Ellen Brown on Why We Should Own the Banks

Ellen Brown on Why We Should Own the Banks

RSA, 2016




  • Innovative


Financial reform advocate Ellen Brown makes a strong case for publicly owned banks, which, she reasons, are in society’s best interest. While she cites several examples of effective public banks, she doesn’t explore the inefficiencies often associated with government entities. Nevertheless, getAbstract recommends Brown’s cogent – though perhaps oversimplified – argument to bankers, policy makers and depositors interested in banking reform.


Today, 25% of the world’s banks, including many of the largest and safest financial institutions, are publicly owned. This model allows states to “direct the lifeblood of business” – that is, credit. Public banks are strong in nations that have pursued rapid economic development to escape poverty, such as China, postwar Germany, South Korea and Brazil. Yet most banks are privately owned, which is problematic for three reasons:

  1. “The growth imperative” – When banks issue loans, they create not just credit but money. When money enters circulation as debt, borrowers must repay that debt with interest, increasing the size of the sum issued...

About the Speaker

Ellen Brown is the founder and president of the Public Banking Institute.

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