Video: Dillon Read and the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
by Catherine Austin Fitts
I made the decision to write “Dillon, Read & Co. Inc. and the Aristocracy of Stock Profits” in the middle of a vegetable garden in Montana during the summer of 2005. I had come to Montana to develop a venture capital model to support a healthier, fresher local food supply. If we want clean water, fresh food, sustainable infrastructure, and healthy communities, we are going to have to finance and govern these resources ourselves. We cannot invest in the stocks and bonds of large corporations, banks and governments that are harming our food, water, environment and all living things and then expect these resources to be available when we need them.
Surviving and thriving as a free people depends on creating and transacting with currencies and investments other than those printed and manipulated by Wall Street and Washington to the eventual end of our rights and assets.
What I found in Montana, however, was what I have found in communities all across America. We are so financially entangled in the federal government and large corporations and banks that we cannot see our complicity in everything we say we abhor. Our social networks are so interwoven with the institutional leadership — government officials, bankers, lawyers, professors, foundation heads, corporate executives, investors, fellow alumni — that we dare not hold our own families, friends, colleagues and neighbors accountable for our very real financial and operational complicity. While we hate “the system,” we keep honoring and supporting the people and institutions that are implementing the system when we interact and transact with them in our day-to-day lives. Enjoying the financial benefits and other perks that come from that intimate support ensures our continued complicity and contribution to fueling that which we say we hate.
Standing among the beautiful vegetables and flowers that Montana summer day, I was facing the futility of trying to craft investment solutions without some basic consensus about the economic tapeworm that is killing us and all living things — while we blindly feed the worm. In a world of economic warfare, we have to see the strategy behind each play in the game. We have to see the economic tapeworm and how it works parasitically in our lives. A tapeworm injects chemicals into a host that causes the host to crave what is good for the tapeworm. In America, we despair over our deterioration, but we crave the next injection of chemicals from the tapeworm.
With this in mind, I decided to write “Dillon Read & Co Inc. and the Aristocracy of Stock Profits” as a case study designed to help illuminate the deeper system. It details the story of two teams with two competing visions for America.
The first was a vision shared by my old firm on Wall Street — Dillon Read — and the Clinton Administration with the full support of a bipartisan Congress. In this vision, America’s aristocracy makes money and finances the building of a global empire one neighborhood at a time by ensnaring our youth in a pincer movement of drugs and prisons. Middle class support for these policies is created through a steady and growing stream of government funding and contracts for War on Drugs activities at federal, state and local levels. This consensus is made all the more powerful by the gush of growing debt and derivatives used to bubble the housing and mortgage markets, manipulate the stock and precious metals markets and finance trillions missing from the US government in the largest pump and dump in history — the pump and dump of the entire American economy. This is more than a process designed to wipe out the middle class. This is genocide — a much more subtle and lethal version than ever before perpetrated by the scoundrels of our history texts.
This case study provides a detailed example of the financial kickback machinery that makes the process go. It works something like this. A group of executives and investors start a company. Rather than build a business the old fashioned way, company profits are pumped up with government legislation, contracts, regulation, financing, subsidies and/or enforcement. This dramatically increases the value of the company’s financial equity. The company and its initial investors then sell their stock at a profit. Such profits replenish contributions made to the kind of politicians who can arrange such government benefits. Such profits also fund philanthropy to foundations and universities that have large endowments that invest along side the investors. These tax-exempt organizations provide graduates to staff positions in the game, intellectual justification to attract popular support and photo opportunities which bestow legitimacy and social stature. Personnel cycle through the management and boards of business, government and academia, as the real economy declines — the environment deteriorates, productivity falls, income and infrastructure decline — and government deficits grow.
The second vision was shared by my investment bank in Washington — The Hamilton Securities Group — and a small group of excellent government civil servants and appointees who believed in the power of education, hard work and a new partnership between people, land and technology. This vision would allow us to pay down public and private debt and create new business, infrastructure and equity. We believed that new times and new technologies called for a revival that would permit decentralized efforts to go to work on the hard challenges upon us — population, environment, resource management and the rapidly growing cultural gap between the most technologically proficient and the majority of people. We believed that private and public capital should flow to that which was most economically productive rather than be mixed in a complex cocktail of insider deals designed to hollow out the American economy and culture.
My hope is that “Dillon, Read & the Aristocracy of Stock Profits” will help you to see the game sufficiently to recognize the dividing line between two visions. One centralizes power and knowledge in a manner that tears down communities and infrastructure as it dominates wealth and shrinks freedom. The other diversifies power and knowledge to create new wealth through rebuilding infrastructure and communities and nourishing our natural resources in a way that reaffirms our ancient and deepest dream of freedom.
My hope is that as your powers grow to see the financial game and the true dividing lines, you will be better able to build networks of authentic people inventing authentic solutions to the real challenges we face. My hope is that you will no longer invite into your lives and work the people and organizations that sabotage real change. If enough of us come clean and hold true to the intention to transform the game, we invite in the magic that comes in dangerous times.
Yes, there is a better way and, yes, we can create it.