Saturday, 29 September 2012

Global Jubilee

 A Plea for Sanity

Various cultures, ancient and not so ancient, would periodically hold celebrations with the themes of equalization, forgiveness, purification and renewal in the form of debt cancellation, criminal pardons, freedom for slaves, the redistribution of wealth, and collective house cleaning.
The idea of Jubilee is most commonly associated with the ancient Hebrew tradition that took place on a cyclical basis every 50 years. At such a time all debts were cancelled, slaves were freed and those who had given up their lands as payment to creditors had the land returned to them. Jubilee has come to connote freedom, economic relief, restoration and a fresh start.
Many economists are coming to the conclusion that the only way out of our debt morass is a Global Jubilee that calls for widespread debt cancellation. Once you understand the insidious foundations of our collective debt dilemma and its implications for humankind then a Global Jubilee becomes a perfectly just solution, and an indispensable first step toward addressing so many of our other collective problems.
New York City’s Hedge Fund Manager makes the following observations.
    Interestingly this economic problem is not new. In fact, it is ancient. The Bible’s book of Leviticus provides that every 50 years all mortgage debt is to be forgiven. This occurrence was called the Jubilee Year. This may seem like a shocking imposition on creditors and a free ride for debtors. Yet, consider the behavioral feedback loops. In the 10th year after the last Jubilee, lenders might lend freely for a 20-year term.
    By the 45th year it seems likely that long-term credit would have dried up because the lenders were as aware of the coming Jubilee as the debtors. This was a self-regulating system that deleveraged itself before credit bubbles grew out of control and threatened a widespread collapse. It was an orderly deleveraging that seems enlightened in comparison with the disorderly and draconian deleveraging our economy is experiencing today.
    It seems unlikely that creditors will voluntarily do the right thing and provide needed debt relief. Yet, by insisting on repayment in full, creditors will find that they increasingly get nothing as the liquidity trap and deleveraging metastasize into a full-fledged general debt repudiation and default. — James Rickards Hedge Fund manager for NYC
Aside from the self-correcting behavioral feedback loops that Rickards mentions there’s an enormous social justice issue at hand when you discover the utterly fraudulent and parasitic nature of our monetary-banking system..
The Potlatch
Native American Cultures of the Pacific Northwest would hold periodic wealth redistribution ceremonies known as the Potlatch. A word meaning “to give away” or “a gift”. The word potluck is derived from Potlatch. The wealthier one was then the more you were expected to give away. Prestige and honor were earned in proportion to how much one gave away. So appalling was this custom to the Canadian and U.S. Governments that they made the practice illegal.
    [Excerpt from Wikipedia] Potlatching was made illegal in Canada in 1884 in an amendment to the Indian Act and the United States in the late 19th century, largely at the urging of missionaries and government agents who considered it “a worse than useless custom” that was seen as wasteful, unproductive, and contrary to civilized values. The potlatch was seen as a key target in assimilation policies and agendas. Missionary William Duncan wrote in 1875 that the potlatch was “by far the most formidable of all obstacles in the way of Indians becoming Christians, or even civilized.”
I ask who are the savages?
The New Fire
Depiction of the New Fire Ceremony from The Codex Borbonicus
The Hebrew Jubilee tradition is uncannily close to the Mesoamerican New Fire Ceremony that took place every 52 years. At the end of every 52 year cycle a 13 day ceremony was enacted and it too involved debt cancellation as well as renewal and purification rituals involving place and person. The ritual observance of the New Fire Ceremony was extinguished by the invading Spanish mission of cultural annihilation.
The closing of a 52 year cycle was ritualized by dousing all ceremonial and household fires. The fires were then rekindled to signal the start of a new cycle.  Key buildings were sometimes torn down and rebuilt and homes were repainted and/or renovated. Pottery works of ceremonial, and household value were shattered and new ones made.
December 21st 2012 is first and foremost about cyclical renewal and the extension of renewal into the human domain.