Banks have two key powers in today’s economy – they get to decide:
- how much money to create, and
- how this money can be spent.
1. How much money have banks created?
From the time when the Bank of England was formed in 1694, it took over 300 years for banks to create the first trillion pounds. It took only 8 years for banks to create the second trillion. Today cash accounts for just 3% of the total money in the economy (coloured green on the chart below). Money created by banks accounts for the other 97% (red on the chart below).
2. How have they used this new money?
Over the last 15 years the banks have used their power to create money to pump hundreds of billions of pounds into the property market (shown in red below). This has pushed the price of housing out of reach of ordinary people. Lending to the finance sector has also increased greatly over the past 15 years; this sector includes the companies that were involved in much of the speculation which contributed to the crisis.
Meanwhile, lending to businesses has stagnated, harming the real (non-financial economy) economy and lowering employment and growth.
The Technical Details
This section covers all the nitty-gritty details of money creation by banks. We cover the three types of money, how balance sheets work, how central and commercial banks create – and destroy – money and what is wrong about the textbooks taught in universities. Read more…
“Refreshing and clear. The way monetary economics and banking is taught in many – maybe most – universities is very misleading and this book helps people explain how the mechanics of the system work.”
– Professor David Miles, Monetary Policy Committee, Bank of England
Why our monetary system is broken, and how to fix it.
“Money is a social invention, indeed among the most important of all social inventions. At present the right to create money has been handed over to the private businesses we call banks. But this is not the only way we could create money and, as recent experience suggests, it may be far from the best one. Read this book with an open mind and you will understand why.”
– Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times
Papers and videos from:
- The Bank of England
- The International Monetary Fund
- Lord Adair Turner, former chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority
- Other professors and experts in the monetary system