but with no one paying for them. The banks borrowed massive amounts of money to buy those mortgages, and the lenders had a lot of houses with people who were going into default, and the investors had a lot of high risk deals that have become worthless. The investors were not able to sell the risk to anyone because by this time everyone noticed that things were not going as planned and stopped buying or selling, essentially freezing the banking and the financing market, bankrupting the banks, the investors and the lenders.

And the banks owned a lot of money they couldn’t pay back, usually to other large banks either in US or Europe, thus dragging those banks down into the crisis with them.

This is the simple explanation, but there are other factors that contributed to the crisis. For example, easy credit (it stimulated not only banks to borrow huge sums of money but also common folk), predatory lending (lending deals so long and prone to change that people were deceived into deals that aren’t what they are advertised) and underwriting (banks with mortgages that didn’t meet proper standards and selling them to other banks and investors) and deregulation of the banking industry (this made easier for banks and financing companies to pull their stunts without the government being able to interfere).

This showed that the banking system had serious problems both ethically and financially, but the reality is much less Machiavellian (and boring) than Gamble would you like to believe.

Back to the movie. We have Mr. Gamble explaining the crisis using a fish hook analogy to show how the financial elites consolidate their power. I’d bother to explain who this logic is wrong if I didn’t do it already above.

Again the banks won’t make major profit from a lot of houses with devaluated prices and with their credibility shot.

Gentlemen! Behold the links!

http://crisisofcredit.com/ (a friendly video explanation about how the crisis came to be)

http://www.mortgageguideuk.co.uk/blog/debt/credit-crunch-explained/

http://useconomy.about.com/od/criticalssues/f/What-Is-the-Global-Financial-Crisis-of-2008.htm

http://useconomy.about.com/od/themarkets/f/hedge_funds.htm

http://useconomy.about.com/b/2008/09/23/why-the-bailout-is-necessary.htm

http://www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/foia/emergency-lending-financial-crisis-20111206.pdf

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/apr/21/imf-huge-global-bank-losses

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/business/global/22fund.html?_r=1

http://beginnersinvest.about.com/od/banking/a/aa062405.htm

“Give me control over a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws.”–Baron Mayer Amschel Rothschild

I can’t find this quote in any history source or website. The only result that purported to show where it came from besides attributing it to Amschel Rothschild is from The Creature of Jekyll Island.

And it featured in America: Freedom to Fascism.

Too bad Mayer Amschel Rothschild died in 1812, virtually a hundred years before the quote started making its first appearances during the early 20th century.

http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote/mayer_amschel_rothschild_quote_8bed

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America:_Freedom_to_Fascism#Quotation_of_Mayer_Amschel_Rothschild

[Google Books link discussing the quote]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

There isn’t much to talk about the BIS and the IMF. The BIS acts like a hub for central banks to organize themselves, regularize the sector and push for transparency on the business. The IMF is a bank responsible for money lending programs enjoyed by its contributors. It is infamous for cases of sheer incompetence due to lack of touch with the reality of the countries they were lending money to or how the assistance programs are perceived by the local population.  Depending on who you ask or which country you’re talking about, the IMF can be either seen as a major tool for the development of a country or just a means for the developed and industrialized nations to explore the undeveloped ones.

Like the Federal Reserve and other “major banks,” Gamble also claims they are controlled by the financial elite.

http://www.bis.org/

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bis.asp#axzz1sXrQrlhd

https://www.imf.org/external/index.htm

http://ifiwatchnet.org/

Conclusion

As with much else in Thrive, the “Follow the Money” section is long on rhetoric and short on identifiable facts. There are oversimplifications, important concepts left out, quotes whose truth can’t be identified, and a lot of distortions. This section isn’t done very much better than any other section in Thrive.

As difficult as this subject is, hopefully this analysis gives you something to work with as you evaluate the claims made by the movie.

Global Domination Agenda–Debunked!

Contents

  • What is the “Global Domination Agenda”?
  • The Central Assumption Behind The Theory.
  • A diagram: the “Global Domination Agenda” and its logical links.
  • Example One: “The GDE deliberately created the global economic crisis!”
  • Example Two: “George H.W. Bush said he was instituting the New World Order!”
  • Example Three: “But the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission are real! You can’t claim they don’t exist!”
  • Mistaking Political/Economic Power or Social Status for “Evidence” of GDE.
  • A Logic Game: The Neighborhood Watch.
  • Questions Believers in “Global Domination Agenda” Should Ask Themselves.
  • So if there’s no GDE and the “Global Domination Agenda” doesn’t exist, who does rule the world?
  • You call this a “debunking”? You haven’t disproved the Global Domination Agenda at all!
  • Conclusion

One of the central messages of the Thrive movie—indeed, arguably the central message—is the assertion that the world is controlled by a conspiratorial group of persons, entities and business interests who are pursuing goals inimical to the best interests of humanity. On the Thrive website, this conspiracy theory is referred to as the “Global Domination Agenda,” though there are many permutations of this conspiracy theory which go by many different names. This article will debunk the notion that the world is controlled by a unified group pursuing a “Global Domination Agenda,” at least as that concept is elucidated in the Thrive movie.

Debunking “Global Domination Agenda” is at once simple and very complicated. The simple answer is, there is not a shred of evidence to support the existence of this conspiracy theory. However, explaining how and why this is so, and why it is illogical to believe in the existence of a “Global Domination Agenda,” is more complicated. It also involves the exact sort of reasoning and argumentation that is least likely to satisfy believers in this conspiracy theory.

This is a lengthy article. Before we begin, I’d like to ask all persons who intend to post comments on this article to read the entire thing before making comments. Please don’t raise an objection in the comments that’s already covered by the main bulk of the article.

What is the “Global Domination Agenda”? 

For purposes of this article I will refer to the conspiracy theory at issue as the “Global Domination Agenda,” because that’s the term used by the makers of the Thrive movie. I conceive of this conspiracy theory as being essentially synonymous with the idea of the “Illuminati” or the “New World Order,” both much more popular terms than “Global Domination Agenda.” Exactly what this conspiracy theory means, and what its details are, differ widely depending on who believes it. It’s impossible to come up with a description of this conspiracy theory that takes into account all permutations of it; however, the most commonly agreed-upon features of the theory generally hold: 

  1. That a group of persons, entities and business interests exert total, or at least significant, control over international relations, economics, media and technology on a global scale;
  2. That this group has some sort of internal unity—i.e., that its actors are working in concert toward a common goal or goals; and
  3. That either the direct goal of this group, or the effect of their goals, is to consolidate dictatorial power over all, most, or a significant portion of the world’s people.

Believers in a “Global Domination Agenda” are probably the most intractable and unyielding of all conspiracy theorists. Many debunkers simply throw up their hands when confronted with a believer in this theory, because it’s virtually impossible to convince them that this conspiracy theory is illogical and completely unsupported by evidence. Nevertheless, a full debunking of the Thrive film wouldn’t be complete without at least an attempt at addressing this conspiracy theory. Therefore, we will try to analyze why people believe in this conspiracy theory and what can be done to demonstrate that the “Global Domination Agenda” does not exist. 

The Central Assumption Behind The Theory. 

At its core, the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory is an assumption. Conspiracy believers simply assume that points 1, 2, and 3 are true. Once they make this assumption, virtually anything they see they will interpret as “evidence” supporting the truth of points 1, 2 and 3. Basically, they think it’s true because it’s true. The circular and self-reinforcing nature of the assumption admits no outside stimulus that can either support or refute the points of the assumption. 

How do we know that a group of persons, entities and business interests exert total, or at least significant, control over international relations, economics, media and technology on a global scale? Because they do, and if you don’t agree, you’re a blind brainwashed sheeple. How do we know that this group has some sort of internal unity—i.e., that its actors are working in concert toward a common goal or goals? Because they are, and if you don’t agree, you haven’t done your research. How do we know that that either the direct goal of this group, or the effect of their goals, is to consolidate dictatorial power over all, most, or a significant portion of the world’s people? Because it is. Wake up! 

This is a difficult point to grasp. At the risk of making this more complicated than it is, I’ll attempt to demonstrate it graphically. 

A diagram: the “Global Domination Agenda” and its logical links. 

Let us map out how this system would work if the “Global Domination Agenda” was true. A graph of it would look like a pyramid. There would have to be some sort of unified command, a group of ultimate decision-makers, at the very top. Let’s call this the “Global Domination Elite” or GDE for short (a term I just made up, but call it what you want—Illuminati, NWO, reptilians, whatever). There would have to be connections of some type between the GDE and the persons, entities, governments etc. that they use to do their bidding. Let’s call that layer the “Action Elements.” There would have to be connections of some type between the Action Elements and the individual acts or conditions that they create—the “Results” layer.

 

[Click to see a larger version.]

In order to prove that the “Global Domination Agenda” is true, you need to prove (I) that each layer of this pyramid exists; and (II) the connections between each layer. Without both I or II, the very idea of a “Global Domination Agenda” collapses. 

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” simply assume that I and II are either already proven, are self-evident, or can be proven by evidence that in fact does not point to either I or II. 

I don’t expect this statement to make much sense without concrete examples. So, we’ll get to some. 

Example One: “The GDE deliberately created the global economic crisis!” 

This type of claim is very common among “Global Domination Agenda” believers. In fact it is presumed in Thrive that the GDE deliberately tanked the world’s economy as part of whatever their plan is supposed to be. If you ask a “Global Domination Agenda” believer to prove this, he or she will usually offer two types of “evidence”: 

1. Links to news articles about wrongdoing by mortgage bankers, irresponsible economic decisions by governments or corporations, or trends about worsening economic conditions like foreclosure or unemployment.

2. Statements of opinion, often made by other conspiracy theorists, that the GDE or persons working for them created the economic crisis. 

But note what’s really happening. News articles about bad economic decisions, corporate malfeasance etc. only prove the existence of the results—not the cause, not the connections between the various layers of the pyramid. That sort of evidence goes to prove only these parts of the diagram…

 

[click to see larger] …not these.

 Think about it. A CNN.com news article that Acme Megabank made a series of disastrous loans between 2000 and 2008, when they should have known better, does not prove the connection between Acme Megabank and the GDE. All it proves is that Acme Megabank made a series of disastrous loans when they should have known better. An article about how youth unemployment is at 30% and getting worse does not prove the connection between the employers who are refusing to offer jobs to young people and the GDE. All it proves is that there’s a youth unemployment problem. But we know that already.

Proving one set of connections and then the other doesn’t work either. Thus, proving that the former CEO of Acme Megabank is now Assistant Secretary of the Treasury does not make the connection, because you still haven’t proven that Acme Megabank acted on the GDE’s orders to make those disastrous loans. You have to prove connection from the bottom up—from the result all the way up to the GDE. 

Furthermore, statements of opinion, or unsourced assertions, by other conspiracy theorists—“Guess what? The directors of Acme Megabank made those disastrous loans on purpose to further the Global Domination Agenda!”—similarly proves nothing. It does not prove the existence of the GDE, nor the connections between the GDE and the Action Elements. All it proves is that somebody thinks there are connections. But that is not proof that the connections exist.

Indeed, these pieces of “evidence” are totally meaningless unless you already accept the assumption that the “Global Domination Agenda” exists. Then, and only then, do they become relevant. This is an other illustration of the point that the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory operates on totally circular logic. 

Example Two: “George H.W. Bush said he was instituting the New World Order!” 

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda,” when they are not providing “evidence” along the lines discussed above, will sometimes point to “incriminating” statements by persons they believe to be part of the GDE, supposedly indicating an “admission” of their true agenda. One of the favorites in this category is a speech made on March 6, 1991 by President George H.W. Bush in which he used the words “New World Order.” Supposedly this indicates an “admission” that the New World Order, as conceived by conspiracy theorists, exists, and that Bush was one of the people trying to implement it.

But does it, though? I doubt most conspiracy theorists have actually read Bush’s speech, in which he outlined his vision of a world following the Persian Gulf War. Here is the full text (http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/detail/3430). He does in fact use the words “new world order.” But, if you read the full speech—I won’t excerpt it here because I encourage you to read it for yourself—it’s very clear he’s not talking about global domination. He’s talking about a vision for foreign policy which, ironically, ultimately did not come to pass. How, then, does this prove the existence of a “Global Domination Agenda”?

Time and time again, believers in a “Global Domination Agenda” will serve up these sorts of tidbits, which do not stand for the propositions they claim they stand for. (At least Bush’s “New World Order” speech is real, even though it doesn’t say what they think he said. Often, quotes by high-ranking figures used by conspiracy theorists are simply false. For example, the Thrive movie claims that Henry Kissinger makes an ominous-sounding statement. I cannot find any reputable source—meaning, not another conspiracy theorist website—that even indicates Kissinger ever said this.) 

Example Three: “But the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission are real! You can’t claim they don’t exist!” 

Yes, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group exist. But their simple existence does not prove the existence of the GDE or the “Global Domination Agenda.” Very often believers in conspiracy theorists will cite the mere existence of these groups as supposed evidence of their claims. This ignores that, again, an assumption is being made: that these groups really do have the power and the characteristics that believers in a “Global Domination Agenda” claim that they do. 

The Bilderberg Group is a rotating conference of politicians, business leaders and intellectuals who meet informally to discuss affairs of the world. The membership changes frequently, but usually includes high-ranking government officials, CEOs, etc. The Bilderberg Group has no official power. It controls no army, it can neither make nor enforce laws, and has no formal status under any government in the world. It’s a think tank. Its members talk about things they think their countries should be doing, but little else. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilderberg_Group 

The Trilateral Commission is a group of businesspersons who get together to discuss business relations between America, Europe and Japan. Like Bilderberg, it is populated by wealthy people who have a lot of influence. Also like Bilderberg, it has no official power, controls no army, can neither make nor enforce law, and has no formal status under any government in the world. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilateral_Commission 

Most believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory believe these groups are either the GDE or members of it. They routinely cite the mere existence of these groups as affirmative evidence n favor of the “Global Domination Agenda.” 

What’s missing here is any evidence that these groups have the influence or power that the believers in a Global Domination Agenda say they have. Not a single shred of evidence has ever been produced that these groups have any power at all! The fact that they are made up by influential people, and that they discuss world problems, are the sole basis for conspiracy theorists’ claims that they control the world. In fact, while individual members of these groups may have significant power in their own governments or organizations, there is a complete lack of evidence that matters discussed or recommendations made by these groups have ever translated directly into policy. And yes, we do know what they discuss. Search WikiLeaks for “Bilderberg Minutes.” You can download hundreds of pages of extremely boring policy discussions. Not one of them proves conspiracy theorists’ claims. 

Where is the proof of control? Where is the proof of influence and power? 

Indeed, as with most “evidence” proffered by believers in the “Global Domination Agenda,” what they say and what they can actually prove are very far apart. However, these people will often frame the argument in terms of, you cannot disprove a “Global Domination Agenda” unless you deny that the Bilderberg Group or the Trilateral Commission exists. Whether they exist is not the issue. The issue is whether they have the power that conspiracy theorists say they have. They don’t. 

Mistaking Political/Economic Power or Social Status for “Evidence” of GDE. 

Another mistake, made almost universally by believers in a “Global Domination Agenda,” is to argue that the fact that a person, corporation, or group has political power, economic power or social standing is evidence that they are in fact a member of the GDE. This is, yet again, misapplication of evidence. 

Let’s take George H.W. Bush again. I could not imagine a single believer in the “Global Domination Agenda” not believing that George H.W. Bush is a member of the GDE. 

There is no doubt that George H.W. Bush is, or at least was, a very powerful and influential person. Even before he was elected the 41st President of the United States in 1988, he was from a very rich and prominent family, had many connections among business and political leaders, and was ambitious for political power at an early age. When he was in the White House, he commanded the armed forces of the U.S. and exerted significant influence on the economy. 

But ask yourself this: why is George H.W. Bush a powerful and influential person? Is it because he is a member of the GDE? Or is it because he is from a very rich and powerful family, has many connections among business and political leaders, and held significant positions of political and economic power? 

This distinction will be lost on many believers in the “Global Domination Agenda,” but it might become a bit clearer if you ask yourself this question: 

Is it possible for any person, anywhere in the world, to rise to a position of significant political/economic power or social status, without being a member of the GDE? 

If you answered “no” to this question, you have just engaged in circular reasoning. George H.W. Bush is powerful/influential because he is a member of the GDE; because George H.W. Bush is a member of the GDE, he is therefore powerful/influential. 

See the circular reasoning there? 

If you answered “yes” to the question, then ask yourself: how can you distinguish between someone who has political/economic power or social status because he/she is a member of the GDE, or someone who has that power/status for some other reason? Chances are you won’t be able to answer that question at all. 

We do not live in a society without class or social stratification. There are powerful and influential people. Rich people and business interests do have influence on government and economic policy. But be careful that you don’t mistake evidence that these things are true for “evidence” that a “Global Domination Agenda” exists. It’s very easy to do that, especially when you’re accusing people of being members of the GDE based solely on membership in a group or family or because they hold a particular office. If you’re doing that, you’re again illustrating that all “Global Domination Agenda” theories proceed from an assumption that is never questioned. 

A Logic Game: The Neighborhood Watch.

Let’s play a little game of logic and reasoning that I hope will help illustrate both how the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory works, and why believers in it are so incredulous that it can’t be real. 

Imagine a gated community in the suburbs. Five couples live there: Alan & Bess, Charlie & Dora, Ed & Flo, Gerald & Harriet, Irving & Joyce, and Kevin & Linda. The community is a planned development with covenants and a homeowner’s association. Alan & Bess are the richest people in the community and own the biggest house. Bess is president of the homeowner’s association. 

Kevin is a conspiracy theorist. He believes in the existence of a secret group called the “Neighborhood Watch” which he thinks controls everything that happens in the community. He believes that the Neighborhood Watch intends to rule the community with an iron fist and destroy all freedom in the neighborhood. In fact, the Neighborhood Watch does not exist. 

At a homeowner’s association meeting, Bess proposes a new rule that everyone in the community must mow their lawn once a week. The group votes. Kevin & Linda are opposed, but everyone else votes yes and the rule goes into effect. Kevin believes that this vote demonstrates that the Neighborhood Watch controls the homeowner’s association, and that Bess, and probably Alan, are members of it. 

A week later, Irving & Joyce’s young son is playing in the street when he’s hit by a car and injured. At the next homeowner’s association meeting, Bess proposes a new rule that no one’s kids are allowed to play beyond the confines of their own yards. The rule passes, again with Kevin & Linda opposed. Kevin begins to tell everyone that the Neighborhood Watch deliberately lured Irving & Joyce’s son into the street so he would be hit by a car, thus giving the homeowner’s association an excuse to pass a restrictive rule. Because everyone else but Kevin & Linda voted for the rule, Kevin begins to believe that all the other couples are also members of the Neighborhood Watch. 

A week after that, Gerald is accused of sexually harassing his secretary and is fired from his job. He and Harriet can no longer afford their mortgage, so they have to move out. They sell their house to Alan & Bess who buy it for a song. Kevin begins to tell people that the Neighborhood Watch framed Gerald for sexual harassment, so he would lose his job and have to sell out of the neighborhood. 

A week after that, it rains heavily. All the houses in the neighborhood have faulty siding and after the rain all the siding must be replaced. As it turns out, Ed works for Acme Siding Co. and he gets a good deal for his neighbors, most of whom buy their new siding from Acme. Ed gets a fat bonus check as a result of this. 

Kevin believes that this proves that Ed is a member of the Neighborhood Watch. He now starts telling people that the Neighborhood Watch can control the weather, that they made it rain so the siding would be ruined, thus providing Ed and Acme the opportunity to make a killing by selling new siding to the neighbors. 

Alan & Bess have a dinner party where they invite Ed & Flo and Charlie & Dora. None of the other couples are invited. Kevin starts telling people that the dinner party must be the secret meeting place of the Neighborhood Watch and it is there that they must be deciding on their nefarious plans to control the community. 

Kevin says he can prove that the Neighborhood Watch secretly rules the community. What is his “proof”? The fact that Bess is influential and on the homeowner’s association; the fact that Alan & Bess are rich; the fact that Irving & Joyce’s young son got hit by a car; the fact that Gerald lost his job; the fact that Ed works for Acme Siding; and the fact that Alan & Bess had a dinner party. 

All of these facts are undeniable. What’s missing is the connection between them. Kevin has not proved—and cannot prove—that the Neighborhood Watch exists. All he can do is prove these various facts to be true, and then tell you to “connect the dots.” But the alleged “connection” between these events makes sense only if you accept Kevin’s basic assumption—which is that the Neighborhood Watch exists. If you question whether or not it exists, the facts that Kevin states suddenly don’t seem as connected as he insists that they are. 

This is exactly the reasoning engaged in by believers in the “Global Domination Agenda.”

If this Neighborhood Watch example seems pretty silly to you, it should. It’s a prime example of bad reasoning and faulty logic. But it also explains why Kevin will choose to view everything that happens in the neighborhood—every rule, every meeting, every accident, every association between everyone else—as “evidence” supporting the existence of the Neighborhood Watch. This is why believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” are shocked when you claim there is no evidence for their claims. “Look around!” they shriek, without realizing that what they think is evidence does not support what they think it supports. 

Questions Believers in “Global Domination Agenda” Should Ask Themselves. 

Here are four questions that people who believe in the “Global Domination Agenda” should ask themselves. The answers—or lack thereof—may be revealing. 

  1. Think of a specific person that you believe is a member of the GDE, i.e., a perpetrator of the “Global Domination Agenda.” What is your basis for believing that person is part of the GDE? 
  2. If the “Global Domination Agenda” exists, why is it taking so long for the GDE’s plans to be implemented?
  3. If the “Global Domination Agenda” exists, why are the GDE so incompetent?
  4.  Assuming the GDE want to take over the world, what do you think they’re going to do with it once they have it?

Let’s take the questions one by one. 

1. Think of a specific person that you believe is a member of the GDE, i.e., a perpetrator of the “Global Domination Agenda.” What is your basis for believing that person is part of the GDE? 

We touched on this with the George H.W. Bush example above. How do you know a member of the GDE when you see one? In almost all cases, the criteria for accusing someone of being a member of the GDE is based on (i) the person’s name; (ii) their job, position, wealth, or social status; or (iii) their opposition to conspiracy theories like the “Global Domination Agenda.”

Indeed, these are the only criteria that conspiracy theorists ever employ to categorize people as members of the GDE. The Thrive movie does this too, when Foster Gamble rages at the Rockefellers. The Rockefellers are rich and influential; therefore, they must, by definition, be part of the GDE. Conspiracy theorists also like to pick on people with the last names Rothschild, Du Pont, Kennedy, Bush, Vanderbilt, etc., etc. The same lack of reasoning is present with respect to a person’s job, position or social status. I’ve had more than one conspiracy theorist tell me that, because the GDE would never “allow” someone untrustworthy to become President of the United States, anyone who gets elected president is automatically a member of the GDE. If that’s not circular reasoning I don’t know what is.

Occasionally ordinary people like me are accused of being a member of the GDE, solely on the basis of my outspoken opposition to conspiracy theories. If someone doesn’t like conspiracy theories, they must be part of a conspiracy! In this vein I have been accused of being a member of the Illuminati, a CIA agent, and a Freemason. I even had one conspiracy theorist say that he felt certain I personally had a role in the September 11 attacks. Ludicrous accusations such as these are beneath comment.

The point is, there’s no rational basis for concluding that someone is a member of the GDE. Inclusion in the conspiracy depends solely on whether the person who believes in the conspiracy theory wants or needs to assume that person must be involved. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. It’s simply absurd.

2. If the “Global Domination Agenda” exists, why is it taking so long for the GDE’s plans to be implemented? 

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” have a hard time with this one. They talk about the awful things the GDE has done in the past, but the stress is always on the much worse things that are going to happen in the future. Various individual conspiracy theories that fit under the rubric of the “Global Domination Agenda” such as the North American Union, RFID microchipping, etc. all emphasize a future dimension. Yet the terrible future consequences never happen. They’re always going to happen, but they haven’t happened yet.

Example: FEMA camps. Supposedly the federal government is building large detention camps, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where people will be sent. Oh, isn’t that awful!

How come it hasn’t happened yet? 

Indeed, Alex Jones—who is listed on the Thrive website as a resource for fighting the “Global Domination Agenda”–has been predicting horrible things for more than 10 years, including FEMA camps. They never happen. What’s taking the GDE so long? If they’ve been building those camps for 10+ years now, when are they actually going to open? 

Even past events fit this pattern. Many believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” will tell you that 9/11 was staged in order to provide an excuse for “taking away our liberties.” How did “they” (the GDE, surely) take away our liberties? By passing the PATRIOT Act, and by instituting invasive TSA searches at airports. Look! They’re taking away our liberties! 

So let me get this straight. The PATRIOT Act was passed 10 years ago, with all these expansive powers that have very seldom, if ever, been used in the past ten years. Some of its provisions have been used against suspected terrorists—but if the GDE really intended the PATRIOT Act as a major tool of oppression, why haven’t courts and enforcement officials been making more and ever-increasing use of it? I mean, why put this law into place but not use it? What is the GDE waiting for? 

Similarly, TSA searches. These were instituted in early 2011. The believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” want you to believe that the GDE, having done 9/11, waited an entire decade to institute a new type of search at security checkpoints. Assuming there’s a considerable distance remaining from invasive pat-downs at the airport to total dictatorial control over all the world’s people, it would seem that the GDE are moving very, very slowly. 

If the GDE is moving this slowly to implement their agenda, where’s the incentive for people to join the conspiracy? They’ll all be dead by the time we reach the “total world domination” stage, if we ever do. What, then, do they have to gain? Why should they commit crimes now to benefit some future generation of iron-fisted rulers who haven’t even been born yet?

This analysis gets sillier if you take into consideration that most believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” believe that the GDE has been around, and has been working on their nefarious plans, for a very long time already. The Thrive movie doesn’t talk about the “Illuminati,” but believers in that form of GDE think that a secret society founded in 1776 is the real power ruling the world. So, in addition to the dozens, scores, or perhaps hundreds of years that have yet to elapse before the GDE’s plans come to fruition, it turns out they’ve already been working on them for over 230 years!

Does this make any sense at all?

3. If the “Global Domination Agenda” exists, why are the GDE so incompetent?

This sounds like a joke, but it’s not. If this GDE is out there and really trying to enslave the world, why are they doing such a terrible job of it? Indeed, it would seem, with as many holes in their plans, that they’re totally incompetent.

After all, “Global Domination Agenda” believers are asking you to accept that a group of all-powerful conspirators is tightening their grip over the entire world, but yet

  • …Foster Gamble is allowed to blow the whistle on their agenda with his Thrive movie and website.
  • …Alex Jones is allowed to screech, grunt and wail about their agenda every single week on his radio show.
  • …Charlie Sheen and Rosie O’Donnell are allowed to make fools of themselves peddling “9/11 Inside Job” crap on their TV shows and in interviews.
  • …Bernie Madoff, undoubtedly a member of the GDE, is allowed to be caught red-handed in his Ponzi scheme.
  • …Richard Nixon, undoubtedly a member of the GDE, is caught on tape, in his own words, committing a crime that leads to him resigning his office.
  • …Nobody helps George W. Bush, undoubtedly a member of the GDE, make a slam-dunk case for his war in Iraq by planting WMD’s on Iraqi soil, instead letting the world see that there were no WMDs in the first place.
  • …Minutes of the Bilderberg Group meetings have been posted on WikiLeaks.
  • …Tens of thousands of conspiracy theorists are allowed to junk up YouTube with their videos claiming that the “Global Domination Agenda” is real.

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” who try to tackle this question will invariably say something like, “This is how the GDE wants it,” or “They have to give you [debunkers] something to use to claim they aren’t real.” Anyone familiar with psychology would recognize these responses as self-reinforcing delusions.

4. Assuming the GDE want to take over the world, what do you think they’re going to do with it once they have it? 

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” usually breeze right by this type of question. What’s the ultimate point of the GDE trying to rule the world? Power, of course! Why, then, do they want to rule the world? For the sake of ruling the world. 

History teaches us, however, that people who desire a great deal of power seldom desire it for its own sake. That’s a common trope in fiction, but don’t even James Bond supervillains have a plan of some kind that they hope to implement? Don’t they usually have an ideology they want to advance, or a set of goals that they feel can best be vindicated by achieving a position of dominance?

Few people would dispute that Napoléon Bonaparte was a very ambitious man, even power-hungry. A man who crowned himself Emperor of France could not be anything other. However, even Napoléon wanted something. He believed in the ascendancy of the French state and thought its interests would best be served by being the most military and politically powerful state in Europe. Napoléon took power in France in part to achieve these goals. He didn’t just sit there wringing his hands and cackling, “Wheeee, I’m going to rule the lives of millions of Frenchmen and lay waste to the continent of Europe!”

What, then, do the GDE want? Believers in this theory don’t have much of an answer beyond, “they want to rule the world.” They seem to assume that power is its own reward. But that doesn’t make much sense, does it? Yet conspiracy theorists cannot point to any specific set of goals that the attainment of “total world domination” would help the GDE achieve. What are they going to do with the world once they have it? Build themselves big mansions? Waterski behind yachts? Erect statues to themselves? (Can’t many of the people suspected of being members of the GDE already do that?)

Some conspiracy theorists attempt to avoid this question by declaring that the GDE are “psychopaths” or otherwise insane. This makes no sense either. In fact it’s a convenient out, by saying, “well, we don’t have to explain what these people want, because they’re just nuts and want power for its own sake.” This argument is not convincing.

So if there’s no GDE and the “Global Domination Agenda” doesn’t exist, who does rule the world?

This question again proceeds from the same assumption as the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory does—the assumption that someone rules the world, and that those people have some type of unity. Asking the question is pointless because it presumes that all you have to do is point a finger at some group and say, “They run the world!”

A lot of people run the world—more accurately, a lot of people run little pieces of it, or, more accurately still, they run little pieces of the little pieces of the little pieces of the world. Those people do what they do out of an extremely broad array of motivations. Much of what they do conflicts with each other, because people, countries and industries have competing and contradictory goals. Barack Obama is undoubtedly one of the most powerful men in the world. However, there are things he can’t do. He can order a nuclear strike on China, but he can’t get his budgets passed. He can influence Bernake to adjust interest rates, but he can’t snap his fingers and create millions of jobs. He can order a SEAL team to assassinate Osama bin Laden, but he can’t stop Mitt Romney from talking trash about him on the campaign stump.

There certainly are a lot of things wrong with the world. Clearly, people are starving in developing countries. Man-made global warming is threatening our environment. Personally, I believe that our economic system is not functioning properly, and social inequality is a serious problem. But to assume that these things are all part of a conscious design by a single person or small group of people is to ignore everything we know about history and about human nature. Thrive seems to suggest that the world is somehow deliberately built to be cruel and unfair, and it is the fault of the GDE, those evil people, who made it so. That belief is absolutely asinine, and should offend anyone who believes in rational thinking.

You call this a “debunking”? You haven’t disproved the Global Domination Agenda at all!

It is true, I have not disproven the existence of the “Global Domination Agenda.” But I am not required to do that.

You are required, if you believe in the “Global Domination Agenda,” to prove that it existsnot the other way around. Until you can prove that it does exist, it is not rational to believe in it. That is why this article is an effective debunking, because in it I’ve stated why the “Global Domination Agenda” is not worthy of belief.

The facts as we know them indicate that Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb. The conclusion that Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb is entirely consistent with what we know about the world around us. If we come upon a monument in New York City with an inscription reading “Here Lies Ulysses Grant,” it would be entirely rational to conclude, just by what we know about how funerals, cemeteries and graveyards work in the real world, that most likely Ulysses Grant is buried beneath that stone.

If you claim that Lincoln is buried in Grant’s Tomb, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that this is true. You don’t get to believe that Lincoln is buried in Grant’s Tomb simply because you want to, and because, short of getting a bulldozer and a crowbar and cracking open the tomb and the coffin of the person buried inside, I can’t disprove that Lincoln is buried there. I can show you evidence, eyewitness accounts of Grant’s funeral, perhaps a document from his undertaker and the man who built the tomb stating that, yes, in fact Ulysses Grant is buried there. If you continue to insist that Lincoln is buried there, don’t be surprised, if you produce no further proof, that everyone else continues to accept what has been indicated as true—that Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb.

I do not expect conspiracy theorists to be persuaded by this logic. I do, however, expect that maybe one or two rational people out there will begin to ask questions about whether the existence of the “Global Domination Agenda” is really as self-evident as it seems.

Conclusion

The Thrive movie’s claims of a “Global Domination Agenda” are based solely on an assumption that is self-reinforcing. Believers in this conspiracy theory will typically never, under any circumstances, even question the validity of the assumption. Once convinced of its veracity, strangely nearly everything they see in the world seems to look like “evidence” supporting the assumption, when in fact it is not.

I am not required to disprove the existence of the “Global Domination Agenda.” It is up to the believers to prove it exists.

There is no evidence that the “Global Domination Agenda” exists. Therefore, the “Global Domination Agenda” does not exist.