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The Financial War Against Iceland: Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare
04-05-2009, 03:35 PM,
#1
The Financial War Against Iceland: Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare
The Financial War Against Iceland: Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare

by Prof Michael Hudson

Global Research, April 5, 2009

Iceland is under attack – not militarily but financially. It owes more than it can pay. This threatens debtors with forfeiture of what remains of their homes and other assets. The government is being told to sell off the nation’s public domain, its natural resources and public enterprises to pay the financial gambling debts run up irresponsibly by a new banking class. This class is seeking to increase its wealth and power despite the fact that its debt-leveraging strategy already has plunged the economy into bankruptcy. On top of this, creditors are seeking to enact permanent taxes and sell off public assets to pay for bailouts to themselves.

Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare. Faced with loss of their property and means of self-support, many citizens will get sick, lead lives of increasing desperation and die early if they do not repudiate most of the fraudulently offered loans of the past five years. And defending its civil society will not be as easy as it is in a war where the citizenry stands together in coping with a visible aggressor. Iceland is confronted by more powerful nations, headed by the United States and Britain. They are unleashing their propagandists and mobilizing the IMF and World Bank to demand that Iceland not defend itself by wiping out its bad debts. Yet these creditor nations so far have taken no responsibility for the current credit mess. And indeed, the United States and Britain are net debtors on balance. But when it comes to their stance vis-à-vis Iceland, they are demanding that it impoverish its citizens by paying debts in ways that these nations themselves would never follow. They know that it lacks the money to pay, but they are quite willing to take payment in the form of foreclosure on the nation’s natural resources, land and housing, and a mortgage on the next few centuries of its future.

If this sounds like the spoils of war, it is – and always has been. Debt bondage is the name of this game. And the major weapon in this conflict of interest is how people perceive it. Debtors must be convinced to pay voluntarily, to put creditor interests above of the economy’s prosperity as a whole, and even to put foreign demands above their own national interest. This is not a policy that my country, the United States, follows. But popular discussion in Iceland to date has been one-sided in defense of creditor interests, not that of its own domestic debtors.

Ultimately, Iceland’s adversary is not a nation or even a class, but impersonal financial dynamics working globally and domestically. To cope with its current debt pressure, Iceland must recognize how uniquely destructive an economic regime its bankers have created, through self-serving legislation and outright fraud. With eager foreign complicity, its banks have managed to create enough foreign debt to cause chronic currency depreciation and hence domestic price inflation for many decades to come.

To put Iceland’s financial dilemma in perspective, examine how other countries have dealt with huge debt obligations. Historically, the path of least resistance has been to “inflate their way out of debt.” The idea is to pay debts with “cheap money” in terms of its reduced purchasing power. Governments do this by printing money and running budget deficits (spending more than they take in through taxes) large enough to raise prices as this new money chases the same volume of goods. That is how Rome depreciated its currency in antiquity, and how America managed to erode much of its own debt in the 1970s – and how the dollar’s falling international value has wiped out much of the U.S. international debt in recent years. This price inflation reduces the debt burden – as long as wages and other income rise in tandem.

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?con...a&aid=13055
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04-05-2009, 05:15 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-05-2009, 08:43 PM by icosaface.)
#2
The Financial War Against Iceland: Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare
Very interesting Solve et Coagula. This article seems to uncover the whole scheme, does it not? Here is a little tidbit to ponder.

Quote:From at least as early as 2400 BC it was normal for Sumerian and Babylonian rulers to annul the populations personal and agrarian barley debts upon taking the throne for their first full year of rule. In addition to annulling these debts, Mesopotamian Clean Slates freed bondservants and restored self-support land to former owners who had forfeited their crop rights to foreclosing creditors. The Babylonian word for these Clean Slates was andurarum, and Jewish law adopted them with the cognate Hebrew word deror. But by the first millennium BC, kings had come to represent local oligarchies, so Mosaic Law took Clean Slates out of the hands of rulers and placed them at the center of Judaic religion in the Jubilee Year of Leviticus 25. Like Babylonian law, it cancelled personal debts, freed bondservants and restored land tenure to its original holders.


Debt cancellation is at the heart of the laws of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy calling for debts to be cancelled periodically, and to liberate indebted bondservants. Ezra and Nehemiah describe how they returned from Babylon to restore order by canceling the debts “ and re‘discovering the Book of Deuteronomy. But creditor oligarchies were on the rise throughout the Mediterranean region in the centuries that followed. By the time of Jesus the mainstream of Jewish leadership had mounted an attack on the Jubilee Year, endorsing Rabbi Hillels prosbul, a legal clause by which creditors forced debtors to sign away their rights to debt annulment at the Jubilee. In his first sermon, Jesus sought to retain the Jubilee year by unrolling the scroll of Isaiah and announcing that he had come to proclaim the Year of Our Lord.


The Jewish oligarchy appealed to Rome to crucify Jesus. As he and his followers gained adherents by advocating debt forgiveness, Rome used violence against them. But Christianity grew by creating communities of mutual aid. Upon achieving political power, the new religions most important economic achievement was to outlaw debt bondage throughout Western civilization. However, the idea of a Clean Slate had to be postponed until the Day of Judgment at the end of history.


As creditors drove the post-Roman economy into a Dark Age, Christians banned the charging of interest altogether, even on commercial silver loans. Ancient languages had no words to distinguish interest from usury. This distinction was drawn only in the 13th century, as Church theologians applied the term interest to commercial loans in which silent backers advanced money to entrepreneurs. It was permissible for bankers to charge a foreign-exchange agio premium (that typically included an interest charge in practice), as long as the charge could be justified by their own labor and related outlays to provide money-transfer and loans. However, mortgages loans and personal loans were deemed usurious. The 13th-century Churchmen treated usury as theft and hence in violation of the Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt not steal.

Those who do not know their history are condemned to repeat it. We are learning!
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
Mohandas Gandhi


Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think you were put here for something less?
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
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04-05-2009, 08:50 PM,
#3
The Financial War Against Iceland: Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare
This article is really opening a can of worms.

Quote:The fight to end debt bondage and debtors prisons took many centuries to achieve its humanitarian objective. Handel’s Messiah is a staple of the Christmas and Easter season celebrating the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. What has been forgotten is the context in which Handel arranged the first performance of this oratorio in Dublin, on April 13, 1742. It was a charity concert for the benefit “of the Prisoners in several Gaols, and for the Support of Mercer’s Hospital in Stephen Street, and of the Charitable Infirmary on the Inn's Quay.” Enough money was raised to free a hundred and forty two prisoners. The oratorio’s text accordingly contained references to “breaking bonds asunder” and “casting away yokes,” recalling the early Christian belief that the Messiah’s reign would bring liberty (Hebrew deror or debt cancellation) and release (Greek aphesis) from debt bondage. The “redeemer” was literally the redeemer from debt.


This recalls the original, literal meaning of the Lord’s Prayer. It refers not only to forgiving sins and sinners in the abstract, but specifically to “forgive us our debts” – a translation distorted in much modern reading. “Sin” was the word for “debt” in all Indo-European languages: Schuld (the root of German sollen and English should), and devoir, the root of English debt. It meant obligation – referring in ancient practice to the obligation of an offender to make good payment to atone for his offense, as in European wergild tradition. The original debts were not paid to the rich, but by them, for manslaughter or physical wergild injury to their victims (who typically had to settle for payment rather than taking revenge). Today’s offenders disrupting social harmony are wealthy creditors, but society is paying money to them, not fining them. Seen from the ancient perspective, it is as if indebted society owes retribution to the rich. No wonder the spirit of modern religion has so thoroughly overturned that of its origins!


It therefore seems remarkable that in our own epoch – strained as it is by unprecedented and questionably created debt overhead that reduces not just individuals but entire nations to debt servitude – no major opposition has appeared on religious grounds. Churches have avoided the issue that was the cornerstone of so much of their earlier concern, and moved toward other concerns rather than remaining on the high ground of alleviating the debt burden.
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
Mohandas Gandhi


Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think you were put here for something less?
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
Reply


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