Letter: Let’s Debate Public Banking

To the Editor:

In his Jan. 12 letter to the editor (“State Bank? Learn the Facts”), Mascoma Bank senior vice president Ken Wells suggested that a study funded by the Donella Meadows Institute lacks expertise and avoids certain complex issues. We appreciate Mr. Wells’ interest in the public banking discussion and thank him for his willingness to engage in that discussion. In its decision to provide funding, the institute’s board expected that a study of public banking would enrich the collective thinking on how to re-localize financial capital for the benefit of businesses and communities in Vermont. Our hope is that a healthy discussion among the proponents and opponents of public banking can help the larger public achieve greater clarity and help the Vermont legislature and other decision-makers decide on the best course of action for the residents, businesses and communities of the state. As for expertise, researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts compiled data for a model that they had developed for this purpose. An independent research consultant from the University of Vermont Gund Institute for Ecological Economics evaluated the output of the model and wrote the report. The Donella Meadows Institute does not endorse the study. Our interest is effective process and open discussion.

Wayne Barstad

Chairman, Donella Meadows Institute



Letter: Learn the Facts About a State Bank

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

To the Editor: There has been increasing chatter about creating a Vermont state bank, with proponents pointing to a recent study funded by the Donella Meadows Institute. A serious study of the issue requires expertise in public finance, financial markets, banking and bank regulation. The institute study lacked any of that, and also avoided complex issues, like: ∎  An initial …