Money as Infrastructure
Traditional infrastructure regulation—the law of regulated industries—rests atop three pillars: rate regulation, entry restriction, and universal service. This mode of regulation has typically been applied to providers of network-type resources: resources that are optimally supplied as integrated systems. The monetary system is such a resource; and money creation is the distinctive function of banks. Bank regulation can therefore be understood as a subfield of infrastructure regulation. With few exceptions, modern academic treatments of banking have emphasized banks’ intermediation function and downplayed or ignored their monetary function. Concomitantly, in recent decades U.S. bank regulation has strayed from its infrastructural roots. This regulatory drift has been unwise.