Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What is Free Banking?

In this video interview, George Selgin defines free banking as a monetary arrangement where currency is competitively supplied by private commercial banks and, consequently, not monopolized by a central bank.

He sets as examples the Scottish and Canadian’s free banking systems, which flourished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; yet, he clarifies that a completely free banking structure has not existed, since there has always been some form of government involvement. He discusses the possibility and feasibility of implementing such system in the present time, stating, as well, the negative macroeconomic implications that a central banking system has, especially for a developing country such as Guatemala, and suggests that more liberty and less government intervention could be a source of wealth and growth.

Selgin concludes by explaining how transaction costs are managed within this system, in addition to the effectiveness it entails when dealing with crises, such as bank runs or instability, in the current banking organization.

Lucas Rentschler
Universidad Francisco Marroquín
Business School
Guatemala, July 31, 2012

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