The Mayfair Set

The Mayfair Set

1999, Economics  -  Playlist 30 Comments
Ratings: 8.46/10 from 39 users.

The Mayfair SetUnreported and almost unseen approach that capital and capital markets have taken since 1945 to gradually take control of the political systems of the USA and the United Kingdom. Adam Curtis outlines several key points and analyses at great length various events and personalities.

These so called market movers were all members of the Clermont Club in Mayfair, London. What at first seemed to be an audacious and unrealistic strategy to take control of the market economy turned into something almost unstoppable, destructive, cruel and completely bereft of feeling or scruple.

What is so shocking is that the corruption and immorality did not start as commonly assumed in the 1980's with the ascent of Reagan and Thatcher to power but with the beginning of the global economy in the late 1950s. There is much material shown here that should be much more discussed and explained because it depicts aptly how moribund and fragile the economies of the developed world have become.

How they are built up on tenuous and shallow assumptions that market cycles are no longer applicable. The greed and deception of the business elite reaches far further and far wider than beyond anyone's common knowledge or understanding of politics.

1. Who Pays Wins - The opening episode, Who Pays Wins, focuses on Colonel David Stirling.

2. Entrepreneur Spelt S.P.I.V. - The rise of Jim Slater who became famous for writing an investment column in The Sunday Telegraph under the nom de plume of The Capitalist.

3. Destroy the Technostructure - This episode recounts the story of how James Goldsmith became one of the richest men in the world.

4. Twilight of the Dogs - By the 80s, the day of the buccaneering tycoons was over. Tiny Rowland, James Goldsmith and Mohammed Al Fayed were the only ones who were not finished.

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Clive Delves
2 years ago

Technical issue - ep#1 cuts off early before the actual ending.

5 years ago

Clearly all the perks did not attract the best and brightest into politics, too many of low character who are not bother by a conscience or being corrupt as long as they profit, the reason much more is spent on a run for office than the job pays.

So then what makes for a wise decent incorruptible candidate? One that will sign a contract to enact term limits and remove all congressional benefits among many other things. Meaning they have their own source of income and retirement and insurance and don't need nor want anything from anyone. They serve out of duty or to right the ship.

So you can just sit there and vote for either side of the same coin the bankster owned media is pushing... or you can run your own candidates in numbers in all parties so no matter who the dupes who refuse to get off their backside vote for someone good will get in.

While you are at it. You could pool your funds and buy a media outlet, clean out the govt school indoctrinated dupes and run some real news and information. How long before that is corrupted? Depends on how you go about preventing that from happening.

You could also pool your money and obsolete the stranglehold the oil industry has on most everything.

Is pooling your money socialism? Not at all. Taxation to be directed by others who claim to know better but have an agenda which has nothing to do with benefiting you, while claiming it is "good for you", is socialism.

How do you prevent nefarious interests from taking over? You set up your By Laws or Corporation such that no person or entity can hold more than one share. Any person or entity attempting to do so will forfeit all shares and any rights or benefits a share represented. Then of course at least periodic comparison of true capitalism to true socialism to ward of the marxist worms trying to make inroads into "the hearts and minds" via their usual and unusual propaganda/lies. Also educating about the ills of corruption and the many ways and forms it seeks to rat infest itself into everything for the benefit of a few but proclaimed as benefiting all.

While you are at it you can pool your money to create an extra ordinarily great health coverage company for lower cost, like concierge care cooperatives.

This is capitalism at its finest. Competing with what you don't like rather than complaining. The big boys pool their money and risk it. Isn't it about time you put your big boy pants on and take part in the greatest opportunity there has ever been, before it is gone via socialism? $20 x 100,000 people = $2mln. That would be enough to start competing with the things you find unsavory. Who directs how and where it is spent? You all do since you all own it. Same as owning shares in a corporation. The problem with that is, they only allow you to vote for board of directors who you don't know, rather than run the company. If you are wise, you will have searched out wise people to advise and present what and how to be voted upon by you.

What would most people do if someone actually proposed this to them? Laugh. "Compete with big oil, the media, health insurance, ..." ha hahah.

The lazy minded who are in love with misery are always the first to object to any improvement or attempt at relief.

You want a solution. There it is. Compete. Many have tried and failed. For a number of them, like Tucker Automobiles, corpro-govt corruption blocked them from succeeding. They didn't have 100,000 people standing behind them. It makes a big difference.

Further, why should the taxpayer be on the hook for the failure of any crony business endeavor those in power want to waste money on in order to get kick backs? That was the Hillary Clinton progressive model. Bernie Sanders the socialist, his wife and him may go to jail, or should for their dealings with the so called college boondoggle. What about Trump, hard to know with all the fake news. When will it all end? When YOU gather together, and compete with the political parties, run your candidates in both parties. Compete.

"Nothing will change until we take down our muskets off the wall..." more drivel from those who truly desire to do nothing.

Is socialism competition to capitalism? Only in the minds of the ignorant. As the fellow early on in this docu stated or similar: Self governance is superior to better govt.

Socialists claim their govt is or would be better. For who? For govt, not for the people under it. Do your homework and you will find that out. There is no such thing as a big govt that is good. Without govt would there have been a need for a military industrial complex? For a need to start wars so to have a place to sell arms?

Govt = corruption, that is a fact. Thank you Mr. docu for pointing that out.

5 years ago

Note a point in this docu 2nd chapter where the timid looking fellow of the financial press stated that he and those like him in that financial press were willing dupes. Unfortunately that metastasized into all areas of the press. Then the major network media press, being corporate owned, were taken over by corrupt political interests. The lefties would say "indeed!" Refusing to believe that "their press" that they listen to, has been totally corrupted as well.

Garbage in = Garbage out, turn off the TV news, there are several good independent news sources on the internet (and some of the same propaganda so choose carefully). The major media is propaganda coming from both sides. Evil vs. Evil. Corrupt Socialism vs. Corrupt Corporatism. Socialism is not the opposite of corrupt corporatism. it is the other side of the wooden nickel with just one much larger more corrupt powerful nasty crony corporation called govt with a liar on top claiming "they care" while squeezing the life out of you. The very same type of govt people came to the usa to escape from, while the dupes here want to usher in that hell, not having lived under the full weight of its overbearing thumb... only partially so, the part that they find odious but attribute to capitalism because they are blind dupes believing what the media and their socialist govt teachers tell them; no different than a person stealing something blaming someone else for it. In this case, stealing your freedom. What do the Saudi elite tell the poor in their country as they turn their gold faucets in their palaces? It is the fault of the west who steal the wealth of their nation. Rather than developing further industry and creating sustainable jobs and agriculture with the oil revenue, they pocket most of it. The same is true of incremental socialism creating problems and blaming "capitalism". Why don't you hear this in the news? The news was taken over by socialists as well as the schools just as Krushchev? of Russia claimed. They would take over without firing a shot.

Socialism is standing in line at the Dept of Motor Vehicles or at any govt dept or agency including the Veterans Hospital. You are merely a number waiting your turn. At the DMV they have a number dispenser and they call your number.

Capitalism is where you are a valued customer someone wants to do business with.

Corruption, which was what this docu was all about, does not exempt itself from anything, especially Socialism, which increased structure makes it easier to flourish. @wpsmithjr above, well pointed out that govt IS the problem and is the structure by which corruption enters. If you watch or read "Creature From Jekyll Island" by G. Edward Griffin (who has an independent news website) you will discover how the central bank came to be. It happened through govt/political corruption.

Just as with the financial press dupes the Englishman admitted he was one of, the congress in the usa and parliament in the uk are more so and worse. How else could banksters who overextended themselves convince the govts to give them your future tax obligations, apparently endlessly, since as of today 17.08.06 they have been handing them money to keep those investment bankers doors open for close to 9 years now and still handing them money while they continue to use it to run up the markets with that loaned capital with what is left over after covering losses coming due every quarter on all their bad bets of hundreds of trillions? Clearly congress and parliament aren't working for those who elected them. They have been corrupted. The banksters told them that life as they knew it would end. Simply was false. They could have said no and let them vanish as they should have and directed people to smaller banks and credit unions for their financial needs (where they would get much better service to boot).

It is ALWAYS the verbiage of the lazy mind and spirit who pronounce that there is nothing that can be done. They prefer misery than to have to lift a finger to improve things. They want someone else to do it for them so they don't have to make the time from their adult baby bottle sucking(beer, wine, dope) and/or fake news watching sessions. The self fulling prophesy: "Nothing can be done so I refuse to waste my time to do anything." "I already fulfill my civic duty by voting." "You can't beat govt." ...I've heard them all and have won with the help of others, more battles than have lost, against corporate/govt interests coming down on our area. I have more contempt for the lazy minded do nothings than the corporations. Hell on earth was caused by the do nothings. Heaven on earth, or closer to it would simply be a matter of acting wisely.

If one man can corrupt an entire govt or nation with money then an entire nation can clean house. The problem is the do nothings and the unwise, do something worse! That worse thing would be socialism, which they have been calling evil capitalism, and believing it.

Many a politician favors socialism because it gives them more power. If they have more power what does that give you? Less power, less freedom, while you are duped into thinking it will take the power away from those evil capitalists. So the socialists solution is to trade one corruption they despise for another that treats them much worse and then say, "at least we are all miserable equally" which isn't true at all.

All this stuff was figured out long ago by some purdy sharp men. As the good fellow above stated, just follow "The Constitution for the United States of America". When you do, banksters will not be able to inflate and then deflate stealing your money. Govt will not be allowed to steal from you to give to others to buy their votes, nor to bail out banksters. This is why obama stated that those who still hold to the constitution are enemies of the state. Yes, the socialist state he was hell bent on transforming the country into. If you don't think so, you never ready his book "Dreams of my Father".

It just a matter of spending an hour a month, sifting for incorruptible wise decent people to run for all offices that will sign a performance contract to do certain things while in office and not do certain other things. Breach of contract begets removal from office rather than having to go through money and time wasting recall.

People rarely know who they are voting for. By gathering together to sift for qualified candidates you will know people who know people and someone will know the fact of the matter or the skeletons in the closet. Dump the democrats and republicans. You are going to have to do this yourselves if you want anything to improve. Or you can keep whining about all the horrible times and see where that gets you.

6 years ago

Remember, that thatcher's mate, Pinochet, was a regular at the Carlton club. There in the late 70s The ruling classes were planning a coup if thatcher did not win in 1979.

7 years ago

DG's got it right. Living in a country where the powerful and wealthy few control the lives of the masses? Feel as though you get little to no input in respect to your government's policies? Is the majority (race, religion) taking advantage of the minority? Are immigrants viewed with suspicion and hostility while they are taken advantage of in the market? Is there wide spread corruption with wealth being distributed, not according to merit, but according to family/political ties?

Well, you could be living in any civilization from 3000 B.C. until now. Technology brings the general standard of living up, but the game remains the same and the bigger the empire, the bigger the divide. Now everyone get back to work.

7 years ago

Soft power was first pioneered by shamans and witchdoctors, later by priests. Religion was the primary source of soft power until the modern era.
Then, it became politics.
Now, it is becoming economics.
But nothing much has really changed ...

Matthew Standley
10 years ago

Some interesting points here.
Too few people blamed for too many problems though, as though they are useful scapegoats. Although the narrative was clear, I don't see how these few, as they are presented, could have been so influential when older interests (I mean old-money, old-money families who...) would not have been remotely unaware of, or themselves innocent of, some the things mentioned here.

11 years ago

The old industrialists who created wealth for themselves AND their nations actually produced things, they employed people sometimes over generations. Now you have people who have no loyalty to nationstate and make money just for themselves and the governments are now cannot control it nor rebuild the previous system. Creating money through 'creative destruction' is simply the dismantling of society, allowing wall street to dominate politics is to allow them to influence government enough to de-regulate the market further, to remove the restraints government had set to protect society. This idea that we all could get in on the game is rubbish, a lot of nonsense which distracts us long enough with dreams of wealth while the sharks become more powerful and wealthy. Some of the old landed gentry had more of a sense of duty to their society than these new types of tycoons. They're globalists and they have to level great nations in order to control the wealth.

11 years ago

It's simple really. I don't want 'the market' dictating my life, I want 'the market' off my back. When markets work 'properly' the economy nearly collapses. Then governments have to rush in to save the whole system from total annihilation.

The market is an 18th century English invention forced on people by governments and business ideologues. Markets were supposed to be utopian systems of checks and balances and mutual obligations that would lead to prosperity, peace and protection for all. Instead, free markets led to the food riots of the 18th century, the Dickensian poor houses of England, the economic collapses throughout Europe in the 19th century and the Great Depression and 2008 economic collapse more recently.

Free markets, like socialism or the second ammendment is a great idea in theory, not in practice.

11 years ago

It's simple really. You want the free market to work properly?

You follow the U.S. Constitution.

In the Constitution, the federal government was supposed to butt out of ALL of our affairs. They were just supposed to supply the 3 branches, including the high courts, and the military. Everything else was supposed to be taken care of at the state level... or even more locally. Government was supposed to be as close to the people as possible, and the federal government was supposed to be a small, unifying body with 3 branches, each branch's power checked by the other two.

As far as "regulation" goes, there shouldn't be any. That's why we have the courts. To right wrongs when someone gets screwed. If the individual states want to regulate and tax the heck out of the people, so be it. People will vote with their feet and they do already. Look at how many people have moved out of CA and NY... and into TX... over the last decade. The states should handle most matters that the fed gov is handling now. This creates 50 "laboratories of democracy", each competing to attract citizens by providing low taxes, fair regulation and courts, and individual civil rights.

What we have now is a massive, overbearing federal government, with it's hands in everything, bought and paid for by large corporations and special interests. When the government is involved in writing THOUSANDS of laws, regulations and tax codes... they can affect EVERYTHING in the market. That's not a free market... but instead the exact opposite.

In our case here in the U.S....

The media has been allowed to consolidate and churn out nothing but propaganda... by the gov.

The multinational corporations have been allowed to take our jobs overseas... by the gov.

The tax code allows corporations to leave their money overseas so they don't have to pay taxes on it... done by the gov.

The corporations have been allowed to pollute our environment... by the gov.

The banks have been allowed to destroy the value of our money... by the gov.

The housing market crashed because of Freddie and Fannie backing the loans...again, by the gov.

I could go on... but you get the picture.

If the government simply got out of the way... but were there to try, convict and punish people and corporations who screw us over... then we wouldn't be in the mess we're in right now.

Just as an example...

The environment is screwed because we don't respect property rights. Instead of simply allowing a property owner to sue a major corporation if they pollute his/her land, we set up a huge bureaucracy that established tens of thousands of laws and regulations... that in the end... after all the bribes and kick-backs to the politicians... allows the corporation to pollute our environment as long as they do it "within acceptable levels". These levels being high enough to pollute our entire planet in less than a century. Dow Chemical, for example, should have been put out of business by lawsuits a long time ago. Instead, the EPA lets companies like this operate. The corporations pay millions to the politicians campaign... the politician stays in power and passes the favorable laws for the corp... the corporation benefits to the tune of billions. And our environment... even after all that money is spent... still gets polluted and there is nothing the property owner can do about it because it's all within the law.


The federal government wouldn't be so crooked if it didn't have it's hand in every single cookie jar.

12 years ago

@ CestRealist you asked the question, is there such a thing as a perfect market system? so I'll give you an answer, no.

If I believe in anything, I believe in political awareness, (we if we want or value our freedom)should understand politics and vote for what we believe in.

Sadly the term, "people have become disillusioned with politics" is usually thrown at you the moment you turn on a television. the concept of a free-market is in essence a utopian fallacy, brilliant but it is an illusion.

The word free is such a powerful little word.

12 years ago

If the natural order of the world were restored, the UK and the USA would not be influencing the world, because they don't have the resources to do it. If the world were correctly balanced, the continent of Africa and the West Asia (the middle east) would run the world. It might end up happening before it's all over.

12 years ago

"In any case, the markets needs governing in the times of irrational temptation. Or are you a believer of, the markets regulating themselves? Hopefully not"

and whom do you presume will do that governing ( who is not corruptible that is ) ?
Actually, those placed in the position of "regulating" the market are the most corruptible of them all, for they have the most power. and absolute power, corrupts absolutely.
its like this, if we assume people are corrupt/greedy/whatever and need to be regulated, then we must assume those who are doing the regulating are of the same caliber, and the only way to minimize this corruption is to leave everyone on an even playing field where different interest have the same level of influence (free market). giving one small group power over everyone else is guaranteed Fail.. markets/people have to be left to regulate themselves (supply & demand)

12 years ago

Dang - I really wanted to see this - no window shows up for the doc.

12 years ago


Did you sit on your balls before writing? If not, you need to adjust your attitude.If I'm not mistaken, you really sound like an American who's proudest achievement is figuring out the jesus/santa claus secret, giving you a false sense of superiority.

Who ever did mention it being objective? It's TV.

In any case, the markets needs governing in the times of irrational temptation. Or are you a believer of, the markets regulating themselves? Hopefully not. Labour helping vultures downsize a country, and knighting them for it, leaves a pretty large gap between current and perfection.

What was your point again?

12 years ago

The comments here seem to miss the larger point, interjecting skewed rationale and believing it to be an objective analysis.
(I can't stand i***** who throw around "absolutes" [utterly powerless, always will prevail, NOW WE KNOW!!!] to describe issues of inherent discretion or asymmetric understanding or exposure to first-hand information.)

People are corruptible, not just "the politicians". People are irrational. So if "the market" (at any other time, "god" or "destiny" would substitute) is a function of human systems, is there such a thing as a perfect market system?

12 years ago

Funny how politicians of any decade seems entirely corruptible. I wondered why even my favourite current politicians all seem to love the European Union, even though it makes them expendable. Its the markets. They must realize that they already are, and long since have been set a side for the European oligarchy to roam free.

If there is anything to learn in here, its the simple fact, that government must be COMPLETELY separated from private interests. They have no power to limit or control them any more, and even with good intentions, greed always will prevail as sole victor.

Its scary to behold a world, even feared by a corporate chop shop banker, and know your elected representatives are utterly powerless to produce any real change.

13 years ago

A nicely done documentary. Slanted, but honest about it all the way through, and careful to inform the viewer.

Now we know who the major enemy of the society is: the evil Western pensioners! Because they have nothing to lose they want to suck blood of the poor young people all around the world. ;-)

Seriously, it all boils down to the basic fact that to create wealth you need to work (productivity), but if you just wish to redistribute wealth, it can be done in destructive ways (you benefit, while others lose and everyone is poorer after the fact). The principle been known since thousands of years (-> wars). The main question is whether "the markets" (that's you and me) have enough foresight and restraint to follow the long-term goal of increasing our common wealth rather than the short-term goal of "raiding" each other and rewarding "generals" for winning battles on our behalf.

I think the proper way to address this issue is by looking into game theory (after all, that's pretty much where the modern market ideas come from). The new buzzword is "mechanism design". It has been the subject of 2007 Nobel prize in economics and there's interesting, useful stuff in it, much more so than in any political commentary.

13 years ago

a insiders view of the evolution of the free market thank you once again Adam curtis. Perhaps they should change the name to the unfree markets.

13 years ago

This was the first Adam Curtis Documentary that I had ever seen, maybe four years ago... and then I had to see all of his work. The style that this message is delivered in keeps the attention as well as dazzles the eyes! 9/10

13 years ago

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG but very interesting!