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Forgiveness is the First Step
“But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47).

As “Take Back” protests take place around the Western world, and the debt crisis spreads (often hidden below the surface) like mold around a greasy kitchen, it seems to me that the first step towards a real solution is glaringly obvious, though I have not yet heard the idea put forward.

It goes something like this:
Make 2012 the year of the First International “Jubilee”: a world wide forgiveness/erasure of all debts. In other words, hit the reset button.

Imagine erasing all debt, international, national, and personal, and then bringing in radically overhauled and much fairer monetary systems, which aren’t structured – and therefore dependent on – the creation of debt. (There are many creative and talented minds working towards developing this!)

Of course there would be much opposition to this idea, but it would not be from the citizens of most countries, who are currently mired in monetary systems that have long drained their work (energy) into a mathematical black hole of debt in exchange for a constantly devalued savings (value of work completed).

Indeed it would be very revealing about the true nature of our current systems to see where the opposition would emerge from; only the largest leeches would be losing out. The major creditor nations should have little to complain about such a plan; there is no way for the debts they are owed to be repaid anyway; unless perhaps, banks intend to start seizing large portions of land, and placing the residents there into labour camps.

“The blessing of the year of jubilee releases the obligation of punishments. After sinners have been purged, the cause against them ends. All the guilty go free by the mercy of God's kingdom, as set forth in the law of Levi” (From a 13th century Latin hymn).

Though many will scoff at the proposal of a “jubilee”, it is not without historical precedent (albeit on smaller scales); a form of it practiced within both the Judaic and Christian traditions. Maybe we should ask: did our ancestors have an awareness that we have carelessly forgotten?

Though it is not popular today to speak of “religious superstitions”, and certainly not considered serious within academic (let alone economic) circles, our ancestors had wisdom about the “force” or “God” of wealth that we would do well to consider. Our ancestors knew that the generation of profit feeds off of the energy (work) of humanity and is more powerful than any human being. They knew that this resulted in the energy (work) of humanity being enslaved to this force, leaving humans increasingly unable to work for the common good – and the upholding of the law – through the creation of communal value (work completed that serves the communities in which we live), instead becoming trapped in the daily “worshipping” of this “god” of wealth.

Many academics and other “serious” people might not like it being said, but we are in bondage to the god of profit. The worlds’ biggest institutions, the corporations, are legally bound to strive for the generation of profit each quarter, no matter what the long term and “external” costs to the people and planet. As a result, we work to destroy immeasurably valuable facets of our own (and other) communities in a massive transfer of wealth (value of completed work) into the hands of an elite few who live lavishly.

Meanwhile, the average worker sees the value of his or her work completed (savings/wealth) diminish each year due to inflationary pressures caused by the creation of debt. “Just invest” is the advice we receive, convinced to gamble on the market that is rigged in the favour of the wealthy, in turn becoming (minor) shareholders for whom the corporations must strive to earn quarterly profits. Thus we are encouraged to further invest our applied energy (completed work, savings) in the system that drains our energy (work) into the black hole of debt (and consequently devalues our savings; the value of our work) in the first place.

Despite what the “experts” and the expert defenders of the “experts” say, this idea of debt erasure – really, a practice in forgiveness – is not outrageous. In fact, it follows common sense. Human beings should work for the sustainable betterment of their lives and the lives of those around them and those who come after them. They should not be bound by mathematics – a tool that should be used to aide us, not enslave us – to expend their energy on projects, ideas, products and systems that give little to nothing back to the community in terms of real value, are often entirely unsustainable, and are totally unresponsive to any input that doesn’t increase profits.

That said there will be no surprise from his observer when people immediately dismiss and slander the idea of forgiving/erasing all debt, no doubt with much scoffing and sneering. After all most of us are no longer working for the interests of humanity; our thoughts are not our own; our vision is no longer clear; we are gripped firmly in the talons of Mammon the god of greed, the god of profit who consumes our energy and determines our values. From such a position all humane, common sense perspectives appear to be “insane”, “uneducated”, “impractical”, “imprudent”, “disadvantageous”, “communism,” “radicalism”, and so on and so on.

Despite these dismissals, the mold is taking root, and the black hole is pulling with enormous force, so we can either deny and scoff, scoff and deny, inevitably falling into the abyss, or else we can collectively break free, taking hold of our vision for the future by letting go of the tyrannical bonds of an illusory mathematical necessity, forgiving each other, forgiving ourselves, and forgiving those who are yet to come.

Sincerely Simha Ser Khan

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