Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ralph Musgrave makes a case for full reserve banking


In making his case for full reserve banking, Ralph puts forward five principles.

Read it at Ralphonomics

The principles on which banking should be based
by Ralph Musgrave

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

It seems that MMT is naturally converging towards nationalized banking. I am beginning to see a lot of comments on this on different blogs. I know some people will call this socialism, but it's a good development.

Tom Hickey said...

Anonymous: "It seems that MMT is naturally converging towards nationalized banking. I am beginning to see a lot of comments on this on different blogs. I know some people will call this socialism, but it's a good development."

Other than Bill Mitchell, who has been on the record as being personally for nationalized banking, but making it clear that this is his personal view rather than MMT, can you cite any other MMT economist that even espoused a personal preference for nationalized banking? Is there any evidence at all that any MMT economist has advanced a policy prescription favoring nationalized banking based on MMT? None to my knowledge.

This is an internet rumor, as far as I can see, and I personally favor nationalizing most "retail" banking, so I think I would be aware of it if there were even a hint that this is an MMT policy proposal.

What do you think that MMT is disposed toward nationalized banking or naturally converging toward it. Or is this just buzz you've picked on "the blogs." Which blogs, exactly. Who said it?

beowulf said...

Considering that Mitchell is one of the three credited originators of MMT, it ys slicing the onion pretty thinly to say "other than Mitchell".

I disagree with Bill Mitchell about this, that and the other, but he's right about this. I've come to agree with Henry Simons that govt is far more competent (or to be more precise, less susceptible to corruption) when it operates natural monopolies itself instead trying to regulating private monopolists; even more so with a monopoly like money creation that belongs to the govt anyway (and yes Simons was a full reserve banking proponent).

The trouble is that public-private partnerships (in banking and other sectors) almost always end up with socialized losses and privatized profits. Its like fighting a war, the govt should either jump in with both feet or not jump in at all.

paul said...

"Considering that Mitchell is one of the three credited originators of MMT, it ys slicing the onion pretty thinly to say "other than Mitchell""

If there was only one credited originator of MMT and that persons "opinion" suggested something, that would not make that suggestion a part of MMT theory.

The suggestion is a conclusion, of which there can be many, not part of the theory itself.

Just a pet peeve of mine.

Leverage said...

Beowulf, while I agree in general with your statement, we must be careful...

Most modern capitalism was developed in the form of public-private partnerships. Some of the most important advancements in humanity are the product again of public-private partnerships.

While it's a corporate structure prone to corruption and abuse it can also be very successful. They key lays in checks & balances and real public control of these partnerships. If you leave little space for profit and exploitation in these partnerships most of these corruption opportunities dissipate.

Not saying is easy to do, but it has been done.

Tom Hickey said...

"Considering that Mitchell is one of the three credited originators of MMT, it ys slicing the onion pretty thinly to say "other than Mitchell"."

I would say that a working definition of MMT would be what the originator (Warren) and the initial developers put forward as "MMT." Then we can talk about what was added subsequently, if anything.

I do think that we need to distinguish between personal, professional, academic, and popular presentation, too.

In my own field, there is often confusion over these matters. Heidegger's philosophy is often attacked because he was "a Nazi,"

Heidegger is a highly controversial philosopher not only for his interpretation of the concept of Being, but especially because of his affiliation with the Nazis, for which he never apologized nor expressed regret[6], except in private when he called it "the biggest stupidity of his life" (die größte Dummheit seines Lebens)[7]. The so-called Heidegger controversy raises general questions about the relation between Heidegger's thought and his connection to National Socialism....

Heidegger supported National Socialism in 1933 and was a member of the Nazi Party until May 1945[11], even though the Nazis eventually prevented him from teaching. His defenders, notably Hannah Arendt, see this support as arguably a personal " 'error' " (a word which Arendt placed in quotation marks when referring to Heidegger's Nazi-era politics).[12] Defenders think this error was irrelevant to Heidegger's philosophy. Critics, such as Emmanuel Levinas[13] and Karl Löwith,[14] claim that Heidegger's support for National Socialism revealed flaws inherent in his thought. [15]....

Heidegger married Elfride Petri on March 21, 1917, in a Catholic ceremony officiated by his friend Engelbert Krebs, and a week later in a Protestant ceremony in the presence of her parents. Their first son Jörg was born in 1919. According to published correspondence between the spouses,[25] Hermann (born 1920) is the son of Elfride and Friedel Caesar.
Martin Heidegger had extramarital affairs with Hannah Arendt andElisabeth Blochmann, both students of his. Arendt was Jewish, and Blochmann had one Jewish parent, making them subject to severe persecution by the Nazi authorities. He helped Blochmann emigrate from Germany prior to World War II, and resumed contact with both of them after the war.[26]
Wikipedia

I consider the criticism ad hominem, in that one would have to show connection between Heidegger's philosophical work and National Socialism. This has not been done convincingly. The argument is comparable to claiming that Heidegger's philosophy "preaches immorality" of that it was at least morally weak, because he had extramarital affairs.

A work stands or falls on its own merits irrespective of the originator's personal views about other things, even related matters.

Tom Hickey said...

"I've come to agree with Henry Simons that govt is far more competent (or to be more precise, less susceptible to corruption) when it operates natural monopolies itself instead trying to regulating private monopolists; even more so with a monopoly like money creation that belongs to the govt anyway (and yes Simons was a full reserve banking proponent)."

That is my argument for nationalizing retail banking, and instituting anti-trust legislation in commercial and investment banking that prevents concentration. I would also like to the structure of banking returned to its fiduciary origins in partnerships, removing the corporate veil which has become a legal shield and golden parachute.

There is no real competition when natural monopolies are concerned, so to the degree that those involved in them "compete" it is for a portion of the economic rent, gained one way or another. It's basically free or subsidized extraction of resources from the commons instead of fair use and just payment.

beowulf said...

"Control of Finance as a Prerequisite for Successful Monetary Policy: A
Reinterpretation of Henry Simons’s 'Rules versus Authorities in Monetary Policy'"
http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_713.pdf

Trixie said...

Ok, I did it, I just did it. I went ahead and asked Bill Mitchell to clarify his position on bank nationalization even though it's clearly spelled out in black in white. And yes, it was as awkward as you can imagine. I consider this taking one for the team:

http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=12077&cpage=1#comment-24722

Trixie said...

And Bill's response. Thankfully, he let me off easy. Next time someone else is going "in". :)

Dear Trixie (at 2012/06/08 at 6:53)

I think the position is clear in the post and from the section you quote (which I truncate even further):

So this blog … an account of what I think should happen to banks and banking. Note that this account is interpretative rather than a statement of MMT principles. It reflects my preferences based on my understanding of those principles. But equally, someone with a similar understanding might choose a different policy path.

I cannot help it if people (ad nauseum) cannot differentiate opinion from principle. The same people are probably those who claim the Job Guarantee is a socialist program aimed at employing all Americans. The fact that these opinions fail to even understand what socialism is is telling.

The jump in your logical train from Point 2 to Point 3 is irrational and unfounded and it is impossible to deal logically with that degree of ignorance. I realise you are just laying out what seems to be from your perception to be a train of thought held my “others … [who] … connect the dots differently”.

So I support bank nationalisation to resolve the tension within what is already a public-private partnership and to ensure that if the public is to socialise the losses then it should equally socialise the benefits.

That “opinion” is consistent with but does not define Modern Monetary Theory – as a set of logical principles.


best wishes
bill

Tom Hickey said...

Thanks, Trixie. That should resolve the issue. I hope everyone bookmarks it or Evernotes it for future reference. I have a feeling that this kind of FUD is going to proliferate as MMT gains traction. Pretty clear. Anyone who doesn't get it doesn't want to get it based on an agenda.

beowulf said...

"I cannot help it if people (ad nauseum) cannot differentiate opinion from principle. The same people are probably those who claim the Job Guarantee is a socialist program aimed at employing all Americans."

Curiously, I definitely fall into this category, and yet I agree with what he wrote about banking, indeed, I said nearly the same upthread. Not sure what kind of agenda I'm basing that on (I'm thinking of Diogenes and his lantern for some reason). :o)

Trixie said...

Man-up, beowulf, and go ask him. You just may learn something.

:o)

Tom Hickey said...

beowulf: "The same people are probably those who claim the Job Guarantee is a socialist program aimed at employing all Americans."

This is interesting, beowulf. I regard you emminently reasonable, yet, this notion strikes me as somewhat bizarre, and most people on the right would likely call me a socialist.

I can the possibility of mass government employment in the case of economic collapse, or if robotics takes over in the future and work is still required for income for some strange reason.

But why one earth would millions of people prefer just getting by when much better opportunities available? Either you have a different view of human aspiration than I do, or you must think that American firms cannot compete with a low paying government job in drawing workers from the BSE.

Of course, the other alternative is that most Americans would be deemed unemployable by American firms either due to lack of qualification or being untrainable, or else demanding unreasonable wages due to the JG floor wage being so attractive. That, too, seems far=fetched to me.

y said...

"It seems that MMT is naturally converging towards nationalized banking. I am beginning to see a lot of comments on this on different blogs. I know some people will call this socialism, but it's a good development."

Thanks for that fascinating comment, FDO15.