Civic Banks: Their time has come.
To free our government from commercial interests, we need to restore and to expand the civic realm. We need civic institutions that are free from and yet can support commercial businesses. We could begin the restoration of the civic by creating civic banks.
Our “private” banking system is a mess. Bankers make money—this is not a metaphor—with our money, and leave us poorer as they become richer. In the privacy of their offices, they brought about the financial crisis that continues to suppress our ingenuity and imagination. Instead of our government issuing new money when we have good reasons to be do, we pay them interest for loaning us our money. They have extracted so much from us—from our land, our labor, and our savings—and left us with so little. We need a banking system that provides for us instead of exploits us.
A civic bank would not be a money making machine. It would be a steward of the people’s money. The government would issue money to civic banks where it would be available for loans to finance the work that needs to be done in our communities. The interest on the loans would be limited to pay the expenses of running a bank. Bankers should be paid a living wage. They deserve it as much as anyone else.
It may be that we cannot reform our current banks. They may be not only too big to fail, but too big to reform. What we can do is create a new banking system that may eventually replace the current system, but at least will provide the people with the credit we need to get to work.