The Case For Capital Controls

The standard economic view used to be that capital controls were a damaging relic from the past. Almost all economists opposed them as they believed they discouraged foreign investment, created barriers to trade and lead to an inefficient allocation of resources. The notion that the government could restrict how people used their money was found abhorrent by many. However, since the Financial Crisis, there has been a shift in opinions. Many economists support some capital controls to reduce instability in the economy, particularly in the financial sector. 250 economists from around the world signed a petition calling on the US government to reconsider its opposition to capital controls. Even major institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, the Federal Reserve and the European Union have admitted that there may be some cases in which capital controls are beneficial. Continue reading “The Case For Capital Controls”

Endogenous Money Or How Loans Create Deposits

If you open any economic textbook you will find a standard explanation of how banks operate. The basic story is that a person deposits some money (say €100) into a bank which then saves a percent of this (say 10%) as a reserve and then lends out the rest. This €90 is then deposited by whoever receives the loan, 10% of which is saved and the rest is lent out. This goes on and on until the original €100 has become €1,000. It is easy to see why students are told this story; it is simple, intuitive and gives them a basic idea of banking. Unfortunately, it is wrong.

There is strong evidence that contrary to the above story (known as the loanable funds theory) the banking system works the other way around. Deposits don’t create loans; loans create deposits (this is known as endogenous money). This is a more complicated story but a more realistic one that can better guide our view of the economy. Continue reading “Endogenous Money Or How Loans Create Deposits”

The Problem With Econometrics

Following up my last post I thought I’d expand on my problem with econometrics. Essentially the core problem with econometrics is that it is heavily dependent on its assumptions and can be easily twisted to say whatever its designer wants it to. Continue reading “The Problem With Econometrics”

Why The Austrian Business Cycle Theory Is Wrong

One of the surprisingly popular theories as to why the recession occurred is known as the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT), which argues that not only is the government not the solution to the recession, but in fact, it is also the cause. It claims that the recession was caused by the government artificially lowering the interest rates and distorting the economy leading to a recession. As you can imagine this theory is very popular among libertarians eager for an excuse to absolve the market of blame for the crash. It is promoted by Ron Paul and Peter Schiff who claim to have predicted the Financial Crash (and the next one too). It is also completely wrong and dangerously so. Continue reading “Why The Austrian Business Cycle Theory Is Wrong”

The Failure Of Private Auditing

On this blog I often discuss market failures and the need for government action to correct them. It is necessary for regulation to keep the free market from getting too wild. But is government the right answer? Can the market not control itself? Could companies not bind together to create industry standards without government bureaucracy? Can private regulators not ensure proper standards are met without the need for state intervention? Continue reading “The Failure Of Private Auditing”

The Impossible Trinity

Most economic concepts are pretty dry, but the Impossible Trinity sounds like one of those dilemmas where you are in a burning house and can only save two out of three people. The term refers not to religion (that Trinity is impossible in its own way) but international trade and how governments can only two out of three options, each of which is desirable in its own way. The three options are fixed exchange rates, independent monetary policy and free movement of capital. If they don’t sound that exciting, they are crucial to understanding the crisis with the Euro and what we can do about it. Continue reading “The Impossible Trinity”

Promises We Cannot Keep

A guest blog I did for a new group, Irish Student Left Online, on the Anglo Promissory Note. Its a specifically Irish issue, but basically a private bank made reckless gambles and was about the go bankrupt when the Irish government bailed it out. It will cost 30 billion euro to wind down the company (as in return for 0 benefit). It been a huge problem figuring how we should pay this and this week the government finally got an agreement with the ECB to delay repayments for 30 years. I discuss whether or not this a good deal.

Irish Student Left Online

In his debut for the ISLO Robert Nielsen goes through the bizarre and tragic nature of the recent “deal” on the Promissory Notes. Robert blogs over here normally. 

Whenever discussing the banks people often preface their comments by saying that they don’t know much about economics. It is assumed that the bank bailout only seems absurd due to a lack of economic knowledge, that in actual fact the government is following well-established economic principles. As an economics student, let me tell you that nothing is further from the truth. There is no economic logic or theory behind the government’s

View original post 1,736 more words