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'Don’t Owe. Won’t Pay.' Everything You’ve Been Told About Debt Is Wrong


'Don’t Owe. Won’t Pay.' Everything You’ve Been Told About Debt Is Wrong

Charles Eisenstein


The term that comes to mind is from the medieval ages. Peasant Revolt! Okay maybe we aren’t quite peasants or serfs (despite certain unfortunate similarities) but you know what I mean. The people or rather the population (almost the populi polis) say NO.

If you ask them… but nobody does ask them … because they’d say no.

Well since nobody asked… it seems that they are saying NO anyway.

Does what the people actually want still matter? I mean seriously… do you think people in Greece have even heard of democracy? Seems like the Eurozone doesn’t think so.

Maybe democracy … real democracy where the people actually have a say will start in Greece…

It wouldn’t be the first time.


Representative government is a scam.

Direct democracy


Who’s debt will be canceled? I think we are seeing real cracks in the global economy-the issues of 2008 never really addressed-and now we will see all kinds of fixes for a broken economic system. Its incredible to watch the Greece economic crisis unfold,the whole concern over debt,and no concern for how this debt is affecting the people. Prof.Richard Wolff discusses this in a real way-we need to understand that this current economic system what ever you call it is not working. And what should be the focus of our economy-making money? Or something more to do with personal well being-what do we value? ----The media will tell people in the US that the Greek crisis will have no effect on the US economy-so no need to pay attention to whats going on over there. Yet it is the same formula used by banks here to keep people in perpetual debt


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“Homeowners, other borrowers, and taxpayers were left with collapsed asset values”

Brace yourself for a heresy here. A lot of those collapsed assets were the result of a real estate bubble in which homeowners were willing, indeed gleeful participants. Buy a house at or beyond the limits of your ability, sell a few years later for a huge profit. Forget predatory loans. They were small change compared to the affluent homeowners who smelled huge, quick profits.

The housing market should have collapsed to the point where you could buy a home on a couple years’ income. The Rent is Too Damn High? Real Estate values are still too damn high. High home prices are one of the principal drivers of homelessness.


I once heard that if all of the cash and assets here in America were divided equally among the people, that the very same ubber wealthy Billionaires would have it all back in their possession within 5 to 10 years-
Not sure if this is true, or if it could ever come about but I would sure like to see A debt Jubilee for all of us slaves-
Oh, and one excellent article by Charles Eisenstein, even though I didn’t hear A word about the historical debt jubilees of the past-


i’ve been meaning to ask - why do you capitalize the word “a”?


Eisenstein is brilliant. i’ve been urging a debt strike since the 1990s, and things are far worse now. As has been pointed out: Debts that cannot be repaid, will not be repaid. Eventually the house of cards collapses, no matter how many computer programs work ever so hard to keep the metastasizing system “balanced.” And as i’ve repeated here, these massive debts are purposefully engineered, they are by no means “natural.”

i have a copy of Sacred Economics, i should read it!


That’s funny, I was asked that one other time by someone on this site-And by no one else in life until now-
I really don’t know, I have been doing it all my life and really thought it proper, Propercasing, and I believe I was taught this in early grammer school-now it is just habit- For some reason it seems like the right thing to do and old habits die hard- I never had A school teacher tell me it was wrong- Kinda strange I guess…
One thing about it though, would be that I could be exposed fairly easily for multiple Avatar identities- SR would have me on her “List” right from the get go:-)


Decades ago, creditors were cautious in extending debt because they held that debt, but more recently, the practice of selling off debt removed that risk. As is well known, securitizing packages of debt led directly to the 2008 crisis. On an individual level, the selling off of medical and consumer debt to collection agencies followed the same pattern. If people who loaned money were prevented by law from treating debts as commodities, the economy would slow but debtors would not be so easily victimized. Such a change need not be enacted all at once, in order to prevent too much of a shock to the markets. It could begin with some decent regulation of the above practices, perhaps starting with medical debts.i

Similarly, many decades ago personal bankruptcy was fairly easy and since creditors knew that the law would provide an escape for those unable to repay the money, they were more cautious with lending. The bankruptcy “reforms” pushed by such politicians and Joe Biden made it far harder for people to free themselves through bankruptcy. And the student loan “reforms” enacted under Obama made it impossible for debtors to ever escape the burden of the newly federalized student loans.

Legislation can ameliorate the burden of debt weighing down millions of Americans. Sanders is beginning to touch on this solution, but his logic is continually drowned out by the noise over Clinton’s emails and Trump’s ethnic cleansing plans.


Really a great summation by Charles Eisenstein along with appropriate commentary; the real strength of this site. Thanks to all. We are faced with a nearly identical problem that FDR faced.


@JoeRyan - while I don’t know enough economics to articulate the details, I believe I understand that there are systemic reasons why a capitalist economy inevitably leads to falling rates of profit, financialization and speculation. So while the measures you describe sound constructive, I believe that there are deeper reasons why they can’t be put in place without systemic change.

If anyone can help me with this, please do!