It’s A Wonderful Life Is A Wonderful Lesson To Hold Gold Outside of The Banking System

– Christmas film serves as reminder that savings are not guaranteed protection by banks

– Savers are today more exposed to banking risks than ever before

– Gold and silver investment reduce exposure to counterparty risks seen in financial system

– Basket of Christmas goods has climbed since 2016 thanks to 11% climb in gold price

Frank Capra’s 1946 film It’s A Wonderful Life is one that many families will be settling down to watch this Christmas weekend. A story that is ultimately about a suicidal man is one of the most watched holiday films of all time.

Interestingly it wasn’t all that big a hit upon its release (despite garnering five Academy Award nominations) and was disliked by some of the highest intelligence authorities and political thinkers.

Ayn Rand worked with the FBI to identify Hollywood Communist propaganda and helped them to conclude that the Christmas film contained several subversive tendencies, including “demonising bankers” and “attempting to instigate class warfare”, and was “written by Communist sympathisers”.

‘Demonising bankers’ is an interesting accusation and one that doesn’t have to come from an anti-communist perspective. In the 70-odd years since the film’s release there has been a growing level of evidence for bankers (and banks) to absolutely be demonised.

There are some important lessons to be learnt from the film’s protagonist George Bailey. For us the main takeaway for cautious investors and savers is in reference to trusting banks and deposit companies with your hard earned cash.

It is a lesson on how exposing your wealth to various counterparties is exposing it to an incalculable level of risk. Furthermore it should be a lesson on the importance of having savings and learning how best to protect them.

“The money’s not here”

A famous scene early on in the film sees James Stewart’s George Bailey confront a mob of customers who are demanding their money back from his Bailey Building and Loan community bank. It is implied that there is an larger economic crisis going on and Bailey’s savers are panicking about the security of their assets.

Bailey tells them that they can’t have their money for at least two months.

…you’re thinking of this place all wrong.

As if I had the money back in a safe. The money’s not here.

Your money’s in Joe’s house…that’s right next to yours.

And in the Kennedy House, and Mrs. Macklin’s house, and, and a hundred others. Why, you’re lending them the money to build, and then, they’re going to pay it back to you as best they can.

Whilst Bailey’s bank is unlikely to operate using a fractional reserve system the lesson for depositors today is the same. At a simple level our banking structure and finances are deeply interwoven so when a bank, big or small, fails, lots of people will feel the pain.

Viewers should pay attention to this quick lesson in economic fragility. It’s a Wonderful Life shows that the economy at both a national and international level can seemingly change from a healthy position to a dangerous and costly one based on the sort of collective, self-fulfilling beliefs that John Maynard Keynes called “animal spirits”.

For those of you who have seen the scene of Bailey trying to prevent a run on his bank you will recall how similar his customers’ lack of understanding as to how a bank works is similar to the majority of those who use the banking system we have today.

As we saw with the Northern Rock crisis depositors are convinced their money is sitting there in the safe. And, they are sure it is still ‘their’ money (it isn’t). Additionally they fail to question how the banks are able to distribute so much money, such as for mortgages or car loans.

Are the banks and their failures something we should be worried about?

Today a bank run looks quite different to the one we see in It’s A Wonderful Life. The sign of a bank run is usually indicated by a long line of people queuing at an item (as per Northern Rock). But, the fear is the same.

The fear and threat of too much leverage in the system is still very real. The fear that one big loss could take down an entire bank and wip