Monday, 20 April 2009

Banking is not like other industries

Consider this...

Imagine that someone was walking through a national park and accidentally stepped in a puddle of oil oozing out of the ground. After some further investigation it was realized that this was a, previously undiscovered, massive reserve of easily extractable oil... billions of barrels of the stuff equivalent to 10% of the nations GDP. Now lets say that the government gets to hear of this. What should it do? Lets consider a couple of options.

A) Let any old "group of guys with a big pump" extract it out of the ground and keep 100% of all the proceeds (Obviously this group will shortly become the richest guys in the country and consume 10% of the nations GDP between them).

B) Consider the oil to be a national asset. Design some special mechanism for remunerating the guys with the pump but make sure that the government (or the people) get the bulk of the profit. This could be done an myriad ways, but two simple options may be either tax them at a rate much higher than other industries or simply nationalize the pumping business.

Obviously any sane government would select some version of option B.

Now here is the problem. I would contend that the privilege of being a bank within our current fractional reserve/central banking system is rather analogous to being the "guys with the pump". Its just too easy to make money from banking with very little effort. The banking industry is absolutely not like any other (see here). The idea of just letting them get on with whatever they want to do and allowing them to pay normal taxes is a disaster for any nation.

My solution - option B.

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