Creating the New Economy: Public Banking
When our cities and states want to fund worthy projects, they normally go to big banks for a loan or to help issue and sell bonds. But working with a private bank adds costs to project financing, as interest paid on loans and fees on banking services go to reward investors and increase bonuses for top-level bank management. And when private investors play a role in public spending, the preference is for projects that will offer the best return on investment, encouraging gentrification and privatization of necessary services like water and transportation.
Can we afford to give Wall Street an ever-larger slice of the pie? Or should cities and states create their own publicly-owned banks, where state revenues can be deposited and used to back loans for worthy purposes, such as infrastructure, housing, small business development and student loans?
This is the step that populist farmers in North Dakota took a century ago when, badly served by eastern banks, they founded the Bank of North Dakota. And now, across the country, groups of activists are following in their footsteps and organizing for public banks.
Alliance for Democracy members and supporters are working on local public banking projects in Massachusetts and Portland OR. Follow links to learn more about those efforts.
Read or order our issue of Justice Rising on public banks, and watch and share other Alliance-produced media related to public banking below.
AfD Public Banking efforts
Public Banking for a New Economy
Justice Rising looks at public banking
Our Spring 2014 issue of Justice Rising, entitled Public Banking: Creating Jobs, Building Communities and Reclaiming the Commons is available online or in print. Download individual articles or the entire issue, or request print copies by contacting the Alliance.
Download the full issue here.
Table of Contents
Public Banking in California on "Corporations and Democracy"
Dan Hamburg, Mendocino County Supervisor, and John Avalos, of the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, talk about the campaign to bring public banking to communities in California, including broader discussions on how government and civic-minded entities should invest their money, democratic control of banking, and the ins and outs of charter government. Tom Wodetzki hosts from the KZYX Philo studio.
Support our work
You can earmark your donation to further our work on public banking. Give online securely through our partners at Salsalabs here, or mail your donation to Alliance for Democracy, 21 Main Street, Suite 4, Hudson, Massachusetts 01749. Please indicate "public banking" on the memo line of your check.
Links and resources to learn more about public banking
You can visit this page at the Public Banking Institute website to find links to other state and municipal campaigns.
Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free, and The Public Bank Solution: From Austerity to Prosperity, by Ellen Brown
Web of Debt builds on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz's allegory for monetary policy and the struggle between the people and the banks from Ben Franklin to the 2008 crash. The Public Bank Solution takes the reader back in time and around the globe to show that the idea of public banking has deep roots yet is a workable system today. Essential reads for those who want to change the financial system.
Checking the Banks: The Nuts and Bolts of Banking for People Who Want to Fix It, by Tom Sgouros
As well as giving the reader a nuts and bolts look at bank operations, this book also looks at several alternative forms of banking that can enhance community wealth building over Wall Street profits.
Public Banks: A Next City Flash e-Book
A look at public banking as a way to align municipal and state finance more closely with the values of residents. Available as a free download (or donate) here.