Why are central banks harmful?

Contrary to the wonderful sounding description given by the Bank of England, in reality, they cause harm throughout the economy, and make all of us poorer.

They are the prime cause of inflation, cause business cycles (booms and busts), transfer wealth from the poor to the rich, encourage debt over savings and prudence, and are effectively a legalised counterfeiter.

Central banks worldwide were a primary cause of the recent financial crisis, by settings interest rates too low, thereby creating a bubble. It’s inevitable collapse caused havoc that still hasn’t settled. Some stability!

The Bank of England claims to keep a lid on inflation – ignoring the fact that there has been many episodes of high inflation throughout it’s existence – just consider the castrophoic inflation since the last remaing bits of the international gold standard (Bretton Woods) ended in 1971:

 [1]

The gold standard is a huge help in controlling the money supply, and hence inflation. However, it was consistently abused by politicians until its eventual demise. A true gold standard would be out of the hands of government, and instead be handled by the market. Restoring a government controlled gold-standard would be a useful first step to honest money, but it would always remain subject to political whims until money is fully denationalised.

Abolishing the Bank of England would bring a much stable economy, reducing the impacts of booms (and therefore busts), reduce inflation significantly, and remove a dangerous policy option for politicians desperate to be re-elected.

No-one individual, or group of individuals, should control interest rates, and have such an massive impact on our society, especially as they are almost completely unaccountable to the public. Whilst it’s possible that the Bank could pursue better policies, it is not a question of having the “right people in office”. A nation of  over 60 million people cannot be compressed into a few over simplified statistics that can then be manipulated by certain “policy prescriptions”. The economy is too diverse and complex for any bureaucrat to understand. We all have different knowledge, as well as different needs and desires, that cannot be aggregated. As FA Hayek raps in “Fight of the Century”:

The economy’s not a car, there’s no engine to stall
no expert can fix it, there’s no “it” at all.
The economy’s us, we don’t need a mechanic
Put away the wrenches, the economy’s organic

[1] Steve Baker MP, http://www.stevebaker.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/20110305-SpringConference.pdf, page 11

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