Free Banking is now Alt-M

The Free Banking blog was a venue for leading free banking advocates to share their insights with the world. This illustrious cast includes academics, public policy experts, government officials, and rabble rousers. Guest bloggers will feature financial gurus, entrepreneurs, historians, celebrities, and many other different perspectives.

Alt-M is a blog devoted to exploring and promoting ideas for an alternative monetary future. Our goal is to reveal the shortcomings of today’s centralized, bureaucratic, and discretionary monetary arrangements, and to bring serious consideration of real alternatives to the center stage of current monetary and financial reform debates.

Alt-M.org is a joint project of the Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives and the Liberty and Privacy Network’s Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights.

Free Banking is now Alt-M

Many commentators have compared Bitcoin to gold as an investment asset. “Can Bitcoin Be Gold 2.0?,” asks a portfolio analyst. “Bitcoin is increasingly set to replace gold as a hedge against uncertainty,” suggests a Cointelegraph reporter. Economists, by contrast, are more interested in considering how a monetary…

The post How a Bitcoin System is Like and Unlike a Gold Standard appeared first on Alt-M.

(Originally appeared  December 21, 2014) As is usual this time of year, my mom and brother, and a close friend or two, asked me to share with them some of the items I’d included in the list they assumed I’d already mailed to the North Pole, as…

The post <span class=”friday”>Friday</span> <span class=”flashback”>Flashback:</span> A Free Banker’s Christmas Wish List appeared first on Alt-M.

Some years ago I published a paper on the banking theory and policy views of the important twentieth-century economist Friedrich A. Hayek, entitled “Why Didn’t Hayek Favor Laissez Faire in Banking?”[1] Very recently, working on a new paper on Hayek’s changing views of the gold standard, I…

The post Hayek on the Creation of Moral Hazard by Central Banks appeared first on Alt-M.

Fed economists defending interest on reserves have recently called on an unexpected quarter by reviving interest in Milton Friedman’s 1969 essay, “The Optimum Quantity of Money.”[1] As Ben Bernanke and Don Kohn put it, “Before the Fed paid interest on reserves, banks engaged in wasteful and inefficient…

The post Optiquandary: A Practical Problem with Friedman’s “Optimum Quantity of Money” appeared first on Alt-M.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag In September, when current Fed chair Janet Yellen held a press conference announcing details of the Fed’s normalization plan, yours truly insisted that that plan reflected the Fed’s “determination to maintain its current, bureaucratically advantageous operating system,” in which monetary policy…

The post Yellen’s Defense of Interest on Reserves appeared first on Alt-M.

(Originally appeared November 27, 2014) Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow free bankers out there! Today is our biggest secular national holiday. Not everyone celebrates Christmas or Easter much less other national holidays like Memorial Day or Labor Day, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t…

The post <span class=”friday”>Friday</span> <span class=”flashback”>Flashback:</span> Thanksgiving: A Celebration of American Currency Competition appeared first on Alt-M.

On Friday, the Treasury Department released a report on Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) designations. This report could have addressed the problem underlying FSOC’s designation authority: the fact that it makes explicit which financial institutions are “too big to fail,” paving the way for more bailouts of…

The post Treasury FSOC Report’s Troubling Bailout Specter appeared first on Alt-M.

In his recent post exploring the welfare implications of the Fed paying interest on reserves, George Selgin observed that if banks failed to maintain optimal reserves, the problem was either incorrect remuneration of reserves themselves, or the Fed’s mispricing of short-term (intraday or overnight) credit. Regarding the latter,…

The post The Fed’s Mispricing of Liquidity: Nothing New Under the Sun appeared first on Alt-M.