Michael Hudson has given us another ground-breaking book: …And Forgive Them Their Debts, exploring debt forgiveness and the dubious morality of making unpayable loans in ancient times. It also gives us insight into the relationship between the ruling class and its masses.
We must admit that the members of the Preservation Society have not yet read Hudson’s book. His is an Earth-shattering revelation, and most of Us have not been interested in reading it at the moment, for it calls Our ruling class racket into question.
Professor Hudson shows how ancient Mesopotamian sovereigns periodically forgave debt, known as the Jubilee, in an attempt to restore society to a healthy productive state, and to prevent the ruling class tendency of dragging society into the decay of rampant serfdom and slavery. One does not find such concerns today among the ruling class. But the masters and their masses of remote ancient times had a common interest in the integrity of their society (such as it existed for the masses). What could be more important?
The ancient monarch could do this because his government was the largest creditor in society. He did not “need” the money. He was king no matter what, and so could afford to focus on the stability of society, whereas the private creditor made his fortune on his debtor’s back. Over time, however, Our ruling class ancestors overcame these preventative measures in Greece and Rome. In those societies the private creditors were the ruling class. This allowed the ruling class to be truer to itself without the for concerns of social harmony and unity.
Then technology enabled the further separation between the ruling class and masses. We can communicate anywhere instantly. Distances have been drastically reduce, giving Us more options. What connects the ruling class to its supposed society today? Boundaries? Nonsense. Today’s social masters are global, playing countries off each in a race to the bottom. We plunder Our “own” countries because We are not confined to them.
Hudson has shown the original holistic view of debt. It was not “right” to burden the population with debts that couldn’t be paid because it would harm the economy at large, which justified amnesty. Our modern rulers refuse to unburden the debtor on a periodic basis because of the necessity to keep profits up. Credit and Debt were not divided but understood as part of cycle.
Today We divide credit and debt, removing liability from the creditor and putting it on solely on the debtor. We’ve successfully detached debt and debtor from the greater context. Consequently, individuals are bred to wag a finger at their supposedly spendthrift neighbors while supporting the claims of the usually well-off creditor. Where is the latter’s responsibility, especially since they have the power, not the debtor, to originate loans? Note the general spirit of “undeservingness”, the assumptions of a guilt society that facilitates these pro-ruling class policies.
Thus, the “moral hazard” was invented and became operative. The contemporary individuals think debtors are at fault for being profligate in their credit spending, even though the economy’s logic makes it necessary in taking such risks. Society is taught that forgiving debt encourages more irresponsibility and eventually leads to chaos, rather than restoring the productive capacity. The complete evisceration of common interests between master and servant exacerbates the creditors abuse and theft.
Michael Hudson writes:
To avoid this, the ruler simply cancelled the debts (most of which were owed ultimately to the palace and its collectors). . . . All this was spelled out in the Clean Slate proclamations by rulers of Hammurabi’s dynasty in Babylonia (2000-1600 BC), and neighboring Near Eastern realms. They recognized that there was a cycle of buildup of debt, reaching an unpayably high overhead, followed by a cancellation to restore the status quo ante in balance.
These ancient leaders were concerned with the stability and balance of their societies. Today, the masses are supposed to think that their leaders are just as sincere in their squabbles over immigration. Each believes their leaders want to do the right thing for their society. But as disunity plagues the lower orders a different kind of unity is hidden behind the political entertainment among the leadership. Conservative leadership as represented by Trump is not really interested in stopping illegal immigrants any more than the Liberal leadership is concerned for the economic benefits they supposedly bring, or the justice of their cause. It does not matter what these minions personally believe but how they serve the ruling class and its agenda.
Little remarked upon in Trump’s celebrated tiff with CNN’s Jim Acosta, is his remark on the ruling class’s unified position on illegal immigration. At the :37 mark: “I want the people [migrants] to come in, and we need the people. . . You know why we need the people: because we have hundreds of companies moving in — we need the people.” This is the opponent of “illegal immigration”. Considering that real unemployment is over 20% and that this recovery is largely a sham as most informed individuals know, what then is the unified agenda of Liberals and Conservatives in supplying companies with cheap vulnerable labor instead of more expensive but unemployed American labor?
The unity of ruling class ranks is not reflected among the lower orders. We ensure that solidarity and such things are kept at a minimum. If the masses had unity and solidarity among themselves as a whole and not just as factions, there would be no Minority capable of dominating them for its own ends. It is easy as prioritizing common interests and a little empathy, easy as a handshake and a smile between the same being. Yet no greater obstacle stands in the way of the masses’ paradise, a/k/a balanced society, because that basic, fundamental relationship has been despoiled and mutilated by the imperatives devoted to the Supreme Executive. For His sake, that handshake and smile has been contorted into an uneasy truce between rivals, insurance in an uncertain world, the sleazy gimmicks of a salesman.
The lower order individual might ask themselves: if private creditors have been so troublesome throughout history, why tolerate them? The masses needs to learn to cut through their learned dislike and distrust of their fellow human beings, and recognize their common interests against the ruling class. They should understand the hostile generalization of groups is de facto a pro-ruling class stance. Only unity can save them and bring them paradise. Isn’t that worth it?