An Historical Warning For Proponents Of A Modern Debt Jubilee

30 May


Australia’s own Professor Steve Keen — one of only 13 economists worldwide to predict the Global Financial Crisis beginning in the mid 2000’s, and explain why — is perhaps the foremost proponent of a Modern Debt Jubilee “for the public”, as a solution to the ongoing global debt crisis:

Michael Hudson’s sim­ple phrase that “Debts that can’t be repaid, won’t be repaid” sums up the eco­nomic dilemma of our times. This does not involve sanc­tion­ing “moral haz­ard”, since the real moral haz­ard was in the behav­iour of the finance sec­tor in cre­at­ing this debt in the first place. Most of this debt should never have been cre­ated, since all it did was fund dis­guised Ponzi Schemes that inflated asset val­ues with­out adding to society’s pro­duc­tiv­ity. Here the irresponsibility—and Moral Hazard—clearly lay with the lenders rather than the borrowers.

The only real ques­tion we face is not whether we should or should not repay this debt, but how are we going to go about not repay­ing it?

We should … find a means to reduce the pri­vate debt bur­den now, and reduce the length of time we spend in this dam­ag­ing process of delever­ag­ing. Pre-capitalist soci­eties insti­tuted the prac­tice of the Jubilee to escape from sim­i­lar traps (Hud­son 2000; Hud­son 2004), and debt defaults have been a reg­u­lar expe­ri­ence in the his­tory of cap­i­tal­ism too (Rein­hart and Rogoff 2008). So a prima facie alter­na­tive to 15 years of delever­ag­ing would be an old-fashioned debt Jubilee…

We … need a way to short-circuit the process of debt-deleveraging, while not destroy­ing the assets of both the bank­ing sec­tor and the mem­bers of the non-banking pub­lic who pur­chased ABSs. One fea­si­ble means to do this is a “Mod­ern Jubilee”, which could also be described as “Quan­ti­ta­tive Eas­ing for the public”.

Quan­ti­ta­tive Eas­ing was under­taken in the false belief that this would “kick start” the econ­omy by spurring bank lending.

Instead, its main effect was to dra­mat­i­cally increase the idle reserves of the bank­ing sec­tor while the broad money sup­ply stag­nated or fell, for the obvi­ous rea­sons that there is already too much pri­vate sec­tor debt, and nei­ther lenders nor the pub­lic want to take on more debt.

A Mod­ern Jubilee would cre­ate fiat money in the same way as with Quan­ti­ta­tive Eas­ing, but would direct that money to the bank accounts of the pub­lic with the require­ment that the first use of this money would be to reduce debt. Debtors whose debt exceeded their injec­tion would have their debt reduced but not elim­i­nated, while at the other extreme, recip­i­ents with no debt would receive a cash injec­tion into their deposit accounts…

Alas, in wisely looking to the past for a guiding light to present action, proponents of a Modern Debt Jubilee appear to have glimpsed only a small part of the full historical picture. Indeed, it seems that they have failed to duly note the significance of what is the veritable mastodon in the room of recorded economic history.

This is somewhat inexplicable to this observer, particularly when one considers Professor Keen’s referencing of the research of his colleague, Professor Michael Hudson, in making the case for his modern jubilee proposal.

It would be well for all modern proponents of “wiping the slate clean” to heed the warning bell tolling from the depths of recorded history, the echoes of which ring out most clearly in Professor Hudson’s fascinating and exhaustive research study, How Interest Rates Were Set, 2500 BC to 1000 AD. The following excerpts are instructive, and most germane to our present inquiry (my emphasis added):

For economic historians, the Riddle of the Sphinx (if not the Holy Grail) has long been to explain how interest-bearing debts originated, and why interest rates differed from one society to the next. Interest rates are known to have been set in three primary civilizations at the outset of their commercial takeoff — Bronze Age Sumer, classical Greece and Rome…

Many economists theorize that interest rates reflect productivity and profit levels, subject to the risks of lending. A century ago, for instance, the German economic historian Wilhelm Roscher attributed the long decline in interest rates since antiquity to the “advance of civilization.”[1] He suggested that these rates declined because the riskiness of investment, for example, had been lessened by improvements in social stability, market efficiency and the security of credit. Also, shrinking profit margins and/or falling yields of cattle or crops would have reduced the ability of debtors to pay interest.

Following this approach, economic historians interpret the “kid” or “calf” words for interest (máš in Sumerian, tokos in Greek and fænus in Latin) as reflecting the growth of herds. But this begs the question of why such growth would have declined from Sumer through Greece and Rome. Already a century ago, Böhm-Bawerk rejected such “naive productivity explanations” of interest rates.[2]

We need not assume that interest rates were “economic” in the sense of being within the ability of most cultivators to pay. Abject need was the motive for agrarian debt. A key financial dynamic of ancient civilizations was precisely the problem of debt arrears (including unpaid tax collections) mounting up beyond the ability of many borrowers to pay. This is what led to the royal amargi, andurarum and misharum “Clean Slate” proclamations of Mesopotamia during 2400-1700 BC, cancelling agrarian debts…

Referring to the Levitical Jubilee Year, [Morris] Silver insists on “the counterproductive nature of the [Biblical] prophets’ economic ideas from a real world standpoint,” that is, the standpoint of modern laissez faire urging governments to refrain from interference with market forces. The modern assumption is that no matter what governments do to steer the economy, the market will undo such efforts.[12]

What were the Babylonians (and for that matter, the Judaeans and Israelites) thinking of? I think they knew something that modern economic theory does not acknowledge: if “market forces” are left to themselves, they lead to widening economic polarization and growing disequilibrium as financial claims on wealth and income tend inexorably to exceed the ability to pay (the Frederick Soddy principle). Interest rates exceeded profit and crop-surplus (“real rent”) rates.

One is reminded of Samuel Kramer’s complaint that Urukagina’s reforms were fruitless, for the usury and impoverishment problem simply began again.[13] Of course it did — and when the economy’s financial balance veered too far out of an equitable equilibrium, or simply when a new ruler ascended the throne, the debts were cancelled yet again. This was how the Sumerian and Babylonian debt overhead was prevented from growing too far out of bounds (a counterpart to the “overgrowth” of hubris in Greek social-economic thought).

One would think that — in the perhaps unlikely absence of an ideological and/or conceptual blind spot regarding the putative “time-value” of “money”; that is, the popularly-accepted post-Renaissance casuistic rationalisation for the charging of “interest” rates — the modern-day economic problem-solver should easily recognise the obvious lesson of history contained here.

Merely establishing a Modern Debt Jubilee cannot solve the global debt problem for the longue durée (“long term”). Any “wiping the slate clean”, or “debt reset”, would be an exercise in futility, in the absence of addressing the root cause of excessive debt.

It would not be unreasonable to suggest that the repeated failure of Sumerian/Babylonian “Clean Slate” proclamations to address the root problem causing indebtedness in the first place, offers a compelling explanation as to why the Biblical (Hebrew) prophets invoked the authority of God in explicitly commanding not only that all debts should be annulled every 7 years (the “Sabbatical” Year Jubilee), and that all property rights must be restored after 49 years (50th Year Jubilee), but also that usury in any form was a mortal sin, and thus outlawed within their society (e.g., “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother—usury of money, usury of victuals (food), usury of any thing that is lent upon usury.” – Deut 23:19).

Professor Hudson concludes (my emphasis added):

Usury became the major force polarizing ancient society as credit passed out of the hands of public institutions into those of private households. By classical Greek and Roman times, no palace rulers were left to cancel agrarian debts and otherwise keep creditor power in check. Thus, what seems to have begun as justifiable debt in third‑millennium Mesopotamia evolved into classical usury. Its corrosive dynamics polarized ancient society more than any other factor, destroying the archaic social balance between rich and poor, mercantile creditors and cultivators, despite the nominal decline in interest rates.

The power of creditors increased in the face of declining royal authority. Although the normal lending rate declined from Bronze Age Mesopotamia through classical Greece and Rome, creditors were able to render irreversible the forfeiture of land and personal freedom which debtors traditionally had been obliged to pledge as a condition for obtaining loans. In sum, what is first documented in Sumer is a revolutionary institution, revolutionary in that interest-bearing debt ended up by inciting populations to revolution at the end of antiquity, in the second and first centuries BC throughout the Romanized Mediterranean world.

Can the lesson of antiquity regarding debt cancellation, and the repeated need for it having arisen as a direct result of allowing the practice of usury (i.e., gains on lending), be any more clear?

Now, it would be a disservice to the estimable Professor Keen were your present author to neglect to draw readers’ attention to the fact that he (the good professor) does not advocate for a Modern Debt Jubilee in isolation from other measures. Indeed, “Taming the Finance Sector” is the second plank of his proposed solution. It includes suggestions for “Jubilee Shares”, and “The PILL” (or “Property Income Limited Leverage”).  Inquiring readers can delve into those details in Professor Keen’s Manifesto.

Not to put too fine a point on it — and with the deepest respect to Professor Keen — your present author remains avowedly sceptical as to the likely efficacy of these proposals.

Indeed, he would politely suggest that the good professor draws somewhat nearer to the realisation of a truly efficacious solution, in his briefly commenting on the proposals of others (my emphasis added):

There are many other pro­pos­als for reform­ing finance, most of which focus on chang­ing the nature of the mon­e­tary sys­tem itself. The best of these focus on insti­tut­ing a sys­tem that removes the capac­ity of the bank­ing sys­tem to cre­ate money via “Full Reserve Banking”.

“The best of these …”?

I would humbly beg to differ.

Firstly, an important, if rather obvious, clarification. The “monetary system” is not an independent life form. It should not be misunderstood as being a unique entity, one somehow separate and distinct from the human beings who act within and upon it. The monetary system is, and always has been, an artificial, conceptual, and very human construct. One shaped by very human motives. And that construct has, at various times and places across the span of recorded human history, existed in rather different forms and with rather different characteristics to those we observe today.

Secondly, I submit that Full Reserve Banking, while laudable, would not change “the nature” of the (present) monetary system itself.

Indeed, Professor Keen himself appears to sense this reality, albeit for the wrong reason (my emphasis added):

Banks profit by cre­at­ing debt, and they are always going to want to cre­ate more debt. This is sim­ply the nature of bank­ing.

Again, I beg to differ. As does the National Australia Bank (my emphasis added):

How Banks Work

…Their profit is the difference between what they pay in interest on your deposits and what you pay them in interest for the loan they made you.

It is not the nature of banking, but the nature of bankers, to seek out ways to make profits.

Bankers do not make profits by creating debt.

Bankers make profits, by practicing usury.

Or, to use the modern euphemism (since changing our words can conceal all manner of sins) – by “maximising” their “net interest income”.

Creating debt ex nihilo (“out of nothing”) — in the modern era, by mere digital bookkeeping entry — only affords bankers an additional power; to leverage the true root source of their profit-making.

Which is usury.

It is worth reminding ourselves of Professor Hudson’s summary observation on usury in ancient times:

The power of creditors increased in the face of declining royal authority.

This should give the thoughtful reader pause to reflect on, and reevaluate much of what we have been taught to believe concerning the past 500 years of “modern” Western “progress”.

Since the Renaissance (meaning “a revival of or renewed interest in something”) of the early 16th century — the days of the morally “liberal” King Henry VIII of England, and Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici (son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, of the Medici banking family), better known as Pope Leo X of the European “Holy” Roman Empire — the authorities that were previously invoked against the practice of usury (i.e., God, Pope, King) for some 1,500 years, have declined.

Indeed, in a manner remarkably akin to that in which the white blood cells of our physical body’s natural immune system are seen to mutate and instead become the cancerous cells of leukaemia, those (human) authorities that had long been invoked in order to restrict and repel the power of usurious “creditors”, instead turned to rot the Western body politic, from the inside out.

Beginning with the reigns of England’s Henry VIII and Europe’s Leo X, after nearly two millennia of philosophical, divine, monarchical, and legal prohibition, the “nature” of Western banking (money-lending) became legally usurious.

In light of the historical evidences, it is your present author’s view, that were the wise urgings and proclamations of Plato, Aristotle, Cato, Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, Buddha, Moses, Vashishtha, Jesus, Mohammed, Aquinas, Luther, and many more to be heeded today, and were the old Western laws banning usury in all its forms to be reinstated, then the core incentive for bankers to create excessive debt in the first place — for usurious profit/gain, or “net interest income” — could once again be effectively brought to heel.

In the absence of same, any advocacy for partial revival of ancient Biblical economic prescriptions, is doomed to come to naught.


Further to Professor Hudson’s research, readers who may be even superficially acquainted with the unequivocally economic reference to “Mystery, Babylon” in the Apocalypse (“Revelation”) of St. John’s epochal 18th chapter, will find the following revelation concerning the geographic origins of usury rather telling (my emphasis added):

Only recently has it been recognized that the charging of interest is not a universally spontaneous phenomenon, but was invented in Sumer — yet another Sumerian “first,” as Samuel Kramer would have said. No Early Bronze Age evidence for interest‑bearing debt has been found in the Indus civilization or the Hittite kingdom. The Hittite debt cancellation edict of Tudhaliya IV refer to wergild-type compensation owed for personal injury, not interest-bearing debt.[27] The fact that no archaic Egyptian debt records exist might possibly be the result of destruction of the papyrus writing medium, but regions that used clay tablets for public administration, such as Crete and Mycenaean Greece during 1600‑1200 BC likewise have left no hint of commercial credit, no pooling of money by partnerships, and — most telling of all — no agrarian debt cancellations. Egypt’s sed festivals, unlike their Mesopotamian counterparts, did not allude to debts. The absence of such debt records outside of Mesopotamia prior to the first millennium BC thus does not seem simply to reflect the absence of written documentation. It is the very essence of such debt to be documented.

Where the charging of interest appears earliest outside Mesopotamia — as in Assyria’s Asia Minor trade colonies — a comparative analysis of public and sacred laws shows these to derive from southern Mesopotamian practice. In any case, the role of debt was quite circumscribed outside of Mesopotamia, even in commercial economies such as Ugarit, the city‑state with the closest ties to the Aegean during 1400-1200 BC. As for Europe’s less centralized, tribally organized economies, the historian Tacitus noted as late as the first century of our era that the Germans, whose debts were mainly of the wergild type for legal restitution of damages, were not acquainted with loans at interest.[28] This probably can be taken as applying to European tribal communities generally. It follows that the origins of interest are to be understood in terms of Sumerian economic institutions.

If the Mesopotamian term for interest, máš, was not a literal reference to payment in young animals but a metaphor for the numerical accrual of interest, the next question to be addressed is whether this usage was reinvented spontaneously by classical Greece and Italy or was borrowed from the Near East.

I have argued elsewhere that the idea of interest-bearing debt was brought to Greece and Italy by Phoenician or Syrian merchants, probably in the 8th century BC.[44] For if the practice of charging interest and other commercial procedures were not pristine indigenous developments in Greece and Italy, the calf metaphor for interest likewise is unlikely to be inherent and universal. I believe that the semantic imagery of interest was adopted from the same Near Eastern sources that pioneered in charging interest on debts.

10 Responses to “An Historical Warning For Proponents Of A Modern Debt Jubilee”

  1. Kevin Moore May 30, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    A brief background as to why those who call themselves Jews are cursed by Christ – Revelation 2:9 & 3:9

    Palestine — Shems Allotment — Taken by Force by Canaan, a Son of Shems’ Brother, Ham.

    “Canaanite”, Strongs Hebrew Concordance 3669, a merchant, a trafficker.

    Hittites are descendents of Canaan: Genesis 10:15

    “But whereas Ham, Cush and Mitaraim took possession of the land fallen to them by lot, Canaan took with violence, possession of the land he coveted, along the sea-shore. His brothers remonstrated with him, and told him he would be accursed for having taken a lot that belonged to Shem and had not fallen to him. But he would not hearken to them; and dwelt in the land from Hamath to Egypt.” [Ibid. pp.44, 45.]

    For more precise details see:- “The Book of Jubilees.” Rev George H. Schodde’s translation from the Ethiopic —- Ch.8…… “This portion came by lot for Shem and his sons that, they should possess it for ever unto his generations for evermore.”

    Ex. 34:10-12: “And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people. I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest
    it be for a snare in the midst of thee.”

    Judah married and had sons to the daughter of foreign gods——a Canaanite woman. Malachi, chapter 3 & 2:11., Genesis 38:1-10

    Malachi, chapters 3 & 2:11, “Judah has done an abomination in Israel and in Jerusalem for he has profaned the Sacred Jehovah whom he loves and married a daughter of foreign gods.
    Jehovah will cut off the man who does it………….”

    “The Book of Adam and Eve”. S.C.Malan., quote – chapter 4,

    “Then after this Judah took to himself a wife whose name was habwadiya, that means, “house-wife” but in the law her name is Sewa. She was of a Caananitish family, and Jacobs heart suffered much on that account;and he said to Judah his son who had married that wife, “The God of Abraham and of Isaac will not allow the seed of this Canaanitish woman to mingle with my seed.”………. “……….Then Judah married his son Onan to Tamar, saying, “He shall raise seed unto thy brother.” But him also did God kill because of his evil deeds; on account of Jacobs curse, “That no Canaanitish seed should mingle with his own.” So God would not let any of it mingle with that of Jacob the righteous. Therefore did Tamar go to Judah her father-in-law, who had intercourse with her, not knowing she was his sons wife; and she bare unto him twins, Pharez and Zarah.” [Genesis 38:6-30]

    ……. Chapter 6, ………… “After this, there began to issue a race from Naason [a descendent of Pharez], who was great among the sons of Judah; and from him began a kingdom and a priesthood, and the Jews became celebrated through him…….” Gen. 38:11-30, Ruth 4:18-22

    From “The Book of Adam and Eve” S.C.Malan

    “The former scribes however could not find a good lineage for the Virgin and her father, or kindred; wherefore did the Jews crucify Christ, and taunt Him, and mock Him, and say to Him, “show us the fathers of Mary the Virgin and her people, and what is her genealogy.” Therefore did they blaspheme her and Christ.

    But henceforth shall the mouth of those unbelieving Jews be closed; and they shall know that Mary is of the seed of David the King, and of that of the patriarch Abraham. Moreover, the unbelieving Jews had no registers to guide them aright, neither did they know, how the lines of kindred ran at first, inasmuch as the law and the prophets were three times burnt out from them…..”

    ……………..But after the birth of Christ there remained no more trustworthy reckoning of kindred to the Jews. For Christ was the end of generations; He took it and gave it to us.”

    No blemished Judah blood [Judah/Canaanite] was allowed in the line chosen to antecede Jesus Christ.
    Jesus Christ is the end of the pure blood Chosen line — Judah/Tamar, Pharez, Naason, David — Ruth, Mary that was chosen to antecede Him. Christ has not fathered physical descendents, therefore there is no pure blood – physical line of Judah that can be said to have descended from Christ. Those who hate Christianity and call themselves Gods Chosen People in the flesh are liars – those of all nations who call on the name of Christ are of the pure tribe of Judah in Spirit. Jesus Christ – the King of the Jews. Gen. 38:11-30, Ruth 4:18-22
    Christs disciples were of the tribe of Benjamin bar one, that being Judas.

  2. Kevin Moore May 30, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    I have been listening to the media giving poor Eddie McGuire a brow beating this morning and could not help but reflect on the following words – ‘It is the bottomless rascality of the goyim peoples, who crawl on their bellies to force, but are merciless towards weakness, unsparing to faults and indulgent to crimes,……”

    What chance have we got when we will ruin a mans career over a slip of the tongue and yet when confronted with our Babylonian Banking system we shrug our shoulders and say, ‘that is the system, what can you do about it?’

    Political Caregivers
    Socialism and the Church
    Christian Foundations

    Etienne De La Boetie [1530 – 1563] a 16th century philosopher, judge and writer — writing of personal liberty he said, “Liberty is the only joy upon which men do not seem to insist, for surely if they really wanted it they would receive it. Apparently they refuse this wonderful privilege because it is so easily acquired. Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families and your very lives.

    All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you have only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite members dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power you confer on him to destroy you…..”

    From Protocol 3, “At the present day we are, as an international force, invincible, because if attacked by some we are supported by other States. It is the bottomless rascality of the goyim peoples, who crawl on their bellies to force, but are merciless towards weakness, unsparing to faults and indulgent to crimes, unwilling to bear the contradictions of a free social system but patient unto martyrdom under the violence of a bold despotism —— it is those qualities which are aiding us to independence. From the premier-dictators of the present day the goyim peoples suffer patiently and bear such abuses as for the least of them they would have beheaded twenty kings…………….And thus the people condemn the upright and acquit the guilty.”

  3. Kevin Moore May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    All Wars Are Bankers Wars.

    Israel bombs Syria and threatens Iran. Russia moves its warships into the Mediterranean, and furnishes Syria with advanced anti-aircraft weapons. Hezbollah defends Syria against al-Qaeda. Pro-Israel US Senators like John McCain join forces with al-Qaeda.

    What is really going on here? Who is fighting whom, and why? Will Syria become the flash point for World War III?

    Is the West attacking the Islamic world in a “clash of civilizations”? Then why are the Israeli and American governments backing al-Qaeda in Syria?

    The old narratives no longer make sense.

    The real war isn’t between nations, civilizations, or religions.

    The real war is the bankers’ war to conquer the entire world.

    In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins explained how it works. The bankers use their control of currency to impose debt slavery on individuals as well as nations. They force nations to accept loans that are impossible to pay back – by design. The bankers use the resulting bankruptcy and/or “restructuring agreements” to seize control of those nations and their resources.

    “If a nation’s leader refuses to obey the bankers – as in the cases of Venezuela and Iran – that leader, or nation, is put on the bankers’ “hit list.” That nation becomes a target for regime change, whether by assassination, coup d’état, a bought or stolen election, or outright invasion.

    The bankers use the military and intelligence services of the nations they control to attack and subvert the nations they do not control. They also use their own private armies and intelligence services to subvert all nations.

    Thus the war on Syria is not an American war on Syria, an Israeli war on Syria, an al-Qaeda war on Syria, a Qatari war on Syria, a Turkish war on Syria, or a Saudi war on Syria. It is a bankers’ war on Syria.

    The biggest international banking families exert a relatively high degree of control over the US, Israel, Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. They have only moderate influence in Syria, Russia, and China. And they have even less influence in Iran. So they are mobilizing their assets in hopes of achieving regime change in Syria. Iran, Russia, and China are next on their hit list.

    The bankers are trying to create the first truly global empire. As John Perkins says, their biggest weapon is usury; military force is secondary. They first try to buy a country; if the leadership is not for sale, they try to assassinate or overthrow the leader(s); and if all else fails, they send the US military to invade the target country.

    To create their global slave empire, the bankers must also control communications. If their plans were widely-known, people of all nations would revolt.

    David Rockefeller spoke the truth at the 1991 Bilderberg meeting in Baden, Germany: “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

    Today, the only major media operations in English that are not owned, controlled, or duped by the bankers are Press TV and Russia Today. Apparently, Iran and Russia do not appreciate being on the bankers’ hit list. And they are learning how to fight back – by telling the truth to the whole world. No wonder the banker-owned US and Europe have done their best to shut down Press TV.

    The people of the English-speaking world in general, and the American people in particular, need to wake up to the fact that the bankers’ war on Syria (and later Iran, Russia, and China) is also a war against them. The bankers are not prejudiced. They want to enslave everyone, regardless of race, nationality, or creed………….”

  4. Tel May 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    The power of creditors increased in the face of declining royal authority.

    Really? So who backed up the creditors with respect to debt collection?

    I mean, the easiest and quickest debt jubilee is when the debtor just says, “Yeah, so what are you going to do about it?” and the creditor discovers there’s nothing he can do.

    The whole power of the banking system is because they share the profits with the sovereign. In effect, bankers operate as tax collectors, and financial monitors to ensure the common folk pay their tax. While this remains the case, the sovereign has great incentive to go collect those outstanding debts. Better than that, bankers provide an excuse for governments to pretend that this is all just market forces and no one can predict what interest rates will do, inflation is just something that happens, treasury forecasts are off for unforeseen reasons, yadda, yadda. Nether side wants the dumb punters to know how much they cooperate with the other, because that would give the game away.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus June 1, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      True enough Tel. I suspect you will find that — especially in the ancient culture’s referenced by that quote, but also to some degree even in more modern times — the reason the “creditor” is the creditor is because they are already wealthy. Meaning they could afford to pay others to muscle the debtor — which meant, loss of children, wives, oneself, to slavery. You’re essentially right, of course, in that the power of “credit” and the power of coercion (legal, backed by physical) go hand in hand.

      • Tel June 1, 2013 at 10:03 am #

        Credit comes from the Latin “credos” which means to entrust. Same root as credulous.

        The creditor by definition is at risk of non-payment. No sane person would lend money unless there is some expectation of repayment (or their money has been siphoned into a super fund, but that itself was coercion, not free choice).

        Paying others to muscle the debtor is just one specific example of buying and selling violence as a commodity. This is government stock in trade, but anyway lots of people do it… criminal gangs, religious orders, bullying corporate managers, trade unions from time to time. I think we pretty much have to accept that violence will be commoditized in this way, now and forever. Maybe we don’t like the idea, but there’s not a lot we can do about it.

        Overall, paying protection money is easier than rolling up sleeves and fighting. Whether that protection money looks like tax, or interest payments, or union dues, or hours of unpaid overtime at work comes to the same thing when you think about it.

        • The Blissful Ignoramus June 1, 2013 at 10:13 am #

          “No sane person would lend money unless there is some expectation of repayment”

          I guess Jesus, and the majority of followers up until the Renaissance (being most of the Western world), must not have been “sane” 😉

          “Lend, hoping for nothing in return…” – Luke 6:35.

          That aside, I do agree with what you’re saying.

          • Tel June 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

            The Bible quote is generally interpreted to mean no interest is charged on the loan. Even good Christians tend to expect they will get the principle back.

            A proper debt jubilee implies that someone somewhere lost their dough outright. Possibly someone who deserved it for whatever reason, but also possibly not. For example, the older generation in Japan dutifully bought government bonds, but the young people of today have insufficient credulity to want to become creditors. Abe-san is simultaneously telling people to keep buying, while also punishing them with low returns, higher priced imports and very likely inflation as well. In a way it is a debt jubilee, but since the young folk weren’t intending to pay anyhow the older generation are eventually going to get shafted. I’m sure in Japan they will just shrug and take it. When a similar thing happens with US “Social Security” they will probably kick up a bit more of a stink.

            • The Blissful Ignoramus June 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

              Re the Luke quote, I beg to differ Tel. I — and many others throughout history — have interpreted it to mean exactly what is says; expect nothing in return.

              The principle of the teaching being, that if you have sufficient for yourself in order to be in a position to be able to lend at all, then you should also be willing to simply give it away … hence, “hoping for nothing in return”.

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