By Michael Hudson, PhD: The once-glowing core body of law within the Judeo-Christian Bible has become all but ignored – indeed, rejected – by the colder temper of our times. This core provided for periodic restoration of economic order by rituals of social renewal based on freedom from debt-servitude and from the loss of one’s access to self-support on the land. So central to Israelite moral values was this tradition that it framed the composition of both the Old and New Testaments.
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Radical as the idea of cancelling debts and restoring the population’s means of subsistence seems to modern eyes, it had been a conservative tradition in Bronze Age Mesopotamia for some two millennia. What was conserved was self-sufficiency for the rural family-heads who made up the infantry as well as the productive base of Near Eastern economies. Conversely, what was radically disturbing in archaic times was the idea of unrestrained wealth-seeking. It took thousands of years for the idea of progress to become inverted, to connote freedom for the wealthy to deprive the peasantry of their lands and personal liberty.
What has become obvious in the last few years is that debt–driven growth is a flawed business model when financial markets no longer have an appetite for it. In addition to initial conditions of debt to gross domestic product. In an editorial published Nov. 16th in the Financial Times, Gross explains that the euro area’s “growth-snatching” policies—which allowed countries to use leverage in place of sustainable growth—are not just European problems. Markets are just beginning to recognize this.
Shred Your Debts Jubilee! Talking about Jubilee for debts at Occupy Boston…
“No society in history has gotten to the place where we are today where the poor owe the rich so much and not had a total social breakdown, returned to actual chattel slavery, or had a jubilee. You know what a jubilee is? Jubilee is… debts are declared…. disappeared. I think we should word towards a space of jubilee and I was thinking what were some of the big moments in the Vietnam War effort. Think of some of….”
As if life wasn’t already tense enough for Americans who can’t pay their debts, collection agencies are now taking advantage of archaic state laws to have some debtors arrested and sent to jail. This is outrageous. Corporations default all the time. On the other hand, go to the end of this post, to view a video by David Walker who speaks nostalgically about debtor’s prison….
I’m not an economist. Thank God. I will repeat that. I am not an economist, thank God! I am just a person who has been studying and praying for a debt jubilee for 26 years now. I prefer to call myself a ‘jubilist’. This definition came from an old edition of the Oxford English Dictionary: a jubilist is one who a) celebrates and b) proclaims a jubilee.
Jubilee is an idea that resonates, deep within.
Sound the trumpet and proclaim Liberty.
Set the slaves free. Continue reading →