Josh Harkinson, “How the Nation’s Only State-Owned Bank Became the Envy of Wall Street,” Mother Jones 3-27-09

The Bank of North Dakota is the only state-owned bank in America—what Republicans might call an idiosyncratic bastion of socialism. It also earned a record profit last year even as its private-sector corollaries lost billions. To be sure, it owes some of its unusual success to North Dakota’s well-insulated economy, which is heavy on agricultural staples and light on housing speculation. But that hasn’t stopped out-of-state politicos from beating a path to chilly Bismarck in search of advice. Could opening state-owned banks across America get us out of the financial crisis? It certainly might help, says Ellen Brown, author of the book, Web of Debt, who writes that the Bank of North Dakota, with its $4 billion under management, has avoided the credit freeze by “creating its own credit, leading the nation in establishing state economic sovereignty.” Mother Jones spoke with the Bank of North Dakota’s president, Eric Hardmeyer.

Read the rest here —

15 Responses

  1. Hopefully another wave of populist anger will lead to eastablishing more state banks.

  2. I am trying to figure-out this article and what it is really “selling.”

    Upon first glance, it seems to be promoting the idea of nationalizing our banking infrastructure, which is clearly what the players behind Wall Street want.

    What am I missing here? For there is no way Mother Jones is publishing an article AGAINST the wishes of their financial masters.

    • Why do you think our masters want to nationalize our banking infrastructure? They want private banker-issued money; publicly-issued money is what we the people should want.

  3. Hi Ellen, from Tucson! I think what the previous comment is getting at is that the bailout model is effectively socializing or nationalizing the too big to fail banks insofar as the profits are private but the risks and liabilities are publicly borne. This is one (fascist) model of nationalization. The ND model that you support nationalizes the whole package and does so transparently….

  4. Ellen…

    First, they want to nationalize the US banking infrastructure in order to socialize the huge debts they created.

    Second, they want to buy-back (i.e. privatize) the assets at some later date at pennies on the dollar (ie. typical 3rd world play).

    Third, N. Dakota does not issue its own money, they just broker it for the same privately controlled global system. So, the money is still private banker-issued.

  5. Robert Laski…

    To the extent that all U.S. banks create U.S. currency on their ledgers when making loans, the loan issuing bank of North Dakota creates money for public use rather than to be used to fund private bank bathroom remodels complete with golden toilets.

    This is better but not best.

  6. The thing I think that would really work to get our governments printing their own money again would be for states and municipalities with taxing authority to begin issuing tax rebate coupons to their employees in lieu of pay raises. Then do the same thing for government contractors — make them take a substantial portion of their wages as tax rebate coupons. Then after a while begin to make government employees take larger and larger portions of their salaries as tax rebate coupons.

    These coupons could then be used and swapped at grocery and retail stores and auto dealerships and anywhere else entities have to pay taxes. Even homeowners would keep them to pay real estate taxes. Initially, there might not be widespread acceptance, and the stores might heavily discount the rebates to take them. But after a couple of years, they would probably be easily accepted at near par value of the dollar.

    Ben Franklin’s “scrip” money would be back.

    No doubt there might be legal challenges, but by the time a legal challenge reached the Supreme Court level, they might be in widespread use. And maybe the federal government might do the same. The Supreme Court would have a problem calling this money in violation of the Constitution. And if this was a violation, then other forms of paper money might also be in violation of it.

  7. It seems that Bank of ND’s president, Eric Hardmeyer is accomplishing positive results for his state while demonstrating the typical banker’s attitude of elusive double speak with an aura of exclusivity. Bowing to the vernacular may be the recipe for success in public private partnerships.

    I also noted that Obama wants the goverment to completely take over student loans, making private lenders obsolete. I see this as an indication of the length he is willing to go, to vertically integrate critically important issues like access to higher education.

    Here is an article on this:

  8. Thanks from South Korea.

    I have read your articles since January, 2009.
    Those are enlightening as well as informative.

    I learned a lot thanks to you and series of ‘Zeitgeist’ documentary.

    I want to express my appreciation to you and hope you keep up this nice work.

    Here in this S. Korea, your book (web of debt) was translated into Korean, and gained popularity along news articles that featured your book.

    I believe as more people on this planet come to know the truth thanks to you, the financial stability of this planet will come soonner.

    Thank you.

    Doo Nam Kim, Seoul, S. Korea.

  9. Hi, i’ve been meaning to read your book Web of Debt for a couple years now I came across it several years ago in some of the financial blogs and websites I go to…………..just caught your interview with Lydia Cornell and Doug Basham and bought a copy from Amazon. …….I’m REALLY looking forward to reading it.

  10. Let’s not forget that N.D. lets corporations, including banks and credit card banks to incorporate in their state to avoid state taxes where they actually operate. And to avoid usury rate caps.
    And other favorable laws. That their lobbyist wrote.
    Like the state of Delaware. Bank/corporation friendly.
    Same old, same old.
    Corporate personhood is another important issue to address.

    It was Henry Ford Sr. who once said: “The youth who can solve the money question will do more for the world than all the professional soldiers of history.”

    “Those few who can understand the system (check book money and credit) will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on it favors, that there will be little opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear it burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.”
    Rothschild’s Bros. of London

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