Why Do Central Banks Use Intermediaries?


—“Question: why do central banks continue to do stimulus through intermediaries like banks when they can wire the money directly to consumers? Eg. by issuing them with prepaid cards to spend?”— Ayelam

I am not an econometrician but I suspect I’ll hold my own against any living econometric economist on this subject:

The answer consists of the following components:

(1) The distribution of physical money through the banks was a necessity.

(2 )There was no other distribution channel available until perhaps 20 years ago at the earliest. (I remember how hard it was to get people to use credit cards).

(3) Digital money is actually not a very old technology and we have just recently begun to understand it.Governments move very slowly and this will disrupt the entire economy in (good) ways that will totally fuck the institutional investors that fund DC campaigns with ill-gotten gains unearned, since they merely distribute a costless good to the highest bidder for a commission. They are auctioneers. That is all.

(4) The banker/crediting agency investigates the probability and insures the probability that the debt will be repaid. This INSURER function is actually what bankers do: insure the shareholders (citizens) that their fiat money (shares) are used judiciously. This argument has increasingly become specious because we have such accurate actuarial data now that we can predict the performance of a bucket of consumers with nearly perfect accuracy.

4A) It benefits the various rent seekers and politicians if all fiscal(spending) stimulus to the economy is provided by government to government suppliers just as all monetary stimulus is distributed through the financial sectors. What would happen to the construction of high cost government projects when consumers were able to say “but I could have used that money here at home?”.

(5) There is a (mistaken) belief that the time value of productivity for the purpose of consumption (consumer income) needs interest for calculation purposes just as business and industry need interest for economic calculation purposes. This is a long conversation but I don’t see how consumption is any kind of entrepreneurial risk. it’s the cause of entrepreneurial risk.

(6) The very idea was kind of poisoned by the MMT crowd. Particularly – we do not know the impact it would have on interest rates. And at present interest rates are the metric that the world uses to control the ‘price’ of money(which is not driven by cost of production), by regulating its ‘manufacture’ by states. Without interest rates we need another measure. This measure has been in dispute for many years, with some favoring some sort of purchasing power metric, and others favoring some productivity metric, and others some ‘growth’ metric. But if money loses its intertemporal predictability then economic calculation of contracts over any period of time increases and with that, the cost of all production, and therefore all prices, increases rapidly. (remember that money = influence that saves time and is therefore a store of time-in-production. Fiat money issued as credit money is a risk that the time will be more than saved over the interim period.

(7) The moral hazard of distributing directly to consumers is frightening because unlike market activity, where people blame employers and the economy when activity shrinks and so does their income, we are fearful that people will change from living paycheck to variable paycheck, to living from monetary distribution to monetary distribution but retaliate politically against the government in the case of shrinking. Thereby all but making total communism a deterministic outcome – which is why some of the left advocate for it.

(8) With the advent of leftist influence on the judiciary, it is no longer a social science bound by natural laws. So we have no means of putting such a policy into the constitution such that it’s immutable. Thereby eliminating the hazards articulated above.

(9) I was nobody in 2008-2009 when I was talking about it, but as far as I know Galbraith was the only mainstream guy who articulated this problem correctly, and he correctly advocated the direct payment of mortgage debt. It would have price stabilized the world economy. But it would have fucked (undeserving) institutional debt-holders the same way greek debt holders were fucked. (His death was untimely) And conservatives (wrongly) thought it created a moral hazard (which would have been solved by giving people credit lines who had acted properly, and credit lines to those people over the next x years who were able to buy a house. ) I’ve also recommended limiting mortgages to 15 years in order to limit this problem further. Why? all increases in salary are eventually absorbed by housing prices and redistributed to long term property holders (indirect retirement savings accounts ).

(10) So net net, we can buy or nationalize the ( worst )credit card company (mastercard), and distribute liquidity directly to consumers, as long as we put constitutional safeguards in place, and as long as the amount is dependent upon the overall economy. And let industry and business determine the interest rate, which should drop dramaticlaly if we reidstribute to consumers.

Because the truth is that fiat currency is such an advantage that a people cannot compete without it.

Competing currencies and commodities exist but they are not anywhere near as price stabilized as fiat money CAN be.

So we are always going to have it. Probably digital will replace it and it will have to because the abuse of it has gotten out of hand.

What real purpose does government debt serve over simply printing money and paying with it?

You pay the price of interest in order to delay the equilibrial neutrality of money working through the economy.

In other words, the faster new money moves the faster prices in the existing cycle of production adjust.

Fast adjustment is bad if it interferes with production ( planning ) cycles.

So instead we pay interest and sell government debt so that we inflate away the interest at about the same rate that prices adjust in the economy.

If you understand it, then it seems ridiculous. A clever network of lies not really different from religion.


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