Michael Sandbu ist einer der klarsten Kommentatoren, die ich kenne. Auch er hat sich in der vergangenen Woche mit Blick auf das bevorstehende Referendum in der Schweiz mit dem Thema „Vollgeld“ beschäftigt. Lesenswert!
- „The so-called ›Vollgeld‹ or ›sovereign money‹ initiative aims to require private banks to back clients’ deposits fully with central bank reserves. Put differently, they would abolish the fractional reserve banking practised virtually everywhere, under which private banks can create deposits when they issue loans over and above the cash, currency and reserves with the central bank that they possess in assets.“ – bto: was für eine schöne Zusammenfassung. Genau darum geht es.
- „The Vollgeld promoters are right about two big things. The first is that in a fractional reserve system, the amount of money circulating in an economy is largely determined by private banks and their decentralised, profit-maximising decisions about how much to lend. The broad money supply consists almost wholly of bank deposits created ex nihilo by private institutions, rather than government-issued money. Just making more people realise this is itself a benefit of the referendum campaign.“ – bto: Das sehe ich genauso, es gibt wenigstens eine Diskussion.
- „The second is that if we had to design a system for managing the economy’s money supply from scratch we would never opt for what we have today.“ – bto: Das ist die FT und nicht die taz!
- „A stable and appropriate size of the money supply is a deeply important public good. It is a public good in the general sense that the government is rightly held responsible for it (…).“ – bto: So kann man es sagen.
- „Suffice to note that profit-maximising private banks have an incentive to expand lending when money supply growth is already too high and retrench when monetary stimulus is most needed. In other words, they create credit cycles. They also have no incentive to take into account the effect their money creation has on others.“ – bto: Es ist eine Tatsache, dass für die Folgen von Blasen andere einstehen müssen!
- „Full reserve backing — essentially nationalising the money supply — must in principle be superior, at the very least because it would give central banks more tools to manage the economy. (…) would allow them to both keep doing what they do at the moment and to try bolder monetary instruments such as directly managing the amount of broad money in circulation or issuing ›helicopter money‹.“ – bto: was nun wiederum nicht so gut klingt. Damit wäre dem Missbrauch Tür und Tor geöffnet.
- „(…) they do mean the burden of proof is on those who oppose the change. So far they have not fully shouldered it. (…) The head of the Swiss central bank, Thomas Jordan, has come out strongly against the proposal saying it ›would hurt Switzerland‹. Some of his chief arguments, however, are contradictory. On the one hand, he argues that full reserve backing would interfere with banks’ ability to lend, they could only lend out funds deposited with it for such purposes, rather than as liquid deposits. Such ›maturity transformation‹ — funding long-term loans with deposits redeemable at short notice — is the essence of banking.“ – bto: Es ist ja gerade das Ziel, die Kreditvergabe neu zu ordnen.
- „Jordan rightly says that if the initiative passes, banks would instead have to solicit funds on the understanding that they would be used for long-term loans. At the same time, however, he argues that savers would be hurt because reserve-backed deposits would be less well-remunerated. But the latter is precisely what would attract savers to fund the former. If they do so with greater understanding of the risk, that should make for better market pricing of credit.“ – bto: Genauso ist es.
Am Tag danach setzte sich Sandbu mit der Kritik an der Vollgeldinitiative auseinander. Die ist auch interessant:
- „Would this not lead to the mother of all credit crunches? – (…) If the required ratio of deposit money to reserves goes up to 100 per cent but the amount of reserves available does not, the amount of deposits must contract. That would be undesirable, so the central bank would have to make reserves amply available. It can do this through a combination of reserves lending (against banks’ assets as collateral), asset purchases, or ›helicopter drops‹.“ – bto: und könnte so auch die Grundlage für eine Verrechnung mit Staatsschulden legen.
- „Will the central bank’s balance sheet not balloon? – Yes. This is a feature, not a bug. As the term ›sovereign money‹ indicates, the aim is for money no longer to be created by the private banking system but by the central bank (as in the case of physical cash), so it follows that the entire broad money supply must be reflected on the central bank balance sheet. (…) in a Vollgeld regime the quantity of broad money will be managed by changing the size of the balance sheet.“ – bto: Und wir sind ja schon auf dem Weg in diese Richtung.
- „But can you control both the quantity of money and the interest rate? – (…) In a new regime, a bank issuing a loan would have to find the reserves to back up the deposit money the loan extends to the borrower. Unless the central bank supplied such reserves to stimulate new lending (which it could do, but then that would determine the money supply), the bank would have to persuade savers to part with their deposit. That is to say, under the new regime banks would actually have to do what many believe they do today: raise funds from savers to channel to borrowers. To do so, they would have to offer a rate sufficiently higher than the deposit rate to compensate savers for the risk.“ – bto: Und das wollen wir ja auch: mehr produktive Kredite.
- „Would it not make credit harder to come by and therefore damage growth? – One reader dismissed full-reserve banking by pointing out that the fractional reserve system has coincided with the ›unprecedented economic growth‹ period of the past few centuries. (…) We could note that the US, for example, makes do with a banking system that is much smaller than Europe’s relative to both economic output and finance generally. We could also note that the historical period of highest growth (the decades after the war) was when banks were the most constrained by public regulation. Any hard empirical studies that we have indicate that bank debt is harmful to growth beyond a certain level, but that this is less true for market financing, especially in an equity form. The reasons are not hard to guess: fractional reserve banking is a generator of credit but also a cause of boom-and-bust credit cycles.“ – bto: Ich denke, es führt dazu, dass produktive Investitionen bevorzugt werden.
Fazit FT: „One thing that is clear is that central banks would have a wider range of tools — and so the range of possibly policies is correspondingly broader. It would be surprising if something better than the status quo could not be found.“ – bto: die FT! Die Zeitung der Banker, nicht die taz!