Magazine article In These Times

Building the Case for a Debt Strike

Magazine article In These Times

Building the Case for a Debt Strike

Article excerpt

In Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal {OR Books), New York University Professor Andrew Ross makes the case that we are in the cruel grip of a "creditocracy," where the finance industry commandeers our elected governments and where the citizenry is forced to take out loans to meet basic needs.

Finance, we are encouraged to believe, is too complex for lay people to understand. One of the outcomes of this mystique is that too many of us are trapped in the payback mindset. Though we may be more and more aware of the irresponsibility and fraud of big creditors who won't pay their own debts, and who offload all their risky loans to others, we still accept that it is immoral to fail to repay our debts to them. Of course, there are lawyers, courts and police standing at the ready to enforce this payback morality, and a ruined credit score to live with in the case of a default. But these are instruments of coercion; they serve as backups if the mechanism of consent falters. …

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