sobota, 10 marca 2012

About fractional reserve free banking once more

Fractional reserve free banking is inherently unstable, and Scottish episode of free banking was very far from stable. It was rife with booms and busts and suspension of payments to depositors, although the role of Bank of England in fueling the Scottish banks' credit expansion was to an extent significant.
As David Howden, a renowned Austrian monetary economist, explained in yesterday's talk at the Austrian Scholars Conference (the video will be available shortly on YouTube via "misesmedia" channel), fractional reserve free banking continually mismatches savings with investments, because the banks engaged in fractional reserve treat cash balances as savings, while the depositors don't. That is - when a depositor senses a bad investment climate and instead of channeling his funds into savings account, decides to keep them as additional cash balance on his deposit account, the bank treats it as savings anyway and loans it to business. Market interest rate therefore are low, even though depositor's time-preference is high - he senses uncertainty and prefers to have a higher on demand cash. Fractional reserve banking deprives him of that, fueling an investment boom which is inherently unstable, because the depositor will use his cash balance for his own spending in undiscernable future (either for consumption or investment), when he feels certainty again in the market, thus forcing the bank to curtail its outstanding loans and eventually bankrupting several investors who borrowed the depositor's cash balance as if it were his genuine savings. The bank may even have to suspend payments, if depositors who had increased their cash balances were in high number. So, a typical boom & bust cycle.
Fractional reserve banks engage in such practices at all times, because of prisoner's dilemma - if a bank would like to remain prudent and don't expand credit with ingenuine 'savings' (deposits), he suffers a competetive disadvantage from other banks, who liberally expand credit and fuel investment boom, raking in huge profits. When bust hits, some banks go bankrupt, some survive - retaining some profits, and still being better off than before boom. Therefore, every bank in fractional reserve regime will expand on fiduciary credit, because it's in its self-interest much more than not.
This observation, made by professor Jesus Huerta de Soto in his magnum opus "Money, Bank Credit and Economic Cycles", is staggering. Federal Reserve did not appear out of thin air, but it was decades-long cycle of fractional reserve free banking getting more and more centralized, until the need for the lender of last resort was finalized to make the cartel complete.
And I haven't even mentioned the obvious transgression of property rights of depositors, which takes place in fractional reserve banking, unless the depositor is informed in plain English in his contract, that he does not in fact deposit his money, but loans it to bank and receives not money certificates, but mere lottery tickets for possible redemption - and not on demand, but when bank decides so.
And we could go on and on.

From the perspective of property rights, fractional reserve banking with a central bank is inherently immoral. Without a central bank - it remains immoral as long as a legal tender law is in effect, as it renders all banknotes issued in excess of bank reserves as duplicate titles to pieces of property (money proper). With no legal tender laws, and each bank issuing his own bank tickets - property rights are not violated only in as long as the contract signed with the customer clearly states that it is not a deposit service, but a loan, and money is not 100% redeemable on demand.

Brak komentarzy:

Prześlij komentarz