The Power to Make Debt Disappear

An illuminating excerpt from David Graeber’s forthcoming book Debt: The First 5,000 Years can be found on the website triple canopy :

In the ancient world, it was not debt that was considered sacred, but rather the power to make it disappear. We are, it seems, long overdue for a contemporary Jubilee, one that would affect consumer debt as well as international debt, and that would not only relieve a great amount of human suffering but also remind us that money is not ineffable, that paying one’s debt is not the essence of morality, that borrowing and lending are human arrangements, and that if democracy is to mean anything, it is the ability to all agree to arrange things differently.

“The power to make debt disappear.”

Indeed, paying debt is not the essence of morality. Traditionally, debt has been seen as bondage, slavery and sin. The opposite of debt is EQUITY. Ownership. Ownership signifies responsibility.

Selah. Stop and think about it.