“Earth-shattering” book argues that ancients routinely did what our government should do: give debtors a clean slate

and Forgive Them Their Debts

Photo courtesy Michael Hudson

 

Michael Hudson, one of the few economists who accurately predicted the Great Recession, has written a book — …and Forgive Them Their Debts — that caused John Siman to remark in Naked Capitalism: “To grasp his central argument is so alien to our modern way of thinking … that Hudson quite matter-of-factly agreed with me that the book is … ‘earth-shattering’ in both intent and effect.” Hudson’s central argument is that, again and again, century after century, forgiveness of debts had been a necessary cornerstone of successful civilizations.

This fact could not have been known until now, until twentieth century scholars of ancient Mesopotamia completed their archaeological and philological analyses … and Michael Hudson digested the scholarship to conclude that, “The Bible is preoccupied with debt, not sin.” Hudson explains in a recent interview with Dr Simon Radford:

“The problem today is that the debts are not owed to the Nazis [as was the case in 1947/48]: they are owed to the banks, and the richest layer of the population.” But history, mathematics, and economic logic all point in the same direction: it is only a clean slate that can restore economic vitality.

In light of Hudson's plea to heed the lessons of the ancients, the case for public banks becomes even more clear: when credit is issued by government, not by private interests, subsequent debt can and should be easily forgiven when needed so that all may benefit.

Hudson's interview article continued:

Many people today “don’t understand the linguistics of debt and sin”, [Hudson] says. “Again and again, Jesus denounces the creditors: they were the sinners, not the debtors. That’s the most important message that he had.”

The book was selected for the Best Books of 2018: Economics by the Financial Times.

[Read the full Naked Capitalism article]

[Read the full interview with Dr. Simon Radford]

[Watch related video: On Contact with Chris Hedges]

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