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Everything You Thought You Knew About Western Civilization Is Wrong
A Review of Michael Hudson’s new book AND FORGIVE THEM THEIR DEBTS
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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) is profound is an understatement on the order of saying that the Mariana Trench is deep. To grasp his central argument is so alien to our modern way of thinking about civilization and barbarism that Hudson quite matter-of-factly agreed with me that the book is, to the extent that it will be understood, “earth-shattering” in both intent and effect. 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 (spelled with a lower-case a to denote collectively all who study the various civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, which include Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, Ebla, Babylonia, et al., as well as Assyria with a capital A). 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.

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, a term Hudson uses to embrace the essential function of what was called amargi and níg-si-sá in Sumerian, andurārum and mīšarum in Akkadian (the language of Babylonia), šudūtu and kirenzi in Hurrian, para tarnumar in Hittite, and deror (דְּרוֹר) in Hebrew: 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” (p. 50).

And such polarization is, by Hudson’s definition, barbarism. For what is the most basic condition of civilization, Hudson asks, other than societal organization that effects lasting “balance” by keeping “everybody above the break-even level”?

“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.”

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” (p. 3).

ORDER IT NOW

Marx and Engels never made such an argument (nor did Adam Smith for that matter). Hudson points out that they knew nothing of these ancient Mesopotamian societies. No one did back then. Almost all of the various kinds of assyriologists completed their archaeological excavations and philological analyses during the twentieth century. In other words, this book could not have been written until someone digested the relevant parts of the vast body of this recent scholarship. And this someone is Michael Hudson.

So let us reconsider Hudson’s fundamental insight in more vivid terms. 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, with only one major exception (Hudson describes the tenth-century A.D. Byzantine Empire of Romanos Lecapenus), has been the case: 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. This is, in the end, the freedom proclaimed by the Chicago School and the mainstream of American economists. And so Hudson emphasizes that our Western notion of freedom has been, for some twenty-eight centuries now, Orwellian in the most literal sense of the word: War is Peace • Freedom is Slavery • Ignorance is Strength. He writes: “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” (p. 266).

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. Any and every revolution that we wage, no matter how righteous in its conception, is destined to fail.

And we are so doomed, Hudson says, because we have been morally blinded by twenty-eight centuries of deracinated, or as he says, decontextualized history. The true roots of Western Civilization lie not in the Greek poleis that lacked royal oversight to cancel debts, but 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, the lurid birthmark that cannot be washed away or excised. In this context Hudson quotes the classicist Moses Finley to great effect: “…. 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”(p. 52 — Hudson earlier made this point in two colloquium volumes he edited as part of his Harvard project: Debt and Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East, and Labor in the Ancient World).

Hudson is able to explain that the long decline and fall of Rome begins not, as Gibbon had it, with the death of Marcus Aurelius, the last of the five good emperors, in A.D. 180, but four centuries earlier, following Hannibal’s devastation of the Italian countryside during the 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. But among modern scholars, as Hudson points out, “Arnold Toynbee is almost alone in emphasizing the role of debt in concentrating Roman wealth and property ownership” (p. xviii) — and thus in explaining the decline of the Roman Empire.

“Arnold Toynbee,” Hudson writes, “described Rome’s patrician idea of ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ as limited to oligarchic freedom from kings or civic bodies powerful enough to check creditor power to indebt and impoverish the citizenry at large. ‘The patrician aristocracy’s monopoly of office after the eclipse of the monarchy [Hudson quotes from Toynbee’s book Hannibal’s Legacy] had been used by the patricians as a weapon for maintaining their hold on the lion’s share of the country’s economic assets; and the plebeian majority of the Roman citizen-body had striven to gain access to public office as a 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” (p. 262).

Because Hudson brings into focus the big picture, the pulsing sweep of Western history over millennia, he is able to describe the economic chasm between ancient Mesopotamian civilization and the later Western societies that begins with Greece and Rome: “Early in this century [i.e. the scholarly consensus until the 1970s] Mesopotamia’s debt cancellations were understood to be like Solon’s seisachtheia of 594 B.C. freeing the Athenian citizens from debt bondage. But Near Eastern royal proclamations were grounded in a different social-philosophical context from Greek reforms aiming to replace landed creditor aristocracies with democracy. The demands of the Greek and Roman populace for debt cancellation can rightly be called revolutionary [italics mine], but Sumerian and Babylonian demands were based on a conservative tradition grounded in rituals of renewing the calendrical cosmos and its periodicities in good order. The Mesopotamian idea of reform had ‘no notion [Hudson is quoting Dominique Charpin’s book Hammurabi of Babylon here] of what we would call social progress. Instead, the measures the king instituted under his mīšarum were measures to bring back the original order [italics mine]. 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).

After all these centuries, we remain ignorant of the fact that deep in the roots of our civilization is contained the corrective model of cyclical return – what Dominique Charpin calls the “restoration of order” (p. xix). We continue to inundate ourselves with a billion variations of the sales pitch to borrow and borrow, the exhortation to put more and more on credit, because, you know, the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.

Nowhere, Hudson shows, is it more evident that we are blinded by a deracinated, by a decontextualized understanding of our history than in our ignorance of the career of Jesus. Hence the title of the book: And Forgive Them Their Debts and the cover illustration of Jesus flogging the moneylenders — the creditors who do not forgive debts — in the Temple. For centuries English-speakers have recited the Lord’s Prayer with the assumption that they were merely asking for the forgiveness of their trespasses, their theological sins: “… and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us….” is the translation presented in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. What is lost in translation is the fact that Jesus came “to preach the gospel to the poor … to preach the acceptable Year of the Lord”: He came, that is, to proclaim a Jubilee Year, a restoration of deror for debtors: He came to institute a Clean Slate Amnesty (which is what Hebrew דְּרוֹר connotes in this context).

So consider the passage from the Lord’s Prayer literally: … καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν: “… and send away (ἄφες) for us our debts (ὀφειλήματα).” The Latin translation is not only grammatically identical to the Greek, but also shows the Greek word ὀφειλήματα revealingly translated as debita: … et dimitte nobis debita nostra: “… and discharge (dimitte) for us our debts (debita).” There was consequently, on the part of the creditor class, a most pressing and practical reason to have Jesus put to death: He was demanding that they restore the property they had rapaciously taken from their debtors. And after His death there was likewise a most pressing and practical reason to have His Jubilee proclamation of a Clean Slate Amnesty made toothless, that is to say, made merely theological: So the rich could continue to oppress the poor, forever and ever. Amen.

ORDER IT NOW

Just as this is a profound book, it is so densely written that it is profoundly difficult to read. I took six days, which included six or so hours of delightful and enlightening conversation with the author himself, to get through it. 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. (Graeber and Hudson have been friends, Hudson told me, for ten years, and Graeber, when writing Debt; The First 5,000 Years, relied on Hudson’s scholarship for his account of ancient Mesopotamian economics, cf. p. xxiii). I have written this review as synopsis of the book in order to provide some help to other readers: I cannot emphasize too much that this book is indeed earth-shattering, but much intellectual labor is required to digest it.

ADDENDUM: Moral Hazard

When I sent a draft of my review to a friend last night, he emailed me back with this question:

— Wouldn’t debt cancellations just take away any incentive for people to pay back loans and, thus, take away the incentive to give loans? People who haven’t heard the argument before and then read your review will probably be skeptical at first.

Here is Michael Hudson’s response:

— Creditors argue that if you forgive debts for a class of debtors – say, student loans – that there will be some “free riders,” and that people will expect to have bad loans written off. This is called a “moral hazard,” as if debt writedowns are a hazard to the economy, and hence, immoral.

This is a typical example of Orwellian doublespeak engineered by public relations factotums for bondholders and banks. The real hazard to every economy is the tendency for debts to grow beyond the ability of debtors to pay. The first defaulters are victims of junk mortgages and student debtors, but by far the largest victims are countries borrowing from the IMF in currency “stabilization” (that is economic destabilization) programs.

It is moral for creditors to have to bear the risk (“hazard”) of making bad loans, defined as those that the debtor cannot pay without losing property, status or becoming insolvent. A bad international loan to a government is one that the government cannot pay except by imposing austerity on the economy to a degree that output falls, labor is obliged to emigrate to find employment, capital investment declines, and governments are forced to pay creditors by privatizing and selling off the public domain to monopolists.

The analogy in Bronze Age Babylonia was a flight of debtors from the land. Today from Greece to Ukraine, it is a flight of skilled labor and young labor to find work abroad.

No debtor – whether a class of debtors such as students or victims of predatory junk mortgages, or an entire government and national economy – should be obliged to go on the road to and economic suicide and self-destruction in order to pay creditors. The definition of statehood – and hence, international law – should be to put one’s national solvency and self-determination above foreign financial attacks. Ceding financial control should be viewed as a form of warfare, which countries have a legal right to resist as “odious debt” under moral international law.

The basic moral financial principal should be that creditors should bear the hazard for making bad loans that the debtor couldn’t pay — like the IMF loans to Argentina and Greece. The moral hazard is their putting creditor demands over the economy’s survival.

(Republished from Naked Capitalism by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Banks, Debt, Financial Debt, Neoliberalism 
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  1. dearieme says:

    Did the King wipe the debts off by funding them himself, or did he simply steal the money from the creditors?

    If the latter, how on earth did new creditors ever get recruited? And if none did, what happened to the incompetent farmers? Were they left to starve?

    • Replies: @TheJester
    , @Anon
    , @longhorn
  2. Gregory says:

    Hudson is a materialist and a secular humanist, and therefore is blind to spiritual realities. I would be astonished if he weren’t skeptical regarding the chief truths of Christianity, along with that of Redemption: the Resurrection and the Eucharist. Jesus did die to forgive sins, amongst which is the non-forgiveness of debts, in particular those incurred with interest–always a mortal sin in Christianity, as well as in Islam and other Traditions. It is not an either-or matter: “debt”or “sin”. But Hudson thinks he knows better than the entire millenial sacred tradition. So now all Christians are asked to jettison the very core of their religion in favor of the views of this spiritual non-entity.

  3. Jmaie says:

    Did the King wipe the debts off by funding them himself, or did he simply steal the money from the creditors?

    My (admittedly weak) understanding is that the jubilee covered debts owed to the king, i.e. he was giving away his own money. I’m happy to be proven wrong…

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  4. CMC says:

    People might check out Hudson’s website for more info, especially on what he means by jubilee and to what extent it might be instituted these days. Michael-Hudson dot com. Google ‘Michael Hudson jubilee.’

    It’s more like freeing the slaves than stealing anyone’s money.

    Or maybe you would prefer a slave based economy. Oh dear me!

    • Replies: @Wally
  5. Da Wei says:
    @Gregory

    Not necessarily. There are levels of meaning. Words and events are subject to varying interpretations and a single literal interpretation often fails to tell the whole truth about anything. Jesus spoke godly from homely truths that we can relate to (called parables), so this interpretation of, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” should offend no one. It is intellectually enlightening and we know the source of light, so maybe you should lighten up.

    • Replies: @Gregory
  6. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Isn’t it at least arguable that bankruptcy laws have supplanted and serve objectives of Clean Slate amnesty?

    Is that adressed in the book?

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Alpheus
  7. Wonderful to have this historical context, but it seems quite incomplete without considering the anti-usury religious traditions and philosophical traditions, ignored in practice tho present in a big way in theory in the major religions, and also a bit in some of classical Western philosophy

    Today in Europe, Muslims frequently tell you that when ‘true Islam’ is implemented, there will be no interest charged on anything at all, as it is ‘haram’ forbidden in Islam … even tho major Islamic governments are not ‘strict’ about this, to say the least

    Christianity has had its long dalliances with anti-usury positioning, as with Islam a theory more than something that became enduringly embodied in institutions. Aristotle had critiqued it as a ‘most un-natural’ way of wealth.

    And it turns out ‘interest-free finance’ is a lot more realistic than thought at first glance, ‘interest-free’ mortgages being comparable to leasing arrangements etc., and with business financing being a share in profits.

    The USA bankruptcy traditions – the possibility of a Clean Slate every 7 years (tho recently much weakened, especially via the student loan scams) – also fit in here. It is a weird thing of Europe, tho often significantly less harsh in its legal system than the USA, that some European countries have no personal bankruptcy options, and people indeed are enslaved for life as a result of un-wise borrowing

  8. There was consequently, on the part of the creditor class, a most pressing and practical reason to have Jesus put to death

    The best part of 2,000 years later, Churchill remarked to Lord Boothby: ‘Germany’s unforgivable crime before the second world war was her attempt to extricate her economic power from the world’s trading system and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny world finance its opportunity to profit.’

    • Replies: @Anon
  9. Agustin says:

    It is obvious that compound interest in an economy that is not growing at the same rate and with an equivalent increase of the monetary base leads to collapse. Simple mathematics.

    Now, stating that current economists cannot see it because of “a dark legacy of some twenty-eight centuries of decontextualized history” is really unacceptable.

    This is concealing that usury was denounced in Antiquity and the usurer despised. And that the Church considered it a sin against nature and denied absolution of the sins to those who did not reimbursed the interests. Therefore, stating that the only major exception was the Byzantine Empire in the Xth Century is not correct.

    Protestants, significantly, made it legal as soon as they had plundered the wealth of the Church. And Jews, more significantly, have a double standard about interest:

    534 Not to lend with interest — Lev. 25:37
    537 Lend to and borrow from idolaters with interest — Deut. 23:21

    Borrow has been added to 537, but the source is clear that they only mean lend. And which Jew would be so silly as not to borrow interest-free from the “idolaters”? Ask a rabbi…

    Deut. 23:21: Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. {S}

    The Catholic Church, unfortunately, let usury happen also since around “Deformation”: https://www.amazon.com/Usury-Christendom-Mortal-Sin-that/dp/0970378491

    Now, saying that Marx -with plenty of a rabbis in the genealogy tree- did not tackle debt jubilees, because he knew nothing of these ancient Mesopotamian societies cannot be accepted.

    Nor can this be given a pass: “The true roots of Western Civilization lie not in the Greek poleis that lacked royal oversight to cancel debts, but in the Bronze Age Mesopotamian”.

    Was not the thesis precisely that Debt Jubilee policies were discarded?

    As regards the discussion on the moral hazard. The traditional catholic doctrine prohibited the usury but the amount borrowed had to be returned of course.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usury

    https://thegoldenone.se/2016/03/21/aristotle-on-usury/

  10. TheJester says:
    @dearieme

    If I remember Hudson’s argument (this is the second article on Hudson’s book in the Unz Review), most of the debt’s were to the King or to the Palace. So, the King was writing off the debts of his debtors as a calculated measure on his part to keep the peace and/or garner the political support of an essential demographic that might otherwise rebel or migrate in the face of onerous debt.

    As Hudson points out, the historic (((money lenders))) in Western Civilization do not have these motives to write off debts. Indeed, given that they have no loyalty to the King, the Palace, or the debtor class, they have no motive to write off debts.

    As a migratory population (a.k.a. globalists) engaged in a cyclic process, the (((moneylenders))) simply “cash out” a society that can no longer pay its debts and move on. Greece and Argentina come to mind.

    • Replies: @Anon
  11. Jubilee says: • Website

    The Biblical Jubilee Year happened every 50 years, btw.

    A modern Jubilee would be the ideal counter to the fractional reserve money creation system. I hashed out the details to the functioning of the modern Jubilee almost a decade ago during the last deflationary depression. It is very practical, really: the federal govt simply issues electronic money, directly to the loan holder, in the amount to pay off the debt. No contacts are violated and no inflation occurs, because the money never enters circulation.

    The Jubilee Year 50 year cycle is the perfect cure for the run away inflationary debt depression cycle we currently have, which gives us a great depression about every 60 years.

    • Replies: @Da Wei
    , @Shane Mage
    , @Anon
    , @Thim
  12. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @dearieme

    Also, back then, most people were eking out a living and struggling to survive. So, one could see how wiping out debts could be the humane thing to do.

    Today, so many people ended up with huge debts because they live like pigs. They buy stuff they can’t afford and don’t really need.

    Also, there is the problem of moral hazard. When things get really bad and if people get relief from the crisis, it might be good for society. But when this is done over and over, people begin to feel ‘the state will bail me out’ and begin to take advantage. We see this mentality high and low in the US. The low folks figure that the state will provide for them, and the high folks figure Wall Street will be bailed out.

    Politicians need the people for votes and need donors for money. So, politician indulge both the masses of low pigs and elites of high pigs. Result is mounting debt to appease both sides.

    • Replies: @Anon
  13. El Dato says:

    In an economy based on money printing, the debts owed by small people (i.e. bank accounts) are wiped clean indeed, while the goods accumulate on the balance sheet of those near the outlet of the printing press.

    The consequence is forced investment – giving your savings to Wall Street Glitterati which will surely put them to good use. HA! HA!

    The point economy based on money printing needs to be fixed first.

  14. Gregory says:
    @Da Wei

    so this interpretation of, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” should offend no one. It is intellectually enlightening and we know the source of light, so maybe you should lighten up.

    No, it is offensive. It is not a question of a possible interpretation, but of a unilateral interpretation. Hudson’s “intepretation”, if taken as the sole correct intepretation, amountst to a wholesale destruction. It amounts to the purely secular view of a materialist and a humanist–or let us say, of a good communist. To say that Jesus did not come to save souls but merely to save the indebted poor is absolutely false and subversive. If you are “enlightened” by this, that is too bad. To repeat: a possible interpretation is one thing, a unilateral and essentially false one is another. Much of Scripture lends itself to possible–that is, legitimate–interpretations. That has always been clear. Dante’s Convivio speaks of 4 levels of interpretation.

  15. Good analysis and correct that reallocation is a necessity of history. But he is missing (a) what separates the west from the rest and that is the development of the corporation under bipartite manorialism, and the distribution of assets under it and therefore risk. And (b) under bipartite manorialism those of ‘poor character’ could not get so easily into debt position other than for taxes, because they had no access to land, And (c) money as we use it today was necessary to finance consumer expansion into the western (and colonial) territories so that they could be settled. And (d) that we no longer use money proper but pure information, and (e) it’s no longer necessary to do more than pay down debts through liquidity distribution during periods of correction and (f) completely possible to distribute liquidity directly through consumers by passing the financial sector entirely.

    Of these points (a,b,c,d,e,f), he is solving the SOUTH AMERICAN problem, but not the american: that our standard of living is provided by so MUCH credit expansion that masks the consumption of capital rather than its mobilization, and that we’re inflating away productivity gains faster than we make them.

    Ergo, he is like many, creating a moral message all of us understand (in economics anyway) but which our political system (democracy) cannot face, without a correction none are willing to make, and instead we all wait for it’s eventual failure – just as monarchs waited for failure before redistributing land or paying off or forgiving debts. In other words we ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE MONARCHS except in the velocity of these changes.

    He is also (more subtly) illustrating the criticism of prewar economists, in that one must, in a system, favor the moral hazard of creditors or debtors – and we chose creditors instead of debtors, and that was a mistake.

  16. RJJCDA says:

    How about a law that, being finite, NO MATERIAL ASSET can be used as collateral in a loan. The hazard therefore would be on the creditor to estimate the rectitude of the potential debtor.

    • Replies: @Anon
  17. @Jmaie

    So, how did the King come across the wherewithal to give the credit he then forgave? Free-Shit Army is Free-Shit Army. Always is … always has been.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  18. llloyd says: • Website

    Ancient Greece called all Middle Eastern lands east of the Levant, Assyria and its peoples Assyrians. That is because of the legacy of the Assyrian Empire. Syria is an abbreviation of the word Assyria. Assyrians exist to this day in Iraq and are not really linked exclusively to the Kingdom of Assyria as they believe. Then there is the Assyrian Church which is the ancient Middle Eastern Christian Church not affiliated to the Greek Orthodox Church. So the study of all the ancient Middle Eastern cultures east of the Levant is called Assyriology.

  19. llloyd says: • Website

    Political cancellation of debt and bankruptcy has always been highly disruptive and grossly unfair to both creditors and the relatively frugal. The Jubilee in Ancient Middle East cultures was cyclical and predictable. Eveyone could plan their finances in preparation for it. Outside of that, there were no bankrupty laws and debt cancellation. If you could not pay your debts, you and all your family and chattels were sold into slavery. That perhaps removed the proflicate element of the population out of the economy. No Trump families in the ancient Middle East.

  20. dearieme says:
    @The Alarmist

    Quite right: it’s a charge on the tax-payer.

  21. tamlin says:
    @Gregory

    what utter nonsense you write, and how aggressively you write it. Jesus did not die for your sins. you, as well as I know that idea was not adopted for nearly 350 years after he died. It may be a core Christian belief, but nonetheless it is false, and amply demonstrates how weak the central narrative of the ‘entire millenial sacred tradition’ is.

    • Replies: @Gregory
    , @JamesH
    , @JamesH
  22. Wiping out debts can work in an agrarian economy with the bulk of the population near subsistence levels. For us? Not so much. Most people are completely dependent on the functioning of the State, with its credit balloon, for their daily bread.

    I am not proposing that anyone else has an answer, just that this won’t work for us. There is nothing that will save this house of cards.

    Ancient empires were temporary things, as is the current configuration. Although we are certainly seeing improvements in the lot of the average human we are not there yet.

  23. Da Wei says:
    @Jubilee

    “A modern Jubilee would be the ideal counter to the fractional reserve money creation system.”

    This is flat out too sensible to ever work. No smoke and mirrors, just counter “fractional reserve” con with “Jubilee” forgiveness. Tell me, why not? (not really a rhetorical question):

    Because the ones keeping us in debt chains wouldn’t give them up. There isn’t the balance of power, because they want it all. They got it all in 1913 when the FED and the IRS were created. Your question is poignant and intelligent. It’s the answer that is depressing.

    • Agree: Digital Samizdat
    • Replies: @WorkingClass
    , @Them Guys
  24. Dr. Hudson’s interpretation of Jesus’s (Y’shua bar Abbas’s) assault on the moneychangers in the Temple courtyard and his Lords’ Prayer to “forgive us our debts” is that “He” was advocating an immediate Jubilee. What this fails to notice is the question “Who is to declare Jubilee and who is it to administer it?” Herod Antipas? Tiberius Caesar? Y’shua, whatever “He” was, was certainly not an idiot who could imagine any such thing. “His” answer, of course, was “I will. As soon as my kingdom is established.” So if Y’shua was calling for Jubilee (and I agree completely that such was the case) it was as a central part of the social and political insurrection that was to sweep away the Herods and Caesars and establish “Him” as king of a Judaean Kingdom of Heaven. Which also explains both why the Romans were determined to execute “Him” under Roman Law after the failure of “His” Gethsemane plot and why the Jewish masses tried to get him released with the outcry “Liberate Bar Abbas!”

    • Replies: @John Siman
  25. @Jubilee

    And what stops the creditor from using (ie., “circulating”)that “electronic money?”

    • Replies: @Jubilee
  26. Gregory says:
    @tamlin

    “The ugliests of voices is braying of the ass.”

    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
    , @Anonymous
  27. A phenomenon of governance that has apparently escaped the full attention of American interest is now in effect throughout much of the Eastern Hemisphere. Actually it seems more a rerun of a thirteenth century mode of governance that existed in ancient Cathay. President Xi appears to be emulating Kubilai Khan, known as the Great Khan, in setting his own course of action with the Chinese people and with other nations.

    https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/is-chairman-xi-modeling-kubilai-khan/

  28. @Da Wei

    Creditors are the soul of generosity. That’s why they “give” us loans. And employers “give” us jobs. So we can run in our hamster wheel and service our debts, pay our taxes and if there is anything left over give it to the health care insurance industrial complex.

    Da Wei takes the ax to the root:

    There isn’t the balance of power, because they want it all. They got it all in 1913 when the FED and the IRS were created.

    • Replies: @Da Wei
  29. Jubilee says: • Website
    @Shane Mage

    Raising the reserve requirement would stop the banks from circulating the money.

  30. Da Wei says:
    @WorkingClass

    Thank you, WorkingClass,

    They “give” us loans and mortgages the way we are “given” other types of contracts. Ain’t no such thing as a contract that isn’t bargained for in exchange and doesn’t represent a meeting of minds. We assent, because we need homes and they have the money and the interest they collect from day one is business as usual. They get away with it, because they own the government, or (as in “The Contract with America” and everywhere else) because they are the government. Citizens cannot ratify any deal they “give” us, because voting is a joke.

    Politicians say anything and keep no promises that don’t line bankers’ pockets — and we know who bankers are — because we have one monster with two heads. The difference is that one head wears a pussy hat and the other a ball cap. One head thinks the only gender is feminine and the other speaks to our general dismay and bewilderment, but in the end they both think alike and they both kiss Israel’s ass. Neither head speaks up for the USS Liberty, against the 911 scam, against the FED / Wall Street conspiracy, against the countless futile wars, and neither will champion a Debt Jubilee. Now, when the hell did we ask to be treated like fodder?

    The SOBs keep getting away with it, even though many of us have figured out that government, like just about everything else, is 98% bullshit. Now, why don’t we act on that?

    Maybe the answer is simple. Maybe it is because each of us feels that he is only an individual facing a gigantic machine that is a well funded, organized steamroller.

    Maybe it’s because the cynical media “pundits” blab, sneer and jeer relentlessly against us “deplorables” and their bullshit is so ubiquitous it beats us down inside and we just give up. Maybe it’s because the “education system” has sufficiently dumbed us down so that we don’t even know how to think or argue anymore and don’t believe it would do any good anyway. Now, we know who owns MSM and “education” top to bottom and they are the same ones screwing us in all the other areas. And they are the ones who would definitely not allow a Debt Jubilee.

    Still, why does it work? The final nail in our coffin might be something as simple as a feeling many individuals have of insecurity, being inferior. I’m getting this idea from the psychologist Alfred Adler, who theorized most individuals suffer from an “inferiority complex” that must be faced and conquered if the individual is to fully develop. How you think is everything.

    Personally, I believe there’s a lot to this and it’s the basis for the “in crowd” in high school, where most students covet a place in this group. I also think it’s brilliantly exploited in the “secret menu” at In-and-Out Burgers. I resent the hell out of a “secret menu”, but most people seem to like feeling included and let in on the “in crowd” menu. I know this is generally well known now, but it wasn’t a decade ago, when I lived in central California. I also know it’s way the hell of subject.

    I think the great scam has worked, because as individuals we feel impotent against big money and big government.

  31. Jubilee says: • Website

    Debt deflation-caused Great Depressions are a feature, not a bug. For the bankers, that is. They relentlessly drive up asset prices by financing everything with credit (which they create out of thin air). Then, they contract the credit supply to cause a Depression, which allows them to gobble up collateral and purchase real assets at firesale prices. Rinse repeat. The biblical Jubilee cycle of 50 years would be like a permanent restrictor plate on their exploitation engine.

    • Replies: @Anon
  32. @Shane Mage

    John Siman here, the guy who reviewed Hudson’s book. Good for you, Shane Mage! You’re one of just a very few commentators who actually seems to understand how big a deal the Jubilee (= the institution of d’ror for debtors and bondservants and the poor in general) is in post-Exilic Jewish history and in the career of Y’shua — and how both the Jubilee and Y’shua had to be brutally suppressed to protect the interests of wealthy creditors. I am thinking now that the κοινωνία described in Acts 2 was the ultimate expression of d’ror, and, going back to the Near Eastern civilizations which Hudson has been studying, of the spirit of the tradition of mīšarum exemplified in the proclamations of Clean Slate debt amnesty by kings like Hammurabi.

  33. Y’shua was far from the only one. In that explosive debt-bondage situation a far more potent threat to Roman/Oligarchic rule was posed barely a decade later when the Judaean king, Herod Agrippa, plotted an insurrection throughout the Fertile Crescent, starting with a Messianic (in Silver Armor) proclamation at Caesarea. Legal prosecution being impossible, the Romans still managed to negate the threat by last-minute poisoning.

    • Replies: @John Siman
  34. @Shane Mage

    John Siman here again. This is fascinating, Shane Mage. What have you been reading?

  35. The story of Herod Agrippa is recorded by Josephus and referenced in Acts. But I think the best treatment is by Graves in the “Claudius” novels.

    • Replies: @John Siman
  36. @Shane Mage

    Robert Graves was an absolute wildman in the best sense of that word! After reading The White Goddess I felt impelled to reconsider everything I thought I knew about poetry and the power of sacred literature — also to become a scholar of Latin and Greek. Likewise, after reading Hudson, I feel imprelled to reconsider everything I thought I knew about Jewish and Christian theology and about the constitution of just societies.

  37. Ron Unz says:

    Prof. Hudson has now published a new column, partly aimed at addressing some of the issues raised in this comment-thread:

    http://www.unz.com/mhudson/moral-hazard-vs-mutual-aid/

  38. nsa says:

    Near the end of this idiotic screed, the learned pedagogue Hudson tackles moral hazard using the example of student loans. Consider the hypothetical: A and B are both shackled by student loans, but A takes on two jobs and pays his loans off, while B smokes pot at a minimum wage job and pays nothing back…….and the student loan debt is then suddenly eradicated in some kind of Hudsonian jubilee. Has not A been made a total fool of for doing the right thing? Whereas deadbeat B has been rewarded for his sloth and indolence? Here’s a better idea…..reinstitute debtors prisons and starve the deadbeats in irons until their relatives pony up the money owed.

  39. Wally says:
    @CMC

    We already have a “slave based economy”. It’s called income taxes, along with a plethora of other taxes / thefts used to support the unproductive.

    Try not paying them.

    • Replies: @CMC
  40. @Gregory

    What a stupid response you made. Tamlin has a point. This whole “dying for the sins” thing needs to be looked at. Actually, all of Christianity needs to be seriously rethought. In its present state it is utterly useless–outright harmful, in fact.

    The first thing to go should be the bloody-thirsty, wrathful, vengeful, city-incinerating Jewish God. No real God would require the shedding of innocent blood to gain His favor just like no real God would have a “chosen people”.

    • Replies: @Glupyy Morochit
  41. Smiling, slightly shaking my head, I read the article, not very thoroughly.
    The history of debt and interest is well known, and has been decribed many times.
    In the good old days loans had as purpose not to die of hunger in the period between when the food of the last harvest ran out, and the food of the new harvest was available.
    All monolithic religions, judaism, christianity, Islam, did not allow interest.
    The world changed with industrialisation, even small industrialisation.
    All of a sudden money could generate money, investments brought profits.
    Of course, thix had consequences for agricultural consumptive credits, those who lent money were never philantropists.
    Farmers getting into trouble, unable to repay loans, as old as the world.
    The normal procedure was to sell their land, often to those who had provided the loans, so concentrated land ownership, former farmers becoming day labourers, serfs, slaves.
    Nearly always after some time the resentment about inequality of income led to rebellions, land reforms, whatever.
    Sometimes these rebellions had success, often there was bloody repression.
    And even with success, quite often after some time again the same situation, one sees this in Germany after the 1524 rebellion, in South America, in tsarrist Russia, and in what now is Poland, land owners dodging the laws to redistribute land.
    Then civilisation.
    Churchill was quite right when he said’ the higher civilisation has the better weapons’, if he meant ‘the richer, that is the ruling class, a society is, more they can afford to develop more effective weapons, and can afford to have effective armies’
    The analysis of the of the consequences introduction of stirrup is amazing.
    Civilisation, in my opinion, never was about equality.
    I’d say on the contrary, maybe Egypt is the example of the contrary.
    Piramids, elaborate graves, paintings, whatever, for the say top one % of Egyptian society.
    The great Roman society, great for a very few, the yearly slave consumption of the Roman empire has been estimated at even ten million a year.
    Even in my own country, that is, the predecessor, Holland, relatively social, the 17th Golden Century was just golden for a few, typicallya ship for the East Indies left with 300 men, and returned with a hundred.
    Even on these ships there was no equality.
    The ship consisted of two parts, behind, some kind of citadel on the ship, just acessible by one ladder, small cannon next to the ladder, draaibas, it could be swiveled, to prevent rebellions.
    These rebellions were understandable, living conditions fore and aft were quite different, food, lodging, fore it did not exist, etc.
    Mortality aft most of the time was a fraction of mortality fore.
    So I wonder what is or was wrong about my knowledge of western civilisation.
    Great books about recent western ‘civilisations’ I consider to be
    ‘Het leven van Benvenuto Cellini 1500- 1571 door hem zelf verteld’, 1969, 1982, 1985, Amsterdam.
    Pierre Antonetti, ‘Het Bruisende Leven in Florence Ten Tijde van Dante’, 1988 Utrecht
    The first book is an autobiography of an Italian, killing someone, no problem, the second describes barbarian Florence.
    I suppose translations exist.
    One lastt remark, can anyone see any civilisation in the wars of the 20th and 21th century ?

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  42. @jilles dykstra

    An afterthought, I did not specify books here.
    Do not see the point, what I wrote is based on quite a number of books.
    Yet I want to mention one, how the stirrup changed society.
    One of the most interesting books I ever read, as the writer states in the introduction, historians seldom explain how technical change changed society.

    In the stirrup case, if one sees cvilisation as something that in any case takes care of that also the poor have a life worth living, then the stirrup was the most anti civilisation change ever.
    Stirrup waafare, knights on expensive horses clad in very expensive armour, even the horses had armour, was a great military invention, knights for a very long time were invincible, was extremely expensive.
    As always when a state does expensive things, such as now the USA military might, the common people suffer.
    The stirrup decided the structure of society until there were effective firearms.
    Approx from say the 7th to the 15th century.

    But even later the stirrup caused havoc.
    Most people must have heard of the charge of the light brigade, about as stupid as sending tens of thousands of British soldiers in 1916 on the Somme into German machine gun bullets.
    Let me add that it is argued that the British government did want these casualties, this of course will never be proved, but, if so, very civilised.

    Few people realise how even in WWI the military fighting the last war loved the stirrup: cavalry.
    They did not foresee that a few bursts out of a few machine guns would annihilate complete cavalry units.

    So, I can recommend
    Lynn White Jr., ‘Medieval Technology and Social Change’, Oxford 1962

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  43. SirraSam says:

    Jesus did not come to restore the Jubilee to Israel. He came to redeem those is debt to God. The use of “debts” in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew is well understood in light of the Okd Testament to refer to sin, as also made clear in the version reported by Luke. To reduce the death if Christ to an economic protest related to the Jubilee is to misinteriret the entirety of the Bible.

    As for Matthew 21:12 and the overturning if the tables of the money lenders, Jesus was declaring himself High Priest and King as he struck out against those who were polluting his father’s house—the temple. These activities of buying and selling of sacrificial animals and the exchanging of currency were in violation of God’s law concerning the Temple. Jesus was cleansing the temple in preparation for his own sacrifice as the lamb of God that takes away sins.

    There may be valid and moral reasons for the principle of Jubilee to continue but please don’t claim that the sacrifice of Jesus was for that purpose.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @NoseytheDuke
  44. Everywhere you look on the big ol’ internet, everyone’s got their own pet panacea. “Debt Jubilee from Yehua Ha-Nozri” is hardly a new idea, but the forces arrayed against it make it one of the most pipe-dreamy.

    The real hazard to every economy is the tendency for debts to grow beyond the ability of debtors to pay.

    Yes, imagine the chaos and fragility of a system that let “someone” run up a debt of, say, $21 trillion dollars! Get that man debt forgiveness stat!

    In ancient Mesopotamian societies it was understood that freedom was preserved by protecting debtors.

    So the steppe hordes on their chariots were just Bronze Age repo men? The only thing more absurd than belief in a monocausal cure is a belief in a monocausal disease.

  45. Anon[436] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johnny Rottenborough

    Alleged quotes like that on the internet are so often fake that it is good practice to cite your source – and make it a good one.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rottenborough
  46. Anon[436] • Disclaimer says:
    @TheJester

    Yok jest of course.

  47. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jubilee

    Of course. There’s always a simple answer to complex problems.

  48. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    Please don’t make us all gloomy. There must be a simple answer if only UR gurus were listened to.

  49. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @RJJCDA

    How many seconds did it take for you to generate that thought bubble?

  50. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jubilee

    More fact free thought bubbles.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  51. Miggle says:

    For centuries English-speakers have recited the Lord’s Prayer with the assumption that they were merely asking for the forgiveness of their trespasses, their theological sins: “… and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us….” is the translation presented in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

    The “trespasses” and “trespass against us” may come from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The King James Authorized Version of the Bible has (Matt. 6:12ff):

    12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
    13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
    14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
    15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    So the word within the prayer itself is “debts”, “debtors”.

  52. Anonymous[376] • Disclaimer says:
    @Gregory

    “Spiritual realities” is an oxymoron. More like spiritual fictions.

    But do tell us when Jewsus was born. It’s absolutely certain that at least one of the Gospel accounts is Fake News.

    It is beyond reasonable dispute that Luke dates the birth of Jesus to 6 A.D. It is equally indisputable that Matthew dates the birth of Jesus to 6 B.C. (or some year before 4 B.C.). This becomes an irreconcilable contradiction after an examination of all the relevant facts…

    The Date of the Nativity in Luke (6th ed., 2011)
    Richard Carrier

    https://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/quirinius.html

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  53. @Ron Unz

    I paused to open the link and search Hudson’s article for “bankruptcy” before giving up on him and the naive review by John Siman.

    It is mildly interesting to be prompted to visit the question of how debt jubilees and the forbidding of usury arose and to be invited to attach secular significance to the word “debts” in the Lord’s Prayer – probably wrongly – but Marx might have aptly characterised Hudson’s dreams as like religion – one of the opiates of the people.

  54. So let us reconsider Hudson’s fundamental insight in more vivid terms. 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, with only one major exception (Hudson describes the tenth-century A.D. Byzantine Empire of Romanos Lecapenus), has been the case: For us freedom has been understood to sanction the ability of creditors to demand payment from debtors without restraint or oversight.

    As numerous commenters here have noticed, how could Hudson have possibly missed the Church’s centuries-long ban on usury? Was he totally unaware of this? Maybe, after completing his thorough study of ancient Mesopotamia, he should penciled in a little time to study medieval Rome. It is truly remarkable that he seems unaware of this widely-known fact about the Church. And he himself apparently mentions that the Latin version of the Lord’s Prayer uses debita instead of ‘trespasses’. Strange …

    And we are so doomed, Hudson says, because we have been morally blinded by twenty-eight centuries of deracinated, or as he says, decontextualized history.

    I’ll just blame it on (((deracinated history))).

    [Hey, Unz: you need to fix your spell-checker. I get a red squiggly line under the word 'deracinated'!]

  55. Anonymous[376] • Disclaimer says:
    @Gregory

    Speaking of “a good communist…”

    • “…each according to his ability.” Matthew 25:15
    • “…not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” Acts 4:32
    • “…and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Acts 4:35
    • “…the daily distribution.” Acts 6:1
    • “…your liberal distribution…” 2 Corinthians 9:13

    Now what level of interpretation are you going to use, the “explain away” level? :)

  56. Fascinating article, fascinating book. However, the introduction of debt and its derivatives (debt slavery, debt peonage etc.) is one thing, the origins of political power quite another.

    Money and debt indeed allow for the exertion of strangulating power by the creditor, but the bottom line is that power (sheer violence or the threat of its use) is more effective, certainly in the distant past when states began to develop. Even today, any banker will give you whatever you want, the moment he feels the barrel of a loaded gun against his temple. Hudson makes the same argument, since it was the kings who periodically decreed the annullment of debts.

    As Marc Bloch has demonstrated, feudalism first came about between the rivers Seine and Rhine during the Early Middle Ages. The land was fertile, relatively densely populated and individual farmers were an easy target for all kinds of riffraff roaming the countryside. Therefore, they sought protection against these marauders from local guys who were good at fighting. These then could build op a clientele of protegees and gradually convert into feudal landlords.

    Therefore, I would suggest the story is just a bit more complex than the honorable guild of assyriology seems to suggest.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  57. Anonymous[376] • Disclaimer says:
    @Gregory

    What about the braying of Jewish storytelling?

    We worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” John 4:22

    No Gentile white man every needed a Jewish Rabbi named Jewsus to save him.

    When gullible Gentiles believe Jewish storytelling, this DEBT-collecting scam becomes inevitable.

    “For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.” Romans 15:27

    Hey, there’s the whole “Christian (Jew-worshiping) America” economy explained, right there. It’s time to lay aside the spiritual fictions of the Jew Testament.

  58. Anonymous[376] • Disclaimer says:
    @SirraSam

    Please don’t claim that the sacrifice of Jesus was more important than mercy.

    “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13)

    Maybe you never read that part. Care to start over, keeping it in mind?

    • Replies: @sarz
    , @SirraSam
  59. JamesH says:
    @tamlin

    Once again, the medieval way of doing things comes up looking surprisingly sane. Charging interest on loans was regarded as usury, and expressly forbidden to Christians.
    Having the Tribe as moneylenders was an easy way of doing things. Once the debts became overbearing, you just had to kick them out, which happened periodically.
    Unfortunately, there was always someone to step into their shoes, like the Venetians and the Templars. The king of France got out of his mammoth debts to the Templars by having their Grand Master and his buddies burnt as heretics on trumped-up charges (sorry, Templar conspiracy theorists, that’s all it was!), illustrating the danger of the business in those days.

  60. Herald says:

    Thank you Anon for providing your fact free bubbles. Keep it up.

  61. JamesH says:
    @tamlin

    “that idea was not adopted for nearly 350 years after he died”
    – a contention easily falsified by a dip into the New Testament. Stick to what you know, Brian.

  62. @Anon

    Anon[436]—The quote is from the foreword to the second edition of Sydney Rogerson’s Propaganda in the Next War. Gerard Menuhin reproduces it in his Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil, page 85 of the print edition and page 86 of the PDF. If that fails to pass your ‘good one’ test, I can help you no further.

    • Replies: @Anon
  63. APilgrim says:

    1) There was no ‘Bronze-Age’ or ‘Iron-Age’, only sloppy archaeologists & iron corrosion.

    2) Rome routinely granted full ‘Tax-Amnesty’, to distressed regions & provinces. Typically Rome would cancel all back taxes, grant 3 years full forward tax amnesty and 3 additional years at 1/2 taxes.

    3) The US body of law known as ‘Sound-Public-Policy’ (SPP) outlawed & cancelled usurious debts. Sound Public Policy also limited bankruptcy powers of debtors and refused to enforce inequitable contracts. Actions detrimental to marriage were outlawed under SPP. SPP was set aside by congress, years ago, and should be restored.

    IMHPO

  64. @Anon

    No, that one has substance.

  65. Can anyone here relate this to Ceaușescu’s Romania in the 1980s?

    Citizens there suffered terrible austerity during that time. They were told that their country was paying off its debts to the IMF or something similar.

    Can someone clarify this?

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  66. sarz says:
    @Anonymous

    “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13)

    Umm… would forgiving the Thanksgiving turkey fit somewhere here?

  67. @Ron Unz

    Miggle’s careful reference to the KJV and Book of Common Prayer, which are interesting as far as they go, prompt me to observe that, for all the great scholarship on display on this thread no one has even mentioned that the German word for debt is also the word for guilt: Schuld. The discussion misses a significant theme for exploration without that. How old is that connection? At least it is an obvious question.

  68. CMC says:
    @Wally

    Are we slaves? Were the Irish? Or were they just indentured servants?

    Meanwhile we can probably agree which way the wind is blowing. To that end let me add that if Hudson ignored church history on usury, then that’s even more reason for those interested in this topic to get and read E. Michael Jones’ book, ‘Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism as the Conflict between Labor and Usury.’

    • Replies: @Wally
  69. anon[870] • Disclaimer says:

    i used to take these “Direct Deposit Advance” loans from Wells Fargo where they offer you up to $500 and then the next month they repay themselves from your Direct Deposit along with another $50 for interest iirc. What i ended up doing was continuing to take the advance month after month because you’re essentially only out $50 that month if you just borrow the $500 again, putting off paying the original loan for about 12 months before the DDA was unavailable for a few months by rule.

    The bank makes $600 over a 12 month period for essentially loaning you $500 for one year.

    This was eventually outlawed under the Obama administration around 2012 or so, probably declared something like predatory lending. Was my own fault for not recognizing the trap though.

    • Replies: @Anon
  70. No! I do not think so.This is highly speculative. Overestimation and underestimation of influence of certain factors in society. The attempt was maybe noble but widespread conclusions are at best irresponsible.

  71. peterike says:

    Forgetting all this ancient history, at a practical level it would be a political master stroke for Trump to erase student debt (assuming that would be in his purview). It would be wildly popular with both students and their parents, who often suffer the burden of the payments. It would help ensure Trump’s re-election. It would be highly instructive to see the Progressive Left somehow come up with arguments against it, because they would have to. The fact that the Progressive Left is 100% a tool of the banksters might finally become common knowledge.

    At the same time, after forgiving all current debts Trump should shut down all new government-based student loans, thereby strangling the academy, which is an enemy of America at every level. If he revoked all student visas at the same time and shut off the Asian money spigot, he would put a large number of universities out of business, where they belong, and severely damage the rest.

  72. Anon[436] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johnny Rottenborough

    Thanks. You set me off on a search and by the time I had read the following linked piece and most comments I was pretty sure it was not said or written by Churchill. Have a look at

    https://soc.history.war.world-war-ii.narkive.com/E1W7ak23/churchill-quote-is-it-authentic

    • Replies: @Johnny Rottenborough
  73. Costco has a ‘platinum membership’- pay $50 a year, and they will pay you 2% of every purchase back.

    The math means, if you give Costco 50$, they will give you your $50 back if you spend $2500 in their store that year. If you spend less, they actually make money. More: you get 2% on all money spent, over $2500, as interest on your $50 loan.

    On one $50 membership, the money is irrelevant. If a million people opt in, Costco essentially has a $50 million loan from its own customers, likely for free-and many folks (those who pay spend less than $2500) will even pay them for the privilege of taking their money.

    Not a bad deal.

    joe

  74. Anon[436] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    The way you describe the transactions and the charges the bank only appears to get back $550 For its one year $500 loan. Where do you get the $600 from?

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Anon451
  75. Gary says:

    Anon appears to be a classic (((troll))) quietly and
    incessantly undermining any arguments that
    pinpoint the genocidal, parasitic behavior of the(((bankers)))
    who rule us. Anon jumps on comments like
    flies gorging on feces.
    Michael Hudson has made statements approving
    the creation of the Fed. Can we trust anything he says?

  76. siamdave says: • Website

    “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” – interest may have had some justification in olden days when ‘money’ was some form of ‘hard commodity’ such as gold or grains, and the ‘loaner’ was thus actually deprived of the opportunity to use his wealth for other investments – but in modern times, when ‘money’ is basically just ‘credit’ created out of thin air by private businesses granted this massive power by faux-demoratic governments with everyone, including the media, lying about this massive scam, there is actually no justification for ‘interest’. A truly sovereign, democratic government, of an informed and engaged citizenry, would be managing this great credit-exchange system for the good of the people, rather than allowing it to be controlled for the maintenance of elite power, as it currently is. More detail in the link attached to my name above.
    Also – just think about that for a second – if you need credit, it’s going to be a bit hard to find, if everyone you approach understands that it’s actually a gift of some kind, and if you’re a clever enough chap, you’ll just wait until ‘debt forgiveness day’ and laugh in the lender’s face. Some pretty deep and serious potential consequences there, I’m thinking.
    AND – there is a pretty strong case that David Graeber is an agent of the deep state, one of the strongest arguments for that idea being that he also does not talk about the point just made – more here – David Graeber – radical alternative economics genius – or deep state disinfo agent?? – http://www.rudemacedon.ca/vgi/letters/160917-ug-re-graeber.html – another thing he does not talk about that needs to be is ‘legitimate debt’ vs enforced or illegitimate debt. But the essay does.

  77. LarryS says:

    Deuteronomy 15:6

    “For the LORD your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.”

    Proverbs 22:7

    “The rich rules over the poor,
    And the borrower is servant to the lender.”

  78. @Anon

    anon[436]—Taking into account Churchill’s 1938 admiration of Hitler…

    ‘I have always said that if Great Britain were defeated in war I hoped we should find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among the nations’

    …and Jewry’s hatred of Germany…

    ‘our Jewish interests demand the complete destruction of Germany. Collectively and individually, the German nation is a threat to us Jews’—Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1934

    ‘We are not denying and are not afraid to confess that this war is our war and that it is waged for the liberation of Jewry’—Chaim Weizmann, 1942

    …I conclude that the Boothby quote is genuine.

    See p92 and pp161-2 of the Menuhin PDF. I understand that the Jabotinsky source should be Mascha Rjetsch, not Nascha Rjetsch.

    • Replies: @Anon
  79. Mike1 says:

    The idea that we are living in a direct line of history from a Middle Eastern city state is incredibly juvenile. Calling people names who cite moral hazard is even more so.
    There are obvious issues with finance in society (the absurd price inflation of houses being a great example) but in general the system works. People can and do go bankrupt all the time. Student debt is not usually wiped out but the crazy price increases in that field have many other solutions.
    There is also the most obvious solution: have some freakin self control and don’t take on too much debt!

    • Agree: Sean
    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  80. Wally says:
    @CMC

    said:
    “Are we slaves? Were the Irish? Or were they just indentured servants?”

    A distinction without a difference.

    I say that having the fruits of one’s labor seized under threat of force is indeed slavery.

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
  81. @Gary

    The world has three major financial problems: the Fed, the Bank of England, and the ECB.
    The first two banks are private commercial banks, without government control.
    The third, ECB, is owned by the euro countries, but,, as they never agree on anything, Draghi is the banker with the most freedom, within his statutes he does what he likes.

    All other central banks are state owned, independent in theory, but, until the euro, the president of the Dutch central bank had a weekly meeting with our minister of finance, so care was taken of national interests.
    The Bank of England I see as the City of London bank, protecting the interests of London as a financial centre.
    The Fed is run by bankers, nowadays often called banksters.

    How these banks serve national interests is seen by what the chairman of a USA senate investigation committee said to the Goldman Sachs CEO ‘if I were your client I would not trust you’.
    Globalisation, with free capital movement, greatly increased the power of banks, power that governments lost, thus the loss for democracy.

    The derivatives swindle, maybe it was to some extent mere stupidity, model builders believing their own phantasies about absolute minimum value, was only possible because Greenspan, I believe, refused to regulate them.
    After the disaster he just said ‘the models failed’.

    I, having read Varoufakis, put lot of blame on that, according to him, macroeconomics was not taught anywhere in the world after the seventies.
    Understanding was replaced by religion, the market religion.
    This I understand, economics is common sense made difficult, religion is easy.

  82. Alpheus says:
    @anonymous

    Perhaps, but it should also be observed that student loans, for all practical purposes, are exempt from bankruptcy laws.

  83. SirraSam says:
    @Anonymous

    Don’t forget the entire verse: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees who were appalled that he would dine with “sinners”.
    God repeatedly chastises Israel for their empty compliance with the law and with their sacrifices. They sacrificed according to the law but had no repentencec or works of repentance.

    He insults them by calling them righteous, which they thought they were. But as he called them properly, they were white-washed tombs—appearing externally righteous by their legalism in a set of standards they had established, but wicked in their failure to observe the spirit of the law.

    God exacted justice when he killed his own son, that he might extend mercy to those who relented and believed.

    Jesus did not come to reform society—he cane to redeem sinners…to make peace between them and a very angry God.

  84. Michael Hudson’s arguments explain why a Libertarian society would eat itself and eventually get clobbered by non-Libertarian societies.

    Why point the finger at Libertarians? Because their ideological prescription for the ills of the Western world is to privatize everything and to shrink the role of government. Give us the power they say, and everyone will soon be economically free and unhindered by taxes and regulation. Governments will be put in their place and prevented from exercising their interfering ways. This sounds great and has many enthusiastic adherents, but it doesn’t address the problem of society becoming polarized between a minority of haves and a majority of have-nots. That kind of society is fundamentally weak and non-competitive.

    • Replies: @therevolutionwas
  85. anon[104] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    oops, you could be right

    i just assumed 12 x $50

  86. What I don’t hear is the fact that “money” was being devalued by the government, which leads to more debt as prices rise. The world will have their debt jubilee, and then gradually go back on a gold/silver standard of some sort. Sound money is the key. Debt is secondary.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  87. Hank Yobo says:
    @Wally

    Slaves vs. Servants “A distinction without a difference.”

    In colonial America there was a BIG difference. The former were personal property while the latter were merely contract labor. Servants were freed from their agreements–which they had willingly signed, usually to defray their cost of transport to the New World–after a prescribed period of time and given land/clothing/tools to become farmers in their own right. Slavery, on the other hand, was a whole other kettle of fish.

  88. Bruno says:

    This was still convey in Lord’s Prayer in Latin (I was raised by FSSPX family) :

    et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris

    Not sins but debts.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  89. @Wally Streeter

    It is the Governments who create the problems in the first place! They debase the value of money and regulate economic activity until the whole system is once again screwed up. Precisely where we are at right now.

  90. @therevolutionwas

    Devaluation of money also reduces the value of any outstanding accounts receivable.

    • Replies: @Logan
  91. Sean says:

    Argentina and Greece have had problems. China and maybe India have not. The real problem with Hudson’s thesis is under democracy the proles will get fed up with the freedom of Wall St predators and elect Trump and others of his kidney. Trump is notorious for bilking his creditors.

  92. Papa says:

    Jesus came to establish a new political order and not a religion. This is evident by the use of the term ‘ekklesia’ or church. He juxtaposed His ekklesia against that of the demos. That this order was political with economic repercussions is evident in Acts where believers freely rejected private property. This rejection pulls the rug out from all western civilisation and was, unlike modern christianity, a serious threat to the established order as all states and rule rest on possessiveness/property. The state disappears without it.

    All societies are built on a polarity: individual desire/common law. Each human is the sum total of his/her desires. But so that we can live with a modicum of relative peace given the conflicting nature of individual desires an impersonal common law comes and draws a line arbitrarily and sets a limit on our individual desires. Jesus without saying a word against emperors and rulers reverses the polarity: common experience/personal law. In the common experience of love at the Eucharist each individual believer turns that into his personal law/desire. Thus undermining all forms of rule.

    This (love) alone solves the historical pendulum that Plato describes is the trap of all human history – that between the one and the many. That is, mans’ desire to be free and his desire to live in community; chaos and totalitarianism. There is no system to resolve this, neither capitalism nor communism. Love/Liberty cannot be made a system. Love (God) is the only solution and this presupposes liberty. Only when man freely shares his whole life (thus truly manifesting all that he is) can we overcome the vicious cycles that trap us in death. Love alone conquers death. This love is manifest as unity: unity within man, unity with the entire creation and ultimately with the uncreated as well. And this is a unity that presupposes diversity not the extinguishing of the individual. This involves/is a new, regenerate man. It involves a process/cycle of constant dying to self and rebirth throughout life. It/love is a struggle, a suffering, a cross. The cross is the mystery hidden in every relationship. Either i crucify my ego and allow the other to move freely toward me and i toward him or i project my ego onto the other and subjugate/crucify them to myself. There is no getting around this mystery hidden in every relationship. Love is not by nature painful. It is my pride that makes it painful… Essential to this realisation is forgiveness on every level because the unity that He calls us to is unity on every level: political, economic, social, material, spiritual, etc…

  93. @Bruno

    Not so sure about the “not sins but debts”. To wit: Some speakers of Spanish, a Latin derived language (I have noted this linguistic idiosyncrasy in lower class Mexican diaspora society) will proclaim their innocence of lawbreaking/wrongdoing by saying “No debo nada.” as opposed to “Soy inocente.”, “No hice nada de lo que me acusan.”, “No soy cupable.” etc.

    However, to most Spanish speakers “No debo nada.” means I am free of monetary or personal duties/favors obligations. (either generally or in reference to a given contextual scenario)

    So there appears to an argument to be made for multiple interpretations in the realm of deber.

    To sin usually implies some sort of obligation to confess, repent, ask forgiveness and make restitution if possible and applicable.

  94. @nsa

    Communist system was better. All Universities had and admission exams and admission to universities was based strictly on the scores of the exams and nothing else.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  95. mike k says:

    The tools of the people’s oligarchist oppressors are money, prisons, police, and unjust laws. We the people are trapped in this web of corruption, and constantly taught that it is just and inevitable. Revolution is the only way out of this colossal fraud.

  96. Logan says:

    So the Roman Empire actually took 700 years to decline and fall. Pardon me if I think that argument is a little weird.

  97. Logan says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Right. It is generally considered that inflation (devaluation of money) is good for debtors, bad for creditors.

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  98. Several comments here about the income tax need clarification:
    Just because the 16 Amendment and the Federal Reserve Act we’re passed in 1913 does not mean they came from the same motivation. The Federal Reserve was a Progressive /crony capitalist creation designed to protect the banks and limit competition. The income tax was not created by the 16 th Amendment, since income taxes were instituted in 1862. The 16 Amendment reaffirmed the taxing clauses in Article 1, did not create any new kind of tax, but merely clarified that taxes on income were excise taxes, NOT a new UN-apportioned direct tax. This was the result of a populist revolt AGAINST croney capitalism, especially big railroads and banks.
    Since WW II the US income tax has been collected under false pretenses. The income tax is an excise tax on the exploitatation of a federal privilege for profit. Ron Unz would do well to archive Pete Hendrickson’s book “Cracking the Code”, which is available on Amazon. Tens of thousands of Americans have received complete refunds of state and federal income tax withholding by filing educated returns . pS that includes payroll taxes, which are also simply excise taxes.

  99. @Logan

    There is a misunderstanding.
    Anyone considering lending money has to decide what price to ask for letting someone else use one’s money.
    In ordinary conversation this price is called interest.
    However, the price for use of money has several components:
    - real interest, on average over long periods four percent
    - a compensation for expected inflation
    - the risk that the money will not be repaid.
    J.S Bromley, ed., The new Cambridge modern history, volume VI, The rise of Great Britain and Russia, 1688 – 1715/25’, 1970 Cambridge
    accuses a Viennese jew of usury for charging a Habsburg in total, all three components, fifty percent per year for a wartime loan.
    I do not agree, the Habsburgs were notorious for not repaying loans, on top of that it seems they organised pogroms to have their bankers killed, a dead banker does not ask his money back.
    So in fact I should have added a fourth component, the risk of losing one’s life.
    Maybe, in this case, a fifth should be mentioned, what would have happened had the Habsburg lost the war ?

    • Replies: @Logan
  100. @Buzz Mohawk

    As far as I remember Ceaușescu borrowed huge amounts abroad to build heavy industries in Hungary.
    When they came into production there was overcapacity in the world, prices fell, the Hungarian people footed the bill.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
    , @Dacian
  101. @nsa

    Why not just shoot everybody?

  102. @jilles dykstra

    Now I am really puzzled why Caucesku would want to build anything in Hungary?

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Jim Bob Lassiter
  103. There would be no need for ‘debt forgiveness ‘ if this precept was followed?

    “Importantly for our disaggregated quantity equation, credit creation can be disaggregated, as we can obtain and analyse information about who obtains loans and what use they are put to. Sectoral loan data provide us with information about the direction of purchasing power – something deposit aggregates cannot tell us. By institutional analysis and the use of such disaggregated credit data it can be determined, at least approximately, what share of purchasing power is primarily spent on ‘real’ transactions that are part of GDP and which part is primarily used for financial transactions. Further, transactions contributing to GDP can be divided into ‘productive’ ones that have a lower risk, as they generate income streams to service them (they can thus be referred to as sustainable or productive), and those that do not increase productivity or the stock of goods and services. Data availability is dependant on central bank publication of such data. The identification of transactions that are part of GDP and those that are not is more straight-forward, simply following the NIA rules.”
    P20

    http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/339271/1/Werner_IRFA_QTC_2012.pdf

  104. Anon[436] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johnny Rottenborough

    I wonder when the software maestro who hosts us will set up a gambling affiliate in the US Virginn Islands so that we can have side bets. I wouldn’t bet against you on the latter two quotes but I would offer at least 2 to 1 against your extra Churchill quote being genuine. Maybe you aren’t old enough to have developed an instinct for the true and false amongst Churchill anecdotes. It helps to remember his ancestry, generation and upper upper class background.

    BTW : test question: what do you think could have been meant by “her own exchange mechanism” in the original dubious quote?

  105. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    So retardate sons of big Commie officials never got any special privileges for admission to the university?

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  106. anon[386] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    yes, great question

    i’m sure the Hungarians would be shocked to know they had such a great friend in Ceaucescu

  107. APilgrim says:

    Texas provides many debtor protections, under the state constitution:

    Texas Homestead Exemption: Texas offers an unlimited homestead exemption for a residence on 10 acres or less in a city, town or village or 100 acres or less in the country (this doubles to 200 acres for families). If you sell your house, the proceeds are exempt for six months after the sale under this exemption. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §§ 41.001, 41.002, 41.003. See also the Texas Constitution, Article 16, §§ 50, 51.)

    Texas Motor Vehicle Exemption: The Texas motor vehicle exemption is also generous—the law allows you to exempt the entire value of one motor vehicle per licensed household member. If you have a household member who doesn’t have a license, you can still exempt that vehicle if the unlicensed person relies on someone else to operate the vehicle. Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 41.002(a)(9).

    Texas Personal Property Exemptions: The personal property you exempt (things other than real estate) cannot exceed a total of $100,000 or $50,000 if you are a single adult without a family.

    Up to two firearms. § 42.002 (a)(7). Athletic and sporting equipment, including bicycles. § 42.002 (a)(8). Bibles or other books containing sacred religious writings (these are not subject to the $100,000/$50,000 cap). § 42.001 (b)(4). Home furnishings including family heirlooms. § 42.002 (a)(1). Jewelry (limited to 25% of total exemption — so as of 2015, you can keep up to $25,000 ($12,500 if you are single) of your jewelry). § 42.002 (a)(6). Animals, including pets and domestic animals plus their food; two horses, mules, or donkeys, plus tack; 12 head of cattle; 60 head of other livestock; and 120 fowl. § 42.002 (a)(10),(11). Clothing and food. § 42.002 (a)(2),(5). Health savings accounts. § 42.0021. Burial plots ( § 41.001) and health aids such as wheelchairs, canes and hearing aids ( § 42.001 (b)(2)).

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  108. peterAUS says:
    @jilles dykstra

    Found your comments on the topic rather close to common sense approach, so, a feedback re that military stuff.
    The charge of light brigade was a tactical mistake born out of circumstances. Having said that the brigade DID reach the battery they were assaulting and took it out of fight. So, even in pure tactical terms it wasn’t such a failure as talked about. Even after the battle the brigade was kept operational.

    As for Somme and WW1 in general, again, the public perception is false. Disclaimer: I am really not going to debate that. I’ll say my part and make of that what you will. The problem then, as in all that stalemate was artillery as main casualty producer and lack of operational mobility.
    Translation: the first lines of defense, those in range of artillery preparation weren’t the problem. The problem was depth of positions and defender’s artillery, plus defender ability to bring in reinforcements.
    The myth of attacks being being down by machineguns from trenches across their own (assault) trench is…myth. And….hehe…..this post ain’t gonna to change that.

    As for cavalry, as with any formation and weapon, depended on plenty of things.
    Long story short, Soviets used cavalry formations of corps size, with success, in WW2 against Germans. Enough said.

  109. FB says:

    This is an excellent essay…Professor Hudson is truly a thinker of historical significance…as this reviewer astutely points out, neither of the two giants of economic thought [Marx and Smith] have thought things through to the proper conclusion…but Prof Hudson has…

  110. @Gary

    The best single improvement to this great website with unparalleled software for following an exchange would be to insist that ALL commenters pick a pseudonym, any pseudonym, and stick with it. It would result in even better quality discussions and allow all commenter’s histories to be examined.

    As the comment numbers continue to grow I sincerely hope Mr Unz will consider it.

    • Agree: Rurik
    • Replies: @anon
  111. @Mike1

    It works? Do you have any idea just how many trillions of dollars in debt the US has and the cost to the citizenry of that debt? The current situation has cycles of inflation and deflation built in.

  112. @nsa

    A possible solution would be to simply grand some future tax deductions as a reward to those diligent students who repaid their student loans.

  113. @APilgrim

    Can’t a federal bankruptcy judge overrule all of that if bankruptcy is filed?

  114. Seraphim says:
    @Anonymous

    You can’t stop an inveterate wanker jerking off.

  115. Thim says:
    @Jubilee

    Read the law carefully and you will see that under Moses all debts were cancelled every 7 years. It was not a 50 year cycle it was a 7 year cycle. After seven sevens or in other words 49 years came the jubilee in the 50th year. This involved the tribal lands reverting back to the original families, within the specific house and tribe, as established under Joshua mostly. I cannot fathom how we could institute a jubilee in America since we do not have tribal lands or even tribes. But the debt cancellation every 7 years is beautiful, and of course the prohibition of taking interest, God in his wisdom showed us the right path. Of course, few even care today , the churches least of all.

  116. If Jesus were here in Merica today, he would likely be sent to Guantanamo charged with terrorism.

    At a minimum he would be denounced as a racist, antisemite, conspiracy theorist, socialist crack pot, and/or charged with incitement, conspiracy, espionage or some other ridiculous shit under the NDAA or Patriot act.

    and most Mericans would cheer it on, including the so called Christian community. Sad!

    • Agree: pensword
    • Replies: @Josecanuc
  117. longhorn says:
    @dearieme

    “Steal the money from the creditors”. The debt jubilee is designed to renew the economy, not please the ever-wealthier creditors. How is this stealing anymore than the entire international debt system driving the many into poverty to enrich the few? Which seems to be the thrust of the book. Creditors always come out OK. They were restored after the 2007 meltdown with trillions of taxpayer dollars, while real people lost much or everything. So why can’t the debtors be restored occasionally? Because we have been taught that it would break the economy by the MSM which parrots stories made up by the creditor class. If private credit goes dry, great, we’ll have a public bank. I would rather interest revenue go to the public funds than the Rothschilds!

  118. JLK says:

    But the debt cancellation every 7 years is beautiful, and of course the prohibition of taking interest, God in his wisdom showed us the right path.

    Your bank account is a debt, so I’d read the fine print on any Jubilee proposal.

  119. Alan2 says:

    (1) Hudson’s conclusions about how the ancient assyrian (and later) civilisations functioned, is too reckless and presumptive. Its a struggle to fully grasp what was driving societies in the early 20th century where we have endless books and even video recordings, never mind 5000 years ago before the Phoenician alphabet and paper were invented!

    (2) A few equations and graphs would lend confidence to the article. Yes, its true that exponential growth exceeds arithmetic growth, for the same value of x. But that does not apply if the loan is paid off, as is the case if the yield is greater than the service costs. What if the loan is 100$ with interest rate of 1% and nett yield of 5%? Then the amount owed decreases every year as the debt is paid off, because the amount of pay-off remains at 5$ per year, ie 5% of the original working capital. The problem is not debt per se, but debt structured so that interest exceeds nett yield.

    (3) His final refutation of the ‘moral hasard’ argument is one of the worst examples of a begging-the-question fallacy, or a circular argument, I’ve ever seen.

    No debtor – whether a class of debtors such as students or victims of predatory junk mortgages, or an entire government and national economy – should be obliged to go on the road to and economic suicide and self-destruction in order to pay creditors. The definition of statehood – and hence, international law – should be to put one’s national solvency and self-determination above foreign financial attacks. Ceding financial control should be viewed as a form of warfare, which countries have a legal right to resist as “odious debt” under moral international law. The basic moral financial principal should be that creditors should bear the hazard for making bad loans that the debtor couldn’t pay — like the IMF loans to Argentina and Greece. The moral hazard is their putting creditor demands over the economy’s survival.

    So he first asserts his foundational principle – don’t know where it comes from, maybe God handed him a stone tablet?

    No debtor … should be obliged to go on the road to economic suicide and self-destruction in order to pay creditors.
    Then later we get our conclusion:

    The basic moral financial principal should be that creditors should bear the hazard for making bad loans that the debtor couldn’t pay

    And a debtor ‘cannot pay’ a loan, if it causes them to suffer undue hardship, liquidate assets or even lose national sovereignty, as we established in the first principle. Great! That’s sorted then. All we have to do is agree to the ostensibly reasonable first principle, then we have to agree with the conclusion.

    If someone has broken their health, literally, digging a mine, which they then lease to someone else, or loan at interest which is equivalent, then why should they suffer loss of their asset when the new mine owner is too lazy or stupid to operate it efficiently and service the loan?

    I haven’t got time to ague for or against debt forgiveness here, so I’m only pointing out that there’s enough wooly thinking in Hudson’s thesis to knit 100 Winter sweaters.

  120. anon[323] • Disclaimer says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    The best single improvement to this great website with unparalleled software for following an exchange would be to insist that ALL commenters pick a pseudonym, any pseudonym, and stick with it. It would result in even better quality discussions and allow all commenter’s histories to be examined.

    i dont want this because some nitwits that have too much time on their hands will go thru all your previous posts and for what? LOOK WHAT YOU SAID FIVE WEEKS AGO!!

  121. J1234 says:

    Despite what we hear about the oppression of the poor under the feudal system in western Europe, the peasantry apparently owned more land during this period than any other time up until the 19th century. The kings and lords of feudal Europe had an overabundance of land and a shortage people to work it, as well as a shortage of resources to pay people to work it. The solution in low population Europe was to pay agricultural laborers with land.

    When the population of Europe started growing substantially several generations later, however, and open tracts of land became more scarce, the powerful had to come up with a way to get land back from the peasants. The strategy they employed was debt, and it worked beautifully. Peasants were relatively unsophisticated with regards to financial planning, so most land held by the poor was lost through debt to the upper and ruling classes.

    A similar tactic was employed centuries later in India, when the cotton production became very lucrative during the American civil war. The American South could no longer be the main supplier for the textile industry, the largest global industry of the 19th century. Under these conditions, even poor Indian laborers could accumulate a surprising degree of wealth compared to their previous subsistence focused endeavors by growing cotton. So the orders came from their British overlords – get these people into debt as soon as possible. By the late 1870′s, debt prevented most Indians from leaving the now dismal cotton growing business, made unprofitable largely by the resumption of US production, which greatly exceeded pre-war levels. When economic collapse came shortly thereafter, about one tenth of India’s Behar province died of starvation.

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  122. @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Of course not. They had their education from dad and became also big Commie officials inspecting the universities.

  123. I’ve been thinking about this article for some time now.
    I’m not an expert on Assyrian history, so what then happened, no idea.

    But I wonder why Hudson does not seem to know that land without peasants to till the land is worthless.
    History is full of examples where rulers by force populated areas, where is nobody, nobody can pay taxes, and/or provide fighters for armies.
    Someone in deep debt, why should he not he simply leave, leave the debt behind him ?
    Even in recent USA history this happened, read Jonathan Raban: Montana.
    In this case debts were not cancelled, government guarantees, the USA taxpayer footed the bill.

    In England a few hundred years ago more or less the same, wool bringing more profit than grain, tenants evicted, into deep poverty, or into dying through hunger.
    Here no debt problem, but a tax and military power problem: no more taxpayers, also not for the church, and no people to fight.
    So king and church fought, in courts, estate owners.
    They were fined to pay the taxes no longer paid.

    A third example, German jews, leaving in great numbers, on their way to what now is Turkey, where the messiah had appeared.
    Their wagons did not get far, soldiers of the landowner forced them back.

    Jonathan Raban, ‘Bad Land’, London 1997
    Maurice Beresford, ‘The Lost Villages of England’, 1969, London
    Jakob Wassermann, ‘Die Juden von Zirndorf’, 1897 1999 München

  124. Pft says:

    I”ll read Hudsons book if/when it is available on kindle. Sounds interesting. Been a big fan of his for awhile.

    As for the Romans and Greeks not forgiving debt, which Hudson said in an interview was mostly from taxes or obligations owed to the state , I refer to David Graebers book “Debt the first 5000 years” In it he says “Athenian citizens did not pay direct taxes of any sort; though the city did sometimes distribute money to its citizens, a kind of reverse taxation-sometimes directly, as with the proceeds of the Laurium sil­ver mines, and sometimes indirectly, as through generous fees for jury duty or attending the assembly.

    Subject cities, however, did have to pay tribute. Even within the Persian Empire, Persians did not have to pay tribute to the Great King, but the inhabitants of conquered provinces did. The same was true in Rome, where for a very long time, Roman citizens not only paid no taxes but had a right to a share of the tribute levied on others, in the form of the dole-the “bread” part of the fa­ mous “bread and circuses.”

    So basically today we get no debt relief and end up as slaves, much like those defeated by Rome and Greece. We also pay tribute (taxes). I guess the question is who is it that conquered us that we pay tribute too? The answer is the ruling elite. Debt relief does exist for them in the form of generous corporate bankruptcy laws and bail outs, and taxes are minimal in relation to total wealth due to generous tax loopholes, tax havens and low capital gain/corporate rates and exemption for much of their income from social taxes

    I basically trace the current state of affairs more recently to Enlightenment and Reformation which embraced usury and the idea that all citizens should pay tribute to the secular God (state) out of an inherant social debt we are all born to. Only the chosen elite are entitled to have the Debts on Earth forgiven. In most states individuals lose their home if they declare bankruptcy so only the homeless can exercise that option. Also if debt is ever forgiven you will be taxed on that. No way out folks. Next life be born to the elite or a corporation.

  125. @J1234

    ” So the orders came from their British overlords – get these people into debt as soon as possible. ”
    Never heard of these orders, and how did they get these people into debt ?
    My idea is that the writer overestimates the overlords in cunning and planning, plus the ability to execute their plans.

    Liberated serfs in Russia since 1860, or so, ran into debt by drinking on credit in pubs ran by jews, who had been given, or had bought, the license to sell liquor in the country side.
    After they ran into debt, as serfs they hardly ever even had seen money, their land was auctioned, often bought by their creditors.
    If there was deliberate planning in all this, possible, but I never saw any proof.
    Suggestions of close cooperation in this by the landlord, still the local ruler, and jewry, have been made, but that’s all.

    • Replies: @J1234
  126. APilgrim says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Generally speaking (ideally) under our federalist form of government.

    States can grant, or individuals can insist upon RIGHTS in excess of those explicitly granted in the Bills of Right, and others such as Amendments XIV etc. For example, marijuana use.

    States also have powers which are forbidden to the federal government, under the Constitution.

  127. @nsa

    That’s a good argument. Perhaps the only charge for a college education should be the opportunity cost of doing something else? If there is no benefit to society in the graduate’s skills, the degree shouldn’t be offered. If there’s a benefit, society at large gains from having more skilled people.

    Of course, that would lead to the question of who would decide what should be taught? Any tax paying employer should have a voice.

  128. What history tell us is that the problem we cant solve is what the politicians do when they get the power.

    Michael Hoffman in “Usury in Christendom the mortal sin that was and now is not”do a better job:
    “Interest is usury”and should be prohibited in moral and economics ground.
    And it was prohibited in both ground for centuries that i hope M.H did not left out in his book.

    This are the same elite and legal sistem that do not allowed a woman to sell herself and arrest a 15 years old girl for smoking marijuana and put you in jail for drinking 4 beers.

    My question is why M.H do not use usura instead of interest?

  129. You are all FN stupid. All society is stupid, All governments past and present are stupid.
    Communists were unbelievable idiots. They did take property away from people and who did not give up their properties they killed them. How retarded and primitive it was,
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    There is a simple solution, Tax the inheritance to 90% recycle the money and society become unbelievable dynamic and just.

  130. joe webb says:

    earth shattering. That tells you and spares you the time of reading this junk. j

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  131. @Craig Nelsen

    “Actually, all of Christianity needs to be seriously rethought.”

    Ah yes, and of course, you’re just the one to accomplish it: a mind more insightful and brilliant than two thousand years of poor deluded unthinking fools like (in no particular order of intellectual incompetence and spiritual nullity )Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great, Isidore of Seville, Bonaventure, Athanasius of Alexandria, Basil the Great, Dionysius the Areopagite, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Irenaeus of Lyons,Gregory Palamas, Nicholas Cabasilas,Isaac of Nineveh, John Climacus, Hilary of Poitiers, JohnChrysostom, John of Damascus, Maximus the Confessor, Clement of Alexandria, Catherine of Siena, Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Sergei of Radonezh, Seraphim of Sarov, and so on, and on, and on, and on.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    , @Miggle
  132. Them Guys says:
    @Da Wei

    Da Wei: Yes and it is even worse yet than the original 1913 betrayal by Prez Wilson and his Jewdeo Cohort’s in us reps and us senate. Ie: that small Few in on the scam who remained in official session, After sending all other reps and senators Home for xmass break. And did a voice only vote to hide whom to blame….What may be worse yet? I will tell you what I discovered from past readings of tons of UN pages of various docs. and UN agendas. It revolves around Fed owned Lands.

    They first work with cohort enviro-whacko orgs, and fed agencies that manage fed lands and parks etc. The fed agents for example sneak in a handful of Wolf fur, or any other endangered species. Place the fur on some trees bark, then act as if they just discovered it there one day while patrolling the forest land. Then enters the huge, many Shekels funded enviro whack org. To alert citizens and congressional committees that, Oh No! We just have to do Something! Anything, to save wolves!

    Congress then acts fast, and creates millions more off limit to human trespass fed lands zones. To Save wolves. Congress also allows for those enviro whack orgs to work as Private land and wolf protectors…Of course, being such ‘experts” and all. Then for even safer wolf preservation measures congress with much help via those enviro whack “experts” decides as best option for permanent long term protections, to Grant the UN agency in charge of such matters, to Hijack actual ownership and control of fed lands. Now it becomes an International Issue complete with International Globalized laws. And also with International Prosecution potentials as well as fed law violations.

    Once all that is accomplished and typical peta types and enviro whack orgs huge members base has been satisfied and, Quieted down. They all sit tight and Wait. Wait for a few years, with every now and then major MSM TV news, update reports on massive huge success at, saving the endangered wolves. Soon, enough time passes, with many more issues that exist or are manufactured so to rant and rave about on MSM news so avg citizens forget it all. Now the congress convenes again on the issues of fed lands and wolves. This time to declare huge success, thanks to a combo of UN+Enviro Whacks+Govnt laws+ etc. Now so Many wolf packs exist, that land no longer need be restricted to “some” uses. Some uses being to Now allow for selling at Low per acre cost, with fed Grant Cash To said enviro whack org, used to Pay for it. Also included in allowed limited new usage of land, is for head honcho founder of enviro whack org to Buy a huge land parcel, say, 100,000 acres or so, and Build his very Own, owned by him, Log Cabin mansion of 10,000 sq.ft. complete with Private Jet runway, and Helio rotor blade landing Pads in various areas, and with a dozen or two Guest cabins of 2,500 to 3,000 sq ft size. All Paid for with that Fed Gov cash grant $$.

    This is touted as to best insure that being such ‘experts” the enviro whacko new land owner in middle of Prime usa fed forest lands, he is best suited to continue protections of lands and wolves.

    Meanwhile UN agents have been very busy installing, Welcome to Another United Nations Forest Land/Parks system of Management. Signs at every land or park entrance. These IIRC maintain a typical 99year lease type ownership mandate for UN. UN is Now primary agency to determine land and park usages allowed, hunting and fishing, river and streams usage etc. etc.

    Now Former American owned Fed land, some of best Prime real estate in nation and of entire world, has been officially transferred for next 99 years to the UN agency in charge. That enviro whacko with his new Log Cabin is also well protected. By UN Rules which create Buffer Zones.

    What began as maybe a small portion of a several million acre fed land and parks region, set aside as off limits for humans to protect wolves or whatever other animals or spotted owls etc…Now involves entire land mass into UN mandated Controls and Rules/international Laws. The UN then shows on a Map of land mass in question a series of Circles which designate what type human activity is Now allowed. For example at very Outer edge of perimeter of entire land mass, most all is okay. But closer in to middle, Some but less is allowed, fishing and hunting perhaps still okay.

    As the circles move in closer and closer to middle off land mass…You reach a core center, massive huge land section, this is where that enviro whacks new Log Cabin is located at. Long before one approaches core center lands, they are confronted by restricted circled areas. Which use Fed laws and UN international Laws to halt use and entrance into those areas. Now Big Enviro Honcho, and all His Guests and Pals of various ‘official capacity” entities…Are so well off limits protected, it would literally take a few us military divisions with Tanks to harm or intrude upon them.

    These circled zones also comprise huge areas. Say a person in the forest seeking out the well protected species of Human Honchos of congress, enviro whack orgs, UN officials, various other wealthy pals inside the inner most zone, will need to travel, on foot, as much as several Hundred Miles inwards just to arrive at Helio Pad #1 or Guest cabin #1 at farthest part from main lodge cabin/home.

    About all they have left to do to create the perfect safety zones for very wealthy scammers, zios, congress officials etc…Is to Declare some event, or make one up and then declare the emergency or soon to happen terror attacks, go into hiding at said inner most zones, and lock it all down, nationwide martial law or UN Mandated lock downs, and remain safe until smoke clears and guess who Now is main owner of America. Not just owners of those huge log cabins and related 100,000 acres in Private hands Now..But Owners of the entire whole of America, and every resource and acre of land it consists of…Unless of course all You taxpayer Citizens who Used to own America, can come up with $21+ Trillion Plus ongoing Daily usury/interest to Pay off Jewish banksters and their Shabbos Goy helper/co swindlers with. Just as a foreclosed Mortgage means loss of Home. So too will a foreclosure be when all systems get Crashed by said banksters and helper Shabbos. They will accept the Entire nation of America, all lands, resources, buildings, including Your homes and private business’s, and whatever else is located in or on the land of America. All 50 States worth, if You taxpayer citizens can’t come up with a cash pay off prior mentioned.

    Anybody who thinks the crooks in congress and white house and supreme court, will never go along to get along?….Keep Dreaming that delusional Dream. Weather or not this is attempted before they can rid us of the 2nd amendt. remains to yet be seen. They probably will wait until usa citizen disarmaments get done first…Then again, these are Insane Crooked folks that have a deep desire to Get it done On their watch, and before They die off. Stay tuned situation constantly develops, eh.

    PS: It’s over 10+ years since I read and seen UN maps and infos on this stuff. There also were many private photos of such cabins and projects online from various persons that ventured into those areas to check it out back then. If they still are avail now? Or maybe private info and photo proofs have expanded to Yutube Videos too now? I do not know either way. I have not read or seen of any lessening of such plans and agendas..If anything I’d expect such agendas to now be worse yet, and entail far more issues and land masses. Just try a search for UN Land Buffer Zones. That may be good start for researching it.

    PPS: The Real True Most Endangered Species is…The European WHITE Males.

  133. @joe webb

    I do not know if you did address to me, but anyway. Bush second the idiot instead of increasing the inheritance tax he drastically decreased it. I know that it is earth shattering and it cannot be done at one shot. but gradually can the tax be increased be increased to a level where it will have considerable influence.
    If the things go the direction they are going and dollar will fall to be certain the rich will loose everything anyway.
    In the case I am suggesting at least the rich can enjoy the money they made in their lifetime, and let the children make their own money.

  134. Seraphim says:
    @Glupyy Morochit

    Is that Craig Nelesn another disguise of ‘Echoes of History’?

  135. anarchyst says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Bankruptcy is covered under the federal system, but each state sets its own parameters for assets that can be retained through bankruptcy.

  136. @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Hence OJ Simpson’s opulent Florida estate.

  137. J1234 says:
    @jilles dykstra

    Never heard of these orders…

    Okay. Was someone supposed to have told you or something? The event started during the American civil war and was referred to as “the cotton famine,” meaning that there was a world wide shortage of cotton. It first affected the workers at the big mills of northern England, which depended on – but couldn’t get – southern cotton. Later, however, the famine became literal as prices dropped after production increased, post war. World wide production had been transferred to other countries during the war.

    Along with the Indian famine, a half a million people people also died of starvation in the cotton growing regions of Brazil. This was in the 1870′s or 80′s, I believe.

    All of this was just another of the unintended consequences of the US civil war. The actual casualties of the war were into the millions when you add the human costs of the resulting economic tragedy. I should also mention that the cotton growers in the US who had increased production by so much just a few years after the war were barely doing much better. Most of the big lucrative plantations were gone, and a substantial portion of the crops were now raised by small sharecroppers who lived hand to mouth.

    …and how did they get these people into debt ?

    Low income farmers have often lived by credit. Not difficult to understand, because seeds are purchased and planted in the spring, but revenue doesn’t come until the fall harvest. The Kentucky Relief War (not a real war, but a political conflict) which took place in the early 1820′s started because farmers and speculators (who were essentially ambitious farmers) couldn’t get credit. The lack of credit stemmed from an economic collapse called the Panic of 1819.

    My idea is that the writer overestimates the overlords in cunning and planning, plus the ability to execute their plans.

    In India before the war, poor farmers grew a variety of crops, frequently changing from year to year to take advantage of the most lucrative markets. When cotton prices exploded in 1861 0r 62, everyone started growing cotton. Even people who weren’t farmers – small shop keepers and vendors – started growing cotton on rented land. And this meant…almost no food was being grown in these regions. Why would the British encourage this? Because the world’s most prominent textile producing centers were in Britain at the time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancashire_Cotton_Famine#Effects_in_other_parts_of_the_world

    I should mention that I see this Michael Hudson as largely a nitwit. He wants debt forgiveness to be a part of debt structure. My view is that debt on a personal level is a trap to be avoided at all costs.

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  138. @J1234

    What you’re explaining in a lot of words of course is well known.
    When cotton production stopped during the USA ‘Civil’ War of course there was a shortage of cotton.
    Of course prices went up, other regions tried to take over.
    What I object to is your implication that all this was planned.
    Cannot see how any plan was necessary.
    Quite common that farmers do not oversee world wide economic changes, Dutch farmers at the end of the 19th century never realised that cheap grain shipped by steam ships from the USA was there to stay, continued their habits, and went bankrupt, as a great grandfather of me did.

  139. @Brabantian

    Christianity has had its long dalliances with anti-usury positioning

    Vix Pervenit, an 18th century Papal Encyclical is still Catholic Doctrine

  140. @Agustin

    No matter how many times experts have patiently corrected Hoffman, he continues to spout his inaccuracies.

    In the letters section of “Culture Wars” all of his false accusations and historical inaccuracies were patiently refuted but he has itchy ears…

  141. >The true roots of Western Civilization lie not in the Greek poleis that lacked royal oversight to cancel debts

    This is flat out wrong and reflects a serious deficit of historical knowledge on Hudson’s part. The Greek cities (poleis) were independant and had gotten rid of their kings by the 6th-5th century BC. In Athens Solon famously enacted the seisachtheia (throwing off of burdens) the terms of which are not known precisely. Athenian farmers who had been sold into slavery to pay their debts were freed which implies a forgiveness of debt.

    • Replies: @Jett Rucker
  142. lysias says:
    @Gregory

    I think Jesus wanted both sins and debts to be forgiven. However, the Greek word opheilemata refers to debts, not sins. “Sins” would be “hamartemata”.

  143. Miggle says:
    @Glupyy Morochit

    Strange that you forgot to mention two important theologians and brilliant, prolific authors, Martin Luther and John Calvin. Their contributions to the literature on the subject are huge. Spend a decade reading Calvin’s Commentaries and come back in 2028 to give us an update.

    • Agree: Jett Rucker
  144. Agent76 says:

    Nov 14, 2018 Me and My Shadow

    “Taking it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries. Only monkeys parade with it.”

  145. Dacian says:
    @jilles dykstra

    Well, Jilles, that was in Romania, and only marginally fits your description. Yes, Ceaușescu, did boroow in early to mid 1070s somewhere between $9-10 billion at 6 percent interest, payable in ten years. By 1982, remember the famous Volcker anti-inflation crusade, for the good of US ecconomy, which raised the FED interest up to 20 percent (briefly) but mostly in 16-18 range? Well, that coupled with the Iranian revolution, which raised overnight the price of oil from the low single digits to 30 dollars a barrel, set the stage for the events of the late 80s.

    Now these two events were the start of the Eastern European countries’ irreversible and galloping debt trap, from which they never escaped to this day. Hungary, Poland, Yugaslavia, Bulgaria, all were caught in this trap. The only difference was that Ceaușescu swore to get out of it at any price. And he did indeed. The only country in modern times to do so. As a result the banking cartel eventualy executed him by firing squad, a lesson for any such future dreamers!

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  146. Dan says:

    This still keeps the oppressive system in place. It does not provide for the truly harmonious existence that we all lived for the better part of our existence on earth. The idea is not to have a society that forgives debts, the idea is to have a society that doesn’t conceive of debt at all. For that, we can learn from indigenous peoples. Robert Wolff’s book “Original Wisdom” provides fascinating insight into a sacred, harmonious way of life, one that most of humanity lost touch with a long, long time ago. “Basic Call to Consciousness” which includes “The Haudenosaunee Address to the Western World” is also an important read.

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  147. I see no mention in this review of the fact that interest was forbidden in Christendom for a millennium until loopholes were found to get around the bans on usury, well documented in Hoffman’s book on Usury, mentioned in another comment. I do have problem with this Money Power being portrayed as all powerful and gaining all of our wealth. The real money is not in your local community bank. Today it is in software, pharmaceuticals, real estate, mining, oil, etc.

  148. @Dacian

    ” Well, Jilles, that was in Romania, and only marginally fits your description ”
    I meant Romenia.
    What is marginally I do not understand.
    That banksters executed him, why do you think so ?
    My idea, what I also cannot prove, is that his accomplices wanted the well known one and only criminal, and wanted at any price to prevent that he could talk in a trial.
    Bin Laden was killed without trial, Ghadaffi too, the Saddam trial was about some relatively minor killing in some Iraqi village.
    Suggestions exist that the allies helped Hitler escape to S America.
    You see in the Milosevitsch trial how dangerous trials are, he was acquietted of all accusations.
    Show trials are difficult in the west, therefore, avoid them at all costs.
    Even Kennan in the thirties knew quite well about Stalin’s show trials.

  149. @Dan

    ” It does not provide for the truly harmonious existence that we all lived for the better part of our existence on earth ”
    What harmonious ?
    Read
    George Macaulay Trevelyan, ‘The Life of John Bright’, 1913, London, 1971, Westport, Connecticut
    There is little harmony to be found in the battle between industrial workers and estate owners in Britain in the 19th century.

    • Replies: @Dan
    , @Wizard of Oz
  150. Buzzwar says:

    Everything You Thought You Knew About Hallelujah Is Wrong
    As a matter of fact ” Mesopotamian kings regularly rescued debtors who were getting crushed by their debts”. In Babylonia, especially during Hammurabi´s reign, debt cancellation was a normal practice. Each end of the year, public gatherings were hold during which debt cancellations were publicly announced and upon the announcement the crowd would shout loudly Hallelujah.
    That´s where Hallelujah stems from. Nothing to do with the bible but with debt cancellation.
    Hallelujah!

    • Replies: @Logan
    , @Buzzwar
  151. jb says:

    This is a very silly article. Whether or not the periodic erasure of debt would be a good thing is an empirical question that could in principle be argued on its own merits. But you won’t find any answers by appealing to the authority of Bronze Age societies that were drastically different from our own in practically every way. What a bizarre argument!

    • Replies: @Josecanuc
  152. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    The first sentence of this article gets the name of the book wrong.

    Why should I read the rest of it?

    • Replies: @Jett Rucker
  153. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    Is profound is an understatement

    Does anyone read this stuff before the rest of us (have to)?

  154. Jett Rucker says: • Website
    @Gregory

    You tell me about your “spiritual realities,” and I’ll tell you about mine.

    Or, is there some universal truth (to which only you are privy) about “spiritual realities?”

    An oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  155. Dan says:
    @jilles dykstra

    19th century Britain? You have missed the point entirely.

  156. Jett Rucker says: • Website
    @Anonymouse

    … or an amelioration of debtors’ prison (for profit), anyway.

    I always see F. D. Roosevelt as a reprise of Solon (to the credit of neither). He (FDR) also repudiated government (and other) debts by declaring the dollar a legal replacement for gold, in 1934. There came (more of) a great evil.

  157. Jett Rucker says: • Website
    @Jett Rucker

    Presto, change-o! The extraneous “from” in the title in the first sentence has been eliminated, so my original comment, to which I am replying, is now rendered inchoate.

    Man, we’ve come a long way from paper!

  158. We are due a jubilee year, but it would only temporarily end the problem of debt slavery. In the early 20th century, pre ww1, in Germany lived an economist who understood the evil nature of fractional banking, and explained an alternate system very well. So well, that when the 3rd Reich came to power, and issued the New Reich’s Mark, Germany adopted his method, and was able to recover in 5 short years, and pay off it’s ww1 debt. I can’t remember his name. If anyone knows of him please let me know with a reply. I listened to a rebroadcast, on You Tube, of a speech the man gave sometime around 1920 wherein he describes everything.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  159. Seraphim says:
    @Jett Rucker

    ‘Spiritual realities’ cannot be but the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. This is the universal truth and the Christians who received it are indeed ‘privy’ of it.

  160. idea says:

    Sorry for the cross post from Hudson’s January2018 article on the same subject; I saw that one first.
    Hudson probably fails to mention that debt jubilees are presently common.
    The most common remembered debt jubilee garnered by banks called TARP washow many trillions of dollars? In one estimate about $50k for every U.S. man, woman, and child.

    Would that the TARP jubilee have been distributed to the individual citizens of the U.S.A. (instead of the TBTF banks) they, the American households, could could/would then have paid off their debts, and paid off the banks, eliminating both personal debt and bank insolvancy problems. Those that didn’t pay off their debts would rightly get what they deserved. Even the ‘banksters’, as some called them, would get there $50k bonus (including small bankers that weren’t included in the TARP).

    But of course, the point wasn’t to eliminate ‘citizen’ debt, but to enslave we ‘rate-payer’ serfs. It is not about not socioeconomic democracy but control of the global demos individually, control each government totally, and control all politicians by the global banking elite.

    The list is long: Chile, Argentina(inflation), Indonesia, Brazil, Bolivia, Russia (before Putin), Central, and West Equitorial Africa (manipulation of the CFAFranc), the Asian tigers (economic/monetary collapse), Poland, Europe (euro price doubling), Cyprus (‘haircut’), Greece (coopting democracy), Spain (inflation), Italy, Ireland, Iceland (at least one country did the right thing), USA(TARP), Venezuela (1000% inflation), Germany(bank accounts insured only to €100k), Sweden, (cash illegal), the world (Bitcoin, etc attackes); I’m missing most of them, but these ‘economic’ problems were all caused by usury against the individual nation-states to enslave the population.

    Nothing new in 6000 years…

    You’re either a debt slave, conscripted, or enslaved. Vivé l’différence.

  161. @the grand wazoo

    Allow me to withold my enthusiasm for your mystery man’s magic solution until I have learned his name and researched his work amd influence a little. In the meantime please note that my enthusiasm to learn more is tempered by a gross error at the heart of your praise for Nazi economic policy. Germany did not pay off its WW1 debts in the 30s.

  162. @jilles dykstra

    If by “estate owners” you mean large landowners you are mistaken in suggesting that they were in a battle with “industrial workers” with whom they, in their capacity as estate owners, hsd very little to do. Are you perhaps referring to some half remembered version of the battles over Peel’s repeal of the Corn Laws?

  163. What a ridiculuous title and facile treatment of debt.

    No sense in distinguishing between the tyranny of fiat money creation at the point of a gun barrel and loaning money on property I developed myself and sold on contract.

    The author’s creation of “classes” consisting only of “creditor” and “debtor” makes it sound like people and firms are not simultaneously debtors and creditors.

    I have a very small amount of bonds in my portfolio. So I guess I should just burn them up. Have my own little Jubilee. Power to the people. Pass the bong.

  164. Tomsen says:

    You are feeling empathy with the creditor, but you forget the banks/creditor dont need it.

    Loss on loans/credits is part of risk assesment of every business, and part of pre-calculated losses.

    Further the author is only talking about debt and losses which ends in bancruptcy for entities and leave population and society emprisoned, debtslaved and contribute to oligarchy.

    Its bad enough that people at all must live with usury/interest, banned by both Christianity and Islam for its inhumanity.

    • Replies: @Logan
    , @Leon Haller
  165. Anonymous[330] • Disclaimer says:

    I am not convinced of the book’s argument at all.

    If borrowing with interest is a bad deal, don’t do it. Maybe there should be more PR about the hazards.

  166. Apostate says:

    Reciting “Our Father” daily in the original Greek – a common practice among Greeks during my youth – it never occurred to me that following passage:
    “και άφες ημίν τα οφειλήματα ημών, ως και ημείς αφίεμεν τοις οφειλέταις ημών.” referred to debt cancelation.
    Now that I look at it under closer scrutiny it makes a lot of sense. Very interesting insight thanks to Mr. Hudson.

  167. Josecanuc says:
    @redmudhooch

    “We are not aware that we live in madness which is but superficially concealed.” Nichola Berdyaev

    “History is the autobiography of a madman.” Arthur Herzen – If history has an inexorable direction, a rational structure, and a purpose, we must adjust ourselves to it or perish. But what is this rational purpose? Herzen cannot discern it; he sees no sense in history, only the story of ‘hereditary, chronic madness.’ “It seems unnecessary to cite examples, there are millions of them. Open any history you like and what is striking…is that instead of real interests everything is governed by imaginary interests, fantasies. Look at the kind of causes in which blood is shed, in which people bear extreme sufferings; look at what is praised and what is blamed, and you will be convinced of a truth which at first seems sad – of a truth which on second thoughts is full of comfort, that all this is the result of a deranged intellect. Wherever you look in the ancient world, you will find madness almost as widespread as it is in our own time. There a father is sacrificing his daughter to obtain a fair wind, and he has found an old idiot to slaughter the poor girl for him, and this lunatic has not been locked up, has not been taken to a madhouse, but has been recognized as the high priest. Here the King of Persia orders the sea to be flogged, and understands the absurdity of his act as little as his enemies the Athenians, who wanted to cure the intellect and the understanding of human beings with hemlock. What frightful fever was it that made the emperors persecute Christianity? And after the Christians were torn and tortured by wild beasts, they themselves, in their turn, began to persecute and torture one another more furiously than they themselves had been persecuted. How many innocent Germans and Frenchmen perished just so, for no reason at all, while their demented judges thought they were merely doing their duty, and slept peacefully not many steps from the place where the heretics were being roasted to death.” Russian Thinkers, Isaiah Berlin

    “We are mad, not only individually, but nationally. We check manslaughter and isolated murders; but what of war and the much vaunted crime of slaughtering whole people.” Seneca

  168. Logan says:
    @jilles dykstra

    I’m unclear what your point is.

    If I borrow $1000 with each dollar at par, but am able to pay it back with dollars worth only 50% of par, then it’s to my benefit and to the detriment of the lender.

    My point had nothing at all to do with what a “proper” rate of interest might be.

    Throughout the middle ages and early modern periods, loaning money to monarchs was an incredibly risky business. Of course, refusing to loan money to absolute monarchs might be pretty dangerous too!

  169. Logan says:
    @Tomsen

    The problem here is that without interest/usury, or whatever you prefer to call it, why in the world would anyone with capital provide it to someone else? How would any new enterprise be “capitalized?”

    Even under strict sharia law, interest is charged via a variety of legalisms and euphemisms.

  170. Logan says:
    @Buzzwar

    Except that the word quite literally means “Praise Yahweh.”

    • Replies: @Buzzwar
  171. Buzzwar says:
    @Buzzwar

    It could mean “praise the lord” but certainly not “praise yahweh”. Why would the Babylonians praise a god who is not theirs. The lord could be the king himself or some local Mesopotamian deity like Inky, Isimud, etc..

  172. Josecanuc says:
    @jb

    “But, after all, what are we going to do? To live is to begin again each day; that is, each day to go on dying. God gave the world over to the disputes of (deranged) men! Poor world, poor men(kind)!”
    Miguel Unamuno, Perplexities and Paradoxes, 1945

  173. @Tomsen

    The ability to loan money is at the heart of most business development. True, some people can work very hard and scrape together enough money to start a business without a bank (or some other type of creditor) loan, but most can’t or won’t.

    An economy without usury would be very, very un-dynamic – rather like the Middle Ages, in fact.

    NO thanks. I prefer living in modern times, at least economically and technologically. The average person is much better off than he was under feudalism.

    Read Mises. And know that Hudson is a Marxist. How have Marxist economies historically performed?

  174. Anon451 says:
    @Anon

    This right here is the math responsible for the “debtors” in “perpetual bondage.” He paid $600 to those god-damned banksters until Lord Obama gave His Jubilee. You see, the usury was real in his mind.

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