Can Music Change The World?
November 17, 2018
Hope From The Heartland/Robot Lawyer
December 1, 2018
Show all

Who Controls the World’s Wealth?

Ralph asks scholar, Richard Falk, about how and why international law seems to not work for peace and security issues. And author, Peter Philips reveals the handful of people who control the world’s wealth.

Richard Falk is professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Professor Falk is the former United Nations Human Rights Rapporteur in the Occupied Territories and the author of many books, including Chaos and Counterrevolution: After the Arab Spring.” 

“There’s been this double standard throughout. A Mexican delegate, when the U.N. was first established, said, ‘We’ve created an organization where we hold the mice accountable while the tigers roam free.’ And there’s a lot of truth to that. “ Professor Richard Falk, professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University


Peter Phillips is a Professor of Political Sociology at Sonoma State University and former Director of Project Censored and former President of Media Freedom Foundation.  He has written or co-written a number of books about politics and media. His most recent book is Giants: The Global Power Elite.” 

They (the global power elite) want to buy up anything they can get a return on. That could be freeways. It could be universities. It could be water rights, globally. So, they’re trying to buy up the public domain. That’s one way of using excess capital. And the other way of using excess capital is permanent war. So, we’re preparing for war. We’re engaged in war. The U.S. military empire and NATO have troops all over the world – 800 bases – and that’s using up capital that they get a return on.” Peter Philips, author of Giants: The Global Power Elite


  1. Kenneth Paderewski says:

    The most unbalanced member in the global central banking system – namely the US Fed – controls the world’s wealth (and creation of debt) until such time that the US dollar is no longer the reserve currency.

    Perhaps sooner than we think, maybe Europe, Japan and China will have the capacity to exert more balanced inflence on monetary policy than in the past as the Fed increasingly is criticized for conjuring money to benefit only banks, corporations, and speculators – NOT SOCIETY.

    • Noam Chomsky says:

      the non- centralized and Technically Robust/Secure features of Bitcoin combined with it’s rigid practical supply policy makes for a very interesting alternative case….

      where there is no global currency hegemon, instead the global currency of choice is defacto indifferent to regional governments & the fickle opinions of their more temporary regimes

      • MarkusOBryanOHeffernan says:

        So long as the populace believes in such notions of issuance/creation/mining of credit units ahead of their annotational use to acCount for/record that which is transacted this insanity continues. Bitcoin suffers this same irrational thought process that the unit of acCount must first exist and has “value” unto itself. It is a lot like the populace thinking that they must mine or borrow or be granted the use of numbers before they can do their acCounting.
        The long history of the abuse that follows when a populace goes along with the insanity that some creator must first create the abstract units of account to perform the counting function is easy to cite. What has not been focused on is the insanity of accepting some controller of the abstract function of counting by way of control over or attachment of “value” to the units themselves. This notion alone has caused untold amounts of agony simply because it has not yet been determined to be an idiotic way to conceive of the thing called money.

        None of this insanity goes on with any other unit of account. There is no issuer of gallons or liters or miles or meters. There are no people out there hoarding the number seven or tape measures or considering that they have more or less of a particular commodity depending on whether it is measured in one unit vs another. There is not spot market for liters and gallons and inches and millimeters. There are no people saying that their own capacity to travel, for example, should/could rightfully be determined by the ‘issuer’ of the steps one can take. Yet this kind of insanity goes on every day with the unit of account we call money. And all to the detriment of our own existence and, perhaps, the livability of the planet.

  2. Bruce K, says:

    In terms of Progressive Politics and justice, which Ralph seems to imply is his life’s mission, the function of the elevation of the situation in the Middle East to a main focus, with respect ONLY to what Israel does as it attempts different strategies for defending itself only serves to factionalize Progressives and make then weaker. Progressives are more apt to argue with each other about a very small subset of the issue that really has no business distracting from very important issues such as living wage, health care, education, inequality, immigration policies, etc. There is too much on the Progressive agenda already, it needs prioritization, not more distraction.

    What is happening in the Middle East has been going on for hundreds of years, and the part Israel plays is not that large a part in it, as the blatant assassination of Jamal Kashoggi and many other pointlessly violent events prove when looked at globally. The Israel issue always gets disproportionate and selective attention in my opinion … and oddly on Left leaning sources where that seemingly and incoherently goes in support of tyrannies and terror states and against democracy, or at least republicanism, meaning government that represent their people.

    It is not genocide as is regularly claimed by the extreme partisan Arabs/Muslims since the population of the Palestinians is one of the fastest growing groups in the world. It is not expansionism since Israel is a very small piece of the real estate that stretches all the way from Morocco in West Africa through Asia Minor over to Asia and past to the Philippines, and Israel has ceded land several times.

    I submit that if Ralph is truly sincere about his political and personal agenda he should at the very least separate the shows dealing with these two orthogonal subjects so they do not undermine the Liberal/Progressive cause, as his 2000 run for the Presidency also could be claimed to have done. When dishonestly combined together these two issues tend to cancel out each other and to divide Progressives and undercut the cooperation of Progressives making them less effective and less likely to be able to bring about change. This makes all Ralph’s energies seem to count for naught. Being a long-time fan and follower of Ralph Nader this really bothers me, not to mention creates that “cognitive dissonance” that is so demoralizing. Is that what he wants? Is that really what he is using all this energy to bring about, is that what he is fighting for?

    I complete detest getting in these arguments about the Middle East with Progressives for so many reasons. One is that a lot of what they base with world views on is just like the FOX News viewers, it is just what they hear and see, or think they see other Progressives believe, but really this is what they see modeled in Progressive News outlets like FAIR, The Real News Network, RT, and Pacifica Radio. They seem to think just like FOX News that people are too stupid or unthinking to realize they are being propagandized and marginalized at the same time by toxic political beliefs that are antithetical to what they are proposing to stand for.

    Progressive Politics and Ralph’s concern about Israel continued existence and defense of itself really operate at loggerheads to each other with, in my opinion, the Progressive Politics issue taking a much higher priority in terms of importance, but also in terms of morality. We hear much about how Israel operates … because most of it is in the open, reported on by both sides in whatever they call their parliamentary body. We rarely hear much or anything about the other countries in terms of how they work or what their goals are. Go through the list from Saudi Arabia that operates via terrorism, bribery, corruption and murder, to the Palestinian state and its minions, including Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah and other groups that are still fighting between each other militarily. To Iran, to Iraq, to Syria. I was never a fan of Bush’s war, but there is an argument that can be made that the disruption from that war, will actually save lives in the long term and is the only thing that could have broken the spine of the lock of radical Islam on these populations and allow them to move eventually into a possible democratic and even Progressive future. We should take a warning from these countries and realize that once an elite or a totalitarian system takes over it can be impossible to overthrow and eventually impossible to even perceive.

    How much of this can be blamed on England or America? And why can’t both sides of that debate ever be made or honestly discussed? It is always either look at what Israel is doing bad when people attack it or violently protest it or nothing at all. It never ever goes past that; in terms of root cause, it is either blame Israel and the US or nothing. Why is that? This throws into doubt for many Ralph’s great accomplishments and his motives.

    I submit that fighting to support the Progressive cause in the US and the world would do more to ease and eventually solve the situation in the Middle East than all these simplistic emotionally loaded and one sided jabs at Israel in the middle of talking Progressive Politics.

    The last time I made of comment of this sort, I was asked to include my last name in the post. I thought that was evasive and dishonest. Who cares what my last name is, especially when you mentioned to another commenter on a different subject to just make one up?

    — Just for the record I will say that I am an American Democrat with no ties to anyone on any side in the Middle East, close to Bernie Sander’s description of a Democratic Socialist, secular, agnostic – not Christian, Catholic or Jewish. I had a Christian upbringing with a short stint in a Catholic school for one year at middle school level. I have read history as much as I can and follow the news, though I am not an academic. I read quite of few of the books mentioned on this show as well. These political issues have interested me and been important as long as I can remember, and I want to thank Ralph and the Internet for making it possible to at least voice my thoughts and opinions, both to Ralph, his co-hosts and his listeners.

    • mikel 2345 says:

      Its based on international law dude. And hte fact that the only reason Israel exists is that its propped up by the US. I don’t know ANY ‘progressives’ who state otherwise, the fact you have arguments with them shows that the problem is YOU, and maybe you aren’t very progressive if adhering to international law is too much of a stretch.

      Likewise, its long been dismissed that Ralph had an effect on the 2000 election. People wanting to change the system have an uphill battle, but nobody in politiics admits that everybody agree on everything. If you find it a source of dissention for you, simply stop talking about it. This is a podcast and radio show, its not like ONE subject can be constantly discussed over and over.

      • Bruce K. says:

        To me it looks like you were in such an emotional state of defensiveness you rushed that comment out to defend the very undemocratic Middle Eastern countries without really reading or comprehending what my post was about, using what I consider very poor argumentation.

        .But first let me voice my opinion that the effect Ralph Nader had on the 2000 election is far from resolved and you will still hear strong arguments on either side going either way. If Ralph had not been on the ballot the ballot and the votes would have been more easily cast and counted which would likely have led to a Gore victory, considering that long after the election Gore was actually declared the winner by technical analysis of the best data available, not to mention the Supreme Court interfering where there was no basis for it to. That this was the worst SCOTUS decision in history is pretty much taken for granted by court historians.

        So, my comment was that Ralph seems to have to use every excuse and every moment to inject the subject of Israel, which on balance like his 200 run has had the effect to undermine the Progressive cause. By the way, in that election despite having differences with Ralph on some issues if I had my druthers I would have voted for him since most of the issues a President can do something about Ralph is the only one on the right (correct) side of. Since the 3rd party in the US has no chance political reality pushed me to vote for Gore.

        Your statement that the only reason Israel exists is that it was propped up by the US. I hardly think that is a valid argument considering that the Jews who made up Israel are not that much different, in terms of persecution, from the Kurds who make up large parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria, and in my view the right thing for the US to do would be to “prop up” a Kurdish state as well. In both cases you seem to slide right by the lack of democracy and human rights issues that plague virtually all of the countries in this area that it impeaches your own credibility that it is Israel that is the problem here, because you both blame Israel for existing, and support the neighboring countries for attack it.

        So your presumption to lecture me about Progressivism is ridiculous, and yet exactly the point, something that makes little sense. It’s like insisting the argument that insists Nazis were socialist because they had socialism in their name, despite their being against anything communist or socialist, like labor unions for example. Progressivism has been undercut by the absurdity of its irrational and categorical criticism of Israel and the ugly tone and arguments of those who make those arguments. How that became a Progressive meme would be a great subject for study and a book. When the political faction that is defined by its putting priority on human rights ends up supporting the world’s greatest despotisms against the one strong democracy in the region, something is not as it seems to be. Ralph’s partisan engagement with that is sad to see.

        Finally, your reliance on “international law” or UN resolutions again runs right past any questions of the objectivity of a body that is so influenced by the any Islamic non-democracies that make it up that it is absurd to call it law at all.

        Finally, finally, I am a bit surprised that such a harsh tone and off point reply to my comment was posted, but it seems to weigh on my side of the argument that on this subject only one-side is recognized and this subject is introduced into areas where it has doubtful relevance. The lack of anyone who can give a mature, balanced rebuttal to my comments is very telling … “dude”.

    • Jeremiah Rosen says:

      Cool story.

    • phil gordon says:

      I read your statement and wish to make a couple comments. !. I almost believed what you wrote. just about lost my mind. But I got my sense back. 2 what you picking on Ralph for?

      • Bruce K. says:

        Don’t worry Phil, before major enlightenment it always feels like one is losing one’s mind. 😉 Best wishes for 2019!

        PS. I am not picking on Ralph … as if I could. He is one of my favorite people, and should be one of America’s critics to which more Americans are indebted than anyone else I can think of. That doesn’t mean I think he is always right or that he should be immune from criticism. The 2000 run had such a negative effect on the country as to put a dent in his more positive work. I don’t think that was intended.

  3. Kenneth Paderewski says:

    Commentary from Munich

    Subject: They Spoke To Each Other

    Berlin Transparency International (Edda Müller) & Chemical Industry Chief (Utz Tillmann)

    The Munich newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has reported a clear-eyed view.

    What Müller and Tillmann found agreement on is that all lobbyists confronting German Parliament should be by law “registered” so that all lobbyists and their agents who attempt to influence the legislative process in the German Bundestag can be openly exposed.

    Such a public/private agreement – to have register by law all active lobbyists in Berlin who seek to draft legislation written in favor of special interests – is not a basis to argue that Berlin Transparency International has “sold out” to the German Chemical Industry or any other industry sector.

  4. Ken Pentel says:

    Hi Ralph,

    Thanks for the good show.


  5. Ben Leet says:

    Pew Research shows that 71% of world’s population live on less than $10 a day per person, and about half on less than $5 a day. I can’t find the link to the research showing $5 a day per person, but it’s there. The average wealth per adult world wide is $63,100 says Credit Suisse World Wealth Report, 2018. And $317 trillion is total world wealth in 2018. At $5 a day for 4 person family = $7,300 a year. All is consumed, none saved by the poorest half. The world system is outrageous. That wealth should be taxed at a high rate in the U.S. to pay our U.S. expenses, and a “special drawing rights” fund established by the World Bank to fund about $5 to $7.5 trillion per year in grants to deserving countries that need modern technology of education, health care, public health, sewage, transportation. See Pew: — A peaceful people’s revolution is needed.

  6. Ben Truscott says:

    Re: Global Power Elite discussion

    Recently, I have been struggling with a stronger sense of apathy towards climate change reforms. This interview with Andrew Revkin on NPR’s On the Media highlights why it is so hard to gain any traction towards addressing climate change.

    Your conversation with Peter Phillips gives me hope that we don’t have to convince everyone, we just need to convince around 400 people to get real changes going. Unfortunately they are the hardest to convince, but at least they may be able to be convinced purely by profit rather than appealing to facts or sense of justice. If they move, the world moves, and that is our best option at this point!

    But I also often reflect on the ending of Ta Nehesi Coates’ book “Between the World and Me”, which I recommend to everyone. It ends like a book that should be known for environmental awareness as much as a social commentary:
    [….”But the Dreamers have improved themselves, and the damming of seas for voltage, the extraction of coal, the transmuting of oil into food, have enabled the expansion in plunder with no known precendent. And this revolution has freed the dreamers to plunder not just the bodies of humans but the body of the earth itself. The Earth is not our creation. It has no respect for us. It has no use for us. And its vengeance is not the fire in the cities but the fire in the sky. Something more fierce than Marcus Garvey is riding on the whirlwind. Something more awful than all our African ancestors is rising with the seas. The two phenomenon are not unknown to each other. It was the cotton that passed through our chained hands that inaugurated this age. It is the flight from us the sent then sprawling into the subdivided woods. And the methods of transport through these new subdivisions, across the sprawl, is the automobile, the noose around the neck of the earth, and ultimately, the Dreamers themselves.]
    [… ” I do not believe that we can stop them, Samori, because they must ultimately stop themselves. And still I urge you to struggle. Struggle for the memory of your anscestors. Struggle for wisdom. Struggle for the Warmth of the Mecca. Struggle for your grandmother and grandfather, for your name. But do not struggle for the Dreamers. Hope for them, Pray for them, if you are so moved. But do not pin your struggle on their conversion. The Dreamers will have to learn to struggle themselves, to understand that the field for their Dream, the stage where they have painted themselves white, is the deathbed of us all.”… ]

  7. Don Hearn says:

    Another great show. I’m particularly glad that I was able to find a link to purchase the guest’s book directly from the publisher. It would be such a shame to have been sent to amazon for Professor Phillips’s book, particularly considering the topic.