Marc Thornton of Mises alerts me to this new Swiss referendum.
Post rejection of gold backed currency referendum, they are now looking at 100% reserve banking. What does this mean? Well, under this banks maintain all their demand deposits as reserves. As of now, they just maintain a fraction of deposits as reserves and lend the rest. This 100% rule shall limit banks role in creation of money which has increased significantly over the years. This restriction though does not usually apply to time deposits which are not payable on demand. Not sure what the details are of the proposed referendum.
So what is the new Swiss deal?
The signatures have been collected and submitted paving the way for a vote to establish 100% reserve banking in Switzerland. In doing so, the Swiss people join with Iceland in attempting to abolish fractional reserve banking. According to the Telegraph:
Under Switzerland’s direct democracy, a referendum can be held if a motion gains 100,000 signatures within 18 months of launching.
If successful, the sovereign money bill would give the Swiss National Bank a monopoly on physical and electronic money creation, “while the decision concerning how new money is introduced into the economy would reside with the government,” says Vollgeld.
The idea of limiting all money creation to central banks was first touted in the 1930s and supported by renowned US economist Irving Fischer as a way of preventing asset bubbles and curbing reckless lending.
In modern market economies, central banks control the creation of banknotes and coins but not the creation of all money, which occurs when a commercial bank offers a line of credit. Central banks aim to influence the money supply with monetary policy and regulatory tools. The SNB was established in 1891, with exclusive power to mint coins and issue Swiss banknotes.
But over 90pc of money in circulation in Switzerland now exists in the form “electronic” cash created by private banks, rather than the central bank.