Survey confirms: People have no idea about how money is created

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Interesting news from our sister organisation MoMo in Switzerland: The survey results from a master’s thesis from the Institute of Finance and Banking at Zurich University confirm that Swiss people have no idea about how Swiss Francs are created. Here are the results and the main reactions from the press:

A survey has been carried out as part of a master’s thesis at the University of Zurich about the level of knowledge in the general population about the financial system. The results are astonishing:

  • Only 13 percent know that private commercial banks provide the majority of the money in circulation.
  • However, 78 percent of the Swiss population would like money to be produced and distributed solely by a public organisation working for the common good, such as the National Bank.
  • Only 4 percent preferred the system we actually have today – that money is mostly created by private, for-profit companies such as commercial banks.

The survey results reinforce the Vollgeld Initiative, which currently has more than 90,000 signatures of the 100,000 required to force a binding national referendum in Switzerland. [Update on 2nd Nov: More than 100,000 verified signatures were collected.]

The study shows clearly that the Swiss people do not know who actually creates the Swiss Franc: Only 13 percent of the population are aware that, in the current system, private banks produce the majority of the money through the extension of loans. 73 percent mistakenly believe money is created by the state or by the Swiss National Bank.

Question: Who creates our money?

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The survey found little support for the current monetary system, and strong support for the National Bank to play a leading role

Only a minority of 4% find the current configuration of the monetary system optimal (in which private banks produce around 90 percent of the money supply). 78% would like a public organisation with a legal obligation to serve the common good – such as the Swiss National Bank – to bring money into circulation.

Question: Imagine an optimal financial system. In your opinion, who should be allowed to create and circulate Swiss money?

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The “Vollgeld-Initiative” is capable of winning

The “Vollgeld Initiative” is a People’s Initiative* to bring in a sovereign money system, where only the Swiss National Bank would be allowed to create the money supply.

People’s Initiative: Under the Swiss system of direct democracy, anyone can force a national referendum on a change to the constitution if they can collect 100,000 valid signatures within an 18 month period. The result is binding.

Finally, the survey results show that 57 percent of surveyed voters would vote for a People’s Initiative*, which would allow the State and only the State (or, more precisely the Swiss National Bank) to create money, which would mean forbidding private firms (banks) from doing this. This is the crux of the “Vollgeld Inititative”, and it shows the “Vollgeld Initiative” is capable of winning.

Question 15: Would you agree to a referendum, which asks:

  • That solely the State, specifically the Swiss National Bank, may create money.
  • The commercial banks (UBS, Credit Suisse, etc.) are prohibited from creating money.

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Reliable conclusions

1146 Swiss voters participated in the online survey, including voters from all 26 cantons of Switzerland. The data were weighted to correctly represent the Cantons. From this data base it is possible to draw out reliable conclusions about the general population. The aim of the study was twofold; firstly, to find out how people believe that today’s monetary system works; and secondly, to find out what kind of institution for creating and circulating money they would prefer.


Furhter Information:

Masters thesis by Silvan Nietlisbach at the University of Zurich, Institute for Banking and Finance (in German):


Articles in the Press:


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  • Kiril Mihaylov

    money is created 100 % by privatwe banks !!! even central banks are private ! especially Federeal Rserve in US ….BOE used ti be private then became nationlised in 1946 but a lot of sorices say it is still shareholding compay wiht private shareholder although it looks like state – owned bank ….it is not ! so basically is 100 % money created by banks not goverments !

  • Sheep

    The results of the first survey only renders the rest of the polls pointless. Surely the people who aren’t aware of how their financial system works are not particularly the best place to seek qualified advice on national monetary policies?

    • disqus_JbV6kwSZTO

      Sure, mr./mrs sheep
      and George W. Bush, Angela Merkel, Berlusconi and the rest of the cream of the crop making the decisions are the well informed and make their informed decisions with no conflicts of interest. Sheep, indeed.

      • Sheep

        I’m pretty sure there are a lot more people who are well informed and professionally qualified in the subject of finance and economy other than those names you mention (if they’re even ones?). You know, 27% is a lot of people, a lot more than the people who make technical decisions on your food policies.

  • Wickliffe

    Certainly more Americans would get this right.


    • bankster01

      No they would not, probably less

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