Daily Archives: October 14, 2011

The Public Option in Banking: Another Look at the German Model

The article The Public Option in Banking: Another Look at the German Model by Ellen Brown is an extended explanation of the public option in banking. Just to prove to you that this can only be some far out European scheme, here are some snippets from the article:

In the US, North Dakota is the only state to own its own bank. It is also the only state that has sported a budget surplus every year since the 2008 credit crisis. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and the lowest default rate on loans. It also has oil, but so do other states that are not doing so well. Still, the media tend to attribute North Dakota’s success to its oil fields.

What about other example?

We don’t hear much about a public banking option in the United States, but a number of countries already have a resilient public banking sector. A May 2010 article in The Economist noted that the strong and stable publicly owned banks of India, China and Brazil helped those countries weather the banking crisis afflicting most of the world in the last few years.

So if the previous post Michael Hudson on the Need to Treat Banks as Utilities was more than you could take, the above article by Ellen Brown may be a gentler introduction to the idea.

I think the Occupy Wall Street movement is wise to be careful before it makes specific demands.  This goes right to one of the key failures of the Obama administration.  There is a long period of educating the public that must precede any attempt at huge change.  If you haven’t done the education first (as the right wing has done for their ideas over the past 30 years), then it will be too easy for the opposition to roll out their propaganda (that they have been pumping for 30 years) to steal the public support away from you.  If you still believe that Obama really wanted to make change you can believe in, then his  failure to understand the need for education first is his biggest failure.

For men to understand the concept, maybe I should call the education process forework and liken it to foreplay in sex.  If you still don’t get it, then ask a female significant other to explain it to you.  For homosexual couples I don’t know who to advise who to seek explanation.

Michael Hudson on the Need to Treat Banks as Utilities

Also tucked into this video is an explanation of why Occupy Wall Street wants to avoid making specific demands at this point in the life of the organization.

As I see it, there are two ways to treat the video below.  One way is to view it with the attitude that you are going to look for the flaws in the argument so that you can ignore what is being said. The other way is to try to learn something from what Hudson says and try to pick out the ideas that you find significant and worth more thought.


Even if you find these ideas more radical than your brain can manage, you can view this as only a mild extreme that could occur if the “system” refuses to respond to the concerns of the protesters.

The Instability of Inequality

In Nouriel Roubini’s article The Instability of Inequality, he recognizes the successes and failures of varous economic systems. (I have added the emphasis in quotes below.)

Some of the lessons about the need for prudential regulation of the financial system were lost in the Reagan-Thatcher era, when the appetite for massive deregulation was created in part by the flaws in Europe’s social-welfare model. Those flaws were reflected in yawning fiscal deficits, regulatory overkill, and a lack of economic dynamism that led to sclerotic growth then and the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis now.

But the laissez-faire Anglo-Saxon model has also now failed miserably. To stabilize market-oriented economies requires a return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of unregulated markets and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Even an alternative “Asian” growth model – if there really is one – has not prevented a rise in inequality in China, India, and elsewhere.

Any economic model that does not properly address inequality will eventually face a crisis of legitimacy. Unless the relative economic roles of the market and the state are rebalanced, the protests of 2011 will become more severe, with social and political instability eventually harming long-term economic growth and welfare.

I often wonder why the global social system must swing from one extreme to another.  Of course it is true that conditions change and social systems must adapt.  However, the social system going to an extreme so that it sows its own seeds of destruction is a mal-adaptation that it would be nice to stop.


War with The U.S. Is of No Interest to Iran; Who Invented This Absurd Plot?

The article War with The U.S. Is of No Interest to Iran; Who Invented This Absurd Plot? casts lots of doubts about this latest alleged plot by Iran.  Here is a single example.

Iranian intelligence is famously efficient at hiding its tracks. Though many believe that it was the Iranians who blew up Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 — in retaliation for the shoot-down of an Iranian civilian airliner by the U.S. Navy ship the USS Vincennes — no convincing trail has ever come to light. Yet it is supposedly Iranian intelligence that wired $100,000 to the used car salesman, allegedly a down payment for Los Zetas, using a known Al Quds force bank account.

If the bid was a false flag operation mounted by the Saudis or Israelis, an open transfer of money would be one obvious tactic. The U.S. has made swift use of dubious “plots” in the not-so-distant past.

War with Iran is also of no interest of the people of the U.S., but the politicians might find it a useful distraction.  No more worries about cutting the deficit or creating jobs, just send the unemployed to fight a war in Iran no matter the cost.