Ellen Brown, author, attorney, speaker, activist

Ellen Brown is the founder of the Public Banking Institute and the author of a dozen books and hundreds of articles. She developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In the best-selling Web of Debt, she turned those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She showed how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back.

In The Public Bank Solution, the 2013 sequel, she traces the evolution of two banking models that have competed historically, public and private; and explores contemporary public banking systems globally.

Brown developed an interest in the developing world and its problems while living abroad for eleven years in Kenya, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. She returned to practicing law when she was asked to join the legal team of a Ellen-photo2popular Tijuana healer with an innovative cancer therapy, who was targeted by the chemotherapy industry in the 1990s. That experience produced her book Forbidden Medicine, which traces the suppression of natural health treatments to the same corrupting influences  that have captured the money system. She also co-authored the bestselling Nature’s Pharmacy, which has sold 285,000 copies.

Ellen ran for California State Treasurer in 2014 with the endorsement of the Green Party garnering a record number of votes for a Green Party candidate. Her blog and articles are at http://EllenBrown.com. The Public Banking Institute is at http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.


79 Responses

  1. To answer the question of “how the government allow to do what the banks and corporations are doing is very easy. The majority of the politicians republicans and democrats are in their pocket. In the remote chance that few of this politicians have a second thought, they are forced back in line or pay the consequence. Just like JFK when somebody find a memo regarding eliminating the feds. and stop the cold war with Russia and it cost him his life.

  2. It’s high time for a revolution and take over all big banks, make the leaders government employees with max. 1,000,000.00 yearly incomes, bonuses and perks included.
    Mike Harries, former Premier of Ontario, Canada sold the Bank of Ontario and now those bastards are selling in Toronto, Ont., Canada Hydro Brampton and Hydro One’s Distribution to fill a small part of an ever increasing debt hole completely ignoring the loss of the profits they produce. How is that for long time planing?
    Sell everything to the private sector to get directorships with them after they have been kicked out of politics.
    What a disgusting lot of ‘Politicians’ who are in the pockets of the 1%.


  3. The leadership of today does not get even close to the quality that we used to know like at the FDR’ s time. When the order of the closing of all the banks was given with no second thoughts. I am saying today and for six or seven years or longer our leaders have lost their spine. That same strength Roosevelt used to stop the crisis, or JFK wrote a memo to eliminate the Federal Reserve and stop the cold war and he was assassinated is lost, hopefully not for good. This nation has being betrayed from with-in and it’s on his way to crumble, unless things are radically changed. Pope Francis is correct in his policies. The corporations and the Supreme Court are blinded by the money and profit. We all know we have a majority of justices that are corrupt, and corporations because they are not people cannot change things. Only people can.

  4. Ercole
    You are correction, FDR was bought and pay for and his wifes father was the largest opium dealer out of india and chin. So to tell me they were good. I beg to differ, FDR did or put USA into bankruptcy and then forced SS through for the guaranteed payment of the interest on all notes issued by the fed.

  5. Since credit unions aren’t so much private banks like Bank of Ameria, I’m wondering if depositor funds would be seized like at banks like BOA and Wells Fargo, etc.

    • I switched most of my savings from my Wells Fargo account to USAA bank, which is a savings and loan bank. They don’t deal in derivatives and credit default swaps and other gambling with the customer’s money.

  6. I do not believe to be with supreme knowledge on all the history facts, or better, the parts that are not in the history’s books. I believe that you have an hard time to prove them not through your personal logic but with official publications. I retain the option to be very, very skeptical on your statement about FDR. I do not recall this government be in a bankruptcy ever, on the other hand there is not a guaranty that it will not be in the future. This is un invitations to Mr. batch777 to prove with concrete evidence to support his words of knowledge.

    • There is a guarantee that the USA will never and cannot ever be bankrupt. The USA Treasury is the only source of legal US dollars and as long as the metals for coins and the ink and paper for bills are available the Treasury will be able to pay all debts owed by the US Government. This is true for all nations which issue their own sovereign currency. It is not true for the EU nations who gave up their sovereign monetary systems in order to join the EU.

      • Hahahaha – a “guarantee” – from whom? Do you really believe that? Do you still believe in the tooth-fairy too? By the way – the US Treasury does’t have anything to back up the fiat currency that is the US Dollar. So… how are they going to “pay all debts”?

      • You are correct Charles. As long as people accept dollars as a medium of exchange the U.S. government can’t technically go broke.

  7. I would like to ask Mr. charles3000: “Who is the guarantor?” In case the answer is “The American People” I have my doubt. Because today’s economy does not leave room for that type of action. The ultra rich cannot be counted on because their agenda is a “New World Order” and the USA is not in the picture. The only stars in the NWO are mega-corporations and too big to fail banks and financial institutions with no loyalty but to them selves. The Federal Reserve Bank is a private corporation of bankers that print paper currency for the treasury and the terms for the treasury’s office are just like a loan with time frame and interest to be paid back to the Federal Reserve. The only resource left for the treasury is to coin metal currency. I remember the treasury being ridiculed when they came up with the idea of a super coin equal to the value of the deficit as a guaranty for a solvency. I am curious to read Mr. charles3000 response, may be there is somebody with an answer to this very serious problem other than Dr. Ellen Brown.

    • The guarantor is the US Constitution which demands that all national debts be paid and it gives the government the power to issue money to pay those debts. The safest place to save dollars is in US Treasuries or the US debt, a fact know around the globe.

  8. In reply to Mr. charles3000. I would like to ask in which amendment or chapter is written that the Constitution is guarantor and therefore protector of the government from bankruptcy, and also give the power to print currency at will. If you kindly mention where in the Constitution or its amendment or chapters I can find it. I will be grateful to fill in such precious informations so that I improve my knowledge. I thank you in advance.

    • Art. 1 Sec. 8 Constitution of the United States: “Congress shall have the power… “To coin Money and regulate the Value thereof, and of Foreign coin…”
      As worded the power is granted without limits. BTW the Supreme Court during the 1880’s declared that ‘to coin money’ included ‘to print money’. Most money today is not even printed, but represented in digital form in computers and in numbers in spreadsheets.
      The same reasoning applies in the same section to
      “Congress shall have the power … to pay the debts…” and “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” That power is also unlimited as stated. The idea of the debt ceiling in a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional. If Congress could go about putting limits on all sorts of powers stated in the Constitution, that document would be legally worthless. These are ‘absolute powers’. You can’t have laws that say,”Congress shall have the power to borrow money up to 5 Trillion dollars.” If you can do that, you can do this: “Congress shall have the power … To raise and support Armies, except when there is no declaration of war, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two years, except during recessions and wars outside the borders of the United States.”

      • The U.S. Congress abdicated this responsibility and authority when they created the FED! Where have you been man????? Congress hasn’t created or managed the finances of this country for more than half-a-century.

        I cannot believe that in this day and age you actually quote the U.S. Constitution like it were still enforced? Really? With all of the Presidential Orders to the opposite effect? With the unconstitutional actions of the USBP performing illegal arrests and searches of Americans hundreds of miles INSIDE the borders of the U.S. ???

        I want some of what you’ve been smoking my friend! Nah, belay that, I want to keep the clear vision of reality that I’ve got.

  9. Ercole, re paying debts: 14th Amendment, Section 8
    re: coining money, Article I, Section 8

  10. First, Thank you for reply and in today’s manners it is nice to have a civilized conversation. Thank you for the kindness. I took the liberty of double check you informations and unless I made a mistake I could not find in Amendment 14 a Section 8, but I found a Section 4, which I am copying and reporting.

    Section 4 stated: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any States shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligation and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

    Now Mr. charles3000 I could not find any connection with today’s financial problems like the Wall Street Stranglehold of the Nation well being. When Wall Street is making a profit no sharing with Main Street otherwise Main Street take the brunt of it. The same for the too big to fail. Just these two problem by it self could plunge the Nation and the government in to chaos. It could be other occurrences in the list of dangers. But this is by my own point of view of bankruptcy. As the government or its representatives tilt the scale more and more tours the richest the parameters that regulate the people gets distorted and the fairer parameters goes in to oblivion. We should not forget the Weimar Republic where in those days the paper currency was not worth the paper was printed on.

    Before we reach the same point of the Weimar Republic something very drastic and dreadful will happen here and that event will be called the bankruptcy of the USA. It does not need an official declaration from authority in charge because nobody will be in charge than. May God prevent that to be came a reality.

  11. I talked extensively to a gentleman who lived through the inflation of the Weimar Republic. He gave me an on the ground description of what happened. It was done deliberately by Germany in order to pay off the war reparations assessed against Germany following WWI. …and it is section 4 that is about debts.

    • Yes, and the reparations were in a currency that Germany did not have enough of. The Allied Powers required payment in gold and silver coin, and Germany had to buy that foreign currency to make its payments. I’m not totally clear on what happened, but it seems to me the banks were trying to beat the foreign exchanges by creating more money and exchanging it before the foreign exchanges devalued the Mark. That led to hyperinflations. Hyperinflations like in the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe usually occur when a government borrows money in a foreign currency and has to buy that currency on the foreign exchanges. There is usually a short interval of delay between when the one wanting the exchange presents its currency to the exchange and when the exchange itself revalues the presenting currency together with any changes in the currency exchanged and comes up with a new ratio. So, if you can exchange a lot of your current money before the exchange devalues your money created out
      of thin air, you may be able to print your way out of foreign debt. But then, your money subsequently gets devalued, and you have to print even more money, and on and on. While this is a potential risk for fiat money systems, it does not apply to debts in the government’s own currency over which it is sovereign. There it can just create new money and pay off the debt with it.

      But the Treasury has been dealing with debts involving its securities. In effect, Treasury has the unlimited power to create new securities in order to acquire money in exchange for them with (usually) banks. The banks in question are US. This looks like borrowing with the securities the government’s IOU. But it turns out to be something else. Suppose the Treasury has borrowed $1 billion from some large US banks by selling them at public auction securities it has created. A security is an IOU with a future maturity date at which the holder can demand the face value on the security. (Usually securities are sold at discount, with the difference between the face value and the purchase price interest to be paid at maturity along with the principal of the purchase.) O.K. Suppose some securities sold to cover deficit spending reach maturity. The Treasury can issue new securities for the same face value as the mature security and swap that with the bank in return for the mature security. A new interest rate may be established at which the swap occurs. Along with the swap the Treasury can include interest to make up the difference between the purchase price and the face value. Where does the Treasury get this if it already has to borrow money to cover a deficit? It can just borrow more money by issuing other securities just for the interest money.
      And the same swapping procedure can be applied to these securities as to the original deficit-spending securities.

      Now this procedure of swapping new securities for mature securities can go on indefinitely in perpetuity, forever! What we are seeing here is not a ‘debt’ but a manner by which the Treasury gets the private banks to create new money in making a loan to the government. And that money is going to be debt free, because everyone agrees that the principal never has to be paid back, just interest. And the interest paid, I think, makes up for the fact that when the banks make loans and charge interest, without another source of interest spent into circulation, there would not be enough money in circulation for everyone’s loans to be repaid plus the interest. But there will be more money in circulation because of this manner by which the banks earn interest and pay some of that to depositors with time deposits.

      BTW, US securities are sold for other purposes than to get money for funding government operations. They are used like sponges to soak up excess dollars in circulation in order to prevent inflation, especially if Congress is doing a lot of deficit spending on defense and foreign wars. These securities are sold to private and foreign investors to provide them with a safe haven for their excess dollars and to pay them a little interest. In other words, securities are like CD’s, certificates of deposit, and the money is left in time-deposit accounts at the Fed until the securities (like CD’s) mature. The government can also roll-over the debt with security swaps with the Treasury. Or the Fed can simply return the principal kept on its books along with interest that it simply creates out of thin air. Think about what that means. It means that more than 75% of the national debt is not to banks but to private and foreign investors, and the principal is there to return to them. So the so-called national debt is no big deal.

      I’ll stop here, but more can be said about how the Fed buys securities from banks, and that redeems the debt of the government to the banks. The Fed keeps these if not mature or until they mature, and then if there is inflation it will swap the mature securities for new ones with the Treasury. That returns the original securities to the Treasury which can then extinguish them, or store them in the basement somewhere. The Fed will take the securities and sell them to banks and private and foreign investors to drain excess dollars out of circulation. Like I said, securities are like sponges that can soak up excess dollars in circulation, causing inflation. The money will be kept at the Fed until the securities mature. Then swaps may be made of new securities for old with Treasury for a roll-over, or the Fed can just return to the investor the principal on deposit and add in interest created out of thin air.

  12. I always enjoy in my life talking to persons with some experience made some decades earlier. Let me indulge for a second. When I was in elementary school in Italy from the third grade to the fifth I had a magnificent teacher. At first he look like Ivan the terrible whiffle hair cut and salt and pepper hair color mustache Hitler’s style (just like Hitlers had to cut the mustache short for gas mask and than became habit) and robust in the stature tough on us kids, but generous on the same time. I remember when we 32 little devils became noisy and restless, he start talking about the first world war action on the Dolomites mountain. The results no one fly could be heard in the class room and with a few minutes we were back in the current study subject. He will always be in my hart just like my father. And the same I could say for an old man always sitting on a set of stairs catching some sun near by my home. He talked about the times mostly hard of the trench war.

    I got from my teacher story of his grand father from the Crimean war and the cholera the Italian troops suffered on the front and some element from the enemy helped the gravely ills.

    But this is a small window on large events, just I assume like your experience. Even if the nature of events like the one we are conversing are different they carried a number of unpleasant outcome for populations of different nations. I believe that no matter what the issues are honest governments should have the courage of transparency at any cost. This is a dream of mine. My apology for having gone off the track.

    Going back to your reply. I would like to know the degree of involvement of your friend with in the contest. Obviously if you like to respond on that point. Because what I learned some years ago on the iper inflation that plague the Weimar Republic was accidentally caused by a poor knowledge of the responsible of the treasury’s office.

    • My short note above is misleading. The gentleman who told me about events he had personally known told me just that. The cause of it I read someplace else many years later.

  13. Ellen:
    I believe that:
    2014 – Is the beginning of the 21st Century
    1914 – Was the beginning of the 20th
    1814 – Was the beginning of the 19th Century.
    In 2014 – the world is transitioning to a
    Multi-Polar World from a Unipolar World.
    Iris Kirkwood

  14. Regarding Greece , What is it’s
    Relationship to NATO ? Any US
    bases there? Foreign policy toward
    ?? The question is what is the “new”
    Party’s – Syrzas(?) position on these

  15. The following is not accurate: “Where does the Treasury get this if it already has to borrow money to cover a deficit?” Borrowing to cover deficits is a choice, not a necessity. When the Treasury borrows making spending equal to the sum of taxes plus borrowing, they do not alter the total money in the economy. Until 1971 the Treasury also printed and spent US Notes, the ones with the red serial numbers, and they were not borrowed. The greenback act passed under Lincoln allows the Treasury to print and spend paper currency as was also done under Kennedy with those silver certificates. Incidentally, minted coins are spent directly into the economy at face value, making us a dual monetary system at present. The debt does provide a savings technique as you point out and it is also the sole source of getting an increase in the money supply in the economy by the Fed buying the debt. The only alternative is coins or spending of non-borrowed US Notes/Silver Certificates. The current freedom of the Treasury to mint coins raised the notion of minting T$ coins.

    • It is my understanding that in 1917 the Treasury was required by a law passed that year to borrow and not create US Notes to cover deficits.

  16. I agree with that…

  17. Hello Mr. charles3000. It is good to notice you are here again. Hoping the big storm did not effected you. About your last note I agree with you. I am basing my opinion with the known fact that with a borrower there is always a lender. Sooner or later the lender like to get is money back. It is a shame that this great Country is denied the full printing of its own currency and have to receive loans with interest from the Federal Reserve Bank. I agree with Dr. Ellen Brown that it is time to change the Banking System with a fully transparent “Public Banking System” also a debt free to boot. At this point and only at this point the government have a very, very small chance to get in to trouble

  18. I do not know of such a law and coinage is definitely not included. Additionally, silver certificates were in circulation during Kennedy’s era and US Notes were, and still are, in circulation. The Treasury destroyed their cache of US Notes in 1971.

  19. Mr. charles3000 and Mr. Stanislaus2, you are correct on the historical fact. I recall that law was pushed by the bankers of that times. And they created the “Federal Reserve Bank” with the same current regulations. The president was convinced by the robber barons to sign the law (As of now his name does not come to mind) The same president was vocal on the realization of the monumental mistake he had made. Please correct me if I recall wrong.

  20. Hello Ms. Brown,

    I would like to interview you, sometime in early February 2015, via Skype for goldBroker.com. The interviews are video via Skype and approximately 15 min long. If you are available please contact me.
    Best regards,
    Dan Popescu

  21. Hi Ms. Brown,

    Please answer this question, I’m sure many people are wondering about this:

    When a loan is created, both the Principle and Interest have to be repaid. Obviously the bank gets to keep the Interest component, but what happens to the Principle. Is it kept by the banks?



    • Hi Garry, that’s a very good question. Theoretically, the loan is a liability on the bank’s books, which is canceled out when the principal is repaid. But I’ve heard two experts (one a former central banker) say the money doesn’t disappear but is added to the bank’s equity.

  22. Thanks for the reply. Surely the banks balance sheet would reveal this to be true or false?

  23. Garry, to me the issue is much simpler if you think about it as money transactions rather than a bookkeeping process. Suppose the borrow takes his loan in cash and then repays it in cash plus interest. Clearly then the bank got back both principal and interest. We are taught that banks create money when if fact they do not. They only create credit which is a hole waiting to receive money. The history of what happened in 1933 teaches us what banks really do. Prior to FDRs action of closing banks and taking our monetary system off gold backing and carried us into the fiat currency world, gold was money. Paper currency was only that, paper showing that banks owed you, the holder of the paper, a certain amount of gold. Banks were going busted because they had loaned out more paper than they had gold. If FDR had not closed the banks all of the gold would have been lost by the banks and in the hands of the people plus many people would be very upset because 3 out of 4 of those paper certificates would have gotten no gold at all. I am assuming here the reserve requirement was still 25% as it was originally. They were practicing fractional reserve banking then as they do now and it is as fraudulent now as it was then and, of course, it has it’s roots in antiquity. They could not create gold in 1933 and they cannot print Fed Notes now nor coin money. All they can create is the credit hole waiting for money and as I understand the numbers now the size of that credit hole owed by banks is some 20T$, more than the national debt but banks owe that to the US Treasury, making the US as a nation a creditor nation, not a nation in debt. That’s the long answer, Garry. I hope Ellen reads it and corrects me if I didn’t get it right.

  24. Mitch Lizar, the treasury can pay all US debts because all US debts are denominated in US dollars and the US Treasury is the only source of US dollars. US Treasuries (ie the national debt) are paid at maturity, I am very sure, by a computer program. The program would increase the bank account balance of the bond holder by the appropriate amount on the maturity date. And there is no reason why that can’t go on forever as long as there are banks and the internet. It is the safest way available to save and store money. People with lots of surplus cash know this and choose to save in Treasuries rather than banks which can collapse with only 250k protected by FDIC.

  25. Ms Brown – good to hear the interview..

    You may wish to see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmtreasy/144/144w234.htm – a paper I submitted to the UK Select Committee in 2008 on banking Crisis.

  26. Ms brown. I did not see a reply to the question to you in Jan. about whether credit unions were safe. And not allowed to bail in or confiscate deposits if the credit union became insolvent- what do you know?

  27. Ellen, I read ‘web of debt’ and some other articles you have written and though I understand some of the basic principles of banking reform which you outline, the whole area is so complex that I feel if I try to speak out and transmit these ideas, I won’t be able to support (follow up) my arguments and will easily get derailed and make a fool of myself.
    Can you give me two or three salient points which can be defended simply in the European context. I live in Ireland and of course it’s easy to see that our politicians are Kowtowing to the EU ECB Troika on every policy detail. It would be nice to be able to say …well here are three ‘different’ things our government could actually do and explain how this could be accomplished, the consequences of such actions and the remedies that could be applied in the aftermath. For example, could the Irish government decide now to nationalise Allied Irish Bank in which it has a 90% stake since the crash , instead of selling it off, something which seems to be about to happen? How could this be managed?The lay agitator’s position is difficult because challenging the system seems to require a lot of technical knowledge once radical alternatives are suggested.
    Any little ‘Ireland specific’ help would be much appreciated. Thanks and keep up your great work! J

  28. Ms. Brown: I have a “Blogette” of about seventy-five names. I started with just a few over fifty before the 2000 Presidential Election when I noticed that the Florida Felons Law would disenfranchise about a quarter of the black males in that state. For eleven years I concentrated on Voter Suppression. I still do some of that, but the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan asked me for my papers at that point. By then I had sent just over 3,000 e-mails to my respondents. I had retained all but a few under the original list. Two or three had unsubscribed because they could no longer deal with the work load that I put on them. One had dropped me due to language I used at times. I’ve added about 25 new respondents.

    I have been using some of your articles as a teaching tool in an attempt to get my respondents to push for state banks. Former Detroit Congressman, Hansen Clarke–when he was a state senator–asked me for ideas on how to jump-start Michigan’s economy. I suggested a state bank such as North Dakota’s. As I understand it Senator Clarke introduced a bill in the Michigan Legislature and he even went to North Dakota to study their state bank. After Mr. Clarke moved on to Congress he told me that he had turned the matter over to State Senator Coleman Young, Jr. I’ve sent two e-mails and a snail mail letter to State Senator Young asking him the status of the matter. I have not received a reply. Politicians will send your dog a birthday card. I suspect that the private banking “industry(?)” has convinced Mr. Young that it would be in his interest to let the matter die.

    The reason I am writing you: I tried to bundle three of your articles in a single e-mail–“New G20 Rules: Cyprus-Style Bail_Ins to Hit Depositors and Pensioners”, “Why Public Banks Outperform Private Banks: Unfair Competition or a Better Mousetrap?”, and “WSJ Reports: Bank of North Dakota Outperforms Wall Street.”

    The result: My original attempts were deleted (unless I am mistaken) while they were in my Draft Folder while I was preparing them for release. I’ve gone on-line to your website and retrieved the three articles and saved them in a more secure location. And, I’ve sent an e-mail to three of my respondents whom I know follow my financial items in order to ask them whether or not they received the e-mail that contained the articles in question.

    In short: Someone or some entity is trying to censor your work!

    John Kavanaugh

    135 Hazelwood Street
    Detroit, Michigan 48202

    (313) 873-6793

  29. What about executive order 11110? No one ever mentions it on coast to coast, or if they do the subject is changed in less than 5 seconds flat. That’s creepy to me, it deserves more than 5 seconds! Some will say it’s repealed, then if you try to figure out why it’s total spaghetti. Any opinions or more info?

  30. Interesting link to interview on major news network in Canada on a court challenge to enforce the right of Canadian governments to borrow interest free from its public bank. Canada’s central bank is the only public bank in the G8. http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/rocco-galati-challenges-role-of-bank-of-canada-in-latest-case-1.3065650

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