Monopoly money

The Partial Observer
by James Leroy Wilson

04/30/09

The bank was once considered a warehouse where people could keep their gold or other precious metal for a fee. The paper receipts they were given by the bank began to circulate in the economy as a paper substitute for the gold money itself. This tempted the bank to issue more receipts as loans than it actually had in its vaults. Sometimes, the people lost trust in the bank and a ‘bank run’ would ensue where everyone would try to get their gold back, and only a few could. The Federal Reserve System was set up to protect these fraudulent banks from bank runs. Even today, when the Federal Reserve paper dollar is money, banks have just one-tenth of their total deposits in paper and coin for people to withdraw. Money is ‘created’ by the Federal Reserve Board more by computer entries than by the printing press, and each additional dollar it creates makes each existing dollar slightly less valuable...

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Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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