The Official Counterfeiter (1969): A Classic Cartoon Booklet on The Federal Reserve System Is Now Online
Jan 31, 2012
Back in 1969, Vic Lockman published a cartoon booklet exposing the Federal Reserve System. Lockman was a cartoonist for Disney. He did not do the final cartoons. He wrote the story lines and provided accompanying cartoons. Then the in-house Disney cartoonists re-drew them.
Lockman had been reading my essays on the Federal Reserve. He created The Official Counterfeiter as an easy-to-grasp explanation of fractional reserve banking. He updated it in 1974.
Unlike virtually all popular criticisms of the Federal Reserve, this booklet reported that the FED returns to the Treasury most of money it makes from interest paid the interest it earns.
Ben Bernanke: The Official Counterfeiter
by Gary North
February 1, 2012
Back in 1969, a Disney cartoonist sat down at his story board and produced a booklet that the Disney organization never saw: The Official Counterfeiter. It was a presentation of fractional reserve banking and the role of the Federal Reserve System.
His name was Vic Lockman. As far as I know, he was the first cartoonist ever to do a booklet based on the Austrian theory of the business cycle. He revised the booklet in 1974. It is now back online.
It is a shame that he did not do a version of this booklet for one of the Scrooge McDuck comic books. He wrote stories for Uncle Scrooge. Of course, the Disney organization would not have released it. Too controversial.
In 1974, let alone 1969, Lockman’s version of how the banking system works was confined to the fringe: Austrian economics. Because he was a gold coin standard advocate, the Greenbackers did not respond favorably to his booklet. They are committed to fiat money.
In 1969, Ben Bernanke was 15 years old.
It was a different world in 1969. Nixon had just taken office. A stock market crash began in 1969, and a recession followed. There was a small surplus in the federal budget in fiscal 1969 – the last time for three decades. Nixon then ran back-to-back deficits in the $23 billion range – unheard of at the time.
The Federal Reserve inflated. Gold began to be redeemed by foreign central banks at the fixed price (ever since 1934) of $35 per ounce. Nixon unilaterally closed the gold window on August 15, 1971. That ended the last traces of the gold standard.
Ron Paul was elected to Congress in the spring of 1976. This was a special election. I went to work on his staff. He lost in November by about 268 votes out of 180,000. I went off his staff.