Over 90% of everyone employed in the private sector work in small and medium sized enterprises (SME). 70% work in small businesses alone. As we transition to a low-carbon social needs-based economy a strategy for full employment is required. The existing Business Development Corporation emerged from the Second World War, initially called the Industrial Development Bank. If the government of Canada can foster full employment in a war economy, surely it can establish new and innovative policies to respond to the climate crisis and growing social inequality.
An NDP government should establish a Social Investment Bank (SIB) to mobilize resources to kick start the economy and develop small and medium-size business. As an aspect of economic planning, an SIB can prioritize social and environmental strategic needs above private profits. An SIB can work to end the chaos of market instability with a measured response to layoffs and plant closures with an emphasis on investing in green and social development, and a low carbon economy. An SIB would enable workers to buy out run-away industries and establish co-operatives. It would place emphasis on energy efficient social housing and co-op enterprises.
Financed by government issued bonds and secured debt, an SIB similar to the German Investment Corporation, could provide loans and start-up financing for lower than commercial interest rates. Energy-efficient green housing, retro fits, support for small landlords to renovate and improve the housing stock, would radically transform the economy. In addition, an SIB could partner with municipalities to support mass public transit and infrastructure projects, working with large, medium and small (including rural) communities. In the under developed countries, a Canadian SIB could help develop infrastructure, co-operative agriculture, renewable energy, telecommunications and manufacturing abroad.