Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. TESLA! Cathy Wood ARK Funds Bubble BURSTS! - 12th May 21
2.Stock Market Entering Early Summer Correction Trend Forecast - 10th May 21
3.GOLD GDX, HUI Stocks - Will Paradise Turn into a Dystopia? - 11th May 21
4.Crypto Bubble Bursts! Nicehash Suspends Coinbase Withdrawals, Bitcoin, Ethereum Bear Market Begins - 16th May 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.Cathy Wood Ark Invest Funds Bubble BURSTS! ARKK, ARKG, Tesla Entering Severe Bear Market - 13th May 21
7.Stock Market - Should You Be In Cash Right Now? - 17th May 21
8.Gold to Benefit from Mounting US Debt Pile - 14th May 21
9.Coronavius Covid-19 in Italy in August 2019! - 13th May 21
10.How to Invest in HIGH RISK Tech Stocks for 2021 and Beyond - Part 2 of 2 - 18th May 21
Last 7 days
Lisa Su's AMD Stock Price Rockets to the Moon! $200 Target, How to Buy for Under $78 - 4th Aug 21
Gold Jumps for Joy Only to Hit the Ceiling… Hard - 4th Aug 21
Is Wise Really The King of Online Money Transfer Services? - 4th Aug 21
Tips for Investing Your Money in Stocks - The Ultimate Guide - 4th Aug 21
Gold is the Key to Financial Wisdom - 4th Aug 21
How to Trade Binance Vanilla Options for the First Time on Bitcoin Crypto's - 2nd Aug 21
From vaccine inequality to economic apartheid - 2nd Aug 21
Stock Market Intermediate Top Reached - 2nd Aug 21
Gold at a Crossroads of Hawkish Fed and High Inflation - 2nd Aug 21
Bitcoin, Crypto Market Black Swans from Google to Obsolescence - 1st Aug 21
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 1st Aug 21
Earn Upto 6% Interest Rate on USD Cash Deposits with Binance Crypto Exchange USDC amd BUSD - 1st Aug 21
Vuze XR VR 3D Camera Takes Near 2 Minutes to Turn On, Buggy Firmware - 1st Aug 21
Sun EXPLODES! Goes SuperNova! Will Any planets Survive? Jupiter? Pluto? - 1st Aug 21
USDT is 9-11 for Central Banks the Bitcoin Black Swan - Tether Un-Stable Coin Ponzi Schemes! - 30th Jul 21
Behavior of Inflation and US Treasury Bond Yields Seems… Contradictory - 30th Jul 21
Gold and Silver Precious Metals Technical Analysis - 30th Jul 21
The Inadvertent Debt/Inflation Trap – Is It Time for the Stock Market To Face The Music? - 30th Jul 21
Fed Stocks Nothingburger, Dollar Lower, Focus on GDP, PCE - 30th Jul 21
Reverse REPO Market Brewing Financial Crisis Black Swan Danger - 29th Jul 21
Next Time You See "4 Times as Many Stock Market Bulls as There Are Bears," Remember This - 29th Jul 21
USDX: More Sideways Trading Ahead? - 29th Jul 21
WEALTH INEQUALITY WASN'T BY HAPPENSTANCE! - 29th Jul 21
Waiting On Silver - 29th Jul 21
Showdown: Paper vs. Physical Markets - 29th Jul 21
New set of Priorities needed for Unstoppable Global Warming - 29th Jul 21
The US Dollar is the Driver of the Gold & Silver Sectors - 28th Jul 21
Fed: Murderer of Markets and the Middle Class - 28th Jul 21
Gold And Silver – Which Will Have An Explosive Price Rally And Which Will Have A Sustained One? - 28th Jul 21
I Guess The Stock Market Does Not Fear Covid - So Should You? - 28th Jul 21
Eight Do’s and Don’ts For Options Traders - 28th Jul 21
Chasing Value in Unloved by Markets Small Cap Biotech Stocks for the Long-run - 27th Jul 21
Inflation Pressures Persist Despite Biden Propaganda - 27th Jul 21
Gold Investors Wavering - 27th Jul 21
Bogdance - How Binance Scams Futures Traders With Fake Bitcoin Prices to Run Limits and Margin Calls - 27th Jul 21
SPX Going for the Major Stock Market Top? - 27th Jul 21
What Is HND and How It Will Help Your Career Growth? - 27th Jul 21
5 Mobile Apps Day Traders Should Know About - 27th Jul 21
Global Stock Market Investing: Here's the Message of Consumer "Overconfidence" - 25th Jul 21
Gold’s Behavior in Various Parallel Inflation Universes - 25th Jul 21
Indian Delta Variant INFECTED! How infectious, Deadly, Do Vaccines Work? Avoid the PCR Test? - 25th Jul 21
Bitcoin Stock to Flow Model to Infinity and Beyond Price Forecasts - 25th Jul 21
Bitcoin Black Swan - GOOGLE! - 24th Jul 21
Stock Market Stalling Signs? Taking a Look Under the Hood of US Equities - 24th Jul 21
Biden’s Dangerous Inflation Denials - 24th Jul 21
How does CFD trading work - 24th Jul 21
Junior Gold Miners: New Yearly Lows! Will We See a Further Drop? - 23rd Jul 21
Best Forex Strategy for Consistent Profits - 23rd Jul 21
Popular Forex Brokers That You Might Want to Check Out - 22nd Jul 21
Bitcoin Black Swan - Will Crypto Currencies Get Banned? - 22nd Jul 21
Bitcoin Price Enters Stage #4 Excess Phase Peak Breakdown – Where To Next? - 22nd Jul 21
Powell Gave Congress Dovish Signs. Will It Help Gold Price? - 22nd Jul 21
What’s Next For Gold Is Always About The US Dollar - 22nd Jul 21
URGENT! ALL Windows 10 Users Must Do this NOW! Windows Image Backup Before it is Too Late! - 22nd Jul 21
Bitcoin Price CRASH, How to SELL BTC at $40k! Real Analysis vs Shill Coin Pumper's and Clueless Newbs - 21st Jul 21
Emotional Stock Traders React To Recent Market Rotation – Are You Ready For What’s Next? - 21st Jul 21
Killing Driveway Weeds FAST with a Pressure Washer - 8 months Later - Did it work?- Block Paving Weeds - 21st Jul 21
Post-Covid Stimulus Payouts & The US Fed Push Global Investors Deeper Into US Value Bubble - 21st Jul 21
What is Social Trading - 21st Jul 21
Would Transparency Help Crypto? - 21st Jul 21
AI Predicts US Tech Stocks Price Valuations Three Years Ahead (ASVF) - 20th Jul 21
Gold Asks: Has Inflation Already Peaked? - 20th Jul 21
FREE PASS to Analysis and Trend forecasts of 50+ Global Markets by Elliott Wave International - 20th Jul 21
Nissan to Create 1000s of jobs with electric vehicle investment in UK - 20th Jul 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