The Roving Cavaliers of Credit

Linked with Steve Keen – Australia, and with Steve Keen’s Deptwatch – The blog.

Published on Steve Keen’s Deptwatch, by himself, Jan. 31, 2009.

“Talk about centralisation! The credit system, which has its focus in the so-called national banks and the big money-lenders and usurers surrounding them, constitutes enormous centralisation, and gives this class of parasites the fabulous power, not only to periodically despoil industrial capitalists, but also to interfere in actual production in a most dangerous manner— and this gang knows nothing about production and has nothing to do with it.”

Ten years ago, a quote from Marx would have one deemed a socialist, and dismissed from polite debate. Today, such a quote can (and did,  along with Charlie’s photo) appear in a feature in the Sydney Morning Herald – and not a few people would have been nodding their heads at how Marx got it right on bankers …

… With a sensible model of how money is endogenously created by the financial system, it is possible to concur that a decline in money contributed to the severity of the Great Depression, but not to blame that on the Federal Reserve not properly exercising its effectively impotent powers of fiat money creation. Instead, the decline was due to the normal operations of a credit money system during a financial crisis that its own reckless lending has caused – the Cavaliers are cowards who rush into a battle they are winning, and retreat at haste in defeat.

However, with his belief in Friedman’s analysis, Bernanke did blame his 1930 predecessors for causing the Great Depression. In his paean to Milton Friedman on the occasion of his 90th birthday, Bernanke made the following remark:

“Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”

In fact, thanks to Milton Friedman and neoclassical economics in general, the Fed ignored the run up of debt that has caused this crisis, and every rescue engineered by the Fed simply increased the height of the precipice from which the eventual fall into Depression would occur.

Having failed to understand the mechanism of money creation in a credit money world, and failed to understand how that mechanism goes into reverse during a financial crisis, neoclassical economics may end up doing what by accident what Marx failed to achieve by deliberate action, and bring capitalism to its knees.

Neoclassical economics – and especially that derived from Milton Friedman’s pen – is mad, bad, and dangerous to know. (full long text).

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