亞當史密兩招抵抗銀行危機

Byron Tsang
Dec 8, 2019 · 7 min read
source: 香港道路大典

係講AS就銀行業提出既兩招監管之前,我想引呢一章中間一個好出名好精彩既比喻,值得一睇再睇(甚至背左佢),亦解釋左我點解揀張咁既圖。

就係呢段,粗體字我整既:

The gold and silver money which circulates in any country may very properly be compared to a highway, which, while it circulates and carries to market all the grass and corn of the country, produces itself not a single pile of either. The judicious operations of banking, by providing, if I may be allowed so violent a metaphor, a sort of waggon-way through the air, enable the country to convert, as it were, a great part of its highways into good pastures and corn-fields, and thereby to increase very considerably the annual produce of its land and labour. The commerce and industry of the country, however, it must be acknowledged, though they may be somewhat augmented, cannot be altogether so secure when they are thus, as it were, suspended upon the Dædalian wings of paper money as when they travel about upon the solid ground of gold and silver. Over and above the accidents to which they are exposed from the unskillfulness of the conductors of this paper money, they are liable to several others, from which no prudence or skill of those conductors can guard them.

睇到呢度你真係唔可以唔佩服AS想像力豐富,係十八世紀連架空道路都諗到出黎。佢既意思係話,金銀呀呢D野就好似地上既路,純粹係幫大家貨如輪轉既者,本身係冇生產野出黎,加上佢地都霸佔地方,個社會其實係因此放棄左D生產既。AS想講既係金銀本身都有用途價值,鑄幣又有成本,用來做貨幣係有所犧牲。紙幣可以取代金銀,就好似條架空道路咁,可以放番D地出黎俾你種野,呢點我地之前都提過。

咁咩野係Dædalian wings呢?Daedalus係一個希臘神話角色,係一個技術高超既工匠,為左可以避開耳目,幫佢自己同個仔 Icarus整張對翼出黎(睇下面幅圖啦),不過呢對翼飛就飛到,但好Q多限制,飛得太高D蠟又會熔,飛得太低羽毛又會濕水,卒之 Icarus就因為飛行意外瓜左。

source: Alinari/Art Resource, New York

AS想講既係,紙幣呢樣野係好有用,好似對Dædalian wings咁有用,但同時又好易出事,出既事未必係用果個唔小心亂黎,可以係純粹意外。

紙幣有利有弊,睇完以上呢一段大家應該印象深刻喇掛。

好勒,最後講埋AS提出既兩點建議就收檔喇。

第一招,就係禁止發行太細面額既紙幣(small notes),而AS指既係5鎊以下都係細。5鎊係幾多錢呢?你如果用CPI換算,而家大概係值大約7000鎊,係好Q多錢黎架!

點解AS要咁做呢?一個理由就係面額咁細,阿豬阿狗都可以做「銀行家」,良莠不齊,另一個理由係保障窮人,因為用到大面額紙幣既都係商人巨賈,做大買賣先至要使到5鎊或更多既錢,但窮人呢一般就唔會咁用錢,使錢既都係細面額。咁樣就算紙幣出左咩事,貧苦大眾都唔會中招做苦主,死都係死班有錢佬。

Where the issuing of bank notes for such very small sums is allowed and commonly practised, many mean people are both enabled and encouraged to become bankers. A person whose promissory note for five pounds, or even for twenty shillings, would be rejected by everybody, will get it to be received without scruple when it is issued for so small a sum as a sixpence. But the frequent bankruptcies to which such beggarly bankers must be liable may occasion a very considerable inconveniency, and sometimes even a very great calamity to many poor people who had received their notes in payment.

另一個適用於當時既理由呢,就係若果個社會太依賴紙幣,D金銀儲哂落某幾個地方度,萬一打仗打輸左,俾人搶哂D金銀就大Q鑊了。個社會普遍有用金銀黎交易既話,唔使聚埋一度,打輸左都冇咁大件事。

另一樣AS認為要禁既就係一個叫optional clause既野,指既係當時某種紙幣會寫明,若果銀行冇錢兌換呢,係有6個月時間延遲兌換,不過要俾息。AS冇詳細解釋佢反對既理由,只係提到呢個安排會令紙幣貶值(其實呢,理論上呢一個安排字必係壞事,有D研究甚至話係對防止擠提有幫助添)。

喂,AS唔係高舉自由市場既咩?做乜提出咁多監管銀行業既方法?每當大家睇WN有呢個疑問,都可以參考呢一章以下呢一段:

Such regulations may, no doubt, be considered as in some respects a violation of natural liberty. But those exertions of the natural liberty of a few individuals, which might endanger the security of the whole society, are, and ought to be, restrained by the laws of all governments, of the most free as well as of the most despotical. The obligation of building party walls, in order to prevent the communication of fire, is a violation of natural liberty exactly of the same kind with the regulations of the banking trade which are here proposed.

為左大眾安全著想,限制一D人既自由係在所難免,就好似D相連既屋要整部牆去隔開,防止火勢蔓延一樣。

嗱,其實AS絕對唔係咩市場原教旨主義者,只係後來D人借佢過橋黎講自己果一套者。AS其實好務實,唔會一刀切反對任何政府既干預。

頂,寫左咁耐,終於講完呢一章喇!

Byron Tsang

Written by

美國維珍尼亞理工大學經濟系副教授

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