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By Ron Paul
September 19, 2009
How much do we really know about what goes on inside the Fed? From its founding in 1913, secrecy and inside deals have been part of the way the Fed works
It says that its job is to keep inflation in check (the old definition of inflation—an artificial increase in the supply of money and credit—). But this is like the car industry claiming to control road congestion. The Fed might attempt to stop the effects of inflation, namely rising prices. But the reason for its existence is to generate more, not less.
The banking industry has always had trouble with the idea of a free market that provides opportunities for both profits and losses. The first part, the industry likes. The second is another matter.
Whenever instability turns up, we see efforts to socialize the losses, but rarely do people question the source of instability. Economist Jesús Huerta de Soto places the blame on the institution of fractional-reserve banking. This is the notion that depositors’ money in use as cash may also be loaned out for speculative projects, then re-deposited. The system works as long as people do not attempt to withdraw their money all at once. In the face of such a demand, banks turn to other banks to provide liquidity. But when the failure becomes system-wide, they turn to government.
The core of the problem is the conglomeration of two distinct functions of a bank. The first is warehousing, whereby banks keep money safe and provide checking, ATM access, record keeping, and online payment, services for which consumers are traditionally asked to pay. The second service the bank provides is a loan service, seeking out investments and putting money at risk in search of return.
The bank loans out money that has been warehoused and that loaned money is deposited yet again in checkable deposits. It is loaned out again and deposited. An initial deposit of $1,000, thanks to this “money multiplier,” turns into $10,000 (an artificial increase in the supply of money and credit). The Fed adds reserves to the balances of member banks in the hope of inspiring ever more lending.The story can be said to begin in 1775... read more
Where money comes from: fractional reserve and debts
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