Our Corporate Affairs Director Steve Baker has posed this question to some of his fellow board members, “Would be great to nail this phenomenon on the system of money – that is to demonstrate clearly that it is credit expansion which redistributes wealth to the wealthy:
In other words, the trickle-down effect that is meant to spring from wealth accumulation has not worked as it should have. Flexible labour markets have delivered big time for bankers and shareholders, but failed to improve the lot of ordinary workers in the same way. In Britain, growth in consumption was funded not by real economic advancement, but by the fool’s paradise of ever-increasing debt.
The essence of a credit expansion starts with the policy of the Treasury / Bank of England aka “the State”. The aim is to make money cheaper so that more money / credit is granted to borrowers, more economic activity is then meant to take place.
How is this done?
If you wanted to make jam cheaper, you would need to produce more of it for the same level of demand. The only way the jam market would clear is for the jam to sell at that demand for a lower price.
The State has the monopoly issue of money under its control. If the whole history of man was displayed in the form of a 12 hour clock, with today being the 12th hour, the State has only had this monopoly of the production of money since the end of the Gold Standard at the outbreak of the 1st World War. Attempts to get back on the Standard took place in the 20’s but were abandoned in the 30’s. Post World War II until 1971 there was a weak form of Gold Standard under the Bretton Woods system. Since that date, there has only been paper standards in different countries. So from the dawn of civilization until about the 11th hour and the 59th minute of human existence, Gold was money. It was a commodity for which all things exchanged for, it was produced by private individuals and no one person controlled the production of gold. Like language, it was a spontaneous invention of human beings to facilitate working together. It is thus one of the greatest inventions of man.
If the the State, as the monopoly issuer of paper money decided that the economy needs more liquidity (we have done this with our £200bn QE program), the bank will buy its governments outstanding debt obligations , or IOU’s, commonly called Gilts or Bonds, with newly minted money (to monetize). Thus the new money, like the new jam, or the jam over supply illustrated in the above example , enters the economy via the recipients of the new money.
Dear reader, I would like you to pause for a minute and ask yourself how comfortable would you feel about the government setting the price of jam and issuing all of its supply? Is this not what they tried to do in the Soviet Union? Absenting the price mechanism, that coordinates the choices of many millions of people, to allow suppliers of jam to know how much to produce to satisfy the demand for jam, and we have shortages for jam leaving shops empty for sometimes many months on end. Why do we trust the State to do this?
We seem to accept that the government, in its wisdom, that must be greater than that of all its citizens , can plan the production and supply of money as the old Soviet system did for a whole host of goods and services, for its subjects.
Experience will tell us, that like the Soviet production of jam, our State production of money will cause shortages and surpluses of varying degrees. Worst still, constructivist policy activism by the State via its agents at the Bank of England attempt each time they set the interest rate, to produce just enough money to keep the economy on an even keel. The evidence that they get this wrong is called “Boom and Bust.”
If you got jam production wrong, your surplus jam goes to waste or you can not feed your demand.
An over supply of money is called a “boom.” An undersupply is called “bust.” Every single boom from the Soutth Sea Bubble onwards can be traced back to some artificial expansion of money / credit not brought about by the free interplay of market forces determining the production of money. As money permeates every aspect of the economy, an over or under supply of it has far more consequences than an over or under supply of money. In this current “bust” I would submit that virtually all people in the world wide system of capitalistic production have been effected in their personal lives to some degree of negativity as they have had to adjust to the new world order.
The effects of this over supply are so little understood, it is worth while explaining once more by looking Richard Cantillon in his Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général (1755). This showed us that if money supply doubled, prices do not necessarily double. Money is not neutral in terms of consumption and production. Money goes into the system when created by the government to the bond holders whose bonds are redeemed. With this new money they have the first wealth effect of this new money. Like a counterfeiter he exchanges his new bits of paper for real goods and services, bidding up the prices of these goods and services. The producers of these initial goods and services then do the same with the goods and services that they buy and so on and so forth until the prices for the last people, those who spend less in the economy, the poor, those on fixed income (pensioners, the thrifty saver) etc, spend on goods and services that now have a higher money price. Thus, the insidious effect is a transfer of wealth away from the poorest in society to the richest in society: those banksters who buy / sell the bonds and the bond holders who have received the newly minted money.
We must remember, the bankster in all of this is often the agent of the State when he sells and buys the government debt either creating over supply or under supply of money. He takes his commission right at the well spring or the fountain of this money making process. He gets the first ability to benefit from the wealth effect as he can spend his money on goods and services at the same time as the bond investor. He is a direct recipient of the first order of the wealth transferred from the poorest to the richest members of society. The bankster is on the welfare state of credit. The government is totally in control of this process yet does not seem to realize it.
This is why Jeremy Warner in his well argued Telegraph article wonders how so much wealth has been created for so few and why his the trickle down did not have a positive effect on the poorest members of our society. I hope I have demonstrated that as the production of paper money in itself does not create wealth , as if it did, world poverty could be ended tomorrow, like a counterfeiter, new money allows its first recipients to exchange nothing (bits of paper) for real things such as Mayfair town houses etc. The sad salient point, is as the “wealth effect” works its way through society bidding up prices, the poorest people pay more for their goods and services. They have what little wealth they have confiscated to the benefit of the likes of the banksters who are knee deep on the welfare state of credit. Real wealth creation happens when entrepreneurs start coming up with better methods of production to make better goods and services more efficiently then before. There has been too much of the former providing the illusion of wealth and too little of the latter.