The economist John Kenneth Galbraith provided the best introduction to the creation of money by banks when he said,

The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.

It works like this:

A man walks into a bank. He asks to borrow money. Let’s call the amount requested P (for principal.) The bank creates the money by typing some numbers into a computer to add the funds to the bank account. The money has now been created out of nothing. At the same time, however, a legal obligation is created: the man must pay the bank back an amount P plus some interest. We’ll call that amount I. So P dollars have been created by the bank and P plus I dollars are owed to it.

The interest, I, will of course be profit to the bank. For this profit, the bank had to produce nothing. The borrower, though, will have to work to earn the amount P plus I to pay the bank back. In other words, the wage earned by the borrower as he works to create some tangible product or service of value will be transferred to the bank that has produced nothing.

Bad enough, but here’s the catch: when the bank lends the money to the borrower, only money in the amount of the principal is created. The interest on that principal is not. Therefore, in aggregate, people owe banks more money than has yet been created!

Robin Koerner, publisher (from his piece, “Inflation: Where Cronyism Meets Poverty”)

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Notes

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