The Bank of North Dakota (BND), the only public bank in the US, celebrated 100 years of economic liberty from Wall Street banks this week.
BND was created in 1919 by the grassroots efforts of the Nonpartisan League. Back in the early 1900s in the Gilded Age, railroads and banks were controlled by wealthy east coast robber barons. Railroads were raising shipping rates and treating farmers unfairly. Bankers lent farmers money and came in for the kill by foreclosing on family farms if they couldn’t make payments. Big banks were taking land and homes that had been in families for generations.
The Bank of North Dakota gave people a way to use tax revenues to build infrastructure and help small businesses (mostly farms in 1919) grow and expand. Wall Street financing doubles the cost of building infrastructure projects in the United States. Both China and North Dakota have built impressive rail infrastructures by self-financing them with public banking.
Meanwhile, here in Arizona, we twiddle our thumbs and wonder how we could possibly pay for big projects like –infrastructure improvements or affordable housing.
Many states and cities are taking steps to create public banks. Here in Arizona, we’re giving away our taxes, rather than investing them. It’s time to wake up to sustainable economic development.
Read about the 100 year celebration here:
Here’s more on how Arizona could use public banking.