Swiss People Think Swiss Banks Are Swiss Banking Just Fine, Thanks

Let them create all the francs they want.
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Deborah Cordwell [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Calling the Swiss to the polls. Deborah Cordwell [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to putting banks in their place, some dream of a completely decentralized system, in which fake money, backed by no government or, you know, actual assets or anything else, and also easily stolen, is the global medium of exchange. These people hope to see bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin Private or Bitconnect or Litecoin or Feathercoin or Dogecoin or Potcoin or Ether or Ether Classic or KodakCoin or SearsCoin or whatever upend the entire international financial system, rendering banks and, most especially, central banks superfluous and ushering in a glorious period of global harmony. Others have a different vision, in which banks are brought to their knees by central banks, by means of endowing them with the unwanted exclusive authority to create money, much of which is actually done by commercial banks by means of fractional reserve banking, a fancy term for banks lending money they don’t have, thereby creating it out of thin air, like a bitcoin.

Proponents argue that such a system would effectively end banks’ ability to destabilize the entire global financial system by doing stupid, reckless things, which under a “sovereign money” regime would simply endanger themselves and their investors and no one else. And they thought Switzerland would be the perfect place to try it, mostly because it’s easy to get a referendum on the ballot there, and the Swiss are patient enough to go to the polls as much as four times a year to vote on them.

Alas, the Swiss are never particularly eager to vote in favor of them and change things, nor have they shown much inclination to act against authority. Create a green economy? No thanks. Universal basic income? Nein, non, no and no (that’s Romansh). Throw out foreigners for jaywalking? Seems a bit extreme and un-Swiss. Overhaul the tax code? Not necessary. Get rid of nuclear power? Not until the government says it’s OK.

Unfortunately for the sovereign money dreamers, the government and central bank said Vollgeld was very definitely not OK, especially since they’re pretty busy trying to keep a single franc from become as valuable as a single bitcoin, only with no downside. The Swiss like their banking system just fine as is, thanks.

More than three quarters rejected the so-called Sovereign Money initiative, according to the official result released from the Swiss government….

“Implementing such a scheme, which would have raised so many questions, would have been hardly possible without years of trouble,” Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said.

“Swiss people in general don’t like taking risks, and ...the people have seen no benefit from these proposals. You can also see that our banking system functions...The suspicions against the banks have been largely eliminated….”

“With conditions now remaining unchanged, the SNB will be able to maintain its monetary policy focus on ensuring price stability, which makes an important contribution to our country’s prosperity,” it said in a statement.

Swiss voters reject campaign to radically alter banking system [Reuters]
Bitcoin tumbles as hackers hit South Korean exchange Coinrail [Reuters]

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