Banking Conspiracy Beach Reading
October 29, 2008 4:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for accessible, credible writing about global banking conspiracies that doesn't lapse into anti-semitism or tinfoil haberdashery. Does such a book exist?
posted by mecran01 to Education (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Jon Ronson's book Them explores the shared global conspiracy that skinheads, militia men, and Islamic extremists all have in common: that somewhere there is a room where global bankers pull all the strings... Anyway, it's not exactly what you're looking for, but a entertaining read nonetheless.
posted by wfrgms at 4:32 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

try The Gods of Eden by William Bramley. Now THERE'S an interesting read! Going back to the beginning of time. Lots of good stuff about the mercenaries used by countries throughout history. Not sure how factual but really fun and cool to peruse
posted by Redhush at 4:42 PM on October 29, 2008

It isn't specifically about banking, more about economics in general, but you should consider reading Philip Mirowski's More Heat Than Light. Economics may not exactly be a conspiracy, but it is pretty good at suppressing heterodox theories, e.g. the whole thing is bunk. Mirowski is a serious, credible academic at a major university, not a crank. The basic thesis is that economics is essentially an attempt to duplicate physics' success at describing the physical world in the realm of trade and commerce. Unfortunately, you can't make the math work. More unfortunately, the discipline of economics is pretty good at pretending this isn't true.

Takeaway: no one has any idea what the hell is going on, but lots of people pretend that they do, and lots of other people listen to them.
posted by valkyryn at 5:11 PM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

Somewhat out of date but still loaded with information,William Grieder's Secrets of the Temple gives an inside view of the Federal Reserve.
posted by hortense at 5:38 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Confessions of an Economic Hitman, while controversial, is presented as true. Here's a description

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a book written by John Perkins and published in 2004. It tells the story of his career with consulting firm Chas. T. Main. Before employment with the firm, he interviewed for a job with the National Security Agency (NSA). Perkins claims that this interview effectively constituted an independent screening which led to his subsequent hiring by Einar Greve, a member of the firm (and alleged NSA liaison) to become a self-described "economic hit man".

According to his book, Perkins' function was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank and USAID. Saddled with huge debts they could not hope to pay, these countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the United States on a variety of issues. Perkins argues in his book that developing nations were effectively neutralized politically, had their wealth gaps driven wider and economies crippled in the long run.

posted by jourman2 at 6:05 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

I don't know of a book like that, but I will say that while I do believe men of great power are often given to almost equally great corruption, I think conspiracies of massive scale require something that organizations very often lack: massive cooperation (and, well, organization). Good luck finding a (logical) book!
posted by metalheart at 6:14 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

You might try Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood. It's not a conspiracy theory but rather a close look at how she sees financial markets (mis)behaving over hundreds of years.
posted by mark7570 at 6:16 PM on October 29, 2008

Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management edited by Holly Sklar?
posted by history is a weapon at 7:22 PM on October 29, 2008

Are you looking for fiction? If so, Numbered Account should fit the bill.
posted by Heminator at 8:20 PM on October 29, 2008

Response by poster: I'm looking for non-fiction.
posted by mecran01 at 8:22 PM on October 29, 2008

Not about banking per se, but I just started reading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. It's really fascinating, and provides a very broad view of the capitalist/corporatist system in place all over the world. And I'd second Confessions of an Economic Hitman.
posted by zardoz at 8:22 PM on October 29, 2008

Lucy Komisar's book A Game As Old As Empire
posted by hortense at 8:52 PM on October 29, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for these excellent suggestions--I'll start sorting through them all!
posted by mecran01 at 12:00 PM on October 30, 2008

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