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Jonathan M. F. Catalán

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30 years old
San Diego, California
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I am a student of economics and political science, currently living in San Diego (California).  I have dual citizenship with the United States and Spain.  I previously lived in the Carabanchel neighborhood of Madrid (Carabanchel Bajo, close to the Manzanares River; estación de Oporto [linea 6], más o menos).

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Adam Knott wrote Feduciary Media
on Mon, Jul 18 2011 11:41 AM
Hi Jonathan I was reading through some blog posts and found this post with citations that supports your recent forum post. These came from a debate last year over at Coordination Problem: I'm not sure I can add too much to all that have already been said in so many comments in differents posts. Nevertheless I'd like to share three quotes from Mises on this topic which, I think, show that Mises saw no problems with fiduciary media per se. One on the need of fiduciary media for banking to be sustainable and the second and third ones on Peel's Act: "Issuing money-certificates is an expensive venture. The banknotes must be printed, the coins minted; a complicated accounting system for the deposits must be organized; the reserves must be kept in safety; then there is the risk of being cheated by counterfeit banknotes and checks. [A]gainst all these expenses stands only the slight chance that some of the banknotes issued may be destroyed and the still slighter chance that some depositors may forget their deposits. *Issuing money-certificates is a ruinous business if not connected with issuing fiduciary media. In the early history of banking there were banks whose only operation consisted in issuing money-certificates. But these banks were indemnified by their clients for the costs incurred.* [A]t any rate, catallactics is not interested in the purely technical problems of banks not issuing fiduciary media. The only interest that catallactics takes in money-certificates is the connection between issuing them and the issuing of fiduciary media." (HA 1949 [1996], p. 435). This citation comes from the free banking chapter in HA, where he's not working under the assumption of a central bank. The second one (on Peel's Act): "To start from the Banking Principle, which denies the possibility of an over-issue of bank-notes and regards 'elasticity' as their essential characteristic, is necessarily to arrive at the conclusion that any limitation of the circulation of notes, whether they are backed by money or not, must prove injurious, since it prevents the exercise of the chief function of the note-issue, the contrivance of an adjustment between the stock of money and the demand for money without changing the objective exchange-value of money." (TOMC 1912 [1981], pp.406-407) The third one (also on Peel's Act): "*As far as Peel’s Act was concerned, however, this very shortcoming of the theory that had created it turned out to be an advantage; it caused the incorporation in it of the safety valve without which it would not have been able to cope with the subsequent increase in the requirements of business.* The fundamental mistake of Peel’s system, which it shares with all other systems which proceed by restricting the note circulation, lies in its failure to foresee the extension of the quota of notes not backed by metal that went with the increase on the demand for money in the broader sense. As far as the past was concerned, the act sanctioned the creation of a certain amount of fiduciary media and the influence that this had on the determination of the objective exchange value of money; it did not do anything to counteract the effects of this issue of fiduciary media. But at the same time, in order to guard the capital market from shocks, it removed all future possibility of partly or wholly satisfying the increasing demand for money by the issuing of fiduciary media and so of mitigating or entirely preventing a rise in the objective exchange value of money. *This amounts to the same thing as suppressing the creation of fiduciary media altogether and so renouncing all the attendant advantages for the stabilization of the objective exchange value of money. It is an heroic remedy with a vengeance, in essence hardly differing at all from the proposals of the downright opponents of all fiduciary media.*" (TOMC 1912 [1981], p.408) These two last citations comes from the addendum in TOMC, and are from a specific chapter on Peel's Act. He's explicitly sustaining that 1) "Issuing money-certificates is a ruinous business if not connected with issuing fiduciary media; 2) "is necessarily to arrive at the conclusion that any limitation of the circulation of notes, whether they are *backed by money or not*, must prove injurious" and 3) that what Peel's Act tries to do "amounts to the same thing as suppressing the creation of fiduciary media altogether *and so renouncing all the attendant advantages for the stabilization of the objective exchange value of money*." The link, with the ABCT, as I interpet Mises's position, is when a monetary authority (i.e. a central bank) expands fiduciary media more than the increase in its demand, and not that just any expansion in fiduciary media results in ABCT; even if he wasn't explicit and 100% clear on this (just as he wasn't on the opposite). I found plausible the interpretation that his references and proposals to limit issuance are with a central bank (or monetary authority) with a bias to over-expand as given as a "second best". Hope this helps rather than adding more confussion. Best, NC Posted by: Nicolas Cachanosky | May 18, 2010 at 01:03 AM