‘The Commercial Absurdity of Financial Democracy’

Chapter V of William Joyce’s book on British National Socialism, ‘Twilight Over England’


William Joyce, ex-Propaganda Director of the British Union of Fascists and leader of the tiny National Socialist League, is more infamously known by his sobriquet ‘Lord Haw Haw’, a name given him by the British public in response to the jeering propaganda broadcasts he made to the United Kingdom on behalf of the German government during World War II. In 1939 Joyce, anticipating internment by the British government, fled to Germany with his wife, the Reich offering them asylum in exchange for English-language propaganda work. It was in 1940 that Joyce’s book ‘Twilight Over England’ was first published in both German and English. Intended in part for distribution to British prisoners-of-war, it is a striking book. Its cynical, informal, self-effacing tone is typical of Joyce’s writing and speaking style, and helps both disarm the reader’s defenses while seeking to inflame their sense of injustice. The book serves as an overview of UK history, politics, and economics from a National Socialist perspective, critiquing all three in service of the lambasting of the British government for its hypocrisy regarding Germany’s foreign policy and treatment of minority ethnic groups. The foundation of the book is Joyce’s passion for economic reform and issues of social justice – the book is redolent with the evisceration of Britain for its treatment of its poor, its disenfranchised, and its laboring industrial and agricultural workers. In chapters such as the fifth, ‘Finance’, which is reproduced in full below, Joyce contrasts the deficiencies of British capitalism with what he regards as the more socially conscious ideals of National Socialist economic ideology. 

In the last chapter, some account, however sketchy, was given of the deplorable economic condition into which the majority of British men and women had sunk in recent times. It must not be forgotten, however, that there was a rich and contented minority. Whereas the state of the masses of the people was unworthy of any civilized nation, above all unworthy of a nation which had such resources as England, there was in the land a ruling class which was probably more prosperous than any similar class in the world. Attached to this sacred caste was an “upper-middle-class” stratum which certainly had no good reason to complain. There were, in fact, two Englands, each ignorant of the other’s existence. If nine or ten people were crowded into a little damp basement in Hoxton Market, there were 550 persons in Britain whose personal wealth had passed the million mark.

The plain fact of the matter is that Jewish Law ruled in England. Those who merely produced wealth were the lowest caste. The path to splendour was the path of exchange. To make the soil yield up a few more turnips was to attract the highly suspicious attention of Government servants. To sit on the fattest rump that good living could provide and wait for foreign dividends to come in was the qualification for national approval and membership of the Order of Sacred Beasts. The soundest advice that a business-man could give to his son, unless destined for the Guards, would be: “Produce nothing, my boy — not even children. Buy something in the way of shares, if you can, and wait till you find some bloody fool who will pay you more than you gave for them. Also, join the Craft. Above all, do nothing extraordinary. Otherwise people won’t trust your judgement.”

Now it is the system of international finance that is entirely at the root of all the troubles we have described. But a treatise on finance must be either very long or very short: and this is going to be very short. There is no compromise between the barest outline and the most exhaustive, and possibly exhausting, thesis.

The motto of that Oriental market of Ancient Theories, the London School of Economics, is: Rerum cognoscere causas — “to know the causes of things. ” Let us begin, then, with an informative quotation from the good old News Chronicle , never-failing source of damning information. In its issue of December 12, 1938, it blandly relates:

The story of the gold-fixing has often been told. How every week-day at 11 a. m. the representatives of five firms of bullion brokers and one firm of refiners meet at the offices of Messrs. Rothschild (except on Saturday . . .) and there fix the sterling price of gold. There is, however, a great deal of activity which lies behind this final act — this centralization of the demand for and the supply of gold in one office and the fixing of the price of gold on that basis … A price of gold is at first suggested, probably by the representative of Messrs. Rothschild, who also acts for the Bank of England and for the Exchange Equalization Account.

Oy! Oy! Out with the old Equalizer! Really, vulgarity apart, this little description is very rich in unconscious humour. On Saturday, of course, the crook who has to represent the Bank of England and the Treasury wraps himself up in his prayer-shawl and plays the “Kol Nidre” on his sensuous violin, and lusciously meditates on the nature of his operations for the following week. It is somewhat terrifying to think that this fellow will decide the cost of living, the wages, the prices, and every other economic element in the life of the British people. The ordinary man does not even know that there is such a person, much less who he is or what he does with himself on a Saturday morning. Indeed, if you were to tell many otherwise well-informed English people that the Jews controlled finance, they would not believe you. The News Chronicle , however, is not exactly a Nazi source of information. And, whatever Britain’s external relations may be, it is inevitable under the present system that the control of gold must mean the economic control of British national life: and the Treasury does not even think it worthwhile to have a representative of its own at this Ritual Murder which takes place every weekday except Saturday at 11 a.m.

To be clear on the whole matter, we must realize that, fundamentally, there can be only two views as to the purpose of money. There may be a thousand intermediate shades of opinion: but, eventually, one is forced back into the position of having to decide whether money exists for man or man for money, whether money is merely a symbol of real wealth enabling commodities and services to be exchanged or whether it is the determinant of all industry by the criterion of which production and distribution must be regulated. The former is the concept of National-Socialism, the latter is the theory of Liberal Capitalism and International Finance.

Consider the commonest case of commercial absurdity found in Financial Democracy. It is well known that a great mass of people want far more of this world’s goods than they have, far more to eat, far more clothes, let us say. But the industrialist does not produce enough. Ask him why, and he will say: “Because if I do produce any more, the merchant will not pay me.” Go, then, to the merchant and ask him why he does not order more goods. He will say: “Of course I would order them if only I could sell them. Heaven knows, I want a bigger market badly enough.” Then tell him that Mrs. Smith wants more bacon, Mrs. Brown more butter, Mrs. Jones more beef, in fact recite a list of the wants of all those in the neighbourhood, and ask him whether all these people could not constitute a market for him. He will reply: “My dear sir, do you really think that I am giving my stocks away ? Good Lord! People are no use to me unless they have cash.”

Thus, within a few hundred yards of his stores, there may be thousands of people longing to form the market that he wants. They are willing to work and work hard. The raw materials and the machinery are not lacking. They lack one thing only the money. Thus, raw materials, engineering prowess, mechanical efficiency, plentiful labour, organizing ability all count for nothing, because this impertinent factor money intervenes and cries “H a l t !”.

A market consists merely of people who want to buy and have the money to  effect the purchases. This fact, however, is hard to bring home to those who habitually think in terms of money, and that is the vast majority of the English people today. Of course, the whole object of the system’s propaganda is to encourage the population to think in this way. So long as men and women look up to money as the supreme determinant of economic conditions, so long will they be easy to cheat. So long will they fail to analyse the contents of the gulf between consumption and production.

As soon as industrialism established itself, the majority of people lost touch with the production of the primary necessities of life. A man might make screws, for example, but he could not eat them. Food he must get. Somewhere or other was a group of persons who determined how many screws went to the pound of bread. Who they were, the worker knew not. Even their locality remained a mystery to the ordinary man. Then, when the pound of bread set out on its travels, everybody who handled it took a slice so that by the time it reached the screw-maker, it had lost a certain amount of weight. Of course, bakers and carriers had to live: but apart from those honestly engaged in the making and carrying, there was a series of persons called middlemen, whose sole function was to pass the loaf from one to another and take a slice: indeed most of them never saw the loaf at all, but got the slice just the same.

Now the most immoral part of these transactions was not that all these useless people had their whack at the loaf, but that the poor screw-maker never knew and never had any means of knowing what exact relation prevailed between his screws and his bread. The mystery of this relationship remained in the hands of those who controlled the monetary system or who left it uncontrolled in the knowledge that the pirates and jugglers would make the best of the financial anarchy which went by the name of “individual liberty” and which meant the individual liberty of one man to rob another, if he could do it respectably. Now these conditions were not limited in duration to the early days of the Industrial Revolution. In England, they reign supreme today. Such, moreover, is the force of the propaganda which international finance can afford to conduct that the supposedly cultured classes in England can see nothing monstrous in the fact that every year enormous quantities of wheat are burnt and great masses of fish flung back into the sea, whilst there are 13 ½ million undernourished persons on the island. If you say to them: “This thing is done merely to keep prices high,” they will cordially agree and smile their approval, as they think of their foreign dividends. Of course, when a ruling class can sink to this depth of moral perversion, it is not very far from its end.

The notion that the level of production should be controlled by monetary considerations belongs to a very primitive and superstitious stage of social evolution. Indeed, there are few savage tribes that would accept it as it is accepted in Britain today. Suppose that in some very backward island, a shell standard of money prevailed. Assume also that some malicious or half-witted creature managed to acquire half the shells in the island and to drop them into the water beyond recovery. The chiefs and witch-doctors would have to hold a council of emergency. But if the rulers of that island decreed that because half the money of the community had been lost, hunting and fishing and tilling must now be reduced by fifty per cent, there’d be a hot time in the old town that night. In such a simple state of society, the criminal absurdity of the proposal would be obvious to the meanest and most untutored intellect. Yet a policy which the most undeveloped savage tribe would reject as nonsense has been accepted by the British people as a sacred ritual for many years. Thus, of course, international finance, by restricting supplies and causing shortage, can produce whatever conditions of marketing that may be most profitable to itself.

If there is one truth against which the Old School of Finance is fighting today, it is the supreme verity that production of goods should be based on the needs of the people, the only limit being the limit of natural resources and raw materials. Since the dawn of human history, the great struggle of man has been to wrest from Nature by force and cunning the means of life and enjoyment. It was only when the blessings of modem democracy made their appearance one hundred and fifty years ago, that he was told, in an arbitrary manner, that his efforts must be slackened and regulated henceforth by the private interests of an infinitesimal proportion of the world’s population.

Five minutes’ honest thought devoted to the whole matter should be enough to clear away the myths, the obscurities, and the mysteries that have been deliberately built up around the system to conceal its inherent wickedness. National-Socialist Germany realized from the first day of its existence that the main problem of economics was maximal production of the commodities the population required. All questions of distribution must be contingent on the existence of something to distribute, the more the better. Once an adequate level of production is reached, it is only a matter of totalitarian administration to secure that the money system shall give the people the purchasing instruments whereby they can establish a title to possess and enjoy what they have produced.

Of course, a certain amount of the wealth produced must always be set aside to serve as the basis for further production. Hence the people can never at once consume the whole of what they have produced: but the part that they can consume will be perfectly adequate, so long as the level of production is sufficient and a proper proportion is maintained between capital goods and consumers’ goods. Quite naturally, the operation of a managed currency, whereby purchasing power is equated to the people’s needs,  must depend upon the absolute power of the state to control all economic elements, including prices, wages, rents, dividends, and profits in the service of the whole people, with no respect to class prejudice. Such a control is, of course, incompatible with the conditions of democracy: hence the frenzied efforts of the British plutocrats to preserve this democracy, which excludes the only form of organization that could compel the individual to respect the freedom of others as much as he respects his own.

Of course, the moment that Germany revolted against the conception that production should be restricted in the interests of a few High Financiers, she created in the minds of all well-informed democrats the fear that Central Europe would break away altogether from the system of international finance. That fear was amply justified: but it rendered war between England and Germany inevitable, unless some hundreds of Jews were to swing in timely fashion from the lampposts of Westminster. It would have been cruel to hang them: but the consequences of not doing so will be very much more serious for the world than would a transient act of limited violence. This language may seem strong: but the casualties in this war have already far exceeded the number of persons responsible for causing it. War is both unpleasant and brutal: but the Jewish control of international finance over all these years has been infinitely more brutal than any war could be. To know that one will be shot or blown to bits is distinctly unpleasant: but any man worthy of the name would be far less dismayed by this thought, if he had no dependents, than by the thought that he might be unemployed for years. If he had dependents, the experience of seeing his wife sinking into tuberculosis and his children growing up with rickets should be much more intolerable than the prospect of a brief agony and a world where democracy is not to be found.

Of course, not one of the men who control capitalist finance today knows how it feels to wait month after month for a job that never comes, to see one’s few pence disappearing, and to experience the spiritual hopelessness and the physical illness which come from the thought: “In the whole of this wide world, nobody wants me, nobody wants my brain or my hands. I must go and beg.” The well-to-do who read these lines will sneer. Their derision will receive its ample compensation in the recognition granted by those who have been unemployed in mighty England. Unfortunately, so many of the unemployed do not understand that the arbitrary restriction of production and the control of the monetary system for the benefit of the rich can never mean anything but unemployment. Lack of purchasing power in the hands of the people means lack of effective demand. Lack of effective demand means less work and more unemployment.

There is another important aspect of the question. One machine today, minded by two men, can do as much work in ten hours as one hundred men could do a few decades ago. But surely the human race will not wait until ten thousand men can produce its entire needs by the aid of machinery before introducing some reasonable system of labour. When the stage is reached at which enough and more is being produced by machinery, there will be enough to distribute, and the solution of the unemployment problem will lie in shorter hours. Whether a man works ten hours a day or five is immaterial so long as maximal production of needed goods is secured. What is vital is that every citizen able to work should be given the chance and thereby earn the ethical right to participate in the distribution.

As a matter of fact, although Germany has raised her production in the last few years from 100 per cent in some industries to 2000 per cent in others, she still finds it necessary to import labour. Indeed that necessity existed before the present war. Work begets work. In any case, Adolf Hitler’s solution of the unemployment problem was a challenge which international finance could not ignore. The success of the international Jewish conspiracy, supported also by corrupt and selfish non-Jews, depended on the magnitude of its scope. More than 80,000,000 of the most industrious and able people in the world were lifted by Hitler right out of the domain of the Hebrew system. The whole conception, moreover, of international finance is repugnant to the National-Socialist. He can see no argument for investing his country’s capital abroad to the detriment of home industries. It may well be that the latter yield a lower dividend. In many cases, it is desirable that they should. The fair distribution of wealth is quite incompatible with unlimited profits. But, even if an extreme case be taken, a National-Socialist would prefer to draw 2 per cent from a useful home industry rather than take 20 per cent from a foreign concern which competes with the labour of his fellow- workers.

The National-Socialist, conscious of race and tradition, deems it his duty to think, work, and spend for his country. The German National-Socialist, for example, finds it hard to understand why British financiers should have injured England’s coal trade by placing their resources at the disposal of Polish coal mines in which sweated labour was employed. In general, then, the National-Socialist theory is that the “money” which is made in a country should go to its further development, and that any temporary sacrifice  is justified by the ultimate benefit that it should bring to his nation. This view is so diametrically opposed to the whole thesis of international finance that there should be no difficulty in understanding why a conflict between the two could not be avoided. Whether or not the conflict was to be armed was a matter that the international financiers had to decide. They did not reach the decision to employ military force until every other method of beating Germany and frustrating Hitler had been tried and exhausted. Patiently they waited for the predicted collapse of the new German economic system. It never came, because their influence was ruled out from the first day. Then when unemployment vanished and production rose by leaps and bounds, they knew that waiting was useless. Just as scores of previous wars were fought in the interests of their order, so a new war was launched. The Hebrews and their creatures had set out on the last desperate expedition to keep the world in bondage. The real masters of Britain had played their last card.


Article sourced from William Joyce’s Twilight Over England (1940), Internationaler Verlag

Leave a Reply