Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Inflation Consequences for the Stock Market, FED Balance Sheet - 24th Oct 21
To Be or Not to Be: How the Evergrande Crisis Can Affect Gold Price - 24th Oct 21
During a Market Mania, "no prudent professional is perceived to add value" - 24th Oct 21
Stock Market S&P500 Rallies Above $4400 – May Attempt To Advance To $4750~$4800 - 24th Oct 21
Inflation and the Crazy Crypto Markets - 23rd Oct 21
Easy PC Upgrades with Motherboard Combos - Overclockers UK Unboxing - MB, Memory and Ryzen 5600x CPU - 23rd Oct 21
Gold Mining Stocks Q3 2021 - 23rd Oct 21
Gold calmly continues cobbling its Handle, Miners lay in wait - 23rd Oct 21
US Economy Has Been in an Economic Depression Since 2008 - 22nd Oct 21
Extreme Ratios Point to Gold and Silver Price Readjustments - 22nd Oct 21
Bitcoin $100K or Ethereum $10K—which happens first? - 22nd Oct 21
This Isn’t Sci-Fi: How AI Is About To Disrupt This $11 Trillion Industry - 22nd Oct 21
Ravencoin RVN About to EXPLODE to NEW HIGHS! Last Chance to Buy Before it goes to the MOON! - 21st Oct 21
Stock Market Animal Spirits Returning - 21st Oct 21
Inflation Advances, and So Does Gold — Except That It Doesn’t - 21st Oct 21
Why A.I. Is About To Trigger The Next Great Medical Breakthrough - 21st Oct 21
Gold Price Slowly Going Nowhere - 20th Oct 21
Shocking Numbers Show Government Crowding Out Real Economy - 20th Oct 21
Crude Oil Is in the Fast Lane, But Where Is It Going? - 20th Oct 21
3 Tech Stocks That Could Change The World - 20th Oct 21
Best AI Tech Stocks ETF and Investment Trusts - 19th Oct 21
Gold Mining Stocks: Will Investors Dump the Laggards? - 19th Oct 21
The Most Exciting Medical Breakthrough Of The Decade? - 19th Oct 21
Prices Rising as New Dangers Point to Hard Assets - 19th Oct 21
It’s not just Copper; GYX indicated cyclical the whole time - 19th Oct 21
Chinese Tech Stocks CCP Paranoia, VIES - Variable Interest Entities - 19th Oct 21
Inflation Peaked Again, Right? - 19th Oct 21
Gold Stocks Bouncing Hard - 19th Oct 21
Stock Market New Intermediate Bottom Forming? - 19th Oct 21
Beware, Gold Bulls — That’s the Beginning of the End - 18th Oct 21
Gold Price Flag Suggests A Big Rally May Start Soon - 18th Oct 21
Inflation Or Deflation – End Result Is Still Depression - 18th Oct 21
A.I. Breakthrough Could Disrupt the $11 Trillion Medical Sector - 18th Oct 21
US Economy and Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 17th Oct 21
The Gold Price And Inflation - 17th Oct 21
Went Long the Crude Oil? Beware of the Headwinds Ahead… - 17th Oct 21
Watch These Next-gen Cloud Computing Stocks - 17th Oct 21
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC 1 YEAR Use Review Verdict - Does it Still Work? - 16th Oct 21
Altonville Mine Tours Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 16th Oct 21
How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
The Only way to Crush Inflation (not stocks) - 14th Oct 21
Why "Losses Are the Norm" in the Stock Market - 14th Oct 21
Sub Species Castle Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 14th Oct 21
Which Wallet is Best for Storing NFTs? - 14th Oct 21
Ailing UK Pound Has Global Effects - 14th Oct 21
How to Get 6 Years Life Out of Your Overclocked PC System, Optimum GPU, CPU and MB Performance - 13th Oct 21
The Demand Shock of 2022 - 12th Oct 21
4 Reasons Why NFTs Could Be The Future - 12th Oct 21
Crimex Silver: Murder Most Foul - 12th Oct 21
Bitcoin Rockets In Preparation For Liftoff To $100,000 - 12th Oct 21
INTEL Tech Stock to the MOON! INTC 2000 vs 2021 Market Bubble WARNING - 11th Oct 21
AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Wall of Worry Meets NFPs - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Continues - 11th Oct 21
China / US Stock Markets Divergence - 10th Oct 21
Can US Save Taiwan From China? Taiwan Strait Naval Battle - PLA vs 7th Fleet War Game Simulation - 10th Oct 21
Gold Price Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe and the US - 10th Oct 21
US Real Estate ETFs React To Rising Housing Market Mortgage Interest Rates - 10th Oct 21
US China War over Taiwan Simulation 2021, Invasion Forecast - Who Will Win? - 9th Oct 21
When Will the Fed Taper? - 9th Oct 21
Dancing with Ghouls and Ghosts at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 9th Oct 21
Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
Scan Computers - Custom Build PC 6 Months Later, Reliability, Issues, Quality of Tech Support Review - 8th Oct 21
Gold and Silver: Your Financial Main Battle Tanks - 8th Oct 21
How to handle the “Twin Crises” Evergrande and Debt Ceiling Threatening Stocks - 8th Oct 21
Why a Peak in US Home Prices May Be Approaching - 8th Oct 21
Alton Towers Scarefest is BACK! Post Pandemic Frights Begin, What it's Like to Enter Scarefest 2021 - 8th Oct 21
AJ Bell vs II Interactive Investor - Which Platform is Best for Buying US FAANG Stocks UK Investing - 7th Oct 21
Gold: Evergrande Investors' Savior - 7th Oct 21
Here's What Really Sets Interest Rates (Not Central Banks) - 7th Oct 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

The Fraud in Fractional Reserve Banking

Politics / Central Banks Nov 26, 2014 - 02:13 PM GMT

By: Frank_Hollenbeck

Politics

Suppose you bring a fur coat to a dry cleaner, and discover that the owner allowed his wife to wear it before cleaning it (which is also the subject of an episode from Seinfeld).  Or, suppose you gave your car keys to a hotel valet and, when attempting to pick up the car later, were told your automobile was lent to teenagers who took it for a joy ride while you  slept at the hotel. You would not be too happy, and for good reason. When you surrendered your clothes or your car keys it was a bailment. You retained ownership and gave the clothes or car keys for safekeeping. In no shape or form, did you surrender ownership of the items or lend out your property.


Suppose you lived in the 18th century and had 100 ounces of gold. It’s heavy and you do not live in a safe neighborhood, so you decide to bring it to a goldsmith for safekeeping. In exchange for this gold, the goldsmith gives you ten tickets where each is clearly marked as claims against 10 ounces. Now, gold is heavy and burdensome to carry, so in a short period of time, those claims will start circulating in place of gold. This is the creation of near monies. This doesn’t mean you have given up your ownership claims on gold, but have used a simpler way of transferring ownership of this gold.

Of course, now the gold just sits in the vault, and no one usually comes to get some of it or even check that it is still there. Quickly the goldsmith realizes there is an easy, fraudulent, way to get rich: just lend out the gold to someone else by creating another 10 tickets. Since the tickets are rarely redeemed, the goldsmith figures he can run this scam for a very long time. Of course, it is not his gold, but since it is in his vault, he can act as though it is his money to use. This is fractional reserve banking with a voluntary reserve requirement of 50%. Today, modern US banks have a reserve requirement of between 0% and 10%. This is also how the banking system can create money out of thin air, or basically counterfeit money, and steal the purchasing power from others without actually having to produce real goods and services.

Now the goldsmith, or what we will now call a bank, is limited in the amount of fraud or counterfeiting it can commit. Imagine a bank has 100 ounces of gold but outstanding claims on 200 ounces of gold. The bank has to keep a certain amount of gold in its vaults since depositors on occasion will exchange tickets for gold. Another constraint is that depositors, if they get suspicious that there are more claims than available gold, may run to the bank demanding to redeem their “on demand” claims into gold. This run, really reflects the totally fraudulent nature of banking. Banking holidays, implemented in the 30’s, or capital controls, implemented in Cyprus recently, are actions to benefit the fraudster (the banks) instead of the victim (the depositors). The world has been turned on its head.

Suppose you are the goldsmith and your rich uncle promises to lend you as much gold as you need if you happen to run out – what could be considered a central bank’s lender of last resort function. Are you likely to commit more or less fraud? Suppose this rich uncle tells you that if things go bad, he will make sure everyone get their gold back (deposit insurance). Again, are you likely to commit more or less fraud? And since you have no skin in the game, are you likely to take even more risks, for higher returns, in your lending activities?

Austrian economists typically have a hard time explaining why fractional reserve banking is fraud. The standard response from the average Joe is “everyone knows that the bank loans out your money.” Or, they will say “all banks in the U.S. include a clause in the depositors’ contract that specifically says that the relationship between the depositor and the bank is exclusively one of creditor and debtor”. Suppose the bank takes your money and loses it all. How does the bank satisfy your expectation that the money is there on demand to pay your rent and electricity bills? It’s simple. They take the money from someone else. If the bank had told you it is lost and unfortunate, there would be no fraud. The fraud occurs the minute the bank takes someone else’s money. The victim of the fraud is the other depositor. The bank runs a Ponzi scheme (a fraudulent activity) that can continue for a very, very long time, but is no less a Ponzi scheme and should be treated as such. Although, you and the bank may be well aware of what is going on, it still should be treated as fraud. The fact that you are aware, or even unaware, of the Ponzi scheme does not diminish the fraud. Government deposit insurance just shifts the ultimate cost of the fraud to other depositors, taxpayers or anyone using currency to conduct transactions.

Why is counterfeiting illegal? The counterfeiter is happy since he gets real goods and services, and the store owner is happy since he made a sale and can also get more real goods and services if he spends the money quickly before prices go up. So where is the problem? The transaction has been beneficial to both. It is illegal because of third party effects. The counterfeiter takes from the economic pie but does not contribute to the economic pie. He has basically stolen real goods and services by reducing the purchasing power of the money in everyone else’s wallets. When the fractional reserve banking system creates money out of thin air, it is also a form of counterfeiting, and has undesirable third party effects. Economists know that it is the rapid expansion of money and credit, unjustified by the growth of slow moving savings, that have created the booms and busts of the last two centuries, and the hardships that have gone along with them.

Eliminate fractional reserve banking and you eliminate most booms and busts. Unable to create money out of thin air, banking would now just be another sector without the ability to sink the entire world economy.

We need to start a serious discussion about ending fractional reserve banking and central banking at the same time. Our current banking system is not free market capitalism. Banking in its current form should be outlawed because it is both fraud and theft. We have a duty to our children to leave them with an economic system that is not constantly swinging from booms to busts. A system that is stable filled with opportunities that only a true capitalist system can provide.

Frank Hollenbeck teaches finance and economics at the International University of Geneva. He has previously held positions as a Senior Economist at the State Department, Chief Economist at Caterpillar Overseas, and as an Associate Director of a Swiss private bank. See Frank Hollenbeck's article archives.

You can subscribe to future articles by Frank Hollenbeck via this RSS feed..

© 2014 Copyright Frank Hollenbeck - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in