Historically, the FED and other “central banks” came to be called “central banks” for several reasons. First, they are financial organizations. Second, they hold deposits of other banks and governments. Third, their assets are largely financial assets. Fourth, they make advances or loans to other banks on collateral. Fifth, the government has made them to be at the heart or center of the banking industry and the monetary system. Sixth, government power is itself centralized or national. All of these statements are factual.
Now this is an imposing array of reasons why “central banks” are called “central banks”. But the most important of these reasons is the fifth reason, which is that the government has used its power to make the “central bank” central. And because the government has used its power to create the “central bank” and make it central, we know that the “central bank” is not a free market institution. This is the main ground upon which I challenge the notion that a “central bank” is a bank. The concept of “central bank” fails to distinguish a free market business and a bureau created by government power. The term “central bank” undermines this distinction between free market and government. Indeed, it erases it altogether.

‘Central Banks’ Are Not Banks, 9/24/11

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