Dead Or Alive?  Schrödinger’s Public Banking Bill

SB 5188 to establish a Washington state Financial Cooperative is in an uncertain state in the legislature

SB 5188 to establish a Washington state Financial Cooperative is in an uncertain state in the legislature

Physicist Erwin Schrödinger devised a thought experiment described here:

Schrödinger's cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. 

 

Like the cat in this experiment, SB 5188, the Public Financial Cooperative bill, did not see further action prior to the House concluding its business for this year's legislative session. So for the moment, SB 5188 has, like that cat, been placed in a virtual box leaving the bill in a situation that is unknown. Is it alive or dead? It appears to be dead, but at the beginning of the next legislative session the box will be opened for citizens to see. After all, much hard work was done over the past year to get this bill passed; but for now it remains in stasis, in a version of its own quantum uncertainty - dead/alive.  

On a brighter note, across the nation, public banking bills are being considered in many state legislatures as shown on the map above. For a more detailed list of public banking actions in various states,  there is a list at the Public Banking Institute site. An interesting piece on public banking in the U.S. was published in December 2020 on the site Project Censored (The News That Didn't Make The News). The article, entitled The Public Banking Revolution, had this to say: 

"In July 2019, The Hill reported on how public banking could help fund the Green New Deal, the policy proposal to address climate change and environmental deterioration. Skeptics have argued that strapped federal and state governments lack the financial resources to take on the Green New Deal’s multi-trillion-dollar costs. However, as Eric Heath explained, state banks, such as the BND  [Bank of North Dakota], “free the financial resources needed to fund vital investments in the planet’s future.” Public banks’ mission to serve the public interest could allow them “to extend financing to projects that other banks would not consider”—not because green investments are unprofitable, but because “their profits slowly accumulate and are widely shared across a community.” A September 2019 study, published by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, recommended the adoption of public banks by all Northeast and Midwestern states, not as “a panacea” but as one important move for “addressing critical investment gaps and realigning state resources with state interests.”

It has been over 100 years since the BND was created in the aftermath of an impasse between Democrats and Republicans (sound familiar?). So, the people created the Non-Partisan League which won the ND 1916 election and, in turn, established the BND which helped the farmers by allowing them to stay and work on the land after foreclosure and to buy their farms back after the Depression. ND also weathered the 2008 economic collapse by continuing to lend while the private banks shut their doors to lending for all intents and purposes.  Recent years have seen record profits with the BND all of which comes back to the residents of state.  You would think we would have had enough time already to get it right with public banks and quit shoveling our money into private coffers.  

About Dick Conoboy

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Member since Jan 26, 2008

Dick Conoboy is a recovering civilian federal worker and military officer who was offered and accepted an all-expense paid, one year trip to Vietnam in 1968. He is a former Army [...]

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