Excerpted from Mike Krauss :
“Americans are wondering if there is a way out of what now appears to many as a decades long and accelerating decline of the fortunes of the once fabled American middle class.
A diverse group of American educators, entrepreneurs and businesspeople, local government officials and civic leaders, economists, writers, lawyers and others think they have identified the central problem.
They have banded together to form the Public Banking Institute (PBI), a not-for-profit educational organization that hopes to explain to the American people how a national network of publicly owned banks can revive the American economy.
Ellen Hodgson Brown, founder of the Public Banking Institute is the author of “Web of Debt,” a groundbreaking and frequently cited diagnostic and prescriptive analysis of the American money system. In her view, American banking and finance have been turned upside down.
“We are in an era where the public is being required to lend to private banks, even though banks were originally supposed to lend to the public. What we have now is a system where bank profits are privatized but bank losses are shared by the public.
“We’ve bailed out banks because we know credit is essential to society, like a public utility such as electricity and water – without it, our economic system fails. So, in essence, the supply of credit has more to do with public and governmental services and less to do with private enterprise.”
Brown notes that public banks were introduced by the Quakers in the original colony of Pennsylvania.
“The Quakers were known as the ‘Society of Friends.’ Their public banking concept was a fore-runner of the PSFS – the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society. The word ‘society’ is telling. We want to put the needs and economic aspirations of the whole of the American society back into the banking picture.
“The Public Banking Institute will explore how credit is created using public resources, how to price it competitively, and how to use it as a low-cost alternative that benefits the free market and the public.”
Marc Armstrong is a self described “Philly Boy” who thinks that Quaker legacy offers a lesson and a way forward for the nation.
A former IBM Finance account manager specializing in wholesale banking and a communications expert, Armstrong led the team that created the PBI website (www.publicbankinginstitute.org). He is now organizing a Public Banking Conference that will bring together the thinking, ideas and efforts underway in more than a dozen states to get public banking more widely established in the U.S.
The model that the PBI points to is the public Bank of North Dakota (BND), formed just after the creation of the Federal Reserve as an alternative to control of money and credit by the Fed and major Wall Street banks.”