I have chosen to write a brief review and share some thoughts about The Public Bank Solution by Ellen Brown.
In the book, Ellen Brown explores the extractive nature of the status quo financial system, a sketch of the history of public banking over the last 5,000 years of human history and the various visions for creating a generative and democratic financial system, rooted in forms of public banking, that many activists all around the world are engaged in building. A key take-away from the book for me is how important it is to understand how money is created. The orthodox view states that banks doesn’t create money, they only act as intermediaries that lend the deposits that savers place with them – the orthodox view doesn’t really engage the question of who creates money and how they do it. Brown writes of today’s modern monetary theorists who help us to understand that banks create money every time that they extend credit – we, as a society, have allowed banks to private the creation of the public good of money.
I think the implications of who creates money and how are profound for any efforts to build a society that is more just and that provides for everyone democratic control over and access to all of the basic material necessities of life – living wage employment, plenty of “free” time (time for anything other than employment), housing, education, health care, transportation, communications and other digital technology, ecological sustainability, etc. By placing money under democratic control, we can displace the financial system status quo that produces money for financial institution profit and replace it with a democratic system of public banking that prioritize money creation for human need.