Monday, July 23, 2007

Are we headed for debt slavery?

The New Road to Serfdom
An illustrated guide to the coming real estate collapse

By Michael Hudson
(Just as, in Voltaire’s phrase, the rich require an abundant supply of the poor, so too does the rentier class require an abundant supply of debtors.)


Never before have so many Americans gone so deeply into debt so willingly. Housing prices have swollen to the point that we've taken to calling a mortgage–by far the largest debt most of us will ever incur–an "investment." Sure, the thinking goes, $100,000 borrowed today will cost more than $200,000 to pay back over the next thirty years, but land, which they are not making any more of, will appreciate even faster. In the odd logic of the real estate bubble, debt has come to equal wealth.


And not only wealth but freedom–an even stranger paradox. After all, debt throughout most of history has been little more than a slight variation on slavery. Debtors were medieval peons or Indians bonded to Spanish plantations or the sharecropping children of slaves in the postbellum South. Few Americans today would volunteer for such an arrangement, and therefore would-be lords and barons have been forced to develop more sophisticated enticements.
Read the entire article here: New Road To Serfdom



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