26 April 2010

Bank of North Dakota

The Bank of North Dakota is unique in the United States in that it is the only commercial bank that is in public ownership, that is by the taxpayers of North Dakota. Profits (about half) go towards the state budget and not into the hands of private shareholders. Indeed, it could be said that each and every North Dakota taxpayer is a shareholder.

Strange then, that Newsweek, in an article about the bank chose to title it 'Socialism thrives in North Dakota'.

Socialism appears to be a dirty word in the United States, particularly amongst tea partiers.

Oddly, and I've mentioned this before, state-provided education is not called socialised education, Amtrak is not called socialised rail transport, and subsidised agriculture is not considered to be socialised agriculture.

In fact, US federal and state governments own many of their own buildings, when they could lease from the private property sector. Surely this is socialised real estate.

There needs to be a serious think about the role of government and what can be provided or owned by the private sector. It is unfair to pick and choose which bits of public ownership or provision to call socialist.

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