By both mainstream economists and the general public the cycle of “boom and bust” is believed to be a tendency inherent in any capitalist economy. The fact that the latest of such cycles, beginning in 2008 (and arguably not having ended), originated in the banking sector and that large banks and bankers ratcheted up huge earnings and bonuses only to cause disaster has implicated banking as representative of the very worst aspects of capitalism – the epitome of uncontrollable greed that ends in catastrophe.
Unfortunately this popular view of the mainstream could not be further from the truth. In fact, with its intimate ties to the state and its special, legal privileges it is hard to imagine a less capitalistic industry than banking. Part of the deception – wilfully inflamed by politicians and their lackeys – is one that engulfs other industries subject to state meddling such as utilities markets. This is the belief that, simply because the participants in the industry in question are private individuals or entities that are not officially part of the state, the enterprise must be classified as part of the free market and saddled with all of the supposed flaws of that system. Very often, however, private companies and brands are simply the public facade of what is essentially a state owned operation or state controlled cartel. Read more
Will Hutton presented a Dispatches documentary recently on Channel 4 about the British banking cartel system.
The extent of Mr. Hutton’s connections with the previous Government were plain to see, as he treated us to an hour of breast-beating to the tune of “Why oh why do the noble politicians not rescue us from the greedy bankers?” This seems more than a little rich (in irony only, you understand). As I recall, the recent banking crisis would have lawfully removed large numbers of greedy bankers from the UK economy – but for Labour’s insistence on debasing the money supply still further to try to prop them up.
Perhaps the most informative snippet came towards the end when Mr. Hutton revealed that British banks currently lend out fifty times more money than they have on deposit, and five times more than the value of everything else the UK produces. No wonder our glorious leaders are worried about a repeat performance. Mr. Hutton’s solution? To try to force the banks to stop inflating residential property prices by switching the focus of their lending activities to (British-based?) businesses.
Sadly, Mr. Hutton didn’t tell the viewers how his proposals would avoid inflating the prices of business “assets” (commercial property, plant and machinery, R&D, properly skilled and experienced labour, etc.). Nor did Mr. Hutton explain how artificially stimulating productivity could be compatible with any conceivable form of environmental responsibility (so much for the alleged anti-environmentalism of decision-making in a free market). In fact, Mr. Hutton didn’t even tell us why businesses should apply for his proposed extra loans if they can’t be sure there are enough additional customers able and willing to pay for all the proposed new supplies of goods and services.
I’m currently sitting in the National Liberal Club in London, getting ready for the second of our annual lectures. Tim and I did think we’d have about fifty people. In the event, we have over a hundred. Once again, therefore, we’ve had to close the list. The fire regulations do not allow any flexibility above a certain number. Unless you have told us you are coming, therefore, we cannot take any more names.
The lesson of this, if you are disappointed, is that you should not expect that you can just turn up at Libertarian Alliance events without warning. Despite the looming recession, we can still pack out the Liberal Club, and must still be strict with latecomers.
We shall publish a written text of the lecture by Kevin Dowd – which is to be all about the financial crisis and the recession, and how these were brought on by a useless, state-regulated banking system – and I will video the whole event and make this available on the Internet.
It is not expected that the Bank of England, or HM treasury, owns the copyright in the term “Pound Sterling®” , or even reads this bolg, so perhaps the ® attached to “Pound Sterling“, if any, could be seized. We could become differentiated from “the Pound”, or “Sterling”, or even “The Pound in Your Pocket“.
There is much more silver in the world than Gold. King Offa of Mercia understood this very well in the 7th Century, and his standardised Silver Penny was revered for centuries. “People they do say” that only 160,000 tonnes of Gold has ever been harvested, but I think this is out of date. More like 200,000++. But this is not sufficient to back perhaps hundreds of trillions of Pounds and Dollars.
A libertarian-driven Silver Bank would issue money. But all of it would be underwritten by absolutely held silver metal, at (I suppose?) an initially agree rate per OzT. It would be desirable to call the unit of currency the Pound Sterling ®. but it would not be essential.