Debt Is Commonly Judged As A Personal Failure…Unless You Owe Millions, Of Course

  • With nearly 3 out of 4 households carrying some kind of debt, debtors’ unions are re-framing it as a shared problem and source of collective power.
  • In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, 1 in 4 adults are now struggling to pay household bills and are piling on more debt.
  • ​“If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” -Industrialist J. Paul Getty

In These Times Editors write:

debt•ors’ un•ion

noun

1. A group of people fighting for the renegotiation and cancellation of debts, and for universal public goods.

So, like a labor union for debtors?

That’s the idea. In 2019, more than three quarters of U.S. households were holding some type of debt. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, 1 in 4 adults are now struggling to pay household bills. But debt in U.S. culture is typically treated as an individual liability or a personal failure. The idea of a debtors’ union turns that experience on its head — reframing indebtedness as a shared problem and a source of collective power.

Think of a saying attributed to 20th-century industrialist J. Paul Getty: ​“If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” 

Sure. But I haven’t found lenders to be all that open to new perspectives on debt.

Toppling the financial architecture of late capitalism is indeed a tall order. The most prominent organization of its kind, the Debt Collective, organizes on several fronts…”

 See full story here.



Categories: Business, Labor, Politics

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