Ex-Ald. Ameya Pawar writing the book on why we need government-owned banks in the public interest

Chicago Sun Times

Former 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar just signed a contract to write a book, which he is already starting to promote even though he doesn’t expect to finish writing it before January.

Normally, I’d place that in the category of putting the cart before the horse, but Pawar is trying to sell more than just copies of a book.

He’s really trying to sell an idea the public might have as much trouble wrapping its head around as I do: the need for government-owned and operated banks that would compete with the private banking industry.

You can see why he’d want to get a head start.

“Organize Capital: The Case for Public Banks” is to be released next spring by University of Chicago Press.

Pawar promises a “book about creating a network of state and local public banks to address inequality, poverty and finance in an inclusive community.”

It’s a typically ambitious pursuit for Pawar, who kept a promise to term-limit himself out of the Chicago City Council in 2019 after falling short in campaigns for governor and city treasurer.

As proud as he is of his aldermanic accomplishments — among them requiring paid sick leave and minimum-wage increases for Chicago workers — Pawar said he was limited in what he could accomplish as a legislator and wanted to work on something that could “move the needle” on inequality and poverty.

He thinks creation of a public banking system — in which local depositors and public pension funds join to fuel investment in their own communities — could fuel that kind of transformative change.

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