Web of debt study group
A new study group will discuss "The Web of Debt," a book about the banking system written by Ellen Hodgson Brown, who has spoken twice in Sonoma.
Public banking was first introduced in America by the Quakers in the original colony of Pennsylvania. Other colonial governments also established publicly-owned banks. The concept was later embraced by North Dakota, currently the only state with its own bank.
As of 2010, North Dakota was also the only state sporting a major budget surplus; it had the lowest unemployment and default rates in the country; and it had the most community banks per capita, suggesting that a state-owned bank actually helps local banks.
Wall Street, in contrast, invented hedge funds and derivatives. An estimated $370 trillion now rides on derivatives - 28 times the $13 trillion annual output of the entire U.S. economy.
Subjects discussed include Frank Baum's "Wizard of Oz" as an allegory, with the wizard representing the Robber Barons who brought economic oppression to America's industrial workers (the Tin Man) and farmers (the Scarecrow). John Maynard Keynes, the Federal Reserve, petrodollars, the Asian Tigers, hedge funds and derivatives will all be discussed, along with an explanation of why the real estate bubble popped and financial alternatives like state banks. The May 31 meeting will cover "Beating the Robber Barons at Their Own Game," having government pay for itself, and solving the problem of third world debt.
The study group is free, and meets 5:30 to 6:30 on Tuesdays in May, in the Village Green community room at 350 Robinson St., off Third Street West. Books are available at cost ($12.50) and can be obtained ahead of time by calling Lauren Ayers at 939-9999.