Updated: May 18, 2022
It is one of the most pernicious conspiracy theories of all time. It’s also one of the oldest, and as time goes on, the mystery surrounding the Rothschild Family appears to grow ever more appealing for anyone set to believe that strings are being pulled.
To those that buy into the conspiracy, they are the most powerful family in the world, with more money than any economy, more influence than any world leader, and a host of schemes to ensure absolute control over everything from banks and currency to interest rates and property prices, and even the weather. They might even have a hand in your underwear drawer. It’s certainly fascinating and gives us all the license to sit in the corner and eat worms under this ludicrous narrative where it doesn’t matter what we do, someone else is ultimately running our lives.
Where does it all come from?
It isn’t hard to see how it starts. The Rothschild family, making their mark all the way back in 1744 with Mayer Rothschild, are a finance family who essentially built their wealth on constructing loans for warfare, which seems a bit immoral to many of their critics. Indeed, both the Napoleonic wars and the French revolution were funded by the enterprising family which then comprised of not only Mayer himself, but his five sons. After his death in 1812, his boys set up shop with branches across Europe. Five branches. One per son. Their father left strict instructions for the management of their ongoing fortune, the most profitable being to keep all the money within the family and to intermarry cousins, although I’m pretty sure they don’t do that now. Not bad work for a guy that was born in a slum.
Strategically placed to be accessible to the wealthiest economies of the time (England, France, Germany, Austria, and Italy), the Rothschilds joined the aristocracy and lent ungodly sums of money to their wealthy peers, as well as powerful governments the world over. Money lending was a natural path for the Jewish family, since antisemitism had seen a string of unfair restrictions placed on those loyal to the religion, not the least of which was a ban on property acquirement.
As for their ‘immoral’ beginnings, I think it would be a little harsh to judge on that. After all, big business and billions of dollars rarely have roots in altruism, morality, or even good intentions.
Why am I so Interested?
As much of the dialogue in my novel Banksia Close stems around conspiracy thinking, it was pertinent for me to understand this very old, and very stubborn theory. After all, the Rothschilds are like the blackberry roots of conspiracy thinking, popping up everywhere and impossible to eradicate or avoid, but what’s the truth. How wealthy are The Rothchild Family really?
Conspiracy blogs are not research
Do a Google search on the old Rothschilds, and you get some pretty wild results. Some sites say they are worth 1 Trillion. Others say 500 Trillion (depending on how gullible you are). Then there are those others who can’t decide which one equates to 80% of the world’s wealth, so they just go with that exact assumption to evoke terror, and if that’s not bad enough, there are also creepy stories about vampirism, blood libel ceremonies and farming
babies for ritual sacrifice. Yikes! In the end, the total GDP of the world is somewhere in the realms of 85 trillion (fluctuating). The idea that a single family could own over 5 times the entire planet's gross domestic product is pretty insane, but that’s also kind of the point. The more insane the theory, the more people seem to enjoy attachment to it. After all, blackberries are fun to eat. Fiction is also more fun than fact.
The truth is always pretty boring
As of this current date, the Rothschilds have an official collective wealth accumulation of 400 billion, is estimated by sums which are known, and there is surely plenty unaccounted for. Even I’m not ignorant enough to take that figure on face value. The extraordinarily wealthy are very good at establishing official figures whilst their real figures remain a mystery – but this does not just apply to the Rothschilds. They likely are worth more than 400 billion, and even the ‘official’ figure is enough to garner the kind of influence to get pretty much anything you want, including world domination. What many haters don’t realise is that the Rothschilds, in addition to being fabulously wealthy, are also extremely philanthropic. Google this however, and you have to search pretty hard to find anyone who writes about it. Why? Because articles which dispel the Rothschild myth of greed are simply not as nasty, or fun, as articles that uphold their supposed evil agenda. Quite telling really, but let’s stick to that agenda, for the sake of interest. 400 billion is unquestionably a lot of moolah, but is it really enough to wield the kind of power often associated with the family?
The difference between public and private wealth
Unlike many of their wealthy counterparts, the Rothschild’s family wealth has been built over nearly three centuries and is predominately private. You don’t have to be accountable to the masses for your wealth accumulation, do you? Well, neither do they.
In addition to this, their considerable monies have also been diluted and spread out amongst an extremely large group of descendants (literally hundreds of people), so when you make assumptions on the wealth of the Rothschilds, you need to consider decentralization and the individuals within the clan, rather than an umbrella that covers the family.
When it comes to inheritance and family money, their family is no different to yours. The money received from inheritance gets split up, and ceases to be a lump sum, communal asset. You don’t look at your grandparent’s wealth, split between grandkids and see the whole figure, since you only have control over the specific slice bequeathed to you.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Even spread out over such a large pool, I wouldn’t say no to such an inheritance. Some of the Rothschilds, even as individuals, are still worth billions, but it’s important to note that many are not. Those who are, as loaded as they are, are actually unable to walk around boasting about being at the top of the wealth tree. In fact, only one member of the Rothschild family made it into the last global rich list, and he came in at number 1121 (Benjamin D Rothschild) at 1.61 billion. As for Jacob Rothschild – the poster boy for every anti-Rothschild conspiracy meme in existence. He is worth a measly 5 billion. As for any affiliated business liable to public accountability, the Rothschild Group only turns out $500 million a year. That seems extraordinary until you do more research.
Low billions simply aren’t that impressive
The curse of being, well, painfully average on the wealth accumulation scale, is our acute inability to see figures like that and shrug with a tepid ‘meh’, but we could do so with a little perspective.
Now that we have established blanket assumptions on combined Rothschild wealth to be rather pointless, let's look at the individual wealth of our wealthiest Rothschilds, and make some comparisons.
At this juncture, despite such incredibly eye watering amounts, the wealthiest individual Rothschilds don’t even factor in to the top 1000 wealthiest entities on the planet. In fact, mere individuals such as Elon Musk (151b), Jeff Bezos (177b) and Mark Zuckerberg (104.6b) have more individual wealth, accumulated in a much shorter time, and not shared among family members (give them time, and this will likely change). As for private family wealth, don't think that such individuals as those mentioned above don't have troves of their own money stashed away and unaccounted for.
These individuals also have considerably more
influence than the Rothschild's, both on consumer behavior and psychological social frameworks. The whole idea is ironic really, that the very platforms we use to consume and share conspiratorial information are not considered in themselves horrifyingly irresponsible for the influence they exact every day, right in front of our eyes. Behaviour we are often willfully complicit in. You don’t need the Rothschilds to see strings. Take another look at your phone: at your fingers, as they swipe and tap.
Centralized and Decentralized Wealth
As the word suggests, centralized wealth suggests a central management and accumulation point. This is what The Rothschilds had in place at the very beginning, before sons and descendants, generations and diversification came into play. In fact, this is how it works a vast majority of the time. Banks and publicly listed companies operate this way, as do many private entities.
Decentralized wealth is diffuse, opaque, and very spread out. It is often managed by multiple different people, and in the case of the Rothschilds, is personally maintained by the individuals who hold it. There is no central authority or looking over shoulders, and each individual is free to grow, spend and manage their money as they see fit. As for the continued wealth of the Rothschilds, this varies, but there does appear to be an overall family cultural obligation toward acquirement and growth of those funds, and no doubt a family built off the back of such a fortune is very highly educated in such crucial matters as investing, capitalization and financial growth. If you were born into a family of chefs, you
can probably cook like a pro. A family of builders will produce competent sons who can, at
least, build a house and at most, start a construction company and make millions. It all comes down to your heritage and your drive. When you’re a Rothschild, and your business is billions, you’ll make more. It’s just the way it goes. It doesn’t make them evil. It also doesn’t make them a team. Conventional wisdom states that the Rothschild family has grown so much, that many of them barely have a personal relationship, let alone monthly meetings to plot against you.
Centralized Wealth in Families today
At this juncture, you can’t go past the super-rich Walton family for the top of the current list in centralized family wealth. The Waltons own Walmart, and turn over approximately $500 billion anually. As for the picnic days they might share with other families in their league, the Rothschild’s don’t factor. It’s more likely you’d see them settling down on marble terraces, discussing fashion with the Dumas and the Wertheimer’s (Hermes and Chanel at 63.9 and 54.4b respectively) whilst eating Mars bars (120b). As the conversation turns political, they might discuss Saudi oil interests with the Al Saud’s (95b), and although none of them are impoverished enough to shop at Aldi, I’m sure the Albrecht Family still get an invite (41b).
Time and Clandestine: A Recipe for Paranoia.
The Rothschild's are not the only legendary group to which time has not been kind, and they certainly aren't the only ones who attract conspiracy nuts, even as they are arguably the most infamous. The Rockefellers, The Royals, The Freemasons are all examples of very old institutions that have achieved the status of mythical.
Human beings, by nature, are extremely cautious of secrecy. From cheating spouses to unexplained occurrences and everything in between, it isn't hard to mistrust things when you aren't exactly sure what is going on. It is also irrational to believe that there is always something occurring, and imaginations can be cruel to those who allow themselves to be wilfully kidnapped. In the end, however, we simply aren't entitled to know everything, and existing in the public eye does not obligate a group to share the inner workings of their lives, ancestry, or history.
It does seem that time can also be an insidious culprit, because with time comes history, and history is fodder for both real and imagined happenings. History is also socially contentious and open slather for rootless interpretation. In 300 years, it is likely that names like Gates, Bezos, and Zuckerberg will be their own legendary dynasties, and we won't be around to witness the conspiracies that surround them as a result, but they will exist. Mark my words, and not only will they be as destabilising. They will also be equally as unsubstantiated.
It really is too bad that we can't 'watch this space.'
The Theory Will Continue
It is unfortunate, that despite many articles like this one and others like it, myths about the Rothschilds continue to circulate, and why not? As us Aussies say, you never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn, and yarns about the Rothschilds provide people with enough paranoid energy to fuel a new world order all on their own. You don’t need a physical family to even exist if people are going to persist with such thinking in spite of all rational evidence, and what the hell, they’re Jewish.
And there lies the problem. Stupidity itself isn’t enough to proliferate the Rothschild conspiracy for this length of time. It takes Ignorance to do that. The root of all evil as they say. Whilst the Rothschild conspiracy seems like a bit of fun for Friday night drinks, it is actually the root of a much deeper problem. Conspiracy theories about new world orders and global domination impact the way people think, the way they vote, and the way that they interpret their world, and whilst such theories won’t end with the Rothschilds, there are few conspiracies as damaging. From Ancient Greece to early Rome, where you can trace the earlier conspiracies, everyone loves a scapegoat: someone to blame for perceived powerlessness. The fact that the Rothschilds are both highly vilified and also Jewish does not seem like a coincidence, especially when there are Christian's who hold more wealth (which I have nothing against in principle), and certain Churches who definitely hold enough of both (incalculable) wealth and power (and, from memory, have been found officially guilty of abusing children, and who I have a great deal of animosity towards, as a principle).
The Rothschilds are not only the world's most stubborn conspiracy, they’re also unfortunately the world’s most infuriating distraction; a misdirection infested with mythical strings.
Isn’t it about time we looked elsewhere for a more believable culprit for our so-called enslavement? Or, if you prefer not to play the victim, you could use your keyboard to learn about compound growth and generational wealth: concepts which are freely available to anyone with an attention span longer than a youtube video, who has a desire to truly understand how the world really works and take advantage of it.
The Rothschilds are so 1800’s.