WHAT A GOVERNMENT CAN DO WITH ITS OWN BANK: THE REMARKABLE MODEL OF THE COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, Michigan, just won the Democratic nomination for governor of his state, making a state-owned Bank of Michigan a real possibility. Bernero is one of at least a dozen candidates promoting that solution to the states’ economic woes.

Read more here –
http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/commonwealth_bank_aus.php

Translated into French here –
https://webofdebt.wordpress.com/translated-articles/ce-quun-gouvernement-peut-faire-avec-sa-propre-banque-le-modele-remarquable-de-la-%c2%ab-commonwealth-bank-of-australia-%c2%bb/

23 Responses

  1. I have just read your essay on the Commonwealth Bank.

    You are SO right and the bank was just a fraction of what once was in Australia.

    All of the states had similar banks, e.g. the Rural & Industries Bank of Western Australia.

    On top of that the federal and state governments owned – for the public good (commonwealth) – all railways, all electricity supply, all postal services, all telecommunications, all hospitals, all water supplies, all essential services in fact.

    And it all worked very well indeed, but then the rot crept in, ironically with a Labor (Hawke/Keating) government.

    Neoliberalism/economic rationalism became the mantra.

    Virtually everything got sold to ‘private enterprize’, but really big overseas corporations.

    Now Australia is a disaster waiting to happen.

    We now own nothing.

    Now our entire economy depends on just digging stuff out of the ground, e.g. iron ore, coal and uranium -and gold to some extent and wood too, to some extent.

    David Suzuki once observed – about thirty years ago – that if the rest of the world disappeared then, unlike Japan (which depends on iron ore imports, for instance) Australia would survive.

    Those days are long gone.

    I could go on and maybe write a book about it, but suffice to say that the sale of the Commonweath Bank is just the tip of the iceberg which will sink this “lucky country”.

    • Interesting, thanks! I may put some of that in a book myself.

      • Thanks Ellen.

        It makes me cry, literally, to see what has happened here.

        I was part of Gough Whitlams’ attempt to try to “buy back the farm” from overseas interests.

        I was on the inside, in the early 70s, as everything went badly wrong.

        The ALP got taken over.

        The CIA, with the help of Rupert Murdoch, basically staged a coup, albeit bloodless.

        I am no conspiracy theorist.

        It actually happened that my elected government got destroyed.

        Unlike you, Ellen, I am not able to write a book. I just don’t have that talent. But maybe I can point you in the direction of exposing how the CIA has destroyed so many legitimate governments around the world.

        Of course I have a special interest in Australia, because here is where I live, but considering that you raised the matter of the Commonwealth Bank, maybe Australia could be a case study for all that has gone wrong, if you write another book.

        You can depend on me for info.

        • Actually I know a film maker who might be interested in these details.

          • Just ask.

            But was not top flight, just a branch secretary/treasurer of the ALP, though I did know a lot of high-flyers and I quit in disgust, after being offered a seat in parliament and finding out that I would have to sell my soul.

            I will help all I can, but the info can be easily Googled, e.g. just enter “Whitlam Government”.

      • I’m sorry, this article about the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is part of what Australia’s first nation people call the ”Dream Time’. It completely ignores the banks complicity and lack of risk managment trading credit derivatives that you speak of so widely. Need anyone be reminded of the so called Global Financial Crisis ? Australia is a debt bomb / ponzi economy with $A 15 Trillion on the Reserve (Central) Banks balance sheet because of excessive largess. There is more private debt per head of poulation than there is in Nth America.

        Column N
        http://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/tables/xls/b04hist.xls?accessed=3007-21:51:03

        • True David. Just note my earlier comment about the Commonwealth Bank – and so much more – having been sold several years ago.

          At the time some people called it as being like “selling the crown jewels”, since then the situation you describe has come about.

          It dates from the Hawke/Keating government (Labor-sic) which embraced economic rationalism with greater fervour than even Reagan and Thatcher.

  2. I’m glad to hear there are more examples than just North Dakota of how to do things right with a publicly owned bank.

    But Gerry’s observation of how all Australia’s public infrastructure has been sold, is sad, sobering news. All that infrastructure rightfully belongs to the commonwealth – now it has been given over to private monopolization. Just like the U.S., Their democracy will soon be sold out from under them, if it hasn’t been already.

  3. It has been Zare.

    All gone.

  4. Seems like we can learn a lot from this post. Publicly owned banks can have many issues if not structured correctly.

  5. What has happened to the public interest, the notion of the commons? Is it fluoride in the water? Take over of the media by the “deep state”?

    But let’s watch Michigan and Virg Bernero. The private banking model has nowhere to go but into the fascist heart of darkness. If he has a heart attack or is run down in a cross walk, we’ll know we’re on to something!

    • The fact he got that far, coming out of nowhere and despite vigorous opposition, is pretty impressive. The people quietly rose up and spoke.

      • Yes it is impressive. I’m going to google Virg and see if any of his speeches are available. If you’ve got any links to share, I’d like to read what you’re reading.

  6. […] posted this Ellen Brown article elsewhere but it seems appropriate here as well. If Australia keeps the inflation low, it will be […]

  7. A thing about public infrastructure being sold is this:

    Just for example:

    In the days when the electricity supply was totally owned by state governments, it was just a book-entry when schools, hospitals, public transport , the postal services and all else in the public (common wealth) domain paid their bills for electricity.

    What came round went round.

    Money just went round in an effectively closed system and nothing really cost anything, including the entire welfare system, which was once so good in Australia.

    But then the electricity supply, for instance, got sold to overseas multinationals, so we no longer have a ‘closed’ system.

    Now it is all ‘for profit’.

    Now the federal and state governments are in debt to overeas corporations.

    Schools, hospitals and so on are now paying their electricity bills to companies in Singapore, for instance.

    Oh I do wish I could write a book, but where would I start?

    I am overwhelmed by what has happened here and in the “Western World” generally.

    OK Australia is about as far removed from Europe and the US as you can possibly get geographically, but politically it is “Western” and most of the population derives from Europe, including myself.

  8. Economic rationalism/neoliberalsm, or pure greed and self-interest have destroyed anything that was ever good about the “Western World”.

    I can mark it from the time that Reagan and Thatcher gained power.

    I can mark it from the time that Freidman and Ayn Rand got ideological supremacy.

    I can mark it from the time when J M Keynes and J K Galbraith got dumped. And I really do know what I am saying.

  9. Just read Galbraiths’ “The Affluent Society”.

    It totally opened my eyes.

    • I gained my understanding of public vs private by reading Henry George’s “Progress and Poverty”. Alhough he only discusses land, the concept can be applied to anything that existed before mankind, along with anything that exists or has value due to the commons — such as special privileges to create money, run a monopolistic business, even to holding patents and copyrights.

      The dividing line between public and private is messed up not only in communistic countries (where everything, including the fruits of one’s labor, is owned by the public) but also in capitalistic countries (where everything is privately owned, including land, natural resources, the privilege to create money, “natural” monopolies, …). Putting the line where it belongs would go a long way toward fixing the economy and better spreading the wealth to those who create it, versus those who prevent it from being created unless they receive a tribute for granting that “privilege”.

    • Forgot to include the link to “Progress and Poverty”

      http://www.henrygeorge.org/pcontents.htm

  10. For a brief description of Virg Bernero’s proposal for a State Bank of Michigan, see here:

    http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2010/03/democratic_gubernatorial_candi.html

    and also here, including comments by Farid Khavari, an economist running for governor of Florida as an Independent:

    http://www.uncoveredpolitics.com/2010/08/proponent-of-state-owned-bank-wins-democratic-nod-in-michigan-governor%E2%80%99s-race/

  11. […] under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary WEB OF DEBT BLOGLast week, England’s new government said it would abandon the previous government’s stimulus […]

  12. […] Link: https://webofdebt.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/what-a-government-can-do-with-its-own-bank-the-remarkable-… […]

  13. […] Brown har skrivit en artikel om Australien – WHAT A GOVERNMENT CAN DO WITH ITS OWN BANK: THE REMARKABLE MODEL OF THE COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRAL… – […]

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