You may have heard the conspiracy theory. It goes something like this:
A small group of very rich people get together every so often and decide what’s going to happen in the global economy. Not only that but they decide whether nations go to war against each other and so on. These powerful folks are known as The Illuminati.
(Click on illustration to read their names.)
If you’re like my neighbor across the street, you are a true believer in the theory.
I take my neighbor’s theories with a grain of salt because he soaks up all kinds of propaganda on the Internet and brings me videos supposedly showing that it was the U.S. government, not Al Qaida, that blew up the World Trade Center.
I am also reluctant to believe that a group of rich folks could be smart enough to run the world. Most rich folks I know can’t even keep their golf scores straight. But I might have to revise my opinion. This morning, I read a story by the New Scientist’s Andy Coghlan and Debora MacKenzie, which informs me that:
An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.
They concede that the claim is not new:
The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere.
But this time it’s based on a scientific study:
The study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations.
So what has that got to do with The Illuminati?
The “banks” (including central banks like The Fed) are controlled by individuals – not thousands of shareholders – or millions of taxpayers – as you might think. The British royal family, for example. They have been involved in central banking right from its very beginnings, and now – after four hundred years – they secretly control much of the world’s wealth.
I read somewhere that the Bronfmans – onetime rum runners – are Illuminati. And the Rockefellers.
And, of course, the Rothchilds. Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times story about one of the scions:
More than 200 years after Mayer Amschel Rothschild founded the family dynasty that offered discreet counsel and investment wisdom to kings, queens, emperors and industrial titans, his 35-year-old direct descendant, Nathaniel, has emerged as a kingmaker in his own right and an investor who some say may become the richest Rothschild of them all.
In five short years, the man in line to be the fifth Baron Rothschild is close to becoming a billionaire through a web of private equity investments in Ukraine, Eastern Europe and most significant, his partnership stake in Atticus Capital, the fast-growing $14 billion hedge fund.
The ascent of Mr. Rothschild is a vivid illustration of how the still glittering, if somewhat faded, prestige and wealth of Europe’s most storied banking family has been reinvigorated from bold bets in this era’s new-money investment vehicles.
Like his forebears, he prefers that his influence remain unseen.
Of course, nobody knows all of the tycoons who belong to the mighty banking elite today. But it seems more and more people are figuring out that these folks exist, that they’re connected and that they are sucking the world dry.