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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/27/10

Banking for the Commons

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What has come to be known as free market capitalism depends on its very basis for growth, maintained and manipulated scarcity of everything, including money. This fosters competition, stress and dysfunction thus it was bound to fail, and it has.

We must break the vicious cycle by building a new economic model that is geared not towards unsustainable growth or manipulated scarcity but towards achieving the outcomes that are important to society and that can be sustained by the planet's finite carrying capacity.

Banking for the Commons means creating an economy that provides a healthy underpinning for our infrastructure. Democratizes our political process, gives meaningful support for our families and our neighborhoods and that delivers for the people and the ecosystems of the planet. We have been irresponsible with the entrustment of our wealth and our resources. We can no longer afford to do so, because exploitation of our Planet is a real and imminent threat to our survival.

Banking for the Commons means taking a different approach to economic remodeling. Standard models take no account of resource use and environmental constraints, and are blind to social outcomes in terms of equity and, human well being. They are open-ended by nature, with growth being the primary purpose and interest given to how the system undermines our ecosystems and human systems is given little regard or justice in our court systems once the damages can be shown.

The financial sector has been given unprecedented support by policymakers, at the expense of the real economy. Taking back the Commons means developing reforms that will make finance work for society, and deny access to the fiat money printers, market manipulators, and economic terrorists, that have put us in our current economic crisis.

Reform should restore finance to its proper place as a means, rather than an end. Its role is to provide support for other areas of the economy. It should underpin the productive economy of our small businesses, manufacturers and food producers. Moreover, it should support society's vital operating systems: the core economy of family, neighborhood and community, plus the natural economy of the biosphere, our oceans, forests, animals and habitats.

The current financial system has been intentionally manipulated to make our local economy fail. As the current crisis makes clear, the sheer profitability of finance has corroded these other areas of the economy.

Finance has become an Oligarchy, populated by a few giant companies, and as such is prone to moral hazards, instability and collapse. We need a diverse system of finance, with different institutions, and investment vehicles of all types, performing a variety of different jobs. They should be shaped by the needs of the communities in which they are located instead of serving to funnel resources and investment dollars away from them.

One of the best ways to start is to follow a proven strategy that exists and actually works for its citizens; like the State Bank of North Dakota, or JAK Medlems bank, a member owned bank that has operated an interest-free savings and loan system since 1970. It has been called the safest bank in Sweden.

Instead of working toward any meaningful reform, we are expected to accept the bail outs and new and toothless bank regulations that only give the Fed more power to regulate itself and everyone else. Our survival depends on refusing to repeat the mistakes of the past! Albert Einstein has observed "to repeat the same mistakes and then expect a different outcome is the ultimate form of insanity"!

We have to take control of our money or our money will continue to have control of us. An effective way of doing that is to take our attention, our labor, our time and our investment equity away from those who are intentionally ignoring our failing economy.

We have every right to refuse to pay to bail the Banksters out and to take our investments elsewhere because of their breach of fiduciary duty to the U.S. economy and to the people of the United States. For them to expect to continue to have it both ways is the height of presumption and tyranny!

We should develop economic policies and financial models which support inclusive, fair and sustainable economic activity. Banks often work better when they're embedded in communities, in the middle of local economic life, and are supported by policies sui generis to the needs of the local culture, and lives of everyday people.
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Debra is a California Real Estate Broker with a degree in World History and an interest in writing about and studying History from other perspectives. She is a published poet and song writer. She also has a Law degree and is working on her State (more...)
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Banking for the Commons

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