Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Lending For Capital Investments

I saw a short blurb today last week in which the president said the markets would recover once banks started "lending for capital investments."

I understand the speech was an attempt to drum up interest in small business loans; however, the wording gave me a double take.

In the free market of Adam Smith, the primary source of funds for capital investment came from re-investment of profit. A person makes a profit on their product. They know the market and judge whether or not it is a good time to put more money into the market or to diversify.

Such a system has the capital investment within an industry coming from within the industry. This is down to earth mechanism with a great deal of feedback.

The Federal Reserve effectively destroyed the Smith style free market. The Central banks created a system where a political machine controlled by political interests floods the market with cheap money.

This act of "lending for capital investment" is best seen as a leveraged speculative play. It is within this speculative framework that bubbles are born.

I believe that there is a place for interest bearing loans in an economy. However, to retain our prosperity, the main thrust of investment should be aimed at the process of developing and maintaining equity. Watching the recovery effort trying to fix the blown out economy with cheap money makes me worry that we are simply re-inflating the balloon.

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