The Money Lenders by Anthony Sampson (Hodder & Stoughton £7.95) WHO BETTER than Anthony Sampson to attempt the first major analysis of big money on today's society? The Theme of this tightly and brilliantly written book is to show not just that money does indeed dominate Western so-called civilisation today, but exactly how it does so.
The pace is set by a description of an international gathering of prominent bankers at a convention in Washington. DC. Sampson gets to the heart of the matter: no beating about the bush with superficial descriptions.
Behind the ballyhoo and the booze, the beautiful women imported for parties, there are the hard men who matter. prowling around, ever watchful, in a jungle they know well. They are the "hunters and the hunted".
They can be distinguished by the colours of their badges and as they pair off, blues with greens, or oranges with browns. the discerning observer can guess what is afoot and follow it up.
In the watching game it is the spotting of a red with a blue that scores most points. This means that a big banker has buttonholed an important minister of finance. What deal is being clinched?
Thereafter Sampson goes behind the scenes: to the financial capitals of the world from Geneva to Tokyo.
He does not neglect London which stealthily came back into its "rightful" place as the world's financial centre after the war.
Its power is still immense, and despite all the talk that has been going on for so long about the City's being 'dominiated by "foreigners" — a xenophobic euphemism for every kind of prejudice, mostly anti-Semitic who, as it turns out, are the real wielders of power? Why. the aristocracy and the landed classes. And of course they still are.
The Bank of Englandwas nationalised, but little changed. "Lazards, though descended from French-Jewish traders in New Orleans. was now thoroughly English and Gentile, owned by Lord Cowdray and run by Lord Kindersley, with the help of Lord Brand and his brother Lord Hampden." And so it went on.
This is not a polemical book. It is in quite fact surprisingly bland as it retails the staggeringly complex world of moneymanipulators on whom practically everything in our daily life ultimately depends. It reads, in part, like science-fiction.