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By Forrest Capie, Geoffrey E. Wood

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The Bank's decision to launch a 'lifeboat' to save this particular bank, where other equally eminent names had earlier been refused, clearly requires some explanation. One possibility is that the Bank acted properly, but on the basis of an incorrect and exaggerated estimate of the probability of a run on London. It seems more probable that the Bank simply felt an obligation towards Barings. Gurneys had been long-standing rivals of the Bank, but the Barings were solid establishment figures, with representatives in Parliament and on the Board of Directors of the Bank itself.

Clapham, Sir. (1945) The Bank of England: A History. Vol. II, 1797-1914 (New York: Macmillan). de Cecco, M. (1975) Money and Empire: The International Gold Standard, 1890-1914 (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield). Economic Report of the President. (1971) (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office). Flood, R. P. M. (1982) 'Bubbles, runs, and gold monetization', in Wachtel, P. : Heath). Gregory, T. E. ) (1929) Select Statutes, Documents and Reports Relating to British Banking, 1832-1928. Vol.

The Federal Reserve must act as lenderof-last-resort, supplying currency at a rate equal to the increased demand for currency, thereby preventing a sudden, sharp decline in the means of payment. 3 It is not difficult currently to imagine the type of event that would exhaust the reserves of the deposit insurance agencies and that could not be resolved by merging financial institutions. Default by one or more of the Latin American governments in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina has the potential to produce severe financial distress.

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