Financial self-empowerment through local banking

The media clamor of confusing and terrifying news about job losses, home foreclosures, credit squeezes and bankruptcies is causing head-aches and heart-aches across the land, on a scale not seen since the “Great” Depression of the 1930s. Filmmaker Michael Moore in his Capitalism – A Love Story interviews (OH) Rep. Marci Kaptor, who avers, echoing other knowledgeable analysts and alternative media, that there has been a financial coup-d’etat in the US. This means that the productive economy (“Main Street”) has ben hijacked by conglomerates of giant financial and insurance corporations (“Wall Street”) who are intent solely on augmenting their own wealth.

In my book, Expansion of Consciousness (p. 74), I quote from an essay by John Bellamy Foster and Robert McChesney in the Monthly Review, “Monopoly-Finance Capital and the Paradox of Accumulation”:

Key to the new financial system in the United States was the emergence of a “financial-industrial complex,” as major industrial corporations were drawn into the new system, shifting from equity to debt financing. …Concentration in finance grew hand over fist – a process that has only accelerated in the present crisis. As recently as 1990, the ten largest U.S. financial institutions held only 10 percent of total financial assets; today they own 50 percent. The top twenty institutions now hold 70 percent of financial assets. …Superimposed on top of the real or productive economy is a system that seeks to promote growth in production as a secondary effect of the promotion of speculative financial assets. Every crisis leads to a brief period of restraint, followed by further excesses …The root of the difficulty (in the real economy) remains a rising rate of exploitation of workers – indicated by the fact that, in 2006, the real hourly wage rate of private, non-agricultural workers in the U.S. was the same as in 1967, despite the enormous growth in productivity and wealth in the succeeding decades. Wage and salary disbursements as a percentage of GDP declined sharply from approximately 53 percent in 1970 to about 46 percent in 2005. Yet, as if in stark defiance of these trends, consumption at the same time rose as a percent of GDP.

A paralyzing sense of helplessness can result from recognizing this state of affairs – if one can even break through the obfuscating clouds of denial.  Fortunately, a course of action is available to the ordinary individual that can bring about a remarkable increase in personal responsibility and self-empowerment. This action is to move your money out of the big central banks and into local community banks and credit unions. I have done this myself and can vouch for the greatly increased sense of freedom and commitment to community that results from this course of action.

Catherine Austin Fitts, a former Assistant Secretary at HUD under the elder Bush and Clinton presidencies, who publishes a very enlightening and informative set of commentaries and blogs from her website at, had articulated the reasons for making this move some time ago. I highly recommend listening to her commentaries and interviews for unparalleled insight into the behind-the-scenes manipulations of the financial elites.

More recently, the PEERS newsletter has echoed the Huffington Post, in advocating the similar move to local financial institutions. Many consumers think these giant institutions have lost touch with customers and basic good business practices and are moving their money to community banks, especially those run as cooperatives and not focused on making profits for their shareholders. Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post is spearheading a campaign called Move Your Money, which encourages people to move from the banking giants to smaller community banks. Please consider going local and supporting credit unions and community banks.

One Response

  1. This is a very cogent, concise article on issues central to the heart of The Problem. Thanks. For more on the behind the curtain shenanigans of the reptilian ego demons from inner space & The Solution, see the blogs at > michaelmonterey @ both & / < Blissings, M

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