Ideas 2.3 (stubborn old men)

Central Bankers are normally respected old economists.
They will move slowly to maintain / regain the `good old days`.
11:59 min.

This is two hours long, but please try and listen to Warren’s first 10 minutes.
Note that most people know how the system works …. it is only the respected old economists who don’t~!

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Michael Hudson on the Difference btw. Govt. Debt and Bank Debt


I just saw this video this morning.  In it, Michael Hudson talks about the difference between govt. debt and commercial (or bank) debt.  That’s what initially interested me because it picks up what I was trying to say a few times here when I saw the statement, “All money is debt.”  But the meat of his discussion goes beyond that, into a critique of bank debt, most especially, into a critique of the spending that comes from it.

Hudson starts off talking about the difference between “money” and “debt,” as he describes the difference between what the govt. spends into the economy and the spending that occurs due to bank lending (or credit).

About 7 minutes into his discussion, however, he makes the formal distinction between govt. spending and bank lending.  And that’s when he states that both are formally debt.  He then goes on to discuss why the distinction between govt. debt and bank debt is important – in the sense that bank debt is created under legal obligation to be repaid, while govt. debt is not.

The meat of his discussion goes on to dovetail into what Steve Keen regularly talks about when Keen describes the need to distinguish between helpful investment and “ponzi scheme” investment – that of borrowing for the purpose of speculating on existing assets, commodities, etc.

My apologies to Joe, ;-).  I haven’t yet taken the time to absorb the Stephen Zarlenga audio presentation that Mystic posted here (nor the further sources that Joe pointed out).  But I still definitely have that on my “to do” list.  And, hopefully, Joe will make some posts here as well.

(I think an acknowledgement here of Jetser is appropriate too.  Within the comment section of the Zarlenga post, Jetser sought to bring into the discussion a completely opposite solution, a libertarian suggestion – that of completely privatizing the banking system, rather than keeping it as a mixed system, which it is now, and rather than completely nationalizing the system, which is Zarlenga’s suggestion – do I have that right, Joe?  And he linked to a talk by George Selgin, which can be found here. Jetser, I would also suggest that, if you are interested in doing so, this could make for a post in its own right.  If you don’t already have posting priveleges, just ask Mystic about that.)

I especially thought of Joe when I heard Hudson working to make the distinction between govt. debt and bank debt, which the system, as it is now, makes necessary.  Hudson couldn’t simply talk about govt. issuance as “money,” as he had begun the talk, and I knew, at the very least, that the system Joe advocates would allow for that… no more complex explanation about govt. debt being, yes, debt, but not debt like other debt is debt, ;-)… something that quite naturally, I think, leads to confusion and/or an important mistaken assumption – that public debt works the same way as private debt.

I still don’t know enough about the monetary system that Joe advocates at this time, but I do know that it would be a system relieved of that complexity (whether that would be for the best or not, I don’t yet know enough to say anything about).

Michael Hudson may not have the best skills as a presenter, but I do appreciate the content of his presentation:

Summit MMT – Michael Hudson: Finances vs Economy, Credit vs Money

Working my way through an alternative model to the “Money Multiplier”


My various scribblings today within the comment section of my previous post, ;-), have been my way of working through a different model than the “money multiplier model,” for which loans *need* existing deposits, and for which loans are *constrained* by the “reserve requirement” associated with existing deposits.

And yes, this uses a very simplified couple of illustrations in working with just the deposit made by one customer, but the exercise still serves the purpose of helping me to work through a couple of different models.


For one thing, I’m working with Bart’s comment under the Fullwiler post in mind, when he writes about reserves and about reserve requirements (requirements that are needed in association with demand deposits, yet are unrelated to the amount in loans that a bank may make):

I don’t feel like an expert anymore, but I did do quite a few years as a commercial banker in a large money center bank in New York….Yes in many countries a certain amount of reserves are known as “required reserves” because the regulator requires them to be maintained at the central bank and are based on customer DEPOSITS that a bank has on its balance sheet…in the US the ratio, which varies according to the type of customer deposit and the amount  is set by the Federal Reserve Board and is known as Regulation D. …but THAT type of reserves has absolutely nothing to do with loans…And believe me, banks do not need reserves to make loans. Reserves in that sense can always be obtained from the market or the central bank, after the fact. –Bart


This comes into play when considering the “money multiplier” model, as well as an alternative to it, both of which I now feel like I know more about via my recent exposure to Steve Keen, Scott Fullwiler, etc., and my current “working through” (after the earlier working through a lot of us had done together here).



…a deposit is needed first before a loan can be made.

A deposit is made, which gives the bank X amount of dollars in reserves (and yes, in the bank’s reserve balance with the Fed).

Further, according to this model, a “reserve requirement” of X dollars is set aside.

Then, a loan, which could only be created after deposit(s) have been made with the bank, would be constrained in its amount by the amount of that initial deposit *less* the reserve requirement.


So, by that model, let’s say $100 is initially deposited, and then, as a part of Bank 1’s reserve balance at the Fed, a certain percentage of that initial amount of reserves (let’s say 10%, which would be $10) is set aside as the “reserve requirement.”

Only now, in the “money multiplier model,” can the amount available for lending be determined.

This model says that in this example, $90 is available for lending.


Then, once the transfer has been made to the next bank, that bank receives that $90 and must, as a part of the reserve requirements, put $9 aside (10% in our case) within that bank’s account at the Fed.

For that bank, that then leaves $81 that can be loaned out, and so on.


The point for me of today’s “working through” has been to work my way through an alternative to the above model.


And the alternative model I use below (which I learned from Fullwiler, Keen, etc.) illustrates that no such constraint for bank lending exists – *even* if one takes into account “reserve requirements” associated with deposits.



…let’s use the same initial amount as in the example above:

$100 comes into the bank via a depositor, which is placed into Bank 1’s account at the Fed.  And, of that $100, just for illustration purposes, let’s say $10 of that is set aside – as part of the “reserve requirement.”

In this alternative model, Bank 1 can still make a loan for $100 (or $500).

The “reserve requirement” in terms of this loan only means that when reserves are needed at the time of transfer from one bank to another, Bank 1 cannot use the $10 set aside for “reserve requirements.”

But it can use the available $90.

Up to this point, the two models, in the two examples shown, are similar.  But from this point on, the two models diverge.


Bank 1 goes forward with creating a $100 loan.  And at some point after it does so, when the time comes for a transfer from Bank 1 to Bank 2 (when the loan for $100 has been spent), Bank 1 will simply have to borrow the rest of the reserves needed ($10).  And there are a few possible sources to borrow that sum of reserves from – via other banks, or the Fed…


So, in the alternative example, Bank 1 creates a loan for $100, regardless of the reserve requirements associated with the initial $100 deposit.


And now we bring the next bank into the picture:

Bank 2, after a transfer from Bank 1 has been made, now has $100 of reserves in its account at the Fed from that transfer, from which $10 is put aside as the “reserve requirement” associated with the $100 deposit.


And Bank 2, also, can make a loan for any amount, just like Bank 1 did, and so on…



In the “money multiplier model,” the successive chain of events, from one bank transfer to the next, and so on, shows that, stemming from that initial $100 deposit, less and less dollars could be lent at each successive bank.

But today’s “working through” was not only about helping me to better understand the current, most widely accepted model, but also about helping me to better understand the alternative model that Keen and the MMT folks have exposed me to, in which the loan amount at each successive bank, associated with each successive transfer, is not related to the amount of the deposit made at any of them, nor to the amount of “reserve requirements.”

So for me, it was a helpful exercise, ;-)…