Ellen Brown – Public Banking & the US Debt Scenario

by on September 10, 2011      

in Finance & Economics, Law, Government, & Military

Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt

Ellen Brown

Ellen Brown, researcher, writer and author of Web of Debt and the chairman and president of the newly formed Public Banking Institute returns to the show to talk with us about the progress that has been made in the public banking movement. She addresses several misunderstandings about public banking. She describes how quickly a public bank can be put together and why public banks are not only not a risky endeavor, but is the solution to the problem the country is having. We discuss Quantitative Easing, Standard and Poors, and why Ellen Brown asserts that public banking is not inflationary.

Learn how Ellen Brown, one of the big change agents in America, has shared her vision of solving the problem using the Bank of North Dakota as the model from initial public speaking to writing a book, all the way to starting an organic Google group to solve the problem on behalf of We The People to holding workshops around the world. We ask her very hard hitting questions and appreciate her joining us live from Basil, Switzerland.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Robin Datta September 12, 2011 at 7:35 am

There are three parts to the economy: primary, secondary and tertiary.

The primary economy consists of natural resources: sunshine and wind, water resources, minerals and ores, arable land, flora and fauna, energy resources, etc. 

The secondary economy is usable products: food, clothing, shelter, tools and equipment, infrastructure including roads, buildings, bridges, levees, canals, etc. It also includes the labor and energy expended in their production, and embedded/invested in them. 

The tertiary economy consists of symbols representing purported values in the primary and secondary economies: these can be disks of base or precious metal, pieces of paper with green pictures of dead presidents, cowrie shells, wampum, magnetized particles on a computer’s hard drive, etc  There can be symbols of symbols, such as certificates of deposit, collateralized debt obligations, and evev symbols of symbols of symbols as is seen in “derivatives”. Symbols can represent specific items in the primary or secondary economies, such as stocks. 

Debt is a promise to make good at a future time a certain value in the primary and secondary economies, usually in symbols purporting to represent such value. Neither debt not symbols denominated in fiat money have any intrinsic value. 

Symbols that have no backing in specific items in the primary or secondary economies, are symbols that can be produced without limit; with debt, when it comes due to pay the piper, the reckoning can be postponed by accreting the promise of additional payment at a yet later date. The proliferation of symbols is based on faith in promises, and does not necessarily correlate with growth in the real values, the primary and secondary economies. 


2 Robin Datta September 14, 2011 at 1:12 am

“Monetizing future productivity” referred to in the Sshiff-Brown interview is promising accrete more symbols (items of the tertiary economy) to those already in existence on the presumption that correspondingly more items of the primary economy (natural resources) and of the secondary economy (goods and services) will exist when it comes time to exchange those symbols for real things. That presumption is as unlimited as the ability to create those symbols. When an excess of the symbols are presented for exchange for items of real value, the items will require more symbols in exchange. 


3 Kim Greenhouse September 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Hi Robin,

If you could be more clear in terms of economics and the Ellen Brown Model, this will assist the listening audience.
What exactly is your real point? Thank you for your input.


4 Robin Datta September 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm

The point is that there is a limit to the increase in the primary and secondary economies, while in contrast there no limit to the production of the symbols, since they are not anchored in anything of value. They depend on trust and faith that the symbols will be convertible into items of the primary and secondary economies. When the proliferation of such symbols outstrips the predicated increase in the primary and secondary economies (i.e. real value), each symbol will represent progressively less in terms of real value and will be exchangable for less and less. That in other words, is inflation.

Actually there is a cost to printing money, and that cost (for ink, paper, labor, machinery etc.) and when it deducted from the value of that money when put into circulation it is seigniorage: for example, the profit to the government from issuing a one-dollar bill is less than the profit from a hundred-dollar bill.

Seignorage is the positive return (to the government) on issuing notes and coins, or “carry” on money in circulation.


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