Common Wealth &
Opportunity in America

The Common We

Merriam Webster defines Commonwealth as 1. archaic : commonweal 2: a nation, state, or other political unit: as a : one founded on law and united by compact or tacit agreement of the people for the common good; b : one in which supreme authority is vested in the people; c : republic

 

COMMON WEALTH – [a new definition]:

to possess sufficient financial knowledge, skill and ability to thrive in a modern democracy where the supreme authority is vested in the people.

 

The inhabited continent that became known as the Americas (and the desires of liberty and freedom) existed long before Viking marauders and European settlers found their way here. On this continent, the lands were held in trust by the indigenous peoples who derived their respectful and reverenced sustenance from it.

Now parceled, fenced and claimed by mostly the progeny of those European who found their way here over the last three hundred years, the land and the sustenance it has perpetually yielded as a common wealth to the exploiters and the exploited. The common wealth that the Americas has provided is a spirit of bounty unmatched by anywhere else on the planet and maybe unmatched in the time modern times in which we live. We as its beneficiaries have failed to completely embrace that this common wealth that we all enjoy to varying degrees unites us as a common we under the modern democratic principles that we say that believe in and are willing to offer our sons and daughter to die for. The abundance that we enjoy upon this continent envelopes us all as the common we which should strength and bind the ties that bound us together as Americans.

 

The founding fathers attempted to create a democratic state when they incorporated the body of people who eventually would inherit the land with:

 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 

During the formative years of this nation, the scroll of our common history rolled out with the formation of institutions that today govern our lives, our fortunes and our well-being. One of those institutions was U. S. Banking which has evolved dramatically since it beginnings but is still held together by many of the remnant threads of it beginning.

 

Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury of the United States, formed the Bank of the United States in 1799 to issue credit to pay for the debt left behind by the Revolutionary War.

 

Hamilton’s Anglo-American vision of banking, patrician rights and American life are still prevalent in U.S. banking today. The U.S. Federal Reserve Banking system can trace it roots to the Hamilton’s initial vision of a strong central banking system. [Noteworthy is that Hamilton’s nemesis, U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr help found the competing bank call the Bank of Manhattan. The Bank of Manhattan evolved in what is now JPMorgan Chase Manhattan Bank. Also noteworthy is that on the morning of July 11, 1804, the sitting vice president, Aaron Burr killed the former secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel]

The Importance of Financial Services -
A Key to Our Well-being

COMMON WEALTH – [a new definition]: to possess sufficient financial knowledge, skill and ability to thrive in a modern democracy where the supreme authority is vested in the people.

 

What are “the Blessings of Liberty” without money (sustenance) in a democracy based on capitalism? How can men and women enjoy “the Pursuit of Happiness” in attempting to pursue happiness without money (sustenance) in a democracy based on capitalism?

 

The American banking system was primarily developed to serve business and in the latter half of the twentieth century, the institution of banking took a pivotal role in the lives of everyday citizen consumer. In the latter half of the twentieth century and dawning of the twenty first century, consumers and the evolution of consumer credit became an equal driver with business of the American economy. Dis-investment in the core cities, resulting from population shifts to suburbs and exurbs, led to service, retail and manufacturing business to follow and subsequently traditional financial services following and the creation of ‘financial services deserts.’

 

When a man is dying of thirst in a desert, he will mortgage his future for a drop of water. Non-traditional financial services and retail providers moved into the vacuum to serve the people left behind.

When a person is dying of thirst, he /she will pay whatever he has to including mortgaging his future for a drop of water. There is water in the desert - the water table is not easily accessed as it is in rivers, lakes and streams.

When mainstream financial services (banks) and retail (grocers, drycleaners, hardware stores, etc.) providers abandon and/or dis-invest their presence and resources within a geographic area, Non-traditional financial services and credit providers (check cashers, payday lenders, auto title lenders, “buy here pay her car lots” etc.) move in to fill the vacuum. They are followed by a parade of other service providers (finance companies, tax refund advance lenders, furniture rental vendors, etc.) while other main stream business follow banks and vice versa.

The people left behind are subjected economic (social and political) exploitation. These areas are highly profitable but traditional institutions become easily frustrated and are lured toward populations and locations (lower taxes, transportation hubs and less crime) that they consider as “low hanging fruit.”

The people left behind adapt to the conditions but rarely thrive in these financial deserts. [My hope for consumers is that they not only survive but thrive.] To thrive, the consumer must empower himself/herself with basic knowledge of how financial systems work in a democracy and how financial services system can work for them. Failure to learn will result in that same financial services industry working against the dis-enfranchised consumer and eroding individual, family and community well-being. Basic financial literacy is a vital personal development to fully participate in a modern democracy.

The Role of Financial Services in Your Life

[My proposition is] To be a fully empowered citizen and to participate in the benefits afforded people in a modern democracy, individuals and families (the commonwe) must be able to access and use gateway institutions (the common wealth that is a product of a modern democracy that works for everybody) including:

• Health systems,
• Educational institutions,
• Communications technologies,
• Government (legislative & judicial)
• Financial institutions.

Banks and financial institutions facilitate access to vital financial products and services and economic opportunities, as well as, access to quality of life opportunities.

Ironically, every consumer pays for banking services whether they use them directly or not. Being “off the grid” limits citizens’ access to products and services and offers limited or no benefits. Checking, savings, credit and investment accounts represent many other financial, economic and quality of life opportunities.

The empowered consumer (the commonwe) doesn’t have be a financial expert but being knowledgeable about how financial services providers work is critical to acquiring and retaining assets and managing cash flow which are critical to attaining wealth.

 

[Commonwealth - the old definition: a nation, state or political unit founded on law and united by compact or agreement of the people for the common good where the supreme authority is vested in the people.]

COMMON WEALTH – a new definition: to possess sufficient financial knowledge and ability to thrive in a modern democracy where the supreme authority is vested in the people.