Trenchant Lemmings
"Arrive in a clown car, bursting with anger."
YOUR HOST
Robert Weaver
PRESENT LOCATION
Sydney, Australia
OTHER STUFF
Old Weblog
LibraryThing
23hq Photos
ARCHIVES
NAVIGATION
Older Posts | Newer Posts
PREVIOUSLY
I'm Trying to Think of a Fruit That Is Beige On th...
Predictable
Nobody Tells Us What to Say
One Line Review: The Dark Knight
Come Together
How's that working out for you? Being clever?
Spoiler
More Bits
Then I'll Begin...
Jeez, Talk About Yer Generation Gap...
FEED
blogurl/feeds/posts/full
blogurl/atom.xml
ELSEWHERE
3 Quarks Daily
A Tiny Revolution
Alicublog
Bad Astronomy
Blogarach
Boing Boing
Caustic Cover Critic
Chase Me Ladies, I'm in the Cavalry
Counterpunch
The Early Days of a Better Nation
Ecstatic Days
Empire Burlesque
Exiled Online
The Failed Estate
FAIR Blog
Neil Gaiman
M. John Harrison
The Inferior 4 + 1
Inside Story
Jews Sans Frontieres
Laughing Squid
Lenin's Tomb
Limited Inc.
Antony Loewenstein
The Loom
LRB Blog
Nick Mamatas
Mind Hacks
Neurocritic
Neuroskeptic
Overland
Greg Palast
Riddled
Savage Minds
Mark Steel
Strange Maps
Michael Swanwick
Things Magazine
TomDispatch
Ben Tripp
Verso Blog
Peter Watts
Whatever It Is, I'm Against It
ELSEWHERE ARCHIVE
Bats Left, Throws Right
Deltoid
Drawn!
Eyeteeth
Fafblog!
Larvatus Prodeo
Lawrence of Cyberia
China Miéville
News from the Zona
Dennis Perrin
Pink Tentacle
Adam Roberts
Quotidian Hell
Matt Taibbi
Unspeak
 
The weblog description is a misquotation from Steve Aylett's Indicted to a Party: What to Do, Who to Blame.
 
The weblog title links to the "No Country Redirect" version, for whatever that might be worth.
August 21, 2010
Debt

The first in the new batch of lazy "stuff wot I have been reading" posts:

The habit of money at interest also originates in Sumer - it remained unknown, for example, in Egypt. Interest rates, fixed at 20 percent, remained stable for 2,000 years. (This was not a sign of government control of the market: at this stage, institutions like this were what made markets possible.) This, however, led to some serious social problems. In years with bad harvests especially, peasants would start becoming hopelessly indebted to the rich, and would have to surrender their farms and, ultimately, family members, in debt bondage. Gradually, this condition seems to have come to a social crisis - not so much leading to popular uprisings, but to common people abandoning the cities and settled territory entirely and becoming semi-nomadic ‘bandits' and raiders. It soon became traditional for each new ruler to wipe the slate clean, cancel all debts, and declare a general amnesty or ‘freedom', so that all bonded labourers could return to their families. (It is significant here that the first word for ‘freedom' known in any human language, the Sumerian amarga, literally means ‘return to mother'.) Biblical prophets instituted a similar custom, the Jubilee, whereby after seven years all debts were similarly cancelled. This is the direct ancestor of the New Testament notion of ‘redemption'. As economist Michael Hudson has pointed out, it seems one of the misfortunes of world history that the institution of lending money at interest disseminated out of Mesopotamia without, for the most part, being accompanied by its original checks and balances.


Older Posts | Newer Posts