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Public Banking Institute News: July 19, 2017


Santa Fe Chooses Public Banking Task Force

On June 28th Santa Fe, New Mexico’s City Council approved Mayor Javier Gonzales appointment of the 9 member Public Banking Task Force that will determine requirements to establish a public bank for the City of Santa Fe.  Learn more about the  appointees, their qualifications  and the task force process here. [read more]

CEPR: Fed Needs to Recommit to Full Employment

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is calling for the Federal Reserve to return to its historic commitment to full employment. According to CEPR…

“The Federal Reserve should take lessons from the Fed in the 1990s and remain committed to its full employment mandate. A new report from The Center for Economic and Policy Research and The Fed Up campaign at the Center for Popular Democracy provides a history of the full employment mandate – from the Civil Rights Movement to Alan Greenspan and the actions the Federal Reserve took in the 1990s to support growth in the economy.

“The report, “The Full Employment Mandate of the Federal Reserve: Its Origins and Importance” shows how honoring the full employment mandate allowed the late 1990s economic boom and the consequential sharp reduction in the unemployment rate. In the 1990s, the Fed made the decision not to take steps to slow the economy even though the unemployment rate was already below the accepted estimates of the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU). “Today, it is critical the Federal Reserve show the same commitment to the full employment mandate that the Fed did nearly two decades ago – make decisions on interest rates based on what is actually happening in the labor market, not solely relying on theories of the labor market that may be wrong…[read more]

Has Capitalism Become a Religion?

“Stop calling your God by other names when you really wanna call God capitalism,” was the outcry from a clergy member at a recent Congressional hearing on healthcare reform.

Is capitalism a religion?

“Its moral code promises salvation, its high priests uphold their orthodoxy. But perhaps too many of its doctrines are taken on faith,” writes John Rapley in The Guardian.

The Guardian continues… “Economics offers a comprehensive doctrine with a moral code promising adherents salvation in this world; an ideology so compelling that the faithful remake whole societies to conform to its demands. It has its agnostics, mystics and magicians who conjure money out of thin air, using spells such as ‘derivative’ or ‘structured investment vehicle’. And, like the old religions it has displaced, it has its prophets, reformists, moralists and above all, its high priests who uphold orthodoxy in the face of heresy.

“Over time, successive economists slid into the role we had removed from the churchmen: giving us guidance on how to reach a promised land of material abundance and endless contentment. For a long time, they seemed to deliver on that promise, succeeding in a way few other religions had ever done, our incomes rising thousands of times over and delivering a cornucopia bursting with new inventions, cures and delights.

“This was our heaven, and richly did we reward the economic priesthood, with status, wealth and power to shape our societies according to their vision… [read more

Insurgent Democracy: The Story of the Nonpartisan League

Many of you know that the Bank of North Dakota (the only public bank in the US) was started in 1919, during a progressive movement that swept the state and the region. But do you know about the Nonpartisan League, the grassroots effort that took on the big banks and the railroads and eventually took over the ND state legislature?

The modern public banking movement owes a lot to the grassroots visionaries of the Nonpartisan League (NPL). In fact, the PBI newsletter often publishes NPL cartoons, like the one above. They are a reminder that people have been fighting for fairness in banking for more than 100 years. The NPL’s progressive vision for “banking in the public interest” lives on in the Bank of North Dakota. Now you can learn more about the movement that spawned public banking in the US …..

From the Insurgent Democracy website… “In 1915, western farmers mounted one of the most significant challenges to party politics America has seen: the Nonpartisan League, which sought to empower citizens and restrain corporate influence. Before its collapse in the 1920s, the League counted over 250,000 paying members, spread to thirteen states and two Canadian provinces, controlled North Dakota’s state government, and birthed new farmer-labor alliances. Yet today it is all but forgotten, neglected even by scholars.

“Michael J. Lansing aims to change that. Insurgent Democracy offers a new look at the Nonpartisan League and a new way to understand its rise and fall in the United States and Canada. Lansing argues that, rather than a spasm of populist rage that inevitably burned itself out, the story of the League is in fact an instructive example of how popular movements can create lasting change. Depicting the League as a transnational response to economic inequity, Lansing not only resurrects its story of citizen activism, but also allows us to see its potential to inform contemporary movements.” [read more]


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