Money & Banking

Trump’s Politicizing of Monetary Policy Won’t Fix the Federal Reserve’s Failings

Trump’s proposed reform would make the Fed an arm of the White House. It would be a step in the wrong direction.

On Free Banking, Monetary Rules, and Crusades

On Free Banking, Monetary Rules, and Crusades

Free banking and monetary rules were rival ideas for guarding against abuses of discretionary monetary policy, today they are properly seen as complementary schemes, one for improving the performance of the banking system, the other for reforming the base-money regime.

A Monetary Policy Primer, Part 5: The Supply of Money

A Monetary Policy Primer, Part 5: The Supply of Money

On the Fed’s “instruments of monetary control,” which include devices for regulating the total quantity of bank reserves and circulating Federal Reserve notes, and also for regulating the quantity of bank deposits and other forms of privately-created money that will be supported by any given quantity of bank reserves.

A Monetary Policy Primer, Part 2: The Demand for Money

A Monetary Policy Primer, Part 2: The Demand for Money

How can a central bank manage a quantity without being certain just how to define, let alone measure, that quantity? How is it possible for the quantity of money supplied to differ from the quantity demanded? When those things do differ, how can one tell? Finally, just what does “the demand for money” mean?

How the FED Causes Booms and Busts

How the FED Causes Booms and Busts

The result of the Federal Reserve’s increase in the money supply, which pushes interest rates below that market-balancing point, is an emerging price inflation and an initial investment boom, both of which are unsustainable in the long run.

What Is Money Printing?

What Is Money Printing?

There is a populist idea of money printing. The idea is that banks can just print what they want, enriching themselves in a massive fraud. But, does it really work this way? Let’s start with a simple case, which is clearly not money printing. We will build a series of...

A Gold Standard Can Limit Government Monetary Abuse

A Gold Standard Can Limit Government Monetary Abuse

The real long-run goal of monetary reform should be the denationalization of money. That is, the separation of money from the state by ending of central banking, altogether. In its place would emerge private, competitive free banking – a truly market-based money and banking system.

The State and 100 Percent Reserve Banking

The State and 100 Percent Reserve Banking

Free bankers have been fighting a war on two fronts. On one they face champions of central banking and managed money. On the other they struggle against advocates of 100-percent reserve banking. Although the second front is a lot smaller than the first, it’s far from being unimportant, in part because the battle there is being fought against people who generally favor free markets, who might have been expected to join rather than to oppose our cause.

How Do People Destroy Their Capital?

How Do People Destroy Their Capital?

The flip side of falling interest rates is the rising price of bonds. Bonds are in an endless, ferocious bull market. Why do I call it ferocious? Perhaps voracious is a better word, as it is gobbling up capital like the Cookie Monster jamming tollhouses into his maw. There are several mechanisms by which this occurs, let’s look at one here.

What’s Different about Monetary Policy?

What’s Different about Monetary Policy?

Many people agree that it’s important to move to a free market in money (i.e. the gold standard). They also say that it’s just as important to fight bad taxes and regulation. In their view, government interference in the economy is like friction in a car. The more friction you add, the slower the car goes. One source of friction is much the same as any other.

Let me explain why money doesn’t quite work that way, using a few examples.

The Cotton Candy Market

The Cotton Candy Market

If you borrow then it’s not income. This is why no one in his right mind borrows to buy consumer goods. Those who try cannot sustain it for long… But what if someone else borrows?

Move Over Entrepreneurs, Make Way for Speculation!

Move Over Entrepreneurs, Make Way for Speculation!

Central bank apologists assert that zero interest will help the economy. It hasn’t yet, and it never will. However, the main concern by both Fed defenders and foes alike is the worry that prices might rise. Well, prices aren’t rising now. So the former are smug and the latter are frustrated.

They miss the real harm of zero interest.

Yield Purchasing Power: $100M Today Matches $100K in 1979

I wrote a story about poor Clarence who retired in 1979, and even poorer Larry who retired last year. I created these characters to challenge the notion of calculating a real interest rate by subtracting inflation. The idea is that the decline of a currency can be measured by the rate of price increases. This price-centric view leads to the concept of purchasing power—the amount of stuff that a dollar can buy. It’s the flip side of prices. When prices rise, purchasing power falls.

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