Sutton studied at the universities of London, Goettingen and California and received his D.Sc. from the University of Southampton. He was an economics professor at California State University Los Angeles and a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution from 1968 to 1973. During his time at the Hoover Institution he wrote the major study Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development (in three volumes), arguing that the West played a major role in developing the Soviet Union from its very beginnings up until the present time (1970). Sutton argued that the Soviet Union's technological and manufacturing base—which was then engaged in supplying the Viet Cong – was built by United States corporations and largely funded by US taxpayers. Steel and iron plants, the GAZ automobile factory – a Ford subsidiary, located in eastern Russia – and many other Soviet industrial enterprises were, according to Sutton, built with the help or technical assistance of the United States or U.S. corporations. He argued further that the Soviet Union's acquisition of MIRV technology was made possible by receiving (from U.S. sources) machining equipment for the manufacture of precision ball bearings, necessary to mass-produce MIRV-enabled missiles.
In 1973 Sutton published a popularized, condensed version of the three volumes called National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union, and was therebyforced out of theHoover Institution. His conclusion from his research on the issue was that the conflicts of the Cold War were "not fought to restrain communism", since the United States, through financing the Soviet Union "directly or indirectly armed both sides in at least Korea and Vietnam"; rather, these wars were organised in order "to generate multibillion-dollar armaments contracts". The update to this text, The Best Enemy Money Can Buy, looked at the role of technology transfers up to the 1980s. Appendix B of that text contained the text of his 1972 testimony before Subcommittee VII of the Platform Committee of the Republican Party where he summarized the essential aspects of his overall research.
|“||In a few words: there is no such thing as Soviet technology. Almost all — perhaps 90-95 percent — came directly or indirectly from the United States and its allies. In effect the United States and the NATO countries have built the Soviet Union. Its industrial and its military capabilities. This massive construction job has taken 50 years. Since the Revolution in 1917. It has been carried out through trade and the sale of plants, equipment and technical assistance.||”|
Sutton's next three major published books Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler and Wall Street and FDR detailed Wall Street's involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution (in order to destroy Russia as an economic competitor and turn into "a captive market and a technical colony to be exploited by a few high-powered American financiers and the corporations under their control") as well as its decisive contributions to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose policies he assessed as being essentially the same, namely "corporate socialism" planned by the big corporations. Sutton concluded that this was all part of the economical power elites' "long-range program of nurturing collectivism" and fostering "corporate socialism" in order to ensure "monopoly acquisition of wealth", because it "would fade away if it were exposed to the activity of a free market". In his view, the only solution to prevent such abuse in the future was that "a majority of individuals declares or acts as if it wants nothing from government, declares it will look after its own welfare and interests", or specifically that "a majority finds the moral courage and the internal fortitude to reject the something-for-nothing con game and replace it by voluntary associations, voluntary communes, or local rule and decentralized societies". In Sutton's own words he was "persecuted but never prosecuted" for his research and subsequent publication of his findings.
In the early 1980s, Sutton used a combination of public-domain information on Skull and Bones, and previously unreleased documents sent to him by Charlotte Iserbyt, whose father was in the Order to infer that it played an important role in coordinating the political and economic relationships underlying the historical events he wrote of in his previous works. He published his findings as America's Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones – which, according to Sutton, was his most important work.
In his book, Between Two Ages: America's Role in the Technetronic Era (New York: Viking Press;1970), Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote:
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