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NYC Freegan Meetup Message Board's NYC Dumpster Diving Meetup Discussion Forum › (MUST READ) Article: What If All the World’s Debt Just Went Away

(MUST READ) Article: What If All the World’s Debt Just Went Away

Richmond Hill, NY
Post #: 5
What If All the World’s Debt Just Went Away


"What you may not know is that debt arose recently on the human stage. Throughout more than 99% of our history we have not even had a concept for debt. (The interested reader can pick up David Graeber’s excellent book Debt: The First 5000 Years for full story.)

"Anthropological studies of hunter-gatherer societies reveal that there were no barter systems, no currencies to use for money, and — in the absence of these cultural artifacts — there was no debt. With all the great variation cross cultures one might expect from ethnographic research, the anthropologists found that some tribal communities engaged in 'gift economies' where status arises from how generous a person is who has acquired wealth, while others have remained egalitarian and non-hierarchical for thousands of years by sharing their food and materials based on the principles of 'from each as they are able, to each as they need.' "


"Stated plainly, debt is created when a powerful group of people impose scarcity upon another group of people who have been conquered. This is the root cause of poverty. It is the destabilizing force of unequal societies that breeds civil unrest and revolution. Thus the need for Hebrew kings to introduce Jubilee. They knew that a revolution might cause the people to rise up and clear their own debts, while also uprooting the monarchy from power. In order to preserve their power base, they would routinely erase the debt and start again."

As Vandana Shiva sez, "The poor are not those who have been 'left behind'; they are the ones who have been robbed".

user 6145311
New York, NY
Post #: 124
I didn't like that book and I think Graeber is a bit of a loon. I think the real issue is the control of resources. Whoever controls the resources can do what they want, whether it's loansharking, charging exorbitant prices or starving people to death in order to steal their land or quell a rebellion. Graeber's obsession with debt reminds me a bit of Ron Paul's obsession with the Federal Reserve. The Fed has caused or exacerbated problems but it's hardly the cause of all our ills and neither is debt. Focusing on one issue to avoid dealing with complicated, multiple factors is too easy and sometimes can be a symptom of obsessional or paranoid thinking.
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