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What is a Central Bank?

The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States.
Many countries have central banks that loan money to commercial banks and to other lenders.
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  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2014
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A central bank or reserve bank is the organization within a specific country or coalition of countries that regulates all of the currency supplies and related policies for that particular area. Central banks perform various actions, but its most important job is to make certain that the national currency and money supply remain stable. Depending on the country these may be government owned and controlled or may be run under regulations that are specifically created to prevent extensive government interference.

The specific functions of a central bank may include many different tasks. This type of bank has responsibilities that may include distribution of currency and implementation of monetary policy. Regulating the banking industry and setting official interest rates may also be done there. Some countries ask their central bank to be the government's bank and also a lender to smaller banks, allowing them an out within difficult times.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve is the principal monetary authority. Created by Congress, it operates independent of the US federal government. In Europe, the European Central Bank controls the euro, which is a form of currency that is used by the member countries of the Eurozone — a subset of the European Union (EU). Member countries of the Eurozone have done away with their own national currency and central banking system. The only European countries without bank of this kind are Monaco and Andorra.

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Those who believe that central banks are a vital part of the worldwide economy may argue that without some type of regulatory agency in place for limiting currency, setting interest rates, and regulating banking practices, a country would quickly fall into financial disaster. Proponents may hold that without such control, the value of the country's currency would be unstable, interest rates would skyrocket, and banks would likely shut down, leaving depositors without a chance to recover their money. Others argue that central banks disrupt the openness of financial markets and cause more harm than good.

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anon304065
Post 9

Panama is a good example of a country that has operated for some 100 years without a central bank.

Now before anyone laughs, please consider the following: inflation is truly benign in Panama, running at an average of 1 percent. This is largely due to its adoption of the US dollar as currency. That being said, without a central bank to meddle in the economic cycle, recessions, when they do happen, happen more quickly, and are not severe. There is also deflation during recessions, which lowers prices, cost of living, and production costs, spurring more activity.

For those who say that growth is not possible without the studious management of a central bank, again, let's see how Panama performs: Up over 7 percent, year over year for several years running. But surely this sort of system cannot work indefinitely, right? The half life on this experiment must be way short - again, not true. Panama's been doing it successfully for over 100 years.

Don't be fooled by the banking establishment's insistence that a central bank is necessary; central banks serve one primary purpose: to take the money out of the hands of you the earner, and place that money in the hands of the owners of the central bank. So called "benign inflation" is really nothing more than the petty theft of several percent of your own net worth on an annual basis.

anon172895
Post 8

i have read that 97 percent of all profits from the fed go directly to the treasury, and that the share holders get 6 percent, and that they can't do anything without the approval of congress. Therefore, would that not constitute it as government run?

Also, shareholders can't sell, and the banks have no choice but to be a part of the feds. it sounds pretty government run to me. it was when clinton deregulated the housing market that pushed us over the edge, and now if we deregulate the feds, then who will have the control here. you really think it will be the american people? no, it will be the bankers.

And could you supply some sources so i can research this further? I'm all ears and just want the truth and what is best for america.

anon124630
Post 7

In response to an earlier post that stated the US banking system 'worked fine' up until 1913, that is not the case. There was a huge panic/crisis in 1907 that was fixed from personal bailouts from tycoons such as JP Morgan, Rockefeller and others.

If it weren't for their actions during this time, many major US banks and trusts would have gone bankrupt and depositors would have lost everything (there was no FDIC insurance at that time). This is why the Central Bank was created in the first place.

While I am 50/50 on whether or not we still need a Central Bank, I am not confident that today's financial leaders would take the responsible actions needed to regulate our markets in times of crisis.

anon52366
Post 6

Thank you for your example of Panama. I would add that the process of taking money out of the hands of you the earner, and placing that money in the hands of the owners of the central bank is far more than petty theft.

If US citizens don't pay the income taxes that are the means of payment that go directly to the central bank owners, they go to jail. This is basically armed robbery and is a crime against US citizens.

Many think that the federal income taxes go to the US Treasury to help run our government but they don't. They go directly to the owners of the central bank to pay the interest on "loaning" out the printed currency.

This is why war is always big money for the feds as it necessitates printing vast sums of currency to pay for the war. The FED is now raking in vast sums of unprecedented value due to the recession (which was engineered by them), bank bailouts, and the stimulus packages, all at our expense. Ron Paul was right--the Federal Reserve needs to be abolished.

Pamma
Post 5

What is the difference between European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve system? Both print fiat money and charge interest. Is the Fed Reserve operated by private bankers? Is the ECB operated by private bankers? Or is it that they are both independent institutions? One Euro fellow tells me there are no private operators of the ECB or any other banks in Europe and that it is state owned. If ECB is state owned, how can this be? There are no states in Europe, just countries and those countries who are members, their controlling bank is the ECB.

Will Europe face an out of control deficit created by the interest as we have today here in the USA?

anon18854
Post 3

The establishment of a central bank (and graduated income tax) is also one of the key points of the program outlined in the Communist Manifesto (by Marx and Engels). People tend to forget this. The United States worked fine from 1776 until 1913 WITHOUT a central bank. I quote Thomas Jefferson: "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies... if the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency.. the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent that their fathers conquered." Wake up people! This is already happening. Eventually currency will be completely electronic, allowing them to control who can buy and sell.

anon18043
Post 2

This article neglects to mention the treason associated with a central bank. A central bank makes the money for the country. Specifically, it loans the money to the country at interest. However, it is neither owned nor regulated by the government which makes it unconstitutional because only the congress has to authority to coin money. It is a private institution, run by private individuals for profit. The Federal Reserve is about as federal as Federal express. So for every dollar that the Federal Reserve prints is actually one dollar + a certain amount of interest.

anon7872
Post 1

Panama is a good example of a country that has operated for some 100 years without a central bank.

Now before anyone laughs, please consider the following - inflation is truly benign in Panama, running at an average of 1%. This is largely due to it's adoption of the US dollar as currency. That being said, without a central bank to meddle in the economic cycle, recessions when they do happen, happen more quickly - and are not severe. There is also deflation during recessions - which lowers prices, cost of living, and production costs - spurring more activity. For those who say that growth is not possible without the studious management of a central bank, again, let's see how Panama performs: ah ha! Up over 7% year over year for several years running. But surely this sort of system cannot work indefinitely, right? The half life on this experiment must be wayyy short - again, not true; Panama's been doing it successfully for over 100 years.

Don't be fooled by the banking establishment's insistence that a central bank is necessary; central banks serve one primary purpose: to take the money out of the hands of you the earner, and place that money in the hands of the owners of the central bank. So called "benign inflation" is really nothing more than the petty theft of several percent of your own net worth on an annual basis.

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