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Obama's Bank


  • Page extent: 392 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.53 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521147118)

Obama's Bank
Cambridge University Press
9780521197540 - Obama's Bank - Financing a Durable New Deal - By Michael Likosky

Obama's Bank

The Obama administration aims to lay a sound foundation for growth by investing in high-speed rail, clean energy, information technology, drinking water, and other vital infrastructures. The idea is to partner with the private sector to produce these public goods. An Obama government bank would direct these investments, making project decisions based on the merits of each project, not on politics. This approach has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy for several decades. In fact, our government-led reinvestment in America is modeled explicitly on international public banks and partnerships. However, although this foreign commercial policy is well established with many successes, it has also been deservedly controversial and divisive. This book describes the international experience, drawing lessons on how the Obama Bank can forge partnerships to promote a durable twenty-first-century New Deal.

Michael Likosky is a Senior Fellow at New York University's Institute for Public Knowledge, and formerly a tenured law professor at the University of London. He has held visiting professorships at Fordham University Law School and University of Wisconsin–Madison Law School. Likosky has been Markle Foundation Fellow at Oxford University and Global Crystal Eastman Research Fellow at New York University School of Law. He is an expert to the United Nations and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He has published four books on law and finance: Law, Infrastructure, and Human Rights; The Silicon Empire; Privatizing Development; and Transnational Legal Processes. Likosky has twice contributed to the Oxford Amnesty Lectures, and his work has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Ford Foundation, Institute for a New Reflection on Governance, and World Affairs and the Global Economy. He actively advises intergovernmental organizations, governments, investors, major broadcasters, public interest groups, and labor unions.

Obama's Bank

Financing a Durable New Deal

Michael Likosky

Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo, Mexico City

Cambridge University Press
32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013-2473, USA
Information on this title:

© Michael Likosky 2010

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010

Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication data

Likosky, Michael.
Obama's bank : financing a durable new deal / Michael B. Likosky.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-521-19754-0 (alk. paper)
1. Infrastructure (Economics) – Government policy – United States.
2. Public-private sector cooperation – United States. 3. Fiscal policy – United States. 4. Economic crisis – United States – History – 21st century. I. Title.
HC110.C3L55 2009
363.60973–dc22 2009032486

ISBN 978-0-521-19754-0 Hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-14711-8 Paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

For Joy

Drink Deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
– Alexander Pope (1711)

True Axioms must be drawn from plain experience, and not from doubtful.

– William Rawley (1627)

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

– United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Leverage is Everything.

– United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes


1     Introduction
2     The Janesville Plan
3     A Bank of Our Own
4     Leverage
5     Free Market Statism
6     A New Foundation
7     P3s and Foreign Affairs
8     Companies as Policy Organs
9     Transparency
10    Contracts
11    Emancipation
12    Renegotiations
13    Recommendations


This book has been influenced by many colleagues and events.

Over the last several years, I have been an expert to international organizations on public-private partnerships (P3s). Since 2007, I have worked closely with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development as a regular contributor to its World Investment Reports and World Development Report as well as to Board Meetings. Much of this work has focused on providing policy advice tied to the role of P3s within infrastructure, oil, gas, and extractives to low- and medium-income countries. I am particularly thankful to Torbjörn Frederiksen. More recently, I have begun work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on these issues in Africa as a Member of its Working Group on Infrastructure and Extractives. I have also similarly benefited from my ongoing collaboration with the Ford Foundation on both international and domestic P3s; my work with Lisa Jordan helped shape the material on international infrastructure banks, and Katherine McFate read the bulk of the manuscript and provided insightful comments. The underlying research for this book has also been helped along in important ways by grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy.

The ideas for this book have been tested out and refined at many public lectures and events. I would like to single out several of them.

I convened three New York University (NYU) panels with the OECD as part of a series – Reinvesting in America – with support from the Ford Foundation. I am thankful to the panelists for their insights: John Adler (Director of Private Equity, Capital Stewardship Program, Service Employees International Union), Samara Barend (Executive Director, New York State Commission on State Asset Maximization), Phineas Baxandall (Senior Analyst for Tax and Budgetary Policy, United States Public Interest Research Group), John Buckley (Tax Counsel, House Ways and Means Committee, United States Congress), Tony Dutzik (Senior Analyst, Frontier Group), Karen Hedlund (Chief Counsel, Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation), Bob Helwig (Deputy Director, Office of the Secretary of Defense, United States Department of Defense), Emilia Istrate (Senior Research Analyst, Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, Brookings Institution), Aaron Klein (Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy Coordination, United States Department of the Treasury), Kris Kolluri (Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey State Schools Development Authority, and former Head of New Jersey Department of Transportation), Peter Rosenblum (Leiff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Clinical Professor, Columbia University Law School), Susan Rose-Ackerman (Henry R. Luce Professor of Law and Jurisprudence, Yale Law School), and Dan Zeitlin (Senior Legislative Staff, Office of United States Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro).

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