Thursday, 2 August 2012

How the BBC is misleading the public about the financial crisis.

More than 99% of the general public think that money works as a system of tokens (real or electronic) that get passed from person to person as trade is carried out. They assume that the total amount of it would remain constant were it not for occasional money printing by government. Money could indeed work this way had governments chosen such a system, but in reality it works completely differently. Bear this in mind as when you read the following.

Here I present two tables, the first contains things the BBC say that are either false or misleading, and the second is a table of important things they don't say but should.

What the BBC say
How the public perceive this information
Why this is wrong
There is a “credit crunch”
There is a problem specifically for those people who want to borrow money. There is no impact on the money supply.
Because “credit” is money (technically “broad money”). When you buy something with a debit card, what you are spending is (97%) “credit” even if you personally have not borrowed any money. A "credit crunch" is in fact a money crunch. See here for more info.
Contagion is due to “interconnectedness”.
Some kind of financial disaster may happen because of “interconnectedness”.
The contagion effect has very little to do with “interconnectedness” and everything to with our highly leveraged monetary system. See here.
QE is “printing money”
The money supply must therefore be going up.
Without QE the money supply would be falling fast. QE is being done to slow down its rate of fall. In all the years of this crisis I have only heard this on the BBC once.The money supply, even after QE, is falling. See Mervyn King confirm what I’m saying here.
QE is “printing money”
More money is created, and that’s the end of the story.
Because it is compulsory that the money created through QE is extracted from the economy in the future. This will be painful. It is “kicking the can down the road”.
QE is “printing money”
QE is “printing money”
Money printing is in fact against EU regulations.
Let’s listen to esteemed mainstream economist X
This economist understands the crisis.
Mainstream economics spectacularly failed to foresee the crisis. Economist X doesn’t have a clue why its happening. If this was football, this economist has just been relegated to the Vauxhall conference league and yet the BBC will talk to him/her with reverence and won’t even ask them to explain why they missed the crisis.
Let’s listen to a non-mainstream “controversial” economist Steve Keen.
Lets not take him too seriously.
If this was football, this guy has just won the premiership. Yet the BBC didn’t have him on until years after the crisis began.
“Only the Bank of England can create money in the UK.” See here.
“Only the Bank of England can create money in the UK.”
This is flat out wrong. Private banks create almost all of the money supply, the BOE only create a tiny proportion.

What the BBC don’t say
Why they should
The money supply can shrink
More than 99% of the population are unaware that it is even possible for the money supply to shrink. They have no idea that this possibility has anything to do with the financial crisis, yet this phenomena is at the heart of it. No wonder the population at large do not understand the crisis. See here for more info.
Anything about Irving Fisher
During the great depression in the 30’s… famous economist Irving Fisher developed an alternative monetary system known as Full Reserve Banking (in which the money supply can not shrink). The plan was endorsed by hundreds of academic economists and was probably the most significant economic idea to arise from the depression. Sadly the (tiny number of) people in government that had the power to implement the plan at the time, didn’t have the courage to do so. Then the war broke out and the plan was mothballed.This financial crisis is an almost exact repeat of the depression of the 30’s and yet there is no discussion of him or his plan on the BBC.
Banks behaving better shrinks money supply. And makes banks go bust or need more bailouts.
This is a tragedy not mentioned on the BBC. See here for details.
People taking economics at university are either not taught about the monetary system at all, or are taught an oversimplified and FALSE model of it.
For proof of this, look no further than this quote from Professor Charles Goodhart, who describes standard university teaching of our monetary system as “…such an incomplete way of describing the process of the determination of the stock of money that it amounts to misinstruction”. So anyone reading this who has a degree in economics - please note that your understanding of the way our monetary system works is probably wrong.
Over 90% of bank lending in the past years has been for the purchase of non-productive assets.
The BBC are constantly referring to investing in “risky assets”. But the public has little idea of what this term means. They may think that it means investing in businesses that make products that may or may not sell. But it actually means non-productive assets. Not “businesses” of any kind.Sadly the suppression of this kind of lending shrinks the money supply for the rest of us - so it would be a disaster to suppress it so long as we keep our current "fractional reserve" monetary system.