Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Economist tries to start a bank run

Could withdrawing $1 million from a bank start a run on that bank and many others?  One "Terry Burnham, former Harvard economics professor" thinks so. 

Clearly academic economists at Harvard and paid a lot more than most academics to have accumulated such a tidy sum to start this bank run.

A number of events can trigger bank runs - could this be it?  Any academic who can write a book called "Mean Markets and Lizard Brains" has to be someone to listen to surely.

Is your money safe at the bank? An economist says ‘no’ and withdraws his [PBS]

"Terry Burnham, former Harvard economics professor, author of “Mean Genes” and “Mean Markets and Lizard Brains,” provocative poster on this page and long-time critic of the Federal Reserve, argues that the Fed’s efforts to strengthen America’s banks have perversely weakened them. (See our 2005 segment with Burnham below about how “lizard brains” influence our economic decisions.)

Last week I had over $1,000,000 in a checking account at Bank of America. Next week, I will have $10,000.

Why am I getting in line to take my money out of Bank of America? Because of Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, who officially begins her term as chairwoman on Feb. 1.

Before I explain, let me disclose that I have been a stopped clock of criticism of the Federal Reserve for half a decade. That’s because I believe that when the Fed intervenes in markets, it has two effects — both negative. First, it decreases overall wealth by distorting markets and causing bad investment decisions. Second, the members of the Fed become reverse Robin Hoods as they take from the poor (and unsophisticated) investors and give to the rich (and politically connected). These effects have been noticed; a Gallup poll taken in the last few days reports that only the richest Americans support the Fed. (See the table.)"

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