“The basic idea of modern postal banking,” Mehrsa Baradaran writes in How the Other Half Banks, “is a public bank offering a wide range of transaction services, including financial transactions, remittance, savings accounts, and small lending. These institutions would remain affordable because of economies of scale and because of the existing postal infrastructure in the U.S. Plus, in the absence of shareholders, they would not be driven to seek profits and could sell services at cost.”
Baradaran is right--particularly about postal economies of scale and the potential of postal banking to improve the quality of life for poor people. And the idea periodically rises to the surface of American news headlines because, as Bernie Sanders's campaign demonstrates (whatever its outcome), the economic insecurity of half of America is a big deal.
Last week, Arizona became the latest state to advance a public banking bill out of committee in its state legislature. Like most initial public banking bills, this legislation mandates a task force with the aim of recommendations and feasibility pronouncements. It won't get us a North Dakota-style public bank tomorrow, but it's a strong start, particularly given the strength of the 6-1 committee vote.Read more
This week, the Maryland House of Delegates' Economic Matters Committee will hold hearings on HB0794, which amends section 1-212 of Maryland's Code to authorize political entities in the state to establish public banks, and calls for the study and evaluation of a Maryland State Bank.Read more
While cities around the country are going broke--a result of their reliance on big private Wall Street banks, high-interest and risky financing schemes, and overreliance on unpopular (and often regressive) taxation, Grand Forks, North Dakota, is smiling today.Read more
In 2013, at a Climate workshop in Istanbul sponsored by Al Gore, a civil engineer named Delton Chen conceived of a new global currency that would drive greenhouse gas mitigation. The idea would become the foundation of the group Global4C, which wants to use public banks as an agent for this monetary conduit to climate justice.
While activists and citizens in several countries prepare to protest Saturday's signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of its chief negotiators, the economic minister from Japan, has been forced to resign from the ruling cabinet because of bribery allegations.Read more
Significant savings of taxpayer dollars and sizable predicted profits were just two of the positive results of a 10 month study undertaken by the City of Santa Fe, NM, moving the city one step closer toward creating America’s first new publicly-owned bank in almost 100 years.Read more
"People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change,” says Desmond Tutu, demonstrating consciousness of the bottom line that has delayed action on clean energy and the much larger task of providing security to those who will be displaced by climate disasters and the way humanity rapidly, in a panic, responds to them. Tutu is right to call it "the injustice of climate change" too, because climate is an economic justice issue as much as it is an objective question of environmental impacts.Read more