September 4, 2008

David Astle, who died this year in Canada, was a seaman from the age of sixteen.  He retired a captain of the British navy after WW2.  Once retired he came to realize that all the things he thought he fought to preserve in WW2 were "melting away" anyway.  This knowledge perplexed him until 1961 when he met people who informed him of the truth of how the world is actually run, and has been run, at least from the first known recordings of history.  Astle took the knowledge beyond their information, studying all reasonably reliable recorded monetary history he could find, juxtaposing it against known political history.  The insights he thus gained he wove into a new look at ancient to modern history in this book.

His basic theme throughout is simply that nothing political happens without monetary backing, which makes the knowledge of an era's money creation, ownership and use all important to understanding real history.  He discovered that throughout recorded history, but never mentioned in connection with it, money and banking have followed the same script as that used by today's bankers. 

Astle came to realize that that script is an unequaled power path for the few but is a patently dishonest, criminal scam on the people of the world whose losses are the gains of these criminal bankers.  Moreover, Astle never ceases to hammer home the fact that this scam is always based on private banker manipulation of precious metals, both real and pretended.  Pretended as in "monetary reserves," i.e., fractional reserve banking wherein the precious metal "reserve" may or may not actually exist.

Astle makes an excellent case for precious metals-based private banking scams being behind all wars, all economic booms and busts, all worldly movements in whatever direction through recorded time, just as he (and more and more inquiring people) realized that is still so today.  He also notes a few instances wherein precious metal money was outlawed and the resulting national success, peace and tranquility using base metal or other "worthless" money instead.

This is not a book which von Mises Libertarians will want to digest but they, above all monetary reformers, should be the first to do so, as the "solution" they offer for existing monetary exploitation of all the world is just the same old scam repackaged for the hoi poli to accept as the antidote for the ancient sickness when in reality it is the same poison without the skull and cross bones label warning.

Not an easy study; Astle was truly educated as people no longer are, making the work difficult for modern "Sesame Street" minds which have trouble contemplating a compound sentence.

 "Scholarly" is the usual, and correct, definition for his work.  If all would-be monetary reformers having the time would acquire and study as many of the works listed in Astle's bibliography as possible, there would be a real chance of meaningful monetary reform in the near future.  Especially should the present meltdown continue in its present frightening direction.

Everyone interested in real life, real events, and how they occur, should make the mental effort this book demands for the rewards of true understanding it will bring.

The Babylonian Woe is available for download here.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at