A good start to understanding the real nature of central banking is the libertarian bumper sticker saying "Don’t steal! The government hates competition." The whole purpose of the bureaucratic machine called central bank is indeed to steal from us.
How does it do this? By constantly printing money (or, nowadays, creating it out of electronic bits on computers) and increasing the money supply, thereby creating inflation.
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When you get to the Bank of Canada’s Web site, it says "We are Canada’s central bank. We work to preserve the value of money by keeping inflation low and stable." Do a little search on the same Web site, however, and you discover that since the Bank started its operations in 1935, the dollar has lost about 94% of its value. A basket of goods and services that cost $100 in 1935 would cost $1600 today. That’s some preservation!
Counterfeiting is understandably illegal and punishable by law. But central bankers do it all the time, the only difference being that they have a legal stick their dollars are the only permitted legal tender and they deploy a huge propaganda machine to force us to accept their funny money.
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There are big stakes involved. Inflation is a way for governments to spend more without having to directly impose taxes. A central bank is an essential part of big government.
Central banking operations also serve as a permanent bailout for debtors. Interest rates are usually kept lower than they would be in a free financial market. And by reducing the value of the money being owed, they make life easier for debtors. So the modern era of central banking is one where debt, public and private, inexorably grows, to the point where the whole monetary edifice now threatens to collapse.
Finally, central banks protect the reckless practices of financial institutions, who lend money that they don’t have under the fraudulent fractional reserve system. With government acting as a lender of last resort, financial institutions are prone to taking greater and greater risks. As we’ve seen recently, wads of cheap cash are always at their disposal to keep them solvent and profitable.
March 12, 2010