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2019 | 8 | 4 | 789-818

Article title

Reforming the Primary Instrumental Cause of Increasing Income Inequality


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It is undisputed that fewer and fewer people own and control more and more of the total material wealth of the world, and conversely, that more and more people—the vast majority of mankind—own and control less and less of it, which situation is rapidly worsening. This paper identifies and examines the primary instrumental cause (i.e., prescinding from human avarice) for that phenomenon, which we argue is the usurpation of the sovereign right of money creation, known as seigniorage (from the Old French seigneuriage, “right of the lord to mint money”). This usurpation has been accomplished by a cunning and complex banking technique known as fractional reserve banking, which enables banks to make loans based on the fraudulent representation that they possess sufficient reserves to back the loans (described in detail in the article). Originally considered criminal, and its practitioners even subject to the death penalty, over the last three centuries by hook or by crook fractional reserve banking has been legalized in nearly all the nations of the world, to the benefit of bankers and the harm of all other economic sectors and the public. The article then examines the deleterious effects of fractional reserve banking on capitalism, and how its extirpation may be accomplished, thereby reforming capitalism—“which is not of its nature vicious”—into a more just economic system. Finally we note how socialism—in any of its various stripes—is radically contrary to the private ownership of material goods necessary for proper human liberty, and rooted as it is in the purely materialistic notion that man should be subject to the State or society in order to to maximize production, cannot be acceptably reformed. Economics is not necessarily a zero sum game: even when vitiated by fractional reserve banking capitalism will result in greater total wealth, but shared more and more unequally, whereas socialism inevitably results in less total wealth, recalling Winston Churchill’s apt observation that: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of the miseries.”








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  • Adler–Aquinas Institute, Colorado Springs, Colo., USA


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