Sunday, June 19, 2016
For centuries, alchemy has been the basis of our system of money and banking. Governments pretended that paper money could be turned into gold even when there was more of the former than the latter. Banks pretended that short-term riskless deposits could be used to finance long-term risky investments. In both cases, the alchemy is the apparent transformation of risk into safety. For much of the time the alchemy seemed to work. From time to time, however, people realized that the Emperor had far fewer clothes than the Masters of the Universe wanted us to believe.
-Mervyn King, The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy