Re: Money, it's a crime...
Fractional reserve banking is a much misunderstood idea. It is, in a sense, a 'licence to print money', but it doesn't enrich banks, or anyone for that matter. Money, at the end of the day, is just tokens that you pass around. Briefly, the idea behind fractional reserve banking is that banks only hold back in their vaults a proportion of their deposits as they don't expect to pay out all their deposits at the same time (if they did, that would be a run on the bank and that would be the end of the bank). Imagine, for simplicity, an economy where there is only a bank and one person, and all money is held as bank deposits.
We start with person A, who has £100 - so there's £100 in the economy. She puts the money in the bank, the bank keeps, say 10% as a reserve, and it can now lend £90. It lends £90 to her and that's deposited in the bank, so there's now £190 in the economy. The bank lends £81 of that etc.
Now, one important thing to realise is that the bank has not created free money - it has to pay interest on all that money deposited. The other important thing to realise is that the bank itself has not made the money - the interaction between the bank and the economy has made the money. My model had to have 2 actors in to work. The depositors are playing an equal part to the bank. Note that net assets in the economy are still £100, and that belongs to the person, not the bank.
Finally, both the bank and the economy have not in any sense been enriched. The assets in the economy have remained the same. The output of bread, hammers or whatever in the economy is the same. To see this, imagine a prison where cigarettes are used as currency. If there was a sudden influx of cigarettes, the prices would all go up but there wouldn't be more stuff to buy and sell in the prison 'economy'. The economy wouldn't be 'better off'.
This is why governments need monetary policy to control prices - they don't have direct control of the money supply, but they do need to control it.