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Objectivists on Fractional Reserves

My post on NoodleFood is below in case they delete me:

I have learned a great deal about this topic from some debates among Austrians in the RAE and QJAE, e.g. (all available at www.mises.org if no link provided):

Hoppe: How is Fiat Money Possible?-or, The Devolution of Money and Credit
http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae7_2_3.pdf

Rothbard: Aurophobia: or, Free Banking on What Standard? A Review of Gold, Greenbacks, and the Constitution, by Richard H. Timberlake
http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae6_1_4.pdf

Hulsmann: Free Banking and the Free Bankers http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae9_1_1.pdf
also: http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/18_3/18_3_3.pdf

Block: Hayek, Business Cycles, and Fractional Reserve Banking: Continuing the De-Homogenization Process
http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae9_1_3.pdf

and on the other side:
Selgin & White’s In Defense of Fiduciary Media-or, We are Not Devo(lutionists), We are Misesians! http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae9_2_5.pdf

As I mentioned in this thread discussing some Objectivist economic views ( http://blog.mises.org/archives/003091.asp ), unlike Hoppe, Hulsmann, Rothbard, Reisman, et al., I do not see fractional reserve banking as being necessarily *fraudulent*. As I wrote, “If it is disclosed clearly enough, I am not sure I see any fraudulent act being committed. I would need to be persuaded there is a given, concrete person who is a victim of fraud necessarily, due to fractional reserve banking–and a given coherent, precise definition of fraud given.”

That said, I am convinced by the arguments of these writers that fractional reserve banking makes no sense economically and could not work. To me, it is an attempt to get something for nothing; and it makes the mistake of conflating money (and the money supply) with actual wealth (e.g. produced goods). There is a difference between saved money, and invested money. If you want to let 90% of your “deposit” be “loaned out” fine, but then it is really a type of investment, not savings, and cannot be a genuine deposit.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Nir Graham June 27, 2009, 6:34 am

    Curious whether 3 years later on,
    you have further thoughts on this topic?

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