I. Warning Against Fiduciary Media
Early in the 20th century, Ludwig von Mises warned against the consequences of granting the government control over the money supply. Such a regime inevitably creates money through bank credit that is not backed by real savings — a type of money that Mises termed "fiduciary media."
In 1912, Mises wrote,
It would be a mistake to assume that the modern organization of exchange is bound to continue to exist. It carries within itself the germ of its own destruction; the development of the fiduciary medium must necessarily lead to its breakdown.
It is an inflationary regime. The relentless rise in the money stock necessarily reduces the purchasing power of money to below the level that would prevail had the money supply not been increased. Early receivers of the new money benefit at the expense of those receiving it later. FULL STORY
THE MARTENSON REPORT
The Shell Game - How the Federal Reserve is Monetizing Debt
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The Federal Reserve and the federal government are attempting to "plug the gap" caused by a slowdown of private credit/debt creation.
Non-US demand for the dollar must remain high, or the dollar will fall.
Demand for US assets is in negative territory for 2009
The TIC report and Federal Reserve Custody Account are reviewed and compared
The Federal Reserve has effectively been monetizing US government debt by cleverly enabling foreign central banks to swap their Agency debt for Treasury debt.
The shell game that the Fed is currently playing obscures the fact that money is being printed out of thin air and used to buy US government debt.
The Federal Reserve is monetizing US Treasury debt and is doing so openly, both through its $300 billion commitment to buy Treasuries and by engaging in a sleight of hand maneuver that would make a street hustler from Brooklyn blush.
This report will wade through some technical details in order to illuminate a complicated issue, but you should take the time to learn about this because it is essential to understanding what the future may hold. FULL STORY
The Quiet Coup
By Simon Johnson
Cleaning up the megabanks will be complex. And it will be expensive for the taxpayer; according to the latest IMF numbers, the cleanup of the banking system would probably cost close to $1.5 trillion (or 10percent of our GDP) in the long term. But only decisive government action-exposing the full extent of the financial rot and restoring some set of banks to publicly verifiable health-can cure the financial sector as a whole.
This may seem like strong medicine. But in fact, while necessary, it is insufficient. The second problem the U.S. faces- the power of the oligarchy- is just as important as the immediate crisis of lending. And the advice from the IMF on this front would again be simple: break the oligarchy.
In my view, the U.S. faces two plausible scenarios. The first involves complicated bank-by-bank deals and a continual drumbeat of (repeated) bailouts, like the ones we saw in February with Citigroup and AIG. The administration will try to muddle through, and confusion will reign.
Boris Fyodorov, the late finance minister of Russia, struggled for much of the past 20 years against oligarchs, corruption, and abuse of authority in all its forms. He liked to say that confusion and chaos were very much in the interests of the powerful-letting them take things, legally and illegally, with impunity. When inflation is high, who can say what a piece of property is really worth? When the credit system is supported by byzantine government arrangements and backroom deals, how do you know that you aren't being fleeced?
Our future could be one in which continued tumult feeds the looting of the financial system, and we talk more and more about exactly how our oligarchs became bandits and how the economy just can't seem to get into gear.
The second scenario begins more bleakly, and might end that way too. But it does provide at least some hope that we'll be shaken out of our torpor. It goes like this: the global economy continues to deteriorate, the banking system in east-central Europe collapses, and-because eastern Europe's banks are mostly owned by western European banks-justifiable fears of government insolvency spread throughout the Continent. Creditors take further hits and confidence falls further. The Asian economies that export manufactured goods are devastated, and the commodity producers in Latin America and Africa are not much better off. A dramatic worsening of the global environment forces the U.S. economy, already staggering, down onto both knees. The baseline growth rates used in the administration's current budget are increasingly seen as unrealistic, and the rosy "stress scenario" that the U.S. Treasury is currently using to evaluate banks' balance sheets becomes a source of great embarrassment.
Under this kind of pressure, and faced with the prospect of a national and global collapse, minds may become more concentrated. FULL STORY