Michael Hudson puts it well:
“We’re at a turning point in history. If we don’t solve the problem of economic polarization, which is caused mainly by debt, we’re going to go into another dark age. We’re going to have neo-feudalism. We’re going to have neo-serfdom, except that you’re not going to be tied to the land like serfs were. You can live wherever you want, but wherever you are, you’re going to have to pay about 40% of your income just for housing. And you’re going to have to pay for water, and you’re going to have to pay for the other needs. This is the new kind of serfdom. You have to re-frame what the economy is about in a way that people can understand.”
Good Christians may ask what would Jesus do? For them “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” may ring a bell. Michael makes a good case that the debts referred to are financial debts. Read the linked post for more information in this. Michael also outlines how the forgiveness of all private individual debts, as opposed to debts between businesses, was a regular practice in ancient civilization. He even makes what was, to me, a new case for what caused the fall of the Roman empire:
“The choice was: either you’re going to have economic renewal and restore people’s ability to support themselves; or you’re going to have feudalism.
That basically is how the Roman historians described Rome as falling. The debtors were enslaved, not only the debtors but just about everybody was enslaved, put in barracks on the land. Finally, you needed to have a population, so you let people marry and you gave them land rights – and you had slavery develop into serfdom. Well we’re going into a similar situation today, where I think we’re going into a kind of neo-feudalism. The strain of today’s society is as much a debt strain as it was back then.
It’s very funny: If you go into Congress – I was the economic advisor to Dennis Kucinich – you go into Congress and there’s a big mural with Moses in the center and Hammurabi on his right. Well, you know what Moses did? He gave the law. Leviticus, right in the center of Mosaic law, canceled the debt. What did Hammurabi do? Debt cancellation as well. You’re not going to see Congress canceling the debts like that”
The potential for mass debt servitude and serfdom is real enough. Hardly a day goes by without an article somewhere on housing affordability. Productivity improvements and of the entry of women into the workforce has done more for house prices than living standards. Retirement ages are being pushed out. Government services are becoming increasingly expensive or hard to get. New roads are increasingly toll roads. Formerly free university educations are increasingly being paid for amid increasing student debt. Formerly universal entitlements are becoming restricted and means tested. Yet taxes go up.
Economic activity and government revenue is increasingly being drained to service debt. Debt which grows at an ever expanding rate. How many more nations have to follow in the footsteps of Greece and Cyprus before we take a different path? How many more lives and businesses have to be blighted. How many people will never fulfill their potential, crushed by debt?
There is a flowing of new political parties. Western voters are crying “no more, this cannot continue”. Unless the new Parties address the fundamental debt cause, they will quickly go the way of the current establishment. People are voting for change. They are crying out for it. Blind Freddie can see it is overdue. Give it to them.