TPP De-Democratizes Environment, Finance, Municipalities

I apologize for "de-democratizes" in the title. I wrestled with "un-democratizes," "hurts every good cause," and "cuts a swath down the sail of American democracy like Errol Flynn," and none of them seemed to work. I decided to go with a word that represents curtailment, undermining, moving away from. American political and economic life certainly isn't democratic enough, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership makes it all less so, because it undermines an entire category of democratic policymaking. As we'll see straight away, the TPP is not the only trade agreement that does this, but as others have noted, it's wider and deeper than its predecessors. 

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Good News from Santa Fe

We have received so many inquiries about the status of the Public Bank for Santa Fe. The news is good!

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Essential--and very recent--Reading on Basic Income

Two or more years ago, only a few libertarians and some innovative left thinkers were talking about guaranteed income. Last year, more proposals and opinions began to trickle in. Now, governments are experimenting with it, political parties and think tanks are endorsing it, and opposition is surprisingly mild. 

In a way, it's not hard to see why. For countries with a strong tradition of social democracy and regulated markets, dividend income is another (more efficient) arrow in the quiver. And in the U.S., where half of all Americans are economically insecure and battles over minimum wage take place against a backdrop of a wholesale abandonment of supportable wage work, it's increasingly apparent that our capacity to create full-time livable work income for even most Americans is melting down. 

Of course, part of the case for basic income is that the value of money itself is fluid, and can be democratized. That's what groups like Positive Money and PBI bring to the table. As for the rest of the story, here are several important reads from merely the last 30 days on the ideological convergence and current widespread embrace of basic income. 

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A Crisis Worse than ISIS? Bail-Ins Begin

While the mainstream media focus on ISIS extremists, a threat that has gone virtually unreported is that your life savings could be wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse. Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the infrastructure is in place in the US.  Poverty also kills.

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PBI Founding Author Traces Global Threats, Promises

At the close of 2015, my colleague Ellen Brown's work took on a new, international-oriented urgency, an appropriate wrap-up to a year that had seen her publishing pieces on Greece's struggle against the European Central Bank. 

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Reinventing Banking: From Russia to Iceland to Ecuador

Global developments in finance and geopolitics are prompting a rethinking of the structure of banking and of the nature of money itself.

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Does Bernie Sanders Have Public Banking Amnesia?

The Public Banking Institute doesn't endorse (or anti-endorse) political candidates, obviously, but we are concerned with public banking policy. As Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders has probably displayed better understanding of public banking as a matter of policy than any other national elected official in recent memory. But apart from his much-lauded support for resurrecting postal banking (a call that was little more than a flash in the pan in his campaign), we haven't heard anything about that understanding in almost two years.

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Sanders, Nader, and the Politics of the Federal Reserve

Bernie Sanders slammed the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates a little over a week ago. 

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The Fed's Financial Fictions

I've learned to go straight to the point when talking about raising interest rates (or lowering them, but you'd have had to go negative to go any lower than they were). My first question will always be how this will affect the day-to-day lives of the half of Americans in the throes of financial insecurity. This is an especially salient question when the rate adjustments are as small as the one announced last week.

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Bankstering in 2015: An End-of-Year Review

Those wacky banksters. Private banking is a tangled web of opacity. Let's review some of their recent and long-running shenanigans, remembering this list is far from exhaustive:

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