A Jubilee Not to Celebrate: Debt Forgiveness

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Stiffing creditors violates property rights, spikes interest rates, and destabilizes markets.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE W ith U.S. debt at record levels, calls are being heard for a debt jubilee, in which all or part of the country’s mountain of debt would be written off, to the great relief of debtors and the despair and probable bankruptcy of creditors. Not all bad ideas are new, however. Debt jubilees have been around for a long, long time, since, in all probability, Bronze Age Sumer, a civilization located in the south of modern-day Iraq, in around 2300 b.c. Sumerian lending was carried out primarily by temples, which were not only wealthy but were able to add some spiritual menace


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