Sunday, 2 December 2012

"Give me control of a nation's money supply" is a joke quote

Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744 — 1812) and his son Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777 — 1836)
Picture source: Reeves, John. The Rothschilds: The Financial Rulers of Nations. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co. 1887. 

Mayer Amschel Rothschild the founder of the banking dynasty, or often, his third son Nathan, who became the richest man in the world, is alleged to have once said, or written, something along the lines of:

"Give me control over a nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws."

This "Rothschild quote" (or variations of it) appears on countless websites and has featured in newspapers, magazines, books, documentaries, and films for many decades now. It's even made appearances during monetary debates in Parliaments around the world:

  • On Jun 28, 1945, it was quoted in the Parliament of Australia by C. A. A. Morgan. 

  • On Jan 26, 1954, it was quoted in the British House of Commons by Henry Norman Smith (it also appears  in his 1944 book).

  • On Mar 20, 1967, it was quoted in the House of Commons of Canada. 

The earliest use of the quote I have found is in the article "Men v. the Money-Power", written by Captain C. W. T. Curd, which appeared in the October 1941 edition of The Catholic World. But I'm not claiming that that is where it originated, I just going to prove it's a joke quote, and people who pass it off as authentic are being laughed at.

"Give me the making of a nation's ballads, and I care not who makes its laws,"

— Sir Philip Sidney (1554 — 1586)

"Give me the making of a nation's ballads, and let who pleases make the laws."

— Andrew Fletcher of Saluton (1655 — 1716)

“Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either.”

— Mark Twain (1835 — 1910)

Scottish writer and politician Andrew Fletcher really did write in 1703:
"I said, I knew a very wise man so much of Sir Christopher's sentiment, that he believed if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation."

You have to read context (see below) to understand why it has become such a legendary piece of literature, but in essence: Fletcher describes how his friend the politician Sir Christopher Musgrave, believed the overtly sexual content in the lyrics of popular songs (ballads) had corrupted the people both rich and poor. So Fletcher related to Musgrave what a wise man had told him: All that is required to keep the people virtuous is control of writing ballads, as people are more influenced by music than they are deterred by prohibitive laws.

I've found literally dozens of publications, both newspapers and books, from c.1835 to the present (Google books is your friend), that either misquote (paraphrase is perhaps more accurate) Fletcher, or misattribute a paraphrasing of the quote to Sidney—who did actually write ballads. Several publications describe the quote (whilst paraphrasing it) as a "maxim" or an "aphorism", and although I'd not previously heard the quote before I begun to do some research for this post, it's clear that the quote (although usually paraphrased) was once very famous, probably still is amongst more well-read folk, and understandably so; it's very amusing.

A barstardised version of Fletcher's quote was at some point attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild, and very likely in jest. As the original quote was so famous, surely no-one with even half-a-brain would take it seriously. But tellingly, for at least the last 71 years, this joke-quote has been propagated as authentic, and that'll probably continue.


  1. I do not see any evidence here refuting such a quote. He could have been making the quip himself after having heard something as absurd as the power of ballads overruling law. The fact is, when you control the creation of money, you can manipulate entire nations at will and with ease. Why do you think Central Banks are so prominent?

    1. So who are you attributing it to, the father or the son?

      If you find a source which attributes it to either of them, say, within a century of their respective deaths, post a link here. Good luck.

    2. And how do central banks become prominent?

      By manipulating information to change public perceptions to support them.

      Without controlling information through mediums such as music then you won't make much money(advertising exists for a reason).

      It is a cycle of more money = more information control = more money = more information control, etc.

      But without controlling information they would not have made the money needed to start that cycle.

      If authentic it was meant as a joke, poking fun at the very people that use it most often.

      If you don't believe music has the power to change perceptions then you are about 200+ years behind the "elites" of the world and their scientific studies of "group dynamics" and "social engineering" and propaganda techniques(the Delphi technique developed by Rand is most common today, along with Bernays' "3rd Party Authority" and "Public Relations" systems).

      There is a reason corporations started adding stupid little song "jingles" to their advertisements decades ago(and still use lots of music today), the rhythmic power of music has great effects on the rhythmic nature of the human brain(and body in general).

      Same with the blink rate of T.V's pre-1980's(some still today) almost perfectly matching the frequency of natural brainwaves, "lulling" part of the brain to sleep(the part that controls critical thinking) and leaving the brain in a "reaction only" mode that simply takes in information without properly reviewing it.

      Hence the term "idiot box".

      Music and video and media in general(including print media) have very powerful effects on the human mind and thus human behavior.

      The more often we see or hear certain information or viewpoints the more likely we are to accept them - even if it's one person saying the same thing 500 times or 500 people saying the same thing once each - the effect is the same.

      The media, music, Hollywood, etc. combine to repeat the same messages and ideological viewpoints(liberalization, anti-religion, etc.) thousands or even millions of times, thus creating a "false majority".



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