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Old 11-28-2018, 05:08 AM
Danny B Danny B is offline
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Michael Hudson and the jubilee

I need a separate post to address an article posted by Gambeir.
Traditionally, a State just defaults when it can't afford it's debt load. Greece has spent 50% of it's modern history in default. Italy is soon to join the list. They are going to push the EU and ECB into a corner that they can't get out of. Nature will take it's course and, the banks will collapse. This will be a completely uncontrolled demolition with very little structure.

Michael Hudson has written very well about an alternative. I have to do a lot of excerpts to do comment.

"To say that Michael Hudson’s new book And Forgive Them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure, and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year (ISLET 2018)"
"Over the past three decades, gleaned (under the auspices of Harvard’s Peabody Museum) and then synthesized the scholarship of American and British and French and German and Soviet assyriologists"
"Hudson demonstrates that we, twenty-first century globalists, have been morally blinded by a dark legacy of some twenty-eight centuries of decontextualized history. This has left us, for all practical purposes, utterly ignorant of the corrective civilizational model that is needed to save ourselves from tottering into bleak neo-feudal barbarism."

While reading anything that I write, keep in mind that; if you search on "Global Population Reduction" it returns 261 million pages. So, while there may be plenty of people trying to make the economy "work", there are a LOT of people trying to cause death, famine and disease.

"This corrective model actually existed and flourished in the economic functioning of Mesopotamian societies during the third and second millennia B.C. It can be termed Clean Slate amnesty"
"It is the necessary and periodic erasure of the debts of small farmers — necessary because such farmers are, in any society in which interest on loans is calculated, inevitably subject to being impoverished, then stripped of their property, and finally reduced to servitude (including the sexual servitude of daughters and wives) by their creditors, creditors. The latter inevitably seek to effect the terminal polarization of society into an oligarchy of predatory creditors cannibalizing a sinking underclass mired in irreversible debt peonage. Hudson writes: “That is what creditors really wanted: Not merely the interest as such, but the collateral — whatever economic assets debtors possessed, from their labor to their property, ending up with their lives”

“Mesopotamian societies were not interested in equality,” he told me, “but they were civilized. And they possessed the financial sophistication to understand that, since interest on loans increases exponentially, while economic growth at best follows an S-curve. This means that debtors will, if not protected by a central authority, end up becoming permanent bondservants to their creditors. So Mesopotamian kings regularly rescued debtors who were getting crushed by their debts. They knew that they needed to do this. Again and again, century after century, they proclaimed Clean Slate Amnesties.”

Something that is left out of this article. There were very often scheduled debt jubilees. This allowed creditors to taper down their loans as the date approached.

"Hudson also writes: “By liberating distressed individuals who had fallen into debt bondage, and returning to cultivators the lands they had forfeited for debt or sold under economic duress, these royal acts maintained a free peasantry willing to fight for its land and work on public building projects and canals…. By clearing away the buildup of personal debts, rulers saved society from the social chaos that would have resulted from personal insolvency, debt bondage, and military defection”

During the '30s in America, congress acted strongly to keep farmers from being tossed off their land. It was realized that dispossessing farmers would be disastrous. Times have changed and only 1% of Amricans work on the farm.

" In ancient Mesopotamian societies it was understood that freedom was preserved by protecting debtors. "
"In what we call Western Civilization, that is, in the plethora of societies that have followed the flowering of the Greek poleis beginning in the eighth century B.C., just the opposite"
"For us freedom has been understood to sanction the ability of creditors to demand payment from debtors without restraint or oversight. This is the freedom to cannibalize society. This is the freedom to enslave. "

“A constant dynamic of history has been the drive by financial elites to centralize control in their own hands and manage the economy in predatory, extractive ways. Their ostensible freedom is at the expense of the governing authority and the economy at large. As such, it is the opposite of liberty as conceived in Sumerian times”
"And our Orwellian, our neoliberal notion of unrestricted freedom for the creditor dooms us at the very outset of any quest we undertake for a just economic order."
"in the Bronze Age Mesopotamian societies that understood how life, liberty and land would be cyclically restored to debtors again and again. But, in the eighth century B.C., along with the alphabet coming from the Near East to the Greeks, so came the concept of calculating interest on loans. This concept of exponentially-increasing interest was adopted by the Greeks — and subsequently by the Romans — without the balancing concept of Clean Slate amnesty."

"So it was inevitable that, over the centuries of Greek and Roman history, increasing numbers of small farmers became irredeemably indebted and lost their land. It likewise was inevitable that their creditors amassed huge land holdings and established themselves in parasitic oligarchies. This innate tendency to social polarization arising from debt unforgiveness is the original and incurable curse on our post-eighth-century-B.C. Western Civilization,"

It is the corporation that controls so much of the land. They need very few workers to keep the farm going.

"debt was a deliberate device on the part of the creditor to obtain more dependent labor rather than a device for enrichment through interest.” Likewise he quotes Tim Cornell: “The purpose of the ‘loan,’ which was secured on the person of the debtor, was precisely to create a state of bondage”

You can see where this is going when you relate this to rising automation.

"Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.). After that war the small farmers of Italy never recovered their land, which was systematically swallowed up by the prædia (note the etymological connection with predatory), the latifundia, the great oligarchic estates: latifundiaperdidere Italiam (“the great estates destroyed Italy”), as Pliny the Elder observed."

A valid point but, still mostly negated by automation.

"means to securing more equitable distribution of property and a restraint on the oppression of debtors by creditors.’ The latter attempt failed,” Hudson observes, “and European and Western civilization is still living with the aftermath"
"The rules of the game had not been changed, but everyone had been dealt a new hand of cards’” (p. 133). Contrast the Greeks and Romans: “Classical Antiquity,” Hudson writes, “replaced the cyclical idea of time and social renewal with that of linear time. Economic polarization became irreversible, not merely temporary” (p. xxv). In other words: “The idea of linear progress, in the form of irreversible debt and property transfers, has replaced the Bronze Age tradition of cyclical renewal” (p. 7)."

"I often availed myself of David Graeber’s book Debt: The First 5,000 Years when I struggled to follow some of Hudson’s arguments."
"The basic moral financial principal should be that creditors should bear the hazard for making bad loans that the debtor couldn’t pay "
Everything You Thought You Knew About Western Civilization Is Wrong, by John Siman - The Unz Review

The article is good and, I'm sure that the book is great. but, times on the farm have changed.
Six companies are about to merge into the biggest farm-business ...
https://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2016/sep/27
Sep 27, 2016 - Big farms are about to get a lot bigger. With six agricultural giants on the verge of merging into three separate companies,

Previously, a debt jubilee was created to ensure agricultural production and free debt-bondage slaves. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, most of the world is limited by consumptive ability, not by productive ability. A possible debt jubilee would not rescue the Ag industry. Though it does get a LOT of subsidies. Who knows where the future of that will go?
Our system is too complex and integrated to survive a debt jubilee. That is why "they" are taking about universal basic income.
Hudson draws on lessons learned when we had a survival economy.
One area where he is completely correct; the very wealthy organize the system strongly to their advantage. They don't need to create wealth. They just control the transaction media. To a great degree, the wealthy have always kept us poor so that we would keep working. They can't own everything if we don't first produce it.
Confidence, consumption and the birth rate continue to fall. Productivity rises. The credit system can't possibly survive all of this.
Everything You Thought You Knew About Western Civilization Is Wrong, by John Siman - The Unz Review
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