quarta-feira, 14 de abril de 2010

Thomas Jefferson on [Central Banking] U.S. Bank

Declaration of Independence in 1776, President Thomas Jefferson on U.S. Bank, December 13, 1803:

From a passage in the letter of the President, I observe an idea of establishing a branch bank of the United States in New Orleans. This institution is one of the most deadly hostility existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution.

The nation is, at this time, so strong and united in its sentiments, that it cannot be shaken at this moment. But suppose a series of untoward events should occur, sufficient to bring into doubt the competency of a republican government to meet a crisis of great danger, or to unhinge the confidence of the people in the public functionaries; an institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government.

I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the United States, with all its branch banks, be in time of war? It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw its aids.

Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile? That it is so hostile we know,

  • 1, from a knowledge of the principles of the persons composing the body of directors in every bank, principal or branch; and those of most of the stockholders:

  • 2, from their opposition to the measures and principles of the Government, and to the election of those friendly to them: and

  • 3, from the sentiments of the newspapers they support.

Now, while we are strong, it is the greatest duty we owe to the safety of our Constitution, to bring this powerful enemy to a perfect subordination under its authorities. The first measure would be to reduce them to an equal footing only with other banks, as to the favors of the Government. But, in order to be able to meet a general combination of the banks against us, in a critical emergency, could we not make a beginning towards an independent use of our own money, towards holding our own bank in all the deposits where it is received, and letting the treasurer give his draft or note, for payment at any particular place, which, in a well conducted government, ought to have as much credit as any private draft, or bank note, or bill, and would give us the same facilities which we derive from the banks?

The Life of Thomas Jefferson: In 3 Volumes, Volume 3, p. 93

segunda-feira, 12 de abril de 2010

Copenhaga: In Defense of Capitalism


Saturday 24th april

08.30 – 09.00 – Registration & coffee

09.00 – 09.05 – Welcome

09.05 – 09.45 – Opening remarks by Lars Seier Chritensen, Founder & CEO of Saxo Bank

09.45 – 10.45 – Common Objections to Capitalism - Art Carden, USA

10.45 – 11.00 – Break

11.00 – 11.30 – Q&A with Art Carden

11.30 – 12.45 – Lunch

12.45 – 13.45 – Why our current financial system is socialistic and an explanation of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory – Philipp Bagus, Spain/Germany

13.45 – 14.15 – Q&A with Philipp Bagus, Spain/Germany

14.15 – 14.30 – Break

14.30 – 15.30 – Capitalism and Peace – Professor Indra de Soysa from NTNU in Trondheim, Norway

15.30 – 16.00 – Q&A with Indra de Soysa

16.00 – 17.00 – Networking with beverage and snacks

Sunday 25th April

08.30 – 09.00 – Registration and coffee

09.00 – 10.00 – Keynesian Economics – The beast that will not die – Peter G. Klein

10.00 – 10.30 – Q&A with Peter G. Klein

10.30 – 10.45 – Break

10.45 – 11.45 – Democracy and Paper Money - Thorsten Polleit

11.45 – 12.15 – Q&A with Thorsten Polleit

12.15 – 13.15 – Lunch

13.15 – 14.30 – Creating competition in the government industry – Patri Friedman including Q&A

14.30 – 14.45 – Break

14.45 – 15.45 – Panel debate

15.45 – 16.00 – Closing Remarks

sexta-feira, 2 de abril de 2010

Equilíbrio, eficiência e processo de mercado

O meu mais recente artigo publicado no OrdemLivre.org: Equilíbrio, eficiência e processo de mercado; com uma discussão interessante sobre o tema aqui.

terça-feira, 12 de janeiro de 2010

O Debate (intra-"austríaco") Padrão-Ouro Reservas 100% versus Free-Banking

Finalmente consegui expor adequadamente (penso) a minha argumentação que em Free-Banking mas com distinção entre notas/depósitos de Bancos com 100% de reservas e os outros... "good money [100% reservas] will drive out bad money [reservas parciais]".

No LvMI Blog no post The Legitimacy of Loan Maturity Mismatching: Bagus & Howden vs. Barnett & Block, by Stephan Kinsella

Carlos Novais:

Honest Free Banking requires that:

- 100% Reserve Banks are able to label Notes and Demand Deposits.

- Fractional Banks must instead label and disclosure “Promises of Payment with a minimum x% reserve policy”.

And so Fractional Reserve Banks “Promises of Payment” would trade at discount against Notes.

And this would mean that good money (100% reserve notes or demand deposits) would drive out bad money.

But I think that even in a 100% reserve banking system, Mismatching between time deposits and assets of the bank would be an honest business decision but would also require some order of Reserves to cover the risk of the mismatching (time deposits expiration turning into demand deposits which requires immediately 100% reserve in balance).

For this, I usually say that a 100% Reserve Banking requires >100% of Reserves.


As a libertarian, I do not countenance requiring the tobacco or junk food companies to put any specific information on their product. I will say the same thing for banking, though if a bank is deemed to have defrauded a customer they should be held responsible. My question for Carlos is why can't we just rely on the 100% reserve banks labeling their notes as such and informing the public about their superiority to fractional reserve banks? Based on historical experience, I think the result would NOT be to drive out fractional reserve banks because customers would continue to patronize them anyway.

Carlos Novais:


Fractional Reserve "promises of payment" (equivalent to notes and demand deposits buy labeled as "promises") would trade at discount by arbitrage. One thing very important is that there should be no restriction for owning and exchanging as legal tender physical gold and silver coins and bars.

So, why would I deposit 10 gold coins in a fractional reserve bank receiving a “promise of payment” (stating a policy of a minimum 25% reserve) instead of going to a 100% Reserve Bank and receiving a “note”?

Imagine also that I would go to a Fractional Reserve Bank to get a loan that would constitute a credit expansion by expanding the “promises of payment” that I would use to buy at par “notes” from a 100% Reserve Bank. Or even worse, imagine that the fractional reserve bank itself would create “promises of payment” (that some people as you day would be happy to exchange at par) and simply buy gold coins at par. Would this make any sense?


Carlos, you are talking about what "would" happen. We don't have to guess about hypotheticals, we can look at the actual history of free banking to see what happened.

"So, why would I deposit 10 gold coins in a fractional reserve bank receiving a “promise of payment” (stating a policy of a minimum 25% reserve) instead of going to a 100% Reserve Bank and receiving a “note”?"

Because the fractional reserve bank pays interest while the 100% reserve bank requires you to pay them a warehousing fee.

"Imagine also that I would go to a Fractional Reserve Bank to get a loan that would constitute a credit expansion by expanding the “promises of payment” that I would use to buy at par “notes” from a 100% Reserve Bank."

If the promises of payment did indeed trade at a discount then the 100% reserve bank could sell you their notes, and then demand a greater amount of coins from the fractional bank than they bought the promises for. This would inhibit the willingness of the fractional bank to issue too many promises.

Carlos Novais:


Carlos, you are talking about what "would" happen. We don't have to guess about hypotheticals, we can look at the actual history of free banking to see what happened.”

History tell us that (Rothbard) “money-brokers” that tried to arbitrage discount fractional reserve notes of distresses banks buying them at discount and requiring delivery of physical gold or silver were more or less forbidden directly or indirectly of doing it. But discounts did happen.

History tells us the contractual analysis innocently or conveniently was deficient. The traditional banking secrecy served the cause for the general public to not realize the money expansion feature. Even today with so much consumer protection never we see a proposal for real time disclosure of reserve of banks or for instance the banks identities involved in central banks injections or loans.

The fungible feature at par it’s a requirement for bad money to drive out good money but that it´s only possible if the system provides anonymous money creation and circulation, making the appearance of bad money (today would be the demand deposits in riskier banks) being the same as good money (demand deposits in less riskier banks).

This crisis established finally in the minds of public, that every single demand deposit is equal to another because it will be always guaranteed in full by states and central banks.

"Because the fractional reserve bank pays interest while the 100% reserve bank requires you to pay them a warehousing fee."

Correction: Pays interest in the form of more "promises of payment" of gold.

Credit in the form of “promises of payment” would be contractually different form credit in the form of 100% Reserve Notes. Certainly the person that makes a loan in physical gold wants to receive an interest and nominal in physical gold or will ask a premium for a different thing.

I can imagine contracts that could be delivered in bonds not money, but that does not make “Bond” a form of money, because bonds are settled has promises of money.

“This would inhibit the willingness of the fractional bank to issue too many promises.”

And this would be the process of good money driving out bad money. Physical gold and 100% reserve notes and demand deposits would be the money against all other quasi monies would be priced against.

Promises of payment would carry an additional risk that must be priced and which carry a cost of gathering information.


How were people forbidden from engaging in arbitrage in Scotland? And what work by Rothbard are you referring to?

"History tells us the contractual analysis innocently or conveniently was deficient"

What? I don't understand what you are trying to say.

"Pays interest in the form of more "promises of payment" of gold."

People that actually tried to redeem those promises got their gold. But back then the promises were deemed essentially good as gold.

"This crisis"

What are you referring to? The recent recession?

Carlos Novais:


"A History of Money and Banking in the United States", Murray N. Rothbad pp 78-79:

"One effective, if time consuming, method of enforcing redemption on nominally specie-paying banks was the emergence of a class of professional “money brokers.” These brokers would buy up a mass of depreciated notes of nominally specie-paying banks, and then travel to the home office of the bank to demand redemption in specie. Merchants, money brokers, bankers, and the general public were aided in evaluating the various state bank notes by the development of monthly journals known as “bank note detectors.” These “detectors” were published by money brokers and periodically evaluated the market rate of various bank notes in relation to specie.47


During the panic of 1819, when banks collapsed after an inflationary boom lasting until 1817, obstacles and intimidation were often the lot of those who attempted to press the banks to fulfill their contractual obligation to pay in specie.


” Yet two days after this seemingly tough action, it passed another law relieving banks of any obligation to redeem notes held by money brokers, “the major force ensuring the people of this state from the evil arising from the demands made on the banks of this state for gold and silver by brokers.” Pennsylvania followed suit a month later. In this way, these states could claim to maintain the virtue of enforcing contract and property rights while moving to prevent the most effective method of ensuring such enforcement."

Carlos Novais:


1-There were discounts between private notes (not homogenous money).

2-There were arbitragers between notes and the delivery of specimen (and redeem of notes were suspended to protect fractional notes when most required).

3-Strangely there was not notes labeled has 100% reserve ones.

I think we can conclude that:

All banks practiced profitable fractional reserves.

The jurisprudence and the economic profession did not make the distinction and so did not required proper labeling (“promises of payment” versus true “Notes” or Demand Deposits” or “Receipts”). Conveniently we could add.

In bad time (busts), contracts were not enforced and redeem of notes (actually just “promises”) was suspended.

And so “bad money” was able to drives out “good money” in the sense that never a full condition of free banking with honest competition and labeling was set. But if this happens it will be good money that will drive out bad money.

David Hillary:

Carlos Novais, you make me laugh. A note is a promise to pay, by definition!

Demand obligations cannot trade at a discount, since they are redeemable at the issuer at par.

Carlos Novais:

David Hillary - "A note is a promise to pay, by definition!"

If it is the case it is my English and I apologize. By “note” I was meaning the pure warehouse receipt which could be labeled as such.

If a note is a promise of payment without 100% reserves it should state that clearly (maybe including a minimum reserve policy). The not so clear status of such notes including the jurisprudence and regulations (and economic analysis from who should no better) not enforcing a distinction is what drives out good money (100%reserves).

Now, you are free to exchange “promises” at par with “receipts” at your own risk. But then an arbitrager could sell short (promises) at par and buy the asset (receipts) at par and wait till some crises of confidence happens.

But discounts are a fact of history, like discount in debts are common, because discount is a price of risk.

Receipts that carry a cost for warehousing could have a small discount too depending of the particular method of charging but that wouldn’t constitute a discount of risk.

Comparing two alternatives:

Action 1: I have receipts of gold that costs me money but I lend them in “short-time money-market” (or a time deposit in a 100% reserve bank) receiving an interest in more receipts.

Action2. I own fractional reserve “promises” if the form of demand deposit (of “promises”) and receive an interest (in more “promises”, not physical gold or receipts) from the average balance as banks do today.

We are still talking about two different economic assets. The story of supposed free banking is one were bad economic and law analysis benefit the fractional banking which drives out good money, because there is the appearance of homogeneous money.

Beefcake the Mighty:

Great posts, Carlos. BTW your English is fine and your statements very clear. David Hilary is just being a cunt (as usual).