1. Competition and regulation: Public options compete with existing financial institutions, thereby providing people with alternatives to private finance and possibly improving the products and services that private finance offers. The public option also provides a means of regulating private financial institutions through competition.
2. Public goods: Public goods, such as a highly educated population, efficient infrastructure, and long-term technological innovation with broad positive spillovers, can be supported by public finance institutions.
3. Collective goods and complementarities: Collective goods are those that require concerted and collective action to come to fruition and generate productive outcomes. For example, as Mehrsa Baradaran argues in developing her proposal for “A Homestead Act for the 21st Century,” providing affordable housing is not sustainable in and of itself because there are a number of complementary goods that must be available at the same time, such as jobs, financial institutions and grocery stores. Here, community development is a good that must involve collective planning and simultaneous financing in a number of different areas for any of the pieces to succeed. A public banking and financial institution can be a useful mechanism to coordinate and help finance these activities.
4. Financial inclusion — fighting poverty, exploitation and racial discrimination: Financial exclusion, exploitation and racial injustice are deeply ingrained social ills in the United States. Public banking and finance institutions can help finance affordable housing, cooperatives, small businesses, education initiatives and financial services, all in communities of color and for institutions owned or controlled by members of the community.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction