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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening and inspring
If you ever wondered where money comes from, how it's created, and why it's created in the way it is, "The Grip of Death" is for you.
This book explains how the banking system is actually a form of institutionalised fraud, based on the original activities of goldsmiths who would lend more "money" than they actually had on deposit. The only reason...
Published on 1 Nov. 2000

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging book but needed better data and references
Thought provoking book for those not intimately involved in the financial and banking industries. I suspect that most people outside of these industries are unaware of the basic functioning of the money supply and money creation. Noticed a lot of generalisations that weren't correct, although the main thrust of many arguments was valid. Engaging book, but needed more...
Published on 10 Dec. 2006 by Graham Palmer


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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening and inspring, 1 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
If you ever wondered where money comes from, how it's created, and why it's created in the way it is, "The Grip of Death" is for you.
This book explains how the banking system is actually a form of institutionalised fraud, based on the original activities of goldsmiths who would lend more "money" than they actually had on deposit. The only reason we accept the system without a second thought seems to be that it has the weight of tradition behind it. But the weight of tradition is not enough to justify its validity, as the author shows.
This book explains how we have come to regard money--or more precisely, the absence or presence of it--as an indicator of what work can be done or "afforded". The government closes hospitals and schools down because of lack of money. Does that mean there are suddenly not sufficient people with sufficient ability and sufficient willingness to keep these hospitals and schools running? Of course not! All it means is that the government mistakenly believes that "lack of money" = "we can't do it". We have become slaves to the economy, when instead we should be its master. The author shows how we can achieve this.
This book explains how attempts by a government to reduce the national debt can be disastrous for the economy, and why those countries with the largest national debts are in fact those who have achieved the greatest economic success. Sounds paradoxical? It isn't at all, once you understand what the national debt is and how banks create money.
This book explains why projects in developing countries funded by the likes of the World Bank and the IMF are destined to fail, and how the only beneficiaries of interest payments made on third-world debt are commercial banks--commercial banks which created (out of nothing) the money that formed the original loans.
This book explains how the boom-and-bust cycle is a necessary consequence of the way in which the vast majority of money in a nation's economy is created (by banks) as a debt. One way to escape this cycle is to turn our economy from a debt-based to a credit-based one. How? A simple solution, involving the creation of debt-free money by the government, is suggested by the author. If anybody should question whether it is entirely "fair" that the government create such money, let them ask this question: Is it "fair" that we should let private institutions create, with no effort on their part, and then CHARGE US FOR USING (in the form of interest payments on debt) 97% of the money in our economy? The government has a right to create its own money debt-free, and it should exercise that right.
In short, this book is one of the most eye-opening, informative and inspiring books you could wish to read about money and its origins. I agree with the reviewer below: Buy it, read it, and send a copy to Number 10 (and Number 11)!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 30 Aug. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
This is a must-read text. Get it, buy it, read it. It will reveal the subtle workings of the money economy and the heart of true power in the modern world. The writer rips off the veil of secrecy surrounding how money circulates in the modern economy and lays bare the cold enslavement that the vast majority must face in modern economic life.
If we are to provide our children a world worth living in, making real the recommendations of this book is essential. Nothing can be acheived without monetary reform. With it, everything can be.
The writer does not refer to eariler works of distinguished (but fringe) Austrian economists such as James Buchanan and Prof Rothbard. These are but minor criticisms. This is not a work by a academic economist and is perhaps a better work because of this. He speaks the truth.
Please read this important work.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradigm Shift, 26 Sept. 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
This book has fundamentally affected the way I view the world, questioning why and how we work, what governments say - and then what they actually do. If you've ever thought that something wasn't quite right with the economic certainties that blare from PR ladened print and TV media then your time will be well spent reading this book.
For an idea of what this book contains here's the first chapter:
[...]
Believe me it's powerful stuff and is relevant whatever political persuasion you belong to.
The reviewer from Helsinki seems to have missed one of the chapters in the book dealing with the value of loans in an ever deflating system as this is well covered.
Get this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was a revelation, 19 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
This is a truly remarkable book. I never imagined that I would read a book on economics, but this book gripped me and I read it from cover to cover. I read it with mounting horror that I had participated in such a damaging economic system all my life, a system authorized by government and founded on a banking scam that is nothing less than legalized robbery.

It was news to me that 97% of the money in circulation today was originally created as a debt to a bank. All the savings in your account are there because someone earlier went into debt. When you apply for a bank loan or a mortgage the bank counterfeits that money into existence out of nothing, types the figure into a computer, and transfers it to your account. It's called fractional Reserve Banking. The bank will then charge you interest on the debt that was created out of nothing and if you default, will seize your real assets. Clearly this is institutionalized fraud.

Rowbotham explains how the debt money in circulation distorts the whole of the economy in such a way that economics has nothing to do with the needs of people and care for the environment and everything to do with pure money and finance. And so you find it makes financial sense to transport lettuces from Spain when they could be grown right here at home.

From the outset businesses are in debt to the banks and these additional costs over and above manufacturing costs tend to drive up prices of the goods produced and ensure they are of poor quality. Because of huge debts to banks, firms must keep wages down and so there is never enough money circulating to buy the products. So either aggressive exporting must take place or people must go into debt to buy the goods. A pyramid of rising debt is created and there must be economic growth at the top or the whole economic edifice collapses. This is the economic insanity in which we live and move and have our being.

Rowbotham explains that there is an alternative to the current one-sided debt based economics and this involves government itself creating a proportion of debt free money for circulation. The simple balanced system described made sense to me and why no-one ever discusses it is a complete mystery. So our whole economic system is based on a total misunderstanding of how money works. How could it have happened? It has happened because people are totally unconscious of the economic madness in which they participate on a daily basis.

After reading the book I woke up from unconsciousness and realized that in the absence of monetary reform the only realistic vote in any government referendum would be one of `no confidence'. I will never vote again until the promise of monetary reform is on a party manifesto. Read the book and the Truth will set you free.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for these 'credit crunch' times., 2 Nov. 2009
By 
Jim (South Devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
`'The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the earth; take it away from them, but leave them with the power to create credit, and with the stroke of a pen they will create enough money to buy it back again...If you want to be slaves of bankers, and pay the costs of your own slavery, then let the banks create money.''

Lord Josiah Stamp, former director of the Bank Of England, (quoted on p.35).

`The Grip of Death' is a highly readable and radical work that touches on many subjects in its attempt to explain the far-reaching malaise of the global financial system.

Rowbotham starts in Chapters 1 and 2 with an explanation of the debt-based financial system. For those, like myself, who erroneously imagined that the creation and supply of money is the domain of governments, these pages are quite simply revelatory. The author goes on to explain in Chapter 3 how debt-based finance distorts economies, driving `decadent growth' in such a way as to make the economy ever less responsive to the needs of real people and small businesses. This analysis is expanded in Chapter 4 `The Myth of the Consumer Society', which illustrates how economic servitude, and environmental degradation are the inevitable results of an `inherently unsupportive and unstable financial system'.

Further chapters discuss the latter's contribution to transportation and centralisation, `export warfare' between nations, the national debt, food and farming, Third World debt, the role of multinational companies and so on. The author also discusses the history of debt-financing and assesses the contribution of early monetary reformers such as Abraham Lincoln in the USA and C.H. Douglas in Britain.

Throughout, the tone is one of engagement with the real world - this is no dry academic text. The author is passionately involved in his arguments, as indicated by the occasional appearance of exclamation marks and use of language such as `disgusting' and `despicable' to describe some of the unfortunate outcomes of what he considers to be a fraudulent, debt-based system.

Those readers with specialist knowledge of economics and global finance may well take issue with certain technical matters, but the finer points of political and economic analysis should not distract from this very important work's central proposition: the fundamental iniquity of the private creation of credit. Why should private institutions such as banks be permitted to create money out of thin air, in so doing profiting at the expense of, if not actually beggaring individuals, industries, entire economies, indeed the whole global economy?

The arguments presented transcend traditional conceptions of right and left wing politics, of monetarist and Keynesian economic approaches. To focus exclusively on such issues ultimately distracts, Rowbotham says, from the underlying problem: debt-based finance. And of course, the financial powers prefer to keep the public in the dark about where money comes from. For example, current Chair of the Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner, has written in defence of `non-transparent money creation' (Financial Times, 4 November 2002 - quoted in James Robertson & John Bunzl's Monetary Reform - Making it Happen ).

As evidence of the continuing success of such diversionary concerns, I submit the fact that the basic issue of `who issues the money' is so little discussed (if at all) by mainstream media and politicians in the modern day and age. Even in these horrendous recessionary times, where the term `credit crunch' has become common currency, even those public figures often presented as reliable sources of public information on such matters, such as the BBC's Business Editor Robert Peston, and Liberal Democrat politician Vince Cable have never, to my knowledge, raised the issue of private issue of credit. Meanwhile, economic events and trends in the 10 years or so since this book was first published in 1998 - the ballooning of mortgage debt around the world, the near collapse of the economic system and `credit crunch' - have made the perspective outlined in `The Grip of Death' more relevant than ever.

Having read 'The Grip of Death' I now realise that on these matters of fundamental importance I had been shockingly uninformed. This truly eye-opening book really is full of `eureka' moments', and I thoroughly commend it to anyone concerned with the pivotal role of money in shaping economy and society.

November 2010: Please see the Positive Money website for a contemporary campaign addressing these issues.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For all economists, politicians, business people, 24 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
If you take Popper's view that science can prove nothing- it can only disprove theories- then you'll like Rowbotham's debunking of the modern monetary system. He catalogues a list of expensive experiments using whole economies, including the world as laboratories, as his evidence. The redistributive left and monetarist right are likewise rejected as solutions to inequality, an unstable global economy, inflation, pollution and associated ills. The style is passionate,yet undogmatic. Rowbotham is readable,at times gripping. Fascinating historical background shows how we got where we are. He shows little understanding of the plight of a small advanced commodity trader such as New Zealand and his view of cars is archaic. However he does offer feasible solutions to many of the world's economic problems. Most readers will find its contents a revelation.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprise all around, 1 Jun. 2008
This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
I wasn't expecting this book to be quite so good. First of all, there have been so many written on this subject and I had NO idea who Michael Rowbotham was or is. But reading the reviews intrigued me and so I bought it with a lot of other fiction and non-fiction books. From the get-go I was drawn into the book by Rowbotham's writing ability and hard economic truths. You should be warned though, that this is a depressing book as it explains just how things work and if you're not prepared to have your eyes opened, you might be in for a shock. I can't imagine the banking world is happy about this book as it exposes the corporate greed and fraud that have been going on for years. The book also explains how we've come to think of money and gives you some real insight into how YOU are reacting to the world of money and how you use it. Couple this with his take on countries with the largest national debts and what that means and how they got there, and you have a great book that will stop you in your tracks. This should be required reading in all schools, regardless of nationality. The End.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for everybody, 29 July 2008
By 
Pablo (Co. Down/ Navarra) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
Almost all of us are victims of the economic system. How this system functions is for most of us veiled in mystery, giving the system even more power over us. In this book Michael Rowbotham unveils these mysteries in a style which is clear, straight-talking and free of any academic jargon: in fact any concept, institution or practice which might be unknown to the non-specialist is thoughtfully explained by the author without even a hint of condescension.
This book describes the iniquity of a worldwide economic system based on the power of banks to create money by "lending" what they don't have. Both the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of this practice are explored in depth together with the multitude of ramifications. The book's range is remarkable: although much of the data is UK-centred, the author opens up a world-wide vision, from the exploitation of third world countries to the destruction of the environment to the pernicious waste of human life and energy under a system which - unveiled - amounts to institutionalised theft and debt-slavery.
Finally, the author provides suggestions as to how economic reform might be achieved, opening up vistas of millions of human lives being much more usefully and happily lived.
Read this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Grip of Death is still with us ..., 2 Jan. 2009
This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
This book will, as usual, show valid and viable solutions that can help avoid what is once again taking place (a worldwide recession in 2008 onwards). The author is a member of a British economic think-tank that the government inevitably ignores to satisfy its want to be re-elected. A blind American mindset, as to be expected, is reflected in the negative side of the polar ratings given in the Amazon.com (American) reviews.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gods ancient and modern, 24 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics (Paperback)
The ancients had their gods and the resulting hierarchies, cultures and economic structures. At the top of the hierachies they would have had their high priests issuing truths and predictions and accounts of the past. Well, today we have economists, government ministers, university departments, media commentators and financial institutions and their mantra - growth, growth, growth, debt, cuts, efficiency etc.

Ask 10 of your friends - educated and not so educated - in fact those with some economics in their education are the most interesting and ask them where does money come from?/How is it created? And you will find that 9/10 of them answer in much the same way you would ask a believer to explain the nature of God. After asking "how is that?" a few times you get to pretty much the same place - blind faith and no actual facts or evidence to back up their assertions!

That is how we live today - with a blind faith of allegiance to the high priests of economics and their monetary doctrines and we are their obedient followers performing outlandish rituals such as endlessly producing and consuming whilst devouring this magnificent and finite planet .

Read this book and you may well wake up from the slumber of your conditioning. The worm is turning and this epoch in history is disentegrating - let's help the inevitable end along by educating ourselves.
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