And boy does it look like a stinker.
David is best known for his idea of debt cancellation. Personal debt cancellation used to be a common policy in ancient civilisations; every seven years, all debt was cancelled. The Bible refers to “debt jubilees”, where everyone’s debt would be reset to zero. It’s especially nice that it was called a “jubilee”, creating an even more euphoric sense of carnival. In Islam, too, usury, credit at extortionate rates – like Wonga or whatever offer – is forbidden. So this bizarre-sounding notion has strong historic precedent. It is a mark of how far into materialism we have descended that it seems unfeasible in our world.
David explained that debt repayment has a powerful moral charge in our culture, that people feel ashamed about debt and guilty about non-payment. Seventy-five per cent of Americans are in debt, 40% owing more than $50,000, while an estimated nine million British people are in “serious debt”. What David Graeber, the anarchist, is suggesting is that all personal debt, debt for normal people, is cancelled. Think about it. That means you. All your debt cancelled.
Yes, OK, let’s think about it. No one in any society would ever be able to borrow again. that’s going to be, umm, interesting, isn’t it?