STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Economist on India Central Banking: Financial Illiteracy on Display
By Staff News & Analysis - February 06, 2012

Judging by the numbers, the RBI is among the world's best central banks. Its record on balancing growth and inflation is decent enough. Since 1995 wholesale prices have risen by an average of 6% a year, not too far from the RBI's comfort zone of about 5%. Growth has averaged 7% a year. The RBI is also in charge of the safety of the financial system, to which end it yanks more levers than Willy Wonka in a chocolate factory. Its record here is excellent. Despite a current-account deficit that leaves India vulnerable to global jitters, the country sidestepped the 1997 Asian crisis ("nobody gave us a chance," recalls a former governor) and the West's banking crisis in 2008. The RBI also coped with big and potentially destabilising capital inflows in the euphoric years before Wall Street began to totter, and has avoided a domestic financial crisis despite fast growth in banks' assets for many years. – Economist

Dominant Social Theme: The Reserve Bank of India is a great example of how central banks work, and work well …

Free-Market Analysis: Central banks should be free. That's the dominant social theme the Economist magazine is pounding home today in this article. Too bad the Economist's entire premise is a mistaken one.

And that would surely come as a surprise to some … though not to many who read the alternative media and have been exposed to real free-market thinking. Obviously, the Economist writers and editors have not.

This article about India's central bank is a case in point. It's logical, witty, well-written, all the things the anonymous Economist writers are well known for. But it leaves out major points about what a central bank is and how it functions.

This turns the article from a lucid overview into propagandistic assertion. As usual – with all clever elite propaganda – what's left out is more important than what's stated.

Deconstruct the Economist and you end up with two fairly specific themes. The first is that governments are often destructive, but if they only followed the Economist's prescriptions, they could do better.

The second theme is that modern (monopoly fiat) central banks are not always helpful, and sometimes hurtful, but if they only followed the Economist's witty prescriptions, they could do better.

Merge these two obsessions and a general theme emerges. Authoritarianism – political and economic – is often messy and dysfunctional, but it can be improved! The Economist writers and editors are here to help.

The assumption is that it has GOT TO BE THIS WAY. We shall always have large, intrusive, even murderous governments and terribly impoverishing (and thus equally murderous) central banks.

If one goes along with these assumptions, then the magazine's delightfully arch prose and witty prescriptions configure themselves into sensible observations and solutions. One merely needs to accept the intellectual conceit that humankind has no other template than Western regulatory democracy.

One also need to accept the idea that a technocracy of good, gray men running central banks can raise the level of wealth in the world, or at least attempt to. They mean well, in other words. Here's some more from the article:

Some fancy the RBI is a model for the kind of full-service central bank that is back in fashion worldwide—both the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, among others, are now in charge of financial stability as well as interest rates. In truth, it would be hard to run a rich economy the way the RBI does India, with its financial system only partly liberalised. But the central bank has new clout abroad and at home its stock is high.

Under the present governor, Duvvuri Subbarao, a softly spoken figure, it has made a tough series of rate rises in the past two years to try to curb a stubborn spell of inflation (a battle that may not be over). And although the bank finds it hard to tempt star graduates to work in its tower overlooking Mumbai harbour—"if you look at its people and those of the Fed, there's no comparison," laments one bigwig—relative to most Indian state bodies the RBI has more brains, muscle and integrity. It is about the only institution in the country you never hear accused of graft …

Like a triumphant wearer of flares that have at last come back in fashion, the RBI's wide remit—minting coins, managing the exchange rate, acting as banker for the government, and supervising banks and the bond market—is now seen as a template. These responsibilities helped it deal with the 2008 crisis: in short order it defended the currency, loaned money to cash-strapped banks, gave forbearance on troubled loans, soothed the bond market and eased banks' capital requirements. Today a process of constant tweaking continues. In December, after a panicky fall in the rupee, the RBI introduced several obscure measures to bolster it, such as making it more attractive for Indians resident abroad to deposit money in the homeland.

In the Economist's world, central banks often go off-track along with their governments, but with the right "tweaking" prosperity can return and a brighter future can be discerned in the distance.

It's all nonsense, of course. Central banks are entirely destructive mechanisms and the governments for which they provide monopoly currency are often thuggish and even genocidal instruments.

Both central banking and regulatory democracy have been perfected in the past 100 years. Neither are what they seem and both are economically illiterate enterprises.

Central banks fix the price of money via interest rate declarations and money printing. Governments fix the price of everything else via laws and regulations. But price-fixing never works. It causes only incongruence and, eventually, disaster.

Europe and the US are both in the "disaster" phase. Eventually China will arrive there – and then the rest of the BRICs, including India. The BRICs' current economic "success" in fact, is a deeply dishonest affair itself, the direct result of central bank monetary over-stimulation.

It's seemingly being done on purpose, to even out the wealth differential between the West and developing countries. Trade treaties such as NAFTA and CAFTA contribute as well. Can't build global government with disparate regional pieces, after all. Everyone has to be blended into an impoverished whole.

But the Economist and every other mainstream media mouthpiece of the Anglosphere power elite spew out millions of reports about central banks and governments and never mention such fundamental points. The world's economy is an entirely stage-managed affair.

There is not a single independent money left that we know of, and hardly a single economy that is not massively penetrated by government price-fixing. Even worse, monetary and governmental price-fixing is massively coordinated by such Western-run entities as the Group of 20 and the Group of Seven.

Because of human action, central banks' adjustments and laws, generally, are bound to fail and may well have the opposite effect from what is intended. In fact, every price fix transfers wealth from those who create it and know how to use it to those who don't and have little idea of how to employ it properly.

Every price fix causes a subsequent change in human behavior. This is what Austrian economists call "human action." The tiny handful of impossibly wealthy families that control central banks along with their enablers and associates surely understand this concept.

And thus, they fully comprehend the damage that governments and central banks cause. Not only do they understand it, they obviously SEEK this damage. Out of chaos, goes the saying, comes order.

Only via legal and monetary chaos can global governance come about. Make humankind generally so unhappy, war-riven and impoverished that people will welcome any change – even more of the same –and one has the possibility of initiating a real worldwide authoritarian regime.

This is obviously what's going on today. It cannot be otherwise. The governmental and monetary institutions that are standardized around the world are churning out chaos as fast as it can be manufactured.

As for the Economist, and laudatory stories like this one (excerpted above), well … they are nothing more than fairytales. India itself is a desperately poor country and more than a century of regulatory democracy has done little to improve things. Millions still face starvation every day and live on the street. India is no success story.

Nor is it meant to be. What the British elites (Anglosphere) did originally was take a number of disparate cultures and regions and, via the brute force of arms, combine them into one country called India. The Anglosphere elites then proceeded to "rule" India and now the media mouthpieces of the British elite are to comment approvingly as the next steps are taken.

What are the next steps? Having combined India into one seething cauldron of corruption and dysfunction – while making sure there is nowhere else for India's miserable billion-plus to go – the British behind the scenes are supporting a campaign for austerity and governmental transparency.

We've written about this campaign several times previously. It's part of a large cynical and brutish British effort to further homogenize India and get it ready for merger with other sub-Asian nation states. Pakistan has been fingered for similar treatment – though that's not going so well currently.

The current laudatory Economist article is part of this larger campaign. The idea is that India has now made a great deal of "progress" in building Western-style civic and monetary institutions. As a technocratic elite continues to ascent to prominence in India, the next steps toward a larger regional facility can be taken.

It's all very cynical, and one has to study it for a long time to get a sense of what's really going on. But there seems to be a recipe to these things, one that is being applied today to the Middle East. One starts with military power, creates the rudiments and regulatory democracy and central banking and then gradually builds a ruinous and coercive federal government that can be further combined with other similar entities in even larger configurations.

This is what happened in Europe. This is what is scheduled for South America, Africa, Asia, etc. Of course, as we often note, the elites have run up against what we call the Internet Reformation. The heady days of the 20th century have come to a trembling halt. More extreme measures are needed.

The order of the day now is war, mayhem, authoritarian legislation and global police actions. The brutal wedge of copyright enforcement and policing actions have been leveled directly at the Internet. This Economist article (and the Economist generally) harkens back to a simpler era when the power elite controlled all media and could generate its promotional memes without fear of pushback.

But in the 21st century, such dominant social themes are not working nearly as well. The financial and economic illiteracy that the elite-managed media depends upon is gradually being eroded by free-market – "Austrian" – economics.

The idea that government rules and regulations or central bank monopoly-fiat price-fixing can make society function better is a profoundly dishonest one. Doesn't matter whether the central bank is "depdendent" or "independent." Nor do the elites really have a way to counter this dawning realization except by trying to shut down the offending messengers and messages.

This is not a good solution as there is but a handful of "real" elites and billions who are not. Not being very imaginative, elite mouthpieces like the Economist will continue to churn out these sorts of misleading promotional articles. This is not such a good idea, either.

After Thoughts

Over time, we would tend to believe, such evident and obvious creations will begin to marginalize themselves. Yesterday's "thought magazine" may become tomorrow's irrelevancy.

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