HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » What If All the World’s D...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:21 PM

What If All the World’s Debt Just Went Away?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/12/20-1

Just for fun, imagine if all debt were wiped away when the Mayan Calendar ends this Friday…

How would the world be different? What would become possible for you personally in your life? How would nations and corporations invest our newfound wealth differently if we all started from a clean slate? Problems like global warming and extreme poverty would instantly become financial drops in the bucket—easily tackled with fair contracts and forward-looking investments. The structural debts of entrenched subsidies, invested capital, tax havens, and trade agreements that keep them from being addressed would simply no longer exist.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well just such a fantasy used to be standard practice in the Hebrew Tradition throughout the early days of their civilization. They held a great Jubilee every seven years to erase all debt and end economic slavery. Accounts kept on stone tablets were broken. Those stored on papyrus were burned to ash. Slaves were returned to their families. Everyone was given a fresh start. (This tradition is being revived today through the Occupy-inspired project, Rolling Jubilee, that has already abolished more than $9,000,000 in US debt for everyday citizens.)
The Invention of Debt

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.)


====================

Graeber's book is very good.

15 replies, 1029 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply What If All the World’s Debt Just Went Away? (Original post)
ashling Dec 2012 OP
a geek named Bob Dec 2012 #1
LiberalEsto Dec 2012 #2
GreenStormCloud Dec 2012 #5
Hydra Dec 2012 #7
GreenStormCloud Dec 2012 #8
Hydra Dec 2012 #11
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2012 #14
Hydra Dec 2012 #15
banned from Kos Dec 2012 #3
GreenStormCloud Dec 2012 #4
slackmaster Dec 2012 #6
Separation Dec 2012 #9
former-republican Dec 2012 #10
reformist2 Dec 2012 #12
geek tragedy Dec 2012 #13

Response to ashling (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:24 PM

1. so let's start it up! n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ashling (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:26 PM

2. What if all the world's banks and banksters went away?

First things first.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:41 PM

5. You would then have global economic collapse.

Everybody would have to go back to barter. You would starve to death. Without the ability to pay for fuel, and to pay workers, there would be no electricity. Water would not be pumped into you city water tower. In a few days your community would be completely out of water.

Gas stations would not be able to pump gas. Everybody would have to walk.

Some preppers who have really thought things out well would survive. Most people would die.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:13 PM

7. lol

The Gov't can print money or create work credits to pay people. We don't need the banks to do it.

The Banksters have gotten too big for their britches before, and whenever they are beaten back...things get better!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hydra (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:35 PM

8. How would a power plant in Kansas pay for natural gas from Texas?

How to get the payment there? Cash through the mail?

Our economy is almost completely cashless, and you want to return to a cash economy. People would be highly upset over that. I remember Dad getting paid in cash and paying bills in cash in the 1950s. I am much happier with my pay direct deposited and making online bill payments and using a debit card at stores. Your destruction of the banks would destroy the modern economy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:54 PM

11. Umm, what?

Who said anything about it having to be paper? All of the cashless money systems are just a form of authorization, and if we did it through the Gov't you could authorize a payment to the gas company and they could have it in their account instantly since funds wouldn't have to be verified at a different bank.

Is there something in our current "innovative" system that you think we couldn't do more efficiently without the overhead and fraud of people like Llyod Blankfein and Jaime Diamond?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hydra (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:10 PM

14. But that's not getting rid of the banks; it's nationalising them

You're describing a government-run bank, there - "their account". LiberalEsto was talking about getting rid of banks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:40 PM

15. "What if all the world's banks and banksters went away?"

I believe he was referring to private banks, but even if he wasn't, a fundamental tenet of currency is that you have to trust that the currency isn't fake, so at some level we'd need to have the gov't verify it. We may as well have them set up the method of transport at the same time.

The difference is that the Gov't wouldn't need to make loans, so it could be a simple payment and delivery system- you could even use the Post Office to run it :p

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ashling (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:28 PM

3. Pensions and Social Security would be wiped out.

 

They are the two largest bondholder (debt) groups in the USA.

(I am confining my answer to this country)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ashling (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:34 PM

4. Actually debt has been around for millions of years, and in other species.

Birds groom one another. If bird A accepts grooming but doesn't give much grooming in return, then the other birds will quit grooming him. He will be treated as the welcher he is.

A chimpanzee who finds food enough to share and doesn't give a "found food" hoot will be beaten by the others if he is discovered. Because he comes to eat when others find food, he is expected to repay by sharing his food.

In a hunter-gatherer society, when I share my stuff with you I then expect you to share your stuff with me. That is debt.

BTW - The Jubilee year was every 50 years, not every seven.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to ashling (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:44 PM

9. I like the way it was done in Fight Club

What a great movie.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ashling (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:46 PM

10. The federal reserve could do it on all domestic

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ashling (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:56 PM

12. How would the 1% survive without their interest income???


They might even have to sell shares of stock like Mitt and Ann did back in those dark days at Harvard Business School.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ashling (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:04 PM

13. Bank accounts are a form of debt owed by banks to customers.

So, yeah, that would suck.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread