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Historical Error #25: Benjamin Strong (d. 1928) in 1929 Deliberately Caused the Stock Market Collapse.

Gary North
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Ellen Brown's Web of Debt is filled with bogus quotations. She likes to make things up. She thinks something really ought to have happened, so she writes that it did happen.

The meetings between Norman and Strong were very secretive, but the evidence suggests that in February 1929, they concluded that a collapse in the market was inevitable and that the best course was to let it correct "naturally" (naturally, that is, with a little help from the Fed). They sent advisory warnings to lists of preferred customers, including wealthy industrialists, politicians, and high foreign officials, telling them to get out of the market. Then the Fed began selling government securities in the open market, reducing the money supply by reducing the reserves available for backing loans. The bank loan rate was also increased, causing rates on brokers' loans to jump to 20 percent. [Web of Debt, p. 143]

All she had to do was to search Google for a biography of Benjamin Strong to learn that he died in October 1928. This woman is so incredibly shoddy in her research that this possibility never occurred to her.

She even made up this: "the evidence suggests. . . ."

Her readers are victims. They think she knows what she is talking about. No one spotted the obvious: Strong had died in 1928. This error still is there in the fourth revised edition (2008).

But she did not leave it at that. Oh, no. She had to add this bit of mythology on page 144.

The stock market crashed overnight. People withdrew their savings from the banks and foreigners withdrew their gold, further depleting the reserves on which the money stock was built. From 1929 to 1933, the money stock fell by a third, and a third of the nation's banks closed their doors. Strong said privately that the problem could easily be corrected by adding money to the shrinking money supply; but unfortunately for the country, he died suddenly without passing this bit of wisdom on.

Another sudden death! Yet she knows all about what he said privately about the problem -- a problem that began a year after his death. He was obviously psychic. I guess Ellen Brown is, too. Or not.

Dead men not only tell tales; they leave behind records for an incredibly lazy researcher to discover and pass on to her readers.

Ellen Brown is not just an incompetent researcher. She is just plain silly. But she has disciples who trust her.

Don't get me wrong. I do not have contempt for Ms. Brown, any more than I would have contempt for a puppy who laid a series of messes in the house while I was gone. I am just rubbing her nose in her messes, one by one. "Bad dog! Bad dog!"

Soon, I will take her outside. But not yet. She has left too many messes.

My reply to her response is here:


For a detailed critique of Ellen Brown's economics, go here:

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