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I recognize that some will get emotional when reading this question because I've asked it with friends and it created some tensions with some of them. I am simply asking from a pragmatic/possible legal and financial perspective, not coming from a good vs. evil place. I also don't endorse the policies of these economists, but recognize they exist and they have a lot of power and influence (their policies are being and have been used). I write this disclaimer to be clear: even though I disagree with them, they're policies are making certain decisions beneficial in objective reality, even we may find them morally repulsive.

Question originates from this Wikipedia page, specifically the following quote, "I argued that the only practical way to shorten the coming period of painful deleveraging and slow growth would be a sustained burst of moderate inflation, say, 4–6% for several years. Of course, inflation is an unfair and arbitrary transfer of income from savers to debtors. But, at the end of the day, such a transfer is the most direct approach to faster recovery. Eventually, it will take place one way or another, anyway, as Europe is painfully learning." If you look through that page, you'll see other economists advocating other ideas, like debt forgiveness (see the Ezra Klein quote).

A lot of financial advisors advocate saving money, and keeping debt levels low, or non-existent. For instance, two names in the financial world that I highly respect are Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. Yet some of the economists calling the shots want to financially dis-incentivize saving money, while incentivizing borrowing money, and in our on-going low interest rate environment, one could argue that borrowing involves less risk than savings, in addition to the fact that of the people who were helped in this past recession, the saver received less help than the under-water borrower when it came to some borrowers receiving some forgiveness (the saver didn't receive a 20% bonus for saving money; and with low interest rates the best he/she could do was take a risk with stocks).

Is there a legal entity that a person or people can establish that can borrow money and take risks, while preventing the person or people behind it from being responsible for the risks, outside the entity needing to declare bankruptcy? In other words, would it be possible for a John Doe to set up Company XYZ Bank, borrow millions of dollars, and if the company ends up in trouble, John Doe and his personal financial situation is not?

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You are describing a corporation. You can set up a corporation to perform business, but if you were using the money for any personal reasons the courts could Pierce the corporate veil and hold you personally liable. Also, setting up a corporation for purely personal reasons is fraud.

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  • I don't see why it's so controversial... Sep 30 '14 at 14:46
  • An LLC (Limited Liability Company) apparently provides many of the same risk-management benefits. I don't know enough about LLC's to say more than that.
    – keshlam
    Sep 30 '14 at 16:08
  • The LLC has the same conditions as a corporation. There must be a reasonable business behind it. The differences are technical, relating to governing structure, annual meetings, government filings, and taxation.
    – Kent A.
    Apr 10 '15 at 4:03

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