Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IMF paper cites Richard Werner

A highly important paper on the money supply and banking has been published on the International Monetary Fund website, named The Chicago Plan Revisited (Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof) . It advocates a return to the historical way that governments created the money supply rather what happens now with private banks, aided by a central bank, creating it. 

The authors say that the benefits in economic stability could be huge: They mention work by Del Mar (1895) who found that after the English Free Coinage Act of 1666 placed control of the money supply into private hands, together with the founding of the privately controlled Bank of England in 1694, a series of commercial panics and disasters followed which to that time were completely unknown. Between 1694 and 1890 there was no 25 year period that passed without a financial crisis in England. (Make your own deductions about the last 120 years since...)

The core feature of Benes' and Kumhof's argument is that they highlight that private banks create the money supply by granting credit as they issue loans.  
They say (p9): 
Bank liabilities are money that can be created and destroyed at a moments notice. The critical importance of this fact appears to have been lost in much of the modern macroeconomics literature on banking, with the exception of Werner (New Paradigm in Macroeconomics, 2005)

One thing that modern money creation by private banks does is to exacerbate the cyclical crises of economies. Prominent economists originally advocating The Chicago Plan were Henry Simons and Irving Fischer in the 1930s. Benes and Kumhof have found that their own modern modelling fully backs Fischer's claims:
(1) Much better control of a major source of business cycle fluctuations, sudden increases and contractions of bank credit and of the supply of bank-created money.             
(2) Complete elimination of bank runs.
(3) Dramatic reduction of the (net) public debt.       
(4) Dramatic reduction of private debt, as money creation no longer requires simultaneous debt creation.

They also found the reforms would boost output gains up to 10%, due to less distortion through lower tax rates, lower real interest rates and less financial regulation needed.  They would also result in zero steady state inflation. Concerning the claims that an exclusive government monopoly on money issuance would be highly inflationary, the authors found nothing in their theoretical framework to support this. They have a section (p12-17) of historical evidence going back into ancient times and up to the present refuting such claims. 

For Prof Richard Werner's  interview series on money creation see YouTube  and especially Debt Free and Interest Free Money.

No comments: