I'm sure most will agree that now more than ever is the time for infowarriors to go beyond sounding the alarm bell (so to speak) and start spreading ideas on how to solve
the current financial crisis.
IMHO, I think the most sensible and desirable solution is the one put forth by Robert De Fremery in the following book:
Below are excerpts from that book:----------------------------------------------------------------
"There are those who believe that once bank credit has been allowed to expand, nothing can be done to prevent a collapse (that is, nothing economically sound and consistent with a free economic system). The Austrian school -- best represented by the writings of Ludwig von Mises -- takes this stand as evidenced in the following statement: 'There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.' (Human Action
, p. 570).
"Dr. von Mises believes that the expansion of bank credit causes malinvestment and squandering of scarce factors of production that will inevitably lead to a crash and ensuing depression. But a more plausible theory is that all economic activity is continually reaching a new equilibrium between the total circulating medium of exchange and the goods and services being offered for it. In other words, an expansion of bank credit leads to a collapse not because of mis-directions in production but rather because of the operation of Gresham's Law
. The use of bank credit as a medium of exchange gives us what Bishop Berkeley called a 'double money.' Even though bank credit is supposedly convertible into money on demand, nevertheless it is not as good as money. It is a short sale of money. And as the volume of these shortsales increases it is inevitable that Gresham's Law will eventually operate, i.e., the undervalued money (gold or legal tender 'fiat' money) will be exported or hoarded -- thus causing a collapse of bank credit.
"According to this theory, it is possible to avoid a collapse following a period of credit expansion simply by converting the existing volume of bank credit into actual money having an existence independent of debt, and at the same time take away the banking system's privilege of creating any more credit, i.e., force banks to confine their lending operations to the lending of existing funds."
"There are some people who look with distrust upon 'printing press' or 'fiat' money. But they overlook one of the basic facts about money. It is true that we need a 'hard' money. But we should not make the mistake of associating 'hardness' with convertibility into gold
. The essence of a hard money is not determined by the material of which it is composed -- or the material into which it is convertible. The essence of a hard money is that its supply is fairly stable and there are precise limits to it. In other words, gold itself is a comparatively hard money because the supply of gold is inelastic. Bank credit convertible into gold is a very soft money because it is elastic and there are no precise limits to its supply, i.e., it expands and contracts. And a purely paper or 'fiat' money can be hard money if we set precise limits to its supply, or it can be a soft money if we set no limits to its supply."
-- Ibid., pp. 54-5
"Soothing words about the effectiveness of 'government mechanisms' to deal with a liquidity crisis will not allay the fears of those who know its cause. There is only one thing that will allay those fears and that is to put our depository intermediaries on a sound basis. To do this we must convert the existing volume of bank credit into actual money and require banks to stop the unsound practice of borrowing short to lend long.
"Under this stabalized system banks would have two sections: a deposit or checking-account system and a savings-and-loan section. The deposit section would merely be a warehouse for money. All demand deposits would be backed dollar for dollar by actual currency in the vaults of the bank. The savings-and-loan section would sell Certificates of Deposit (CDs) of varying maturities—from 30 days to 20 years—to obtain funds that could be safely loaned for comparable periods of time.Thus money obtained by the sale of 30-day, one-year and five-year CDs, etc., could be loaned for 30 days, one year and five years respectively—not longer. Banks would then be fully liquid at all times and never again need fear a liquidity crisis."
-- Ibid., pp. 84-5
"Since the objective is to have a 100% cash reserve (legal tender) behind all demand deposits, the U.S. Treasury would be ordered by Congress to have printed and then loaned to the banks sufficient new currency to fulfill that objective. In determining the amount to be borrowed, banks would treat their legal reserves at their local Federal Reserve Bank as cash. Those reserves will become actual cash as explained later.
"The debt incurred by each commercial bank to the Treasury could be immediately reduced by the amount of U.S. securities each bank held—simply a cancellation of mutual indebtedness. Henceforth the commercial banks would be prohibited from using the cash reserves behind their demand deposits for their own interest and profit. Those cash reserves belong to the depositors. They are funds against which the depositors wish to draw checks.
"On the day the cash reserves of banks are brought up to 100% of their demand liabilities, they would have outstanding loans which I shall call 'old loans' as distinguished from the new loans that will be made in the future. As these old loans are paid off, each bank would be required to use these funds to pay off their savings and time depositors, and offer them, as an alternative, negotiable CDs. There would be no restriction of any sort on the issuance of such CDs. The maturity dates, the amounts, and the rate of interest would be set by each bank. But banks would not be allowed to lend the funds so obtained for a longer period of time than those funds were available to them; i.e., they would be required to maintain the back-to-back relation suggested by George Moore.
"After each bank had paid off its time depositors, it would still have a sizable amount of 'old' loans outstanding. As the rest of these old loans were paid off, these funds would be used to further reduce the banks’ indebtedness to the Treasury. The treasury, in turn, would be required to use these funds to retire U.S. obligations held by investors outside the banking system. And as the Treasury did this, these investors would presumably buy negotiable CDs offered by the banks.
"Any remaining indebtedness of the banks to the Treasury could be paid off with funds derived from the sale of their 'Other Securities.' Indeed, a good argument can be made for having the Treasury figure in advance how much of each bank’s securities are going to have to be sold and require them to start selling those securities gradually, the day the changeover is made.
"As for the Federal Reserve Banks, they too should borrow from the Treasury sufficient new currency to bring their cash reserves up to 100% of their demand deposits (funds deposited by their member banks for safekeeping plus all government funds against which checks are being drawn by the government). The indebtedness of the Federal Reserve Banks to the Treasury could immediately be canceled by a mutual cancellation of indebtedness as was done by the commercial banks, i.e. by canceling an equivalent amount of U.S. obligations held by the Federal Reserve Banks. The remaining U.S. obligations held by the Federal Reserve Banks should also be canceled in view of the fact that they had originally been bought by the mere creation of bookkeeping entries. That practice would be abolished.
"The supply of money would now consist of the total coin and currency in existence, i.e., the amount previously existing plus the amount newly printed and loaned to the commercial banks and the Federal Reserve Banks. There would no longer be any confusion about what was meant by the supply of money. And the money supply would no longer be altered by such things as the lending activities of banks, or the decisions of individuals to switch funds from a checking account to CDs, or the payment of taxes to the U.S. Treasury, or the disbursement of funds by the Treasury, etc. Whenever an increase in the money supply was needed according to whatever rule of law was adopted (a strong case can be made for a 'population dollar', i.e., a constant per capita supply of dollars), the increase could be made with absolute precision by simply retiring that much of the remaining National Debt with the new money.
"S&Ls and MSBs [money services businesses] should be made to operate as they were originally intended, i.e., those who place their funds in such institutions must be reminded that they are shareholders and that they can draw their funds out only when those funds are available for withdrawal. A run on such institutions would no longer be a threat to the banking world. Nor would the failure of bankruptcy of any large bank, corporation, or municipality be the threat to the banking world that it is today. Any such poorly managed entity could, and should, be allowed to go through bankruptcy. There would be no danger of precipitating the type of financial stringency or credit crisis that is feared so much under our present financial system, and justifiably so.
"The multitude of governmental lending agencies that have arisen since the early ‘30s should be dismantled. The lending of money is not a proper function of government
. It has been sanctioned so far because banks operated in such a way as to imperil a continuous flow of funds to areas that needed it. With banks now operating on a sound basis, free market forces should be relied upon to keep money flowing in the most healthful manner for all.
"Having corrected the destabilizing element of our monetary system, we should reject the concept of deficit financing and a compensatory budget. Those concepts arose under the old system because when the business and investment world lost confidence—thus leading to a contraction in the supply and/or velocity of money—the government was forced to indulge in deficit financing to try to keep the supply and/or velocity of money from contracting too far. Under the new system the supply of money is non-collapsible and therefore changes in the velocity of money (caused by changes in liquidity preference) would be minimal and self-regulating.
"Government supervision or regulation of banks would now be greatly simplified. In place of all the governmental agencies with overlapping functions that are busily engaged in regulating various activities of banks, we need have only one agency. Its sole function would be to make certain each bank is keeping its cash reserves at 100% of its demand deposits, and that the maturity profile of its outstanding CDs meshes with the maturity profile of its loan portfolio. Except for these restrictions, banks would be free to set the amounts, the maturity dates, and the rates of interest on the CDs they issued. They would also be free to make loans for any purpose they pleased, secured by any collateral they deemed adequate." [Emphasis original]
-- Ibid., pp. 117-121----------------------------------------------------------------
The reform I advocate is the same as De Fremery's, with one exception: instead of instituting what I consider to be an overly-rigid "population standard" -- whereby the money supply is allowed to expand only to the extent necessary to keep the per capita supply of dollars constant -- we should mandate by law that the debt-free expansion rate of our money supply be such that (1) the per capita supply of money never falls (thus guarding against depression-inducing contractions, such as the 1/3 contraction that caused the Great Depression), (2) the money supply never increases by more than 1/3 in any given year (thus guarding against runaway hyperinflation), and (3) new money issuance is moderately adjusted inversely with the rise or fall of the general price level.
The third requirement is what would keep prices stable, while the first two are fail-safe measures to ensure that no adjustment to the money supply expansion rate is ever so extreme in either direction as to cause economic chaos. No Yugoslavian
-style hyperinflation (or anything close to it); and no Japanese
flation (or anything close to it).
Now if everyone would just elect me King, I could get right to work on making this a reality!