Today I had lunch with one of my favourite bankers and we dug right into a line of talk people often hear from me - "the big banks" as extractors of capital from rural regions.
An important point came up. Economics is the story we tell ourselves about where our wealth comes from and where it goes. Implicit in the idea of anything coming or going anywhere is a frame of reference. We could talk about global, national, regional, local or even household economics.
When I talk about economics I am almost always talking about household prosperity within Nova Scotia. That's my frame of reference. That's my team, if you will. I can just get my head around NS. Almost an island. Almost a million people. I love Nova Scotia. I genuinely believe my prosperity is directly linked to the success and happiness of all the other people in Nova Scotia.
I'm proud that Nova Scotia is great for good reason. In all our complaining, that Ivany et al hate so much, there is good reason. We don't like people getting too too high up and we don't like leaving folks too far behind. We're bombastic. No matter how good things are, we have the audacity to imagine more and better. We've created a place among the healthiest, safest, cleanest, most prosperous places in the history of the world not by making more rich people but by raising more people out of being poor - by concerning ourselves deeply with the most vulnerable, those left on the outside. It's kind of our thing. Historically, we reach from the bottom and raise everyone up. It's amazing!
So, when I'm talking, I'm usually talking about households in Nova Scotia.
And what about those big banks?
Are you hearing too often about the limitless greed and obscene profits of Canada's gigantic centralized banking oligopoly?
It's a key feature of Canada, and an elephant in the room issue for rural regions. It's not going to get changed any time soon. But it's still fair to talk and think about it.
Here's a way that we can start to work on them right now today! Instead of putting your money in the bank, buy the bank. Be an owner of capital. Let the bank work for you. Banks, like all corporations are in the business of maximizing shareholder value. All corporations talk about other things, but ultimately that's the point - maximizing shareholder wealth. Customers are a means to that end.
Though you may be a customer by necessity, you can also be an owner. And though small shareholders don't always have all the rights and benefits they would like, they are in a much better position than customers.
This strategy is pragmatic and it has lots of weaknesses but it's fast and effective and anyone can do it.
So, it is possible to help Nova Scotia fix the issue of big bank outflows of our natural wealth and capital by buying the bank. Start small. Start today. We can go about this lots of different ways but this is one thing you can do to start.
Here's an illustration of how the math of bank ownership works.
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.