Harvesting other people’s debts should not be a business model

Crises tend to reveal unacknowledged truths. In 2008, we learned that the majority of the financial wizards we had been taught to treat with awe for the previous two decades were, in fact, little more than scam artists — and rather clumsy ones, at that.

The coronavirus, and resulting lockdowns, is teaching us an even more startling lesson: that a very large portion of what we call “the economy” is little more than just another scam.

So writes David Graeber, and he suggests:

The governing principle of our current system seems to be exactly backward: Those with the power to do the most harm are rewarded most, while those who do the most good are rewarded least (“virtue should be its own reward” as the ancient Stoics used to put it).

I think there is little to disagree with there.

It all suggests that we need, after Coronavirus, to focus on what is really necessary in life.

Unfortunately what certainly isn’t is these disastrous UK loans that have been offered to companies in order to survive. They are expected to take on loans and repay capital and interest over the coming period when those countries that have arranged grants will by definition, have an advantage – in what Conservatives would call ‘batting for Britain’ – when of course the British government have effectively stymied most companies’ effectiveness by offering a solution that simply burdens them with debt. Johnson’s suggestion of f*** business could never be more obvious.

In another article David Graeber suggests:

Maybe this pandemic will help us see more clearly that what we call “finance” was always just other people’s debts, and these debts are intentionally produced by collusion between financial corporations and government, between ostensibly public and private institutions that are in reality increasingly difficult to tell apart.

Our supposedly prosperous ‘finance industry’ has secured another coup in the current pandemic. Once again, through no skills of its own it is just harvesting other people’s debts.

God forbid it should actually be your own.