Now that the elitist gala known as the 2013 Bilderberg Group Meeting is wrapping up in Watford, England, I thought it would be worth spending some time analysing the agenda that our powerful masters were discussing – at least the topics that they reveal on their official website.
Of course, we will never know the outcome of these discussions, or even if the agenda items published by the Bilderberg Group are accurate, because they hold no press conferences and issue no minutes following the meeting. Not even the democratically elected representatives who attend feel the need to explain to their voters what they were doing inside the luxurious Grove Hotel in the Hertfordshire countryside.
And it should be further obvious that any of the really nefarious decision-making would have taken place in smaller “break-out” sessions and quiet huddles, away from the larger plenary sessions, and will continue to be made now that the Great and the Good have had a chance to network with each other over canapes.
But even assuming the published agenda is fairly representative of what our Betters talked about, safe behind their steel curtain, it is difficult to understand how the group of people huddled inside – published here on the Bilderberg Group website – could have discussed these issues in any other manner than considering how to manipulate each area to their own advantage.
Why? Let’s break it down and take a closer look at the agenda.
1. Can the US and Europe grow faster and create jobs?
See any small business owners on the list of attendees? See any people who have known and experienced unemployment personally? Of course not. We see the likes of Eric Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Ian Davis and Simon Henry from the worlds of mega-big business, and then a host of top banking CEOs who were responsible for causing the global financial meltdown in the first place. Their profits are returning to record highs during jobless recoveries or double-dip recessions in most western countries. Where are the representatives of the struggling high-street retailers, of all those restauranteurs and small business owners who are shutting down across the world?
There could be no better proof that what we have currently is not capitalism in it’s true and fair form, but rather a corrupt and self-serving corporatism. France, for example has it’s “national champion” firms, whose interests the French government protects and promotes around the world. If you want to start a new energy company in France, good luck trying to ever grow to compete with EDF, France’s “preferred” energy giant.
The people sitting in the meeting rooms in Watford are the rich fat-cats who have kept our national economies chugging along at between 0-2% growth for the last six long years, all the while massively enriching themselves. And we’re supposed to believe that they want faster growth?
2. Jobs, entitlement and debt
Debt, of course, didn’t matter before the financial crisis, when Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George W. Bush were running up huge deficits and massively expanding the size and scope of the state in both the US and the UK. And yet now, of course, we apparently must have Austerity.
So what the Bilderberg participants have basically done is make a vast number of additional people dependent on the state for some or all of their income, housing, healthcare or nutritional needs over the past decades. Then they wrecked the financial system, became “concerned” about debt (because the liabilities of the failed banks were shifted over to the public sector, i.e. us), and decided that we had to massively roll back government spending in the wake of the “sovereign debt crisis”. But because so many more people are now dependent on the government to partially sustain themselves, just small cuts to spending can cause massive suffering to large swathes of the population. Not the slice of the population chugging champagne at the Grove Hotel though, of course. I’m struggling to think of a word for what these people have done, other than Evil.
3. How big data is changing almost everything
How indeed. In a week where we have seen revelations of the US government collecting almost infinite records in terms of metadata showing the communications of people all around the world, and collecting the telephone records of US wireless telephone customers, it is very appropriate to be discussing the closeness between our biggest telecommunications, internet and technology companies and the government, during everyday interactions and at meetings such as Bilderberg. Given the fact that the Bush Administration gave retroactive immunity to all those US telecoms companies who had participated in the illegal warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, it would seem that all parties will continue to protect each other and flout the law as they please.
4. Nationalism and populism
Both elements are very much on the rise in many western countries, and the Bilderbergers apparently sat down to rub their chins and ponder the reasons why. Those such as US radio presenter and journalist Alex Jones see in the Bilderberg Group a sinister conspiracy to ultimately eliminate national borders and identities entirely, in order to establish one world government, divided into regional areas. They see the formation of super-national institutions such as the European Union and North American Union as nascent steps toward this goal.
While this is somewhat hyperbolic, it is undoubtedly true that many organisations that promote international co-operation and integration have come about, many of which make important regulatory decisions while being unaccountable to the citizens over which they wield power. So this section of the agenda could really be seen as “How do we stop the rise of political parties such as UKIP, which seek to return power to national and local levels?”
5. US foreign policy
Where to start? Given the list of Bilderberg attendees, seriously, where? Why hold this session, when virtually everyone supports the destructive status quo?
6. Africa’s challenges
At a time when South Africa’s former president and civil rights hero, Nelson Mandela, lies in a hospital bed close to death, I really do think it takes a very special level of gall to discuss the challenges facing the African continent and not invite anyone from Africa. One really must wonder whether the Bilderberg attendees are there to discuss the challenges Africa faces in building strong democracies, institutions and economies – or the problems that they face in finding new ways to undermine and exploit the African people for their own gain. Even those participants who do so much philanthropic good to help the people of Africa must marvel at the underrepresentation of African concerns and interests on the panel.
7. Cyber warfare and the proliferation of asymmetric threats
This topic was being simultaneously discussed by President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at an informal, sun-drenched ranch in Palm Springs. The Guardian reported that the summit ended in accord “on all but cyber-espionage”.
This topic – with so much of the electronic espionage being military in nature – would seem to continue to be handled between countries on a bilateral basis rather than on an international level. Indeed, one of the ironies is that the very international networks and organisations that so many of the Bilderberg Group attendees have advocated and helped to establish are also facilitating – through standardised communications protocols, technologies and so forth – the very cyber warfare that political leaders are scrambling to stop.
8. Politics of the European Union
This is a very cryptic agenda item indeed. What could it possibly mean? The internal political workings of the European Union institutions, perhaps? Probably not, because the internal mechanics of the European Commission or Agricultural Committee can hardly be of interest to the people who work in them, let alone the Great and the Good of the world’s economic elite.
No, this section of the agenda probably refers to the politics of how the European Union is portrayed and perceived by the citizens of the member countries. This would certainly be of interest to those in the Bilderberg group because they are heavily invested in the super-national entity not falling apart under the wave of unprecedented disillusionment with – and hostility to – the burdensome, undemocratic structure.
Again, the Bilderberg membership is currently composed of about two thirds European (though not all EU member state citizens) and one third American membership – if the pronouncements on their website are to be believed. Is it really appropriate that the American members are discussing in secret how to devise strategies to make us embrace closer European integration? Indeed, is it appropriate for unelected European members, not accountable to an electorate to do so either?
The good news on this front at least is that the Bilderbergers are firmly on the back foot. Libertarian-leaning parties such as UKIP are rising around Europe, as people are increasingly saying no to the “ever closer union” of European states boldly proclaimed – with no democratic mandate – in the Treaty of Rome.
9. Developments in the Middle East
See point 6 above.
It does not help the west’s image in the Middle East when a group of people as powerful as the Bilderberg attendees – including representation from the oil and energy sector – assemble to discuss “developments in the Middle East” without inviting middle eastern interests to give their input. A cynical person might even come to the conclusion that given the unmitigated failure of the ten year long jaunt in Iraq, Bilderberg members (or at least neo-conservative) people should be expressly prohibited from coming up with new ideas about what to do next in the middle east.
You can look at all of these agenda points for the Bilderberg 2013 meeting more or less charitably, depending on your view of whether the activities of the people inside are truly malevolent (toward the Alex Jones end of the spectrum), or simply highly selfish, chronically misguided, and born of an arrogant assumption of the right to rule over the rest of us (where I currently sit).
One interesting angle on the way in which the Bilderberg Group operates and the terrific way that they seem to keep on making disastrous decisions that lead us further and further away from liberty and prosperity as the years pass is the idea of survivorship bias. In an excellent article by David McRaney, he discusses the way in which only looking at the successful outcomes and people can lead to bad decisions and proscriptions for how to enable others to succeed as well. A key paragraph is here:
You must remind yourself that when you start to pick apart winners and losers, successes and failures, the living and dead, that by paying attention to one side of that equation you are always neglecting the other. If you are thinking about opening a restaurant because there are so many successful restaurants in your hometown, you are ignoring the fact the only successful restaurants survive to become examples. Maybe on average 90 percent of restaurants in your city fail in the first year. You can’t see all those failures because when they fail they also disappear from view.
As Nassim Taleb writes in his book The Black Swan, “The cemetery of failed restaurants is very silent.” Of course the few that don’t fail in that deadly of an environment are wildly successful because only the very best and the very lucky can survive. All you are left with are super successes, and looking at them day after day you might think it’s a great business to get into when you are actually seeing evidence that you should avoid it.
Taking the non-malevolent view of the Bilderberg Group in its current form (or even to account for some of the failures of New World Order Bilderberg), one could posit that the reason that so many of the actions taken by the membership over the years have been so harmful to most is because the membership is comprised entirely of the successful. None of the protesters standing outside were allowed to remonstrate with the Great Ones within. No refugees from the middle east Arab Spring. No malnourished people from Africa. No failed small business owners from the town of Watford itself, which has struggled in the recession.
If every year you and your chums reassemble at the next Bilderberg meeting and find yourselves even more spectacularly successful and wealthy than the last time you met, “more of the same” could start to seem like a pretty good prescription. Of course, this would also take mental blinders of the most immense kind, to remain unaware of the suffering of the majority. But to some extent we all block out the sufferings of the people worse off than us. How much more magnified must this be if you sit at the very pinnacle of society?
An unlikely theory to be sure, but one to chew on as the helicopters and chauffer-driven cars depart from the Grove Hotel in Watford, and the steel fence is deconstructed.
So where do we go from here?
There are few courses of action open to us other than to continue to shine the bright light of scrutiny on the activities of these arrogant people, who presume to come to my country, establish themselves in luxury accommodations behind a steel wall, and make in secret the decisions which will influence the course of our lives.