Demonisation: Bankers & Jews?
by Wilfred Hahn
The Economist magazine recently published a most curiously-entitled article: ‘The Dangers of Demonology’ (January 7, 2012). Since this is a widely respected global business magazine, we wondered just what this article would really be about. As it turned out, the message of the article was this: ‘Hatred of bankers is one of the world’s oldest and most dangerous prejudices.’ This caught our attention. The ‘oldest’ and ‘most dangerous prejudice’ is the hatred of bankers? Just who are these bankers that are so hated and does this qualify as demonology?
It proved to be a most confused article; however, it foreshadowed an important warning in our view. To begin, The Economist concedes that the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and its various offshoots may complain that ‘a malign 1%, many of them bankers, are ripping off the virtuous 99%.’ Quoting the article further: ‘Anger is understandable. The financial crisis of 2007-08 has produced the deepest recession since the 1930s. Most of the financiers at the heart of it have got off scot-free. The biggest banks are bigger than ever. Bonuses are flowing once again. The old saw about bankers—that they believe in capitalism when it comes to pocketing the profits and socialism when it comes to paying for the losses—is too true for comfort.’
Indeed this is all too true. In fact, many prominent ‘Wall Streeters’ themselves would agree. This publication has certainly decried the growing corruption and hugely imbalanced incentives in the world’s money-related industries for well over a decade. What is also understandable is that without external constraints (of law, regulations, and accountability) the unbridled impulses and lusts of natural humans will be all too apparent. Since the day of creation, the key worldly vulnerabilities and desires of mankind have remained the same. ‘For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world,’ (John 2:16). Just as the force of the earth’s gravity will always exert a constant downward pull on mass, so money lures humans to particular actions. The capstone of these mentioned proclivities is the innate lure and obeisance to Mammon, which is the love of money. ‘For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,’ (I Timothy 6:10).
As such, oversized compensation incentives in any business will test the ethical fortitude of its executives, no matter how virtuous they may be. In the case of businesses involved in the industry of credit and debt — these being closest to the ancient metaphysical furnaces of Mammon — the collateral damage of greed and corruption is much larger. Malfeasance in this industry casts a much wider swathe of damage; credit creates its own destruction if it is allowed to run rampant. (It is surprising how few career bankers even realise this fact.) When the inevitable forces of over-indebtedness strike, particularly in the present era of one worldwide monetary system, the results are catastrophic. Not only is hardship imposed on a large number of households (deserving or not), massive transfers of wealth take place. Invariably, these sudden wealth shifts feed the powers of an emerging class of elites.
There is a saying that democratic societies get the politicians and governments that they deserve. The same must then also apply to a society’s financial systems and the demeanor of its business enterprises. It follows that societies then deserve the destruction that results from systemic financial corruption. Why? Because the human societal values that allow or create the conditions for such unbridled corruption to occur, do not happen in a vacuum. These occur only because they are accepted. The subtle changes in values are shifts away from ‘eternal values’ to the increasing adoption of the humanist creed.
Let us return to modern-day money lending and The Economist. The article takes the view that since money lending is linked with the prosperity of societies, we should not be prejudiced against bankers. Demonizing them will risk undermining the very foundations of the standards of living that we enjoy today. This analysis betrays an incorrect focus. Yes, money lending and the other pure capital formation functions that Wall Street and its sister industries around the globe may create are not bad functions in and of themselves. The validity of these functions is not being contested. It is the corruption of individuals to the highest levels within these businesses that is protested as well as the subservience of households and entire real economies to the enterprises of financial speculation, ‘money manager capitalism’ and rapacious capital (‘raffendes Kapital’ according to old classical German economists).
If the world and its politicians were not bought off and given over to the spirit of Mammon, they would immediately reform the financial industry and punish those companies and individuals that were clearly involved in illegal and criminal activities. This has not happened yet, at least not in a major way. But when it does, it will likely unfold in a very dangerous fashion. How so?
We must first understand that the world’s entire monetary system (this being based upon a fraudulent fractional reserve system) is a corruption from the start. It imparts enormous powers upon policymakers and its elites. In a time when European banks are in dire straits, with most of them technically insolvent, vested interests will not rock the boat. They will seek to validate the status quo and to protect as many cronies in this system as possible.
Next, the article in The Economist opens the door to an ancient phenomenon, as shown at length in the following quote: ‘Throughout history, moneylenders have been persecuted. Ethnic minorities—most obviously the Jews in Europe and America but also the Chinese in Asia—have clustered in the financial sector first because they were barred from more ‘respectable’ pursuits and later because success begets success. At times, anti-banking prejudice has acquired a strong tinge of ethnic hatred. In medieval Europe Jews were persecuted not only because they were not Christians but also because killing them was a quick way to expunge debts. […] The forgers of the ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’ wanted people to believe that Jewish financiers were engaged in a fiendish global conspiracy. Louis McFadden, the chairman of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency in the 1930s, claimed that ‘the Gentiles have the slips of paper while the Jews have the lawful money.’ The same canards have been used against Chinese minorities across Asia. This is not to say that the [OWS] protesters are guilty of ethnic prejudice: they belong to a class and a generation that is largely free from such vices. But demonisation can easily mutate into new forms.’
We would suggest that the demonisation will in fact not mutate into new forms and that people are not free of such vices. Yes, the Chinese diaspora to the rest of Asia in response to the political instabilities in China during this past century does carry some similarities with the fate of Jews; however, there are key differences. Firstly, the Chinese diaspora has taken place over a little more than a century. For the Jews, on the other hand, this persecution has spanned a time period that is 20 times longer and has involved virtually every nation in the world. Secondly, the Jews are a people set apart from the rest of the world (the Gentiles) by God. Thirdly, a godless world, ruled by the ‘prince of the air’ will continue to persecute the Jews. Even further, for the nations that rage against God (Acts 4:25) to disprove or invalidate the promises and prophecies of God, they must neutralise the Jewish race.
In this sense, an Op-Ed article that recently appeared in the Financial Times by Mahathir Mohamad entitled ‘West needs to go back to capitalist basics’ sounds some alarms (January 11, 2012, www.ft.com). We admired Mahathir for the economic policies that he enforced during his time as President of Malaysia during the Asian Financial Crisis of the late 1990s, although his policies were very controversial at the time. (I remember that time clearly, as many millions in Malaysian investments that I was responsible for as Chief Investment Officer of a large international investment institution were frozen.) Although his policies were eventually vindicated, we nevertheless are suspicious of his religious bias.
The perspectives Mahathir expresses in the Op-Ed article are not entirely without merit. He argues that the western world, not able to compete in goods trade with the rest of the world, opted instead to promote the alchemies of financial markets. As he states in the article, ‘Getting greedy, they abused the system, manipulating the market for greater profits.’ We would not vigorously disagree with this statement. Then he comes to the nub of his analysis, as we see it; he claims that ‘currency trading’ is at the root of the problem.
While some might think that these are the rantings of an 86-year-old man who is reliving the glories of the time in 1998 in which he rebuked cross-border investors (so-called currency traders) that he believed were driving down the ringit (Malaysia’s currency), there is much more behind his euphemism of ‘currency traders.’ Just who specifically does Mahathir mean when he assigns the blame to ‘currency traders’? Allow us to quote from some of his statements in the past.
During late 1997, Mahathir claimed to have ‘definite information’ that financier George Soros, whom he identified as a Jew, was responsible for Malaysia's currency problems. He stated: ‘We do not want to say that this is a plot by the Jews, but in reality it is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge, and coincidentally Soros is a Jew. It is also a coincidence that Malaysians are mostly Muslim. Indeed, the Jews are not happy to see Muslims progress. If it were Palestine, the Jews would rob Palestinians. Thus this is what they are doing to our country.’
In his 1970 book The Malay Dilemma, Mahathir wrote: ‘Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry gained them commercial control of Europe and provoked anti-Semitism which waxed and waned in Europe throughout the ages.’ He also wrote that ‘the Jews for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively’ (Sydney Morning Herald, October 17, 1997). Mahathir also has made utterly reprehensible statements that have suggested that the periodic persecutions and killings of the Jews are deserved. On October 16, 2003, in a speech to the Tenth Islamic Summit Conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, he said ‘The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews.’ The Financial Times (a blue-blood Anglo publication with huge international influence) makes no mention of Mahathir’s religious bias, though these are well known and public. Given his virulently anti-Semitic and anti-European statements, we wonder why the Financial Times (headquartered in Britain) would even print an Op-Ed written by this man.
Concluding, we again quote the earlier Economist article: ‘Railing against the 1%—particularly when so many of them work for companies with names like Goldman Sachs and N.M. Rothschild—can unleash emotions that are difficult to cage. A survey in the Boston Review in 2009 found that 25% of non-Jewish Americans blamed Jews for the financial crisis, with a higher%age among Democrats than Republicans. […] Today, the combination of hard times and harsh rhetoric could also produce something nasty.’
We urge readers to read Chapter 10 in our most recent book, Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied. Preserving True Riches in an Age of Deception and Trouble. [Please consider ordering this book from Midnight Call Ministries at 1-888-845-2420.] Anti-Semitism is surging dangerously. Christians need to be aware of the agendas underway and the ancient plot that has played out repeatedly over the millennia. Christians should have no part in this; even more, we are obliged to pray for and protect our brother the Jew.
With thanks to the lovely people at RaptureReady.com for allowing us to publish this article.