Ni de droite, ni de gauche !

Une page extraite du site anglais « positive money »
http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/2011/07/our-proposals-left-wing-or-right-wing/

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Proposals: Left-wing or Right-wing?

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The kind of proposals that we’re advocating are neither left wing nor right wing. They get support from both sides of the political spectrum, sometimes for different reasons, and sometimes for the same reasons.

The proposal denies the commercial banks their power to create money. It is pure common-sense, and it should be welcomed by all. If you are a socialist on the left you should welcome the fairness and possibility of better public services, and if you are a capitalist business owner on the right you should welcome the easier access to cheap, affordable credit! If you believe in free markets then you should welcome the removal of subsidies for the huge corporations that we know as banks, and the removal of the distorting influence that this has. And everyone should welcome the ending of a situation where the interests of banks overrule the interests of democracy.

Those on the “right” and “left” alike ought to be equally as disgusted by the shocking waste of public money involved in borrowing our nation’s money supply from banks when it could be created debt-free. All we hear about these days is ‘cutting out the waste in public spending’. This proposal addresses the biggest, most fundamental source of wasted public money – including the £100bn in hidden subsidies given to the banking sector each year.

We are not against free market, not against lending or interest. We are against mixing the two activities of providing society with a medium of exchange, and intermediating money between savers and borrowers. We believe, that only if we give the free market a nationalised money supply, can it really work for the public benefit.

The proposed reform would bring the important advantage of separating control of how much money is in circulation from decisions on how the money is used. The way commercial banks now create money involves their controlling its use. In deciding whether to grant a loan they decide whether to invest in businesses, property bubbles or other forms of speculation. But, in a market economy which aspires to be free, open and efficient, decisions affecting the monetary order itself – including the amount of money in circulation – should not be part of the money-making process.

Our reform will not restrict the freedom of the banks to give and take loans against interest. Far from being a step on the road to any kind of inefficient, centrally planned economy, it will contribute to freer, more open and more efficient functioning of the market economy – for banks as for everyone else.

If after this reform a bank should fail, only the bank’s own money will be at stake. Customers’ money on current accounts will no longer be part of its balance sheet.

A debt-free money base, a less indebted government, a better balanced government budget, a lowered tax burden, a better moneyed civil society – all these will contribute to a higher level of net income and a larger capital base for both businesses and private households.

This will help to make them less dependent on subsidies and allowances and external capital, and better able to provide for themselves and one another.

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What we do want to achieve is to abolish fractional reserve banking – and this is something that many economists from the both sides of political spectrum in the past and today strongly criticized and strived to achieve.

In this post we would like to introduce the most well known, important and famous economists calling for the end of fractional reserve banking.

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Let’s start from the right – the Austrian school of economics, which is associated with libertarian political perspectives. They argue for an extremely limited role for government and the smallest possible amount of government intervention in the economy.

Ludwig von Mises was the first twentieth-century economist to propose the establishment of a banking system with a 100-percent reserve requirement on demand deposits.

Nobel Laureate Friedrich.A. Hayek also speaks of establishing a banking system based on a 100-percent reserve requirement.

Professor Murray N. Rothbard (in 1962) develops his proposal for a pure gold standard based on a free-banking system with a 100-percent reserve requirement. Rothbard compares the banker who operates with a fractional reserve with the criminal who commits the crime of misappropriation.

In Europe, the Frenchman Maurice Allais, who received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1988, has championed the proposal of a banking system subject to a 100-percent reserve requirement.

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On the other side of political spectrum there is the old tradition established by some members of the Chicago School. While with different theoretical roots and with totally different objectives, they came to the same conclusion – the call for abolishment of fractional reserve banking.

(The Austrian theorists see the 100-percent reserve requirement as an imperative which is vital for the correct functioning of a market economy. Economists of Chicago school proposed a 100-percent reserve requirement to make government monetary policy more effective and predictable – to assist governments in administering a stable monetary policy by preventing the elastic, distorting credit expansion which all fractional reserve banking systems generate from nothing.)

They suggested monetary reforms, including a call to end the fractional reserve banking and impose 100% reserves on demand deposits in memorandum that came to be known as the « Chicago plan ». The Chicago plan was a proposal to radically change the structure of the financial system.

Supporters of the plan were: F. H. Knight, L. W. Mints, Henry Schultz, H. C. Simons, G. V. Cox, Aaron Director, Paul Douglas, and A. G. Hart.

The memorandum generated much interest and discussion among lawmakers but the suggested reforms were set aside and replaced by watered down alternative measures.

When after an apparent recovery in the mid-1930s, America was again in recession in 1939 economists circulated a draft proposal titled  “A Program for Monetary Reform” calling once more for an end to fractional-reserve banking. It resurrected proposals for banking and monetary reform from the Chicago plan.

The program was sent to the most complete list of academic economists available at the time. General approval of the program was expressed by 235 economists from 157 universities and colleges; another 40 economists approved of it with some reservations; only 43 economists expressed disapproval.

A Program for Monetary Reform was coauthored by six notable economists: Paul H. Douglas, Frank D. Graham, Earl J. Hamilton, Willford I. King, Charles R. Whittlesey and  Irving Fisher (a celebrated American economist and professor of economics who is best known for his work on the quantity theory of money. Fisher was a true celebrity and one of the major influences on Milton Friedman’s monetarism. Friedman called Fisher « the greatest economist the United States has ever produced)

There is one more outstanding economist who has backed monetary reform. It is our Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, is known now as one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. He wrote a book in 1960 called, A Program For Monetary Stability. On page 65 he stated that he was in favor of what Henry Simons and Lloyd Mints were advocating, that is, 100% reserve. In other words, he advocated that governments, rather than private banks, issue the money supply. Dr. Friedman also praised american Monetary Reform Act  (http://www.themoneymasters.com/monetary-reform-act/) – which is similar to the proposal of Positive Money.

In more recent years there is an increasing number of economists who are advocating a sound and stable monetary system based on 100% reserves: Laurence Kotlikoff, Josef Huber, James Robertson, James Tobin ( who received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1981, has proposed a “deposit currency” system which incorporates many aspects of the Chicago Plan for a 100-percent reserve requirement.), John Kay, Jesus Huerta de Soto etc.

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Jesus Huerta de Soto is today’s leading Austrian school economist, who in his book “Money, Bank Credit and Economic Cycles” published a proposal of a reform of banking system. He suggests a transition from the most controlled systems (those with central planning in the banking and financial sector) to the least controlled ones (those in which the central bank has been abolished and complete freedom prevails) which consists of 5 stages.

What is really interesting and what could be seen as a connecting link between “right” and “left” is the third stage of the transition, in which

“the central bank would remain independent, and a radical step would be taken in the reform: a 100-percent reserve requirement would be established for private banks. This step would necessitate certain legislative modifications to the commercial and penal codes. These changes would allow us to eradicate most of the current administrative legislation issued by central bankers to control deposit and credit institutions. The sole, remaining function of the central bank would be to guarantee that the monetary supply grows at a rate equal to or slightly lower than the increase in productivity in the economic system.”

This stage is actually very similar to Positive Money’s proposal of reform.

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Finally, we want to conclude our list with such very important persons of financial world as:

Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, who said in 2010…
« Another avenue of reform is some form of functional separation. The Volcker Rule is one example. Another, more fundamental, example would be to divorce the payment system from risky lending activity – that is to prevent fractional reserve banking

and

Herman Daly, former Senior Economist at the World Bank, who strongly endorses full reserve banking:

“I think we can really do a whole lot for our economy if we would just move away from fractional reserve banking and go back in the direction of 100% reserve requirement.”

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Reform of the monetary and banking system is not about being on left or right side. It is about fixing what is fundamentally wrong.

Our proposal is not about giving government more or less power. It is rather about taking this “magic box of money creation” from the hands of both – private banks and governments – and putting it on a transparent place in the centre of the society, so that everybody knows where it is and how exactly it is being used and nobody can abuse it

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