Anthropologist Margaret Mead is famously quoted as giving credit for most social and cultural change to small groups of individuals who pioneer new priorities and establish new systems. That certainly describes many individuals around the country who are working on the American public banking frontier with multi-year commitments of time, talent and energy, going through the hoops, chicanes, reversals and exhilarations required for creating entirely new banking institutions dedicated to democratizing control of public money for public benefit. We talk with several of these pioneers about their motivations, process, challenges and concerns – snapshots of 21st Century American democracy – as the movement for public banking picks up speed from coast to coast.
North of the Border, Up Canada Way......
Canada is an envied destination for some to get away from it all , but you
can't escape the global banking cartel regardless of which continent you're
on. A handful of Canadians are waging a noble fight to return their central
bank, the Bank of Canada, to its chartered role as a low and no-interest
financier of government projects and the public interest. That case is at
the center of a new book called Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New
Feudalism. We speak with author Joyce Nelson about how the global debt
cartel of international finance is creating a permanent trap for citizens
the world over. And we visit with economic strategist Mark Anielski about
his book The Economics of Happiness - a different way of measuring wealth.
The earliest days of private banking cartels in America occurred before we were the United States. The pattern of private capital determining government policy is centuries old – but so is the sort of public interest banking emerging in the US now. Ellen’s guest Jim Hogue, an author, broadcaster and historian, recounts how the struggle for control of finance rocked the early American colonies and precipitated a permanent war footing enabled by big finance. Later, cohost Walt McRee talks with Dr. Maurie Cohen about his latest book dealing with the future of consumer society and whether we can create a sustainable post-consumerist economy.
When in the course of human events we lose sight of who’s really in charge, trouble looms. Western civilization has upended the natural order by placing itself above the true power in our world, Mama Nature. But now the arrogance of the Money Tribe has gone too far and we’re losing our lease on our happy home. We hear from some ancient and elderly wisdom sources, first from a Mohawk teacher and linguist and later from one of our own elders, Noam Chomsky. We also talk with Gwen Hallsmith of Global Community Initiatives who just returned from the World Water Summit in Hungary where global capital is salivating over a new investment opportunity bigger than oil: water! Still messing with Mother Nature…
It’s not “Doom and Gloom” to focus on the impending changes to our planet being caused by our prevailing economic systems. The interrelationship of planetary health and our expansive, consumptive lifestyles is well known and too long ignored -- it now appears the window of opportunity to get them aligned toward sustainability is closing quickly. Ellen’s guest Gar Alperovitz of the Next System Project discusses how some of these changes are emerging and what’s needed to move forward more quickly. Then Walt talks with Dr. Philip Clayton of EcoCiv, on an effort to marry the philosophical roots of civilization with the reality of our ecology, and their practical laboratories of discovering how all this fits together. Yes, money is involved in all of this…..
Making Our Money Do What We Want
Bemoaning what our government does with our money is an endless lament for many. But when our personal banks get involved with things we find intolerable such as exploitative lending or environmental injury, a new window of responsiveness opens up. That was the realization of this week’s guest Fran Korten, publisher of Yes! Magazine, who began a national “Move Your Money” moment in support of the protests at the Dakota Access Pipeline – she identified the banks who were investing in it, shared it, and then the fun started. We also visit with Paul Glover, creator of the Ithaca dollar, which demonstrates how a complementary community currency can create a breakthrough for local economies by creating a new layer of wealth. Then we get brought up to speed on the progress of citizens in Santa Fe, NM where efforts to create a local public bank have crossed another threshold toward realization. And PBI Senior Advisor Mike Krauss discusses how critical the role of governance is to insuring that new public banks don’t get coopted by the Powers That Be.
“Fish Rot from the Head”
So says this week’s guest Bill Black about the recent Wells Fargo scandal in which millions of customers were beset with unrequested accounts that cost them fees and affected their credit scores – another in the long line of Big-Bank violations. Black, author of “The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One” is renowned for obtaining convictions of almost a thousand bankers and sending several hundred of them to prison when he was a Federal regulator back in 1990 during the savings and loan scandal. He talks with Ellen about why that sort of regulatory punch no longer exists. Selling-off public assets and services is discussed by co-host Walt McRee with the Executive Director of In The Public Interest, Donald Cohen, who issued a recent report on how privatization is helping perpetuate economic inequality. Matt Stannard returns on the Public Banking Report to reflect on how Wells Fargo’s scandal hurts everyone at the bank, not just their customers.
How did Scandinavia become the world leader in successful, equitable economies? People. Like the farmers of North Dakota a hundred years ago, the people pushed back against the failures of the controlling economic elite. Author and professor George Lakey talks with co-host Walt McRee about his book “Viking Economics” and discovers many parallels to today’s America. And there’s big news for the public banking movement out of New Jersey with one of the major mainstream candidates for Governor announcing his intention to form a state-owned public bank to address chronic state fiscal issues. Later on the Public Banking Report, Mike Krauss talks about how imperiled pension funds can save themselves by investing in their own public bank.
Improving the quality of life and local economies is a concern best addressed by local citizens. Today we revisit how the remarkable commitment of “Non-partisan” North Dakota citizens wrested state control from monopolist outsiders and produced lasting changes that continue to benefit them a century later. Guest David Morris, a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, talks with Walt about how we need to reclaim the narrative that government can and should work well on our behalf. And Ellen talks with “The Earth Belongs to Everyone” author Alanna Hartzok about how our current method of taxation overlooks a more obvious and fair approach based on land and the Earth itself.
Globalization has given giant private interests virtually free reign to influence policies and institutions that undermine local interests. This dominant economic paradigm in which private interests trump public interest is being pushed back by emerging forces ranging from new financial technologies, social media and changing populist narratives about the importance of effective public governance. Ellen speaks with renown global economist, author and futurist Hazel Henderson about these changes, Walt talks with David Morris of the Institute for Local Self Reliance about those changing narratives and Matt Stannard discusses threads of endemic racism that manifest in private bank practices. And we check in with one of our colleagues about why they will be demonstrating at the Philadelphia Democratic Convention about the role of money in our democracy.