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A critique of the Thrive conspiracy documentary

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
5th September 2012


If the ills of the world are the deliberate intentions of malevolent beings, then we don’t have to take responsibility for our problems because they are being done to us. Thinking this way may provide the momentary comfort of feeling exonerated, but it is ultimately disempowering because it undermines our ability to be accountable for the way our own thoughts and actions help to create the environmental degradation and vast social inequity of the world in which we live.

A number of interviewees in Thrive, who were not aware of the overall agenda of the movie, have written a statement distantiating themselves from it, calling ‘dangerously misguided’ (i.e. Amy Goodman, Deepak Chopra, Paul Hawken, Edgar Mitchell, Vandana Shiva, John Perkins, Elisabet Sahtouris, Duane Elgin and Adam Trombly and …)

John Robbins: (excerpted from Yes magazine)

“In Thrive, the Gambles have attempted to address some of the crucial challenges of our times. I appreciate their idealism, commitment, and passion. And I agree with them about some things they state in the movie and on their website—such as that the political system is depraved, the Federal Reserve has been used to consolidate economic power, fiat currency tends to produce financial corruption and ever-increasing debt, the tax system is unfair, and enormously powerful economic interests often collude with one another to deceive and defraud the public. I stand with them as they promote the labeling of genetically engineered foods and an end to the spending of enormous sums on war. I appreciate their support for local and organic agriculture, their passion for credit unions and local banking, and their opposition to governmental invasion of privacy. They recommend many action steps that I support.

But I do not agree with some of the core conclusions they draw. Nor do the other signers of the statement of disassociation from Thrive. Duane Elgin, one of the signers, says that Thrive “is idealistic, naive, narrow, shallow, and focuses attention away from more productive areas of engagement.”

At the very heart of the Thrive message is what it calls the Global Domination Agenda.

Foster Gamble explains:

A small group of families are actually controlling virtually every sector of human endeavor… Their agenda… (is) to take over the lives of all people across the entire planet… to collapse the economies throughout the European Union… to devalue the dollar to almost zero… and to create a one-world government, with them in charge.

The Thrive movie and website also state that this “small group of families” is developing plans to radically reduce the world’s human population to make us “easier to manage.”

Could this be true?

There is no doubt that staggering wealth and power is today concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority. The combined net worth of the world’s richest thousand or so people—the planet’s billionaires—is almost twice that of the poorest 2.5 billion. I believe this disparity to be nothing less than an indictment of our civilization.

It is also certain that networks exist among the most powerful that enable a remarkably few people to shape the world’s economy, to determine what is known and what is not, which views are accepted and which are not, and what priorities and policies will prevail. More than most of us realize, they decide whether we will live in war or peace, and how our treasure will be spent. And they have proven to be eminently successful at enriching themselves, often at the expense of the common good. Exposing the global power elite is tremendously important work. And this, Thrive purports to do.

But the Thrive movie and website are filled with dark and unsubstantiated assertions about secret and profoundly malevolent conspiracies based on an ultimate division between “us” and “them.” “We” are many and well-meaning but victimized. “They,” on the other hand, are a tiny, greedy and inconceivably powerful few who are masterfully organized, purposefully causing massive disasters in order to cull the population, and deliberately destroying the world economy in order to achieve total world domination.

This way of thinking has an allure, for it distracts and absolves us from the troubling truth that the real source of the problem is in all of us, and in the economic systems we have collectively produced. If the ills of the world are the deliberate intentions of malevolent beings, then we don’t have to take responsibility for our problems because they are being done to us. Thinking this way may provide the momentary comfort of feeling exonerated, but it is ultimately disempowering because it undermines our ability to be accountable for the way our own thoughts and actions help to create the environmental degradation and vast social inequity of the world in which we live. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart.”

Thrive refuses to see these shades of grey and insists on attributing to the powerful a level of diabolical malevolence that makes the villains in James Bond movies seem like Mother Teresa.

For example, Foster Gamble says that the Japanese earthquake that caused the tsunami that wreaked havoc on the nuclear plants in Fukushima was deliberately created by those seeking absolute world domination, in order to punish the Japanese for not acceding to their wishes. The catastrophic earthquakes that devastated Haiti and Chile in 2010, he says, were also intentionally created. According to this view, these earthquakes were not the result of tectonic stresses and geologic processes. They were intentional acts perpetrated by a ruling elite with unimaginably sinister intent.

There are many things that are terribly wrong in our world, and some of them are dire. But holding these tragedies up as the deliberate acts of a tiny group of families seeking total world domination via a global police state distracts us from the arduous work of confronting the true challenges before us.

For example, as an environmentalist, I heed the monumental evidence that global warming may be one of the most serious threats faced by humanity and many of the other species on this planet. Yet Foster Gamble and the Thrive website strongly recommend a film called The Great Global Warming Swindle, which states that man-made global warming is a “lie” and “the biggest scam of modern times.”

The Thrive website opens its climate change discussion with this question:

How does the premise of man-made global warming relate to the banking elite’s effort to transcend national sovereignty, establish global governance and create a global tax to fund their dominance?

The insinuation is that the idea of human-caused global warming is being fabricated as an excuse to create a global police state and a tax basis for tyranny. If this is true, just about every scientific expert in the world has been taken in by the hoax. A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that “anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gases have been responsible for the unequivocal warming of most of the Earth’s global temperature in the second half of the 20th century.”

It has been painful for me to witness personal friends of mine become caught up in seeing global warming as a lie, and just about everything on earth as part of a vast demonic conspiracy. When I wrote Foster Gamble to voice my disappointment with many of the ideas in the film and website, he wrote back, encouraging me to study the works of David Icke, Eustace Mullins, Stanley Monteith and G. Edward Griffin.

Who are these people, in whose worldviews Thrive has its roots?

David Icke, who is featured prominently in Thrive, is well-known for advocating utterly bizarre theories, and claims that the entire world is run by a secret group of reptilian humanoids who drink human blood and conduct satanic rituals. In a recent interview, Icke seemed to be competing for lunatic of the year. “What I’m explaining now,” he said, “is that the moon is not a heavenly body but a construct.”

One of the signers of the statement of disassociation from Thrive, former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, has grounds to disagree. As the lunar module pilot of Apollo 14, he spent nine hours working on the moon’s surface.”

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2 Responses to “A critique of the Thrive conspiracy documentary”

  1. alessandro mucci Says:

    the “DOUBT” you have is just because you don’t want to see the truth. http://www.davidicke.com inform yourself.

  2. Claire Says:

    Please see public dialogue and forum between the THRIVE filmmakers and the dissociators here: http://www.thrivemovement.com/public-dialogue-between-thrive-movie-filmmakers-and-pioneers

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