Empire, Power & People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 140

"Have the Finance Ministers be Bastards"

In the first half of the 1970s, the global economic, financial and monetary order underwent a series of catalytic changes and transformations. Relations between the rich and powerful nations, notably the United States, West Germany and Japan, had become tense and tumultuous. More problematic was that relations between these rich nations and the developing world (Africa, Asia, Latin America) was growing even more problematic and unstable. The Third World was demanding a new economic order while America's major economic rivals (Western Europe and Japan) were demanding greater say as U.S. power was in relative decline. Political diplomacy and foreign relations was becoming harder to manage in an increasingly changing world. Thus, a significant degree of power and empire-building was pushed into the world of 'economic diplomacy'. As Henry Kissinger explained in a meeting with President Ford in 1975, "The trick in the world today is to use economics to build a world political structure." Two days later, he added, "It is better to have the Finance Ministers be bastards." Later that year, the first meeting of the heads of state took place for what would later be known as the Group of Seven, and finance ministers and central bankers would gain increasing and unprecedented power to advance imperial interests around the world at a scale far beyond that of political and military relations.

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