Class Warfare Blog

April 2, 2019

And Forgive Us Our Debts

Michael Hudson is writing a series of books on the topic of debt forgiveness as a necessary component for capitalism to work. This topic evoked in me a memory of a conversation I had with my mother when I was a lad. She commented in church that the original version of the Lord’s Prayer included the phrase “… and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” but this was not approved of by the wealthy so it was transformed into “… and forgive us our trespasses as we also have forgiven our trespassers.” (By sixteenth century Anglicans?) There are a number of variations of these “translations,” but whatever was come up with (trespasses, sins, etc.), it was to get debt forgiveness (part of Mosaic law) out of that prayer.

A bit of this history is to be had at Naked Capitalism in the form of:

The Delphic Oracle Was Their Davos: A Four-Part Interview With Michael Hudson About His Forthcoming Book The Collapse of Antiquity (Part 1)

Highly recommended.

Some Enticing Teasers:
• “Rome was turned into an oligarchy, an autocracy of the senatorial families. Their “liberty” was an early example of Orwellian Doublethink. It was to destroy everybody else’s liberty so they could grab whatever they could, enslave the debtors and create the polarized society that Rome became.”
• “That’s why you don’t have any history of economic thought taught anymore in the United States. Because then you’d see that Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the “Ricardian socialists” and indeed most of the 19th century had a completely opposite idea of what constituted a free market … (o)pposite from the neoliberal idea that freedom means freedom for the wealthy to indebt and destroy the economy. Opposite from the liberty of Brutus to overthrow the Roman kings and establish an autocratic oligarchy.”

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33 Comments »

  1. I think debt forgiveness, the year of release or another term would absolutely rock the economy and people’s well being, stress, and overall feelin good my friend. I don’t carry any debt, but it would be good for those that do, which would mean I get to hang with happier people. Greed will always trump it though.

    Liked by 4 people

    Comment by jim- — April 2, 2019 @ 7:48 am | Reply

    • Part of the solution is to educate people as to the existence of this issues. This is why conservatives have blocked labor history, and as mentioned in the article economic history, from being taught, because students might get the wrong impression, don’t you know.

      On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 7:48 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 2, 2019 @ 7:54 am | Reply

      • Sure. These ideas including socialist underpinnings of the Bible and the those debt forgiveness ideas were for an older time where they had to do such crazy things. Never work today. Nope, don’t even think about it! Better yet, let’s not teach such rebellious ideas. This is equivalent to the slave Bible. Just share the right parts and keep our control over the coffers

        Like

        Comment by jim- — April 2, 2019 @ 8:00 am | Reply

        • We are so often in agreement it seems one of us is superfluous … probably me. :o)

          On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — April 2, 2019 @ 8:04 am | Reply

          • I think Steve that these are just conclusions one comes to if he can manage to think without someone breathing down their neck telling them what it all means. It’s a unique position to be able to see well enough to recognize the flaws or features of all sides.

            Like

            Comment by jim- — April 2, 2019 @ 8:10 am | Reply

      • How have conservatives managed to block economic history from being taught when the NEA is a staunchly liberal/progressive organization?

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        Comment by John Branyan — April 2, 2019 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

        • You believe that the NEA has any affect upon what is taught in classrooms? It is not even a union.

          Curricula are generally held by state legislatures and their committees. This is why you see creationist bills go through state legislatures all of the time. They are trying to wriggle their way into the state curricular frameworks.

          On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 8:52 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — April 2, 2019 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

          • You believe conservatives have any affect upon what is taught in the classrooms? They aren’t even a union.

            Last I checked, creationism isn’t taught in public schools. Separation of church and state.

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            Comment by John Branyan — April 2, 2019 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

            • Uh, yes … but economic history and union history aren’t exactly religious topics.

              On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 10:30 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by Steve Ruis — April 4, 2019 @ 9:32 am | Reply

              • So how exactly are the conservatives shutting down education?

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                Comment by John Branyan — April 4, 2019 @ 9:34 am | Reply

                • Every time there is an effort to include labor history in, say, high school American History courses, there is an organize counter effort, often involving the Better Business Bureaus, the Chambers of Commerce, and all of the anti-union forces in a lobbying effort to make sure that does not happen. A political question, dealt with politically.

                  On Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 9:34 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Liked by 1 person

                  Comment by Steve Ruis — April 4, 2019 @ 9:43 am | Reply

                  • Really?
                    That’s terrible! Please tell me where you learned this so I can educate myself.

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                    Comment by John Branyan — April 4, 2019 @ 9:50 am | Reply

                    • I spent 20 years in the union movement in California. rather than doing likewise, I suggest you start with a simple Internet search. There is loads written about union history and the politics of getting it into our schools. Let me know if you have any trouble.

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 4, 2019 @ 12:08 pm

                    • The old reliable “Do Your Own Research To Prove I’m Right”. One of my favorite debate tactics.

                      It’s liberals who are refusing to teach history and economics in school. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you search the internet. There is loads written about it.

                      Like

                      Comment by John Branyan — April 4, 2019 @ 12:18 pm

                    • Debate? What debate. I, as opposed to you, was sincere in offering to help you find the information you requested. Having been in education for 60+ years I have also learned to not have people trap me into doing their work for them. Your question, your effort.

                      On Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 12:18 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 4, 2019 @ 12:39 pm

                    • I did an exhaustive internet search and found nothing to substantiate your claim that conservatives are blocking anything being taught in schools.

                      Please point me in the right direction. Educate me!

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                      Comment by John Branyan — April 4, 2019 @ 12:57 pm

                    • State Boards of Education approve curricula either separately or through the adoption of textbooks. Texas is a good state to start, maybe Kansas, too.

                      Here is a book on the subject:

                      Organizing the CurriculumPerspectives on Teaching the US Labor Movement Series:

                      – Transgressions: Cultural Studies and Education , Volume: 41

                      Editors: Rob Linné , Leigh Benin and Adrienne Sosin Contemporary American youth live in a culture that ignores or denigrates labor unions. Mainstream media cover labor issues only sparingly and unions no longer play much of a role in popular culture texts, films, or images. In our schools labor has been limited to a footnote in textbooks instead of being treated seriously as the most effective force for championing the rights of working people—the vast majority of the citizenry. Teachers have been convinced that to bring up class or to teach about the labor movement may be construed as “taking sides,” while the all-pervasive presence of corporate America in our schools is rarely questioned. So for all the talk of schools preparing young people for the work world, we are failing to teach them even the basics of how that world is structured or how they can be empowered through collective action. Organizing the Curriculum: Perspectives on Teaching the US Labor Movement is the first book-length treatment of this blind spot in contemporary curriculum and pedagogy. Contributors to this collection—unionists, activists, teachers, teacher educators, and academics—interrogate the ways in which knowledge is constructed in school discourses, conceptualize pedagogical strategies and curricula that open discussions around class analysis and political economy via studies of the labor movement, and put forward an activist vision of education that truly engages young people beyond the classroom walls.See Less *Publication Date:* 11 February 2019*ISBN:* 978-90-8790-720-4*DOI:* https://doi.org/10.1163/9789087907204 and a couple of websites: https://www.lawcha.org/labor-history-for-the-classroom-and-public/ https://www.lawcha.org/labor-history-for-the-classroom-and-public/ These were found through a Google search (teaching labor history in schools). Enjoy!

                      On Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 12:57 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 5, 2019 @ 10:38 am

                    • Thank you. But I found those website when I conducted my own internet search. As I said, I didn’t read anything that substantiates the claim that conservatives are actively blocking labor education. The references you provided seem to agree that labor history is not given a high enough priority in public schools. That is a matter of opinion (to which you are certainly entitled).

                      Substantiating the claim that conservatives are blocking the teaching of labor history requires references to conservative legislation that mandates censorship of labor related topics in school curriculum.

                      Like

                      Comment by John Branyan — April 5, 2019 @ 11:19 am

                    • So, just blocking legislation or adoption of curricula doesn’t qualify?

                      On Fri, Apr 5, 2019 at 11:19 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 5, 2019 @ 11:46 am

                    • It qualifies. Show me where it has happened.

                      Like

                      Comment by John Branyan — April 5, 2019 @ 11:56 am

                    • California for one. And there is nothing to “show” unless you want to pour through the minutes of the state Board of Education for the past forty years.

                      On Fri, Apr 5, 2019 at 11:56 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 5, 2019 @ 12:57 pm

                    • Okay, how about this: http://www.shankerinstitute.org/sites/shanker/files/american-labor.pdf

                      On Fri, Apr 5, 2019 at 11:19 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 5, 2019 @ 12:01 pm

                    • Did you read this? Where is the reference to conservative legislation blocking labor related curriculum?

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                      Comment by John Branyan — April 5, 2019 @ 12:13 pm

                    • Where did you get the idea of conservative legislation. I pointed out that conservatives have blocked the inclusion of labor history in high school curricula. You don’t need legislation to do that, just “nay” votes. Consider the history of teach creationism in schools. There has been little legislation (although a great deal of effort) but many more decisions made by local school boards. Decisions don’t require legislation.

                      On Fri, Apr 5, 2019 at 12:13 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 5, 2019 @ 12:55 pm

                    • I was just trying to find out if your article was emotional opinion or based on research. You have helped me answer that question.

                      Like

                      Comment by John Branyan — April 5, 2019 @ 1:20 pm

    • Greed will always trump it though. — Great play on words!! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Nan — April 2, 2019 @ 11:14 am | Reply

    • A total (or near total) debt forgiveness would definitely rock the economy, but not in a good way – if debt forgiveness becomes a thing, nobody will lending any money for a mortgage, student loan, or a car loan, except at crazy high interest rates and with draconian terms. And that’s going be after the entire banking and financial services industries go bankrupt (since they make money only when loans get paid back), and this will cause a depression orders of magnitude bigger than the 2008 recession, when only about 10% mortgages were in default.
      And this is probably going to push everyone’s stress levels right back up. 🙂
      So if we’re going to follow a quote on the debt as a guide, I think it should be not the biblical debt forgiveness quote, but “neither a lender nor a borrower be”.

      Like

      Comment by List of X — April 2, 2019 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

      • That’s not the spirit of the law. I agree with you but that doesn’t make it right. I know, I know, I’m a dreamer. But the current state of massive debt life ain’t that much fun either.

        Like

        Comment by jim- — April 2, 2019 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

        • Oh yeah, massive debt is no fun – and I say it as someone who barely paid off 5% of his mortgage principal. 🙂
          But the solution is to wean ourselves of debt slowly, not all at once – just like we slowly brake when we realize we’re driving too fast, and not slamming the brake pedal.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by List of X — April 2, 2019 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

          • I’ve stayed out of debt my entire adult life. I won’t play that slave game. It has allowed me to live a life of exploration and freedom to be who I choose.
            I disagree with slowly. Now is even a little too late. Like the old Chinese proverb—The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago…the next best time is yesterday. I really see no use for easing compounding interest when drastic measures are needed to fix big problems. There more at stake than the economy. 🌎 🌍 Our comfort is not that important

            Like

            Comment by jim- — April 2, 2019 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

            • Slowly was an option quite some time ago. We are now in a situation like we are with Climate Change. If we had opted for slow change 20 years ago, we might be good, but because we have stalled and obfuscated, “slowly” is not an option any more.

              On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 11:20 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Liked by 2 people

              Comment by Steve Ruis — April 4, 2019 @ 9:40 am | Reply

      • Your thinking is too simplistic. But do realize that we forgive debts to other countries, so we should be able to forgive some to our own people. Commercial debts weren’t subject to debt jubilees as I understand them, just personal ones. And yes, the systems would have to change. One such change is to make banks public and not private. In this manner debt forgiveness doesn’t automatically make bank stockholders howl. The systems would need to adjust to anything we do we apparently were able to drum up two trillion dollars to bail out financial institutions recently, so I don’t see how it would be impossible to pay off all student debt, for example. Then we either make student loads public and not private or we set new rules. This is complicated but not all that hard.

        This was just the first part of a four part series. Once they have posted the fourth part, I will post links to all of the parts. Importantly there are consequences for letting debt pile up. Apparently debt always grows faster than the economic, which leads to failed societies if something is not done.

        On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 10:41 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Steve Ruis — April 4, 2019 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  2. Greed is not good, no matter what the holly wood films tell you. Greed will win out for a longer time yet as Mr. President told us above, we are not taught about labor history nor even economic history. Greed will be the end of ‘Merikkka in my opinion. I honestly am 100,000,000,000% certain that the very richest would not be happy even if they owned the entire galaxy we inhabit. If they owned the entire universe, I am sure they’d still want more. Way beyond my understanding. Maybe high levels of greed is a type of mental health issue. I bet the greedy rats who run big pharma could develope a pill for that…..LOL (not)

    Like

    Comment by Walter Kronkat — April 2, 2019 @ 5:34 pm | Reply


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