Schmitt, B. (2014) The formation of sovereign debt. Diagnosis and remedy, SSRN

Over the past 40 years, Bernard Schmitt, Emeritus Professor of Monetary Economics of the Universities of Fribourg (Switzerland) and of Bourgogne (France), has developed an analysis of the current system of national and international payments. Together with Alvaro Cencini, Full Professor of Monetary Economics at the University of Lugano (Switzerland), he has been proposing a new and well-structured explanation of the causes of both national and international monetary disorders and the crises they lead to.

The analysis of bank money, which the two authors developed in collaboration with professors and students from different countries is entirely based on the principle of double-entry bookkeeping, and represents the cornerstone for a pioneering investigation of the structural and logical laws on which every economic system rests, at least since the creation of banks. By demonstrating that money is but an instantaneous flow allowing for payments to be carried out by banks, the advocates of this novel analysis have been able to establish that economic disorders such as inflation and pathological unemployment are not caused by economic agents’ behaviour. Contrary to what is usually believed, they maintain that financial and economic crises derive from a lack of consistency between the currently existing systems of national and international payments, and the logical laws they must conform with. In particular, what has been named “quantum macroeconomic analysis” shows that money, income and (fixed) capital are substantially different concepts, whose logical interrelationships are well delineated and rigorously defined. If actual payments are not carried out respecting these interrelations, a monetary disorder ensue, which inevitably affects the “real” economy, irrespective of whatever decision may be taken by individuals or institutions.

Inflation, unemployment, exchange rate fluctuations, debt crises, and so on, have up to now mainly been attributed to irrational behavior or exogenous shocks due to speculation or wrong political choices. Hence, most economists, international experts, and politicians have been looking first, for culprits and then for remedies capable of controlling, restraining or modifying their misbehaviour. The results so far are here for everybody to see: a devastating economic and financial crisis leading our economies towards increasingly catastrophic disaster. A new approach is thereby urgently needed, to provide both a satisfactory analysis, and an efficacious solution to a situation that is veering out of control. Quantum monetary macroeconomics offers a radical change in perspective, and brings forth a structural, accounting solution that will allow for the smooth passage from monetary disorder to order.

Two reforms are proposed: one concerns the system of national or domestic payments, and the other that of international payments. Both are technical reforms that do not require any direct intervention or change in economic agents’ behaviour. In compliance with existing social and legal rules, individuals and institutions will be totally free to take whatever decision they find most convenient, and the economy as whole will benefit from the advantages deriving, for example, from the disappearance of inflation and pathological unemployment.

Another important source of benefit from the analysis will be represented by the proposed solution to the external debt problem. Correctly understood, this problem is a consequence of the lack or absence of a true system of international payments. It is because of a monetary deficit generated by the present non-system of international payments that countries’ gross external debts have reached their current exorbitant and unsustainable amounts. The reform suggested by the new quantum macroeconomic analysis will avoid the very formation of this (pathological) monetary deficit, and, at the same time, will allow indebted countries to retain, to their own profit and benefit, the amount they nowadays loose in the form of interests due on the sum covering this deficit. As the new analysis shows, half the amount of every country’s accumulated gross external debt is of a pathological origin, which means that, for example, at an average interest rate of 3%, countries like Italy, France and Great Britain would realize a gain of about 62, 80, and 147 billion dollars respectively.

This website provides documents, bibliographical references, and evidence supporting quantum macroeconomic analysis, which show and demonstrate that economic and financial crises are pathological disturbances of the economic and financial system, which can successfully be dealt with, and finally got rid of, thanks to appropriately enacted accounting reforms that obey and respect the conceptual and functional distinction between money, income, and capital. We hope it may prove helpful to the collective effort to improve our understanding of the world of economics, and to lead to a renewed, orderly, and sustainable process of economic growth.

The authors and the academic fellows of the quantum analysis of macroeconomics