Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy

Claudio Grass

This paper summarizes an outstanding essay written by Murray N. Rothbard in 1984, which appeared the first time in World Market Perspective and later under the same title as a monograph produced by the Center for Libertarian Studies in 1995. It focuses on and reveals the close alliance among politicians, bankers and big enterprises in the United States between 1861 and the middle of the 80ies. It is our conviction that this is a must read for everyone interested in understanding the origin of the actual system we live in today and why our world is developing the way it does. At the end of this short summary, you will find the link to download the whole essay.

“Businessmen or manufacturers can either be genuine free enterprisers or statists; they can either make their way on the free market or seek special government favors and privileges. They choose according to their individual preferences and values. But bankers are inherently inclined toward statism.” — Murray N. Rothbard


J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller, Lehman Brothers, Chase, Du Pont. These are some of several high-profile families in the American business community. They range from investment firms and large-scale industry manufacturers to top notch corporate lawyers — but more importantly, they are the market makers, shakers and movers, and have been the powerhouses of US finance since the 1890s, and deeply entrenched in US political history. This comes in as necessary and detrimental when we look at today’s policy making, and try to interpret decisions made by the FED or when we try to understand the United States’ foreign policy towards the Middle East. We need to understand who is behind them, but also who the beneficiaries of these decisions are. In Wall Street, Banks and American Foreign Policy, Murray N. Rothbard reveals that the financial and political stakeholders are one and the same, a web of connections that goes back to families of financiers still present in today’s world. In this book, he highlights the role of political capitalism and crony capitalism in the United States by tracing the historical references and connections in the United States’ financial and political decision making.

For the purpose of this article, we divide the book into three phases where we see gradual retreat of US policy from its traditional isolationist policy, to indirect intervention pressured by the US financial community.

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