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Ed Finn reviews ‘Beyond Banksters’ by Joyce Nelson

Ed Finn, the longtime editor of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives magazine The CCPA Monitor, has written a review on the book Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism by Joyce Nelson.

Finn writes, “Over the course of my 70-plus years as a journalist, I’ve reviewed hundreds of books, many of them informative and educational. But Joyce Nelson’s Beyond Banksters, which I’ve just finished reading, is not only the most enlightening book I’ve ever reviewed, but by far the most challenging. It’s not that it’s difficult to read. Far from it. Joyce is renowned for both the clarity of her prose and for her meticulous research, both of which are on display in this, her latest blockbuster. The challenge it poses to a prospective reviewer is that its succinct 164 pages are jam-packed with vital facts, figures, insights and revelations. So many that it’s impossible to adequately summarize it in a standard book review.”

In terms of the core issue covered in the book, the CBC has explained, “The Bank of Canada was set up in 1935 in the wake of the Great Depression to provide a means for settling international accounts and to provide interest-free loans to government to finance infrastructure investments. Projects like the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Trans-Canada highway were funded in this way, and the central bank also underwrote Canada’s Second World War effort as well as the building of hospitals and universities.”

But as the article notes, “In 1974, the central bank stopped providing interest-free loans to government so it could join the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), a kind of central bank of central banks.” The Toronto Star has reported, “Headquartered in Switzerland, the BIS is an organization that brings together the central banks from 60 countries to co-operate in the promotion of international monetary and financial stability.”

Author Murray Dobbins comments, “After nearly 40 years of this incredibly productive use of publicly created credit, unprecedented economic growth and increasing income equality, international finance got its chance to launch the free market counter-revolution against democratic governance. …[Milton] Freidman argued that stagflation was the direct result of irresponsible governments issuing too much money or borrowing recklessly from their central banks and sparking inflation.”

Dobbin argues, “The rationale was thin from the start: Central bank borrowing was and is no more inflationary than borrowing through the private banks. [But] the effect of the change was to effectively take a powerful economic tool out of the hands of democratic governments.” And as retired University of Windsor professor George Crowell has written for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “Each year, governments across Canada now pay some $60 billion in interest on their debts – interest payments that need not be incurred.”

Beyond Banksters has been described by Gordon Laxer as “a hard-hitting, well-researched, fast-paced exposure of the usually hidden world of Canadian and international banks”, University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan says it is “a powerful and chilling investigation into an emerging global oligarchy of banks and corporations”, while Duncan Cameron urges everyone concerned about corporate rule to “read Beyond Banksters and get your MP to read it”.

At our 2016 annual conference, a resolution was passed that, “The Council of Canadians call on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to stop all talk of a new federal infrastructure bank – and – that the Council of Canadians call on the Government immediately to resume using the Bank of Canada, not just for infrastructure needs, but for all the needs of Canadians and the Indigenous Peoples of this land, and for the Minister of Finance to so direct the governor of the Bank of Canada.”

To read Finn’s review of Beyond Banksters, please click here.