Who does, you reply.
Yet, as anthropologist David Graeber explains, most of us believe it is our moral responsibility to repay our debts. We are even more fervently convinced that others should pay them. There is a strange, largely unexamined tension between these two positions and it is a tension we will be forced to reconcile in the near future. As members of the second most indebted households in the world, Australians will have plenty of moral responsibility to address. We will also develop a growing intimacy with friendly collections agencies.
I don’t like debt collectors because they offend my social sensibilities. The person that comes to your house demanding money with menace has come to a strange place if you welcome their arrival. If you don’t think there is veiled threat behind such a relationship, try not paying and see how it works out. Happily, with the arrival of the mobile phone, the notion of home and your personal space has taken on a much wider dimension. The debt collector can reach you anytime and anywhere.
Prior to 450 BC, the life of the average Roman was governed by unwritten customary laws. These laws were made and interpreted by a patrician (wealthy) class. Understandably, those who were without this knowledge, the plebeian class (commoners), figured themselves at a disadvantage when courts applied rules they didn’t know or understand. Public outcry demanded that these rules be presented in a code that could be inspected.
Where does money come from?
I can’t think of a more important or confusing question. When we run short of something in our daily lives we normally do something about it. Whether we are short of carrots, cars, computers or crayons we don’t have to think too hard about what to do. We go to the dealer, supermarket or art supply shop and get what we need.
The truth is that in this age of plenty we rarely run short of anything. We might lack one of these items as individuals. Not everyone has a car or computer. However, society rarely if ever runs out of anything. Our supermarkets are always stocked with food. A variety of stores provide just about anything we need. The one thing we are short of, as a society, is money. So why don’t we figure out where it comes from and do something about it?
About once a month I buy the Australian Financial Review.
I like to know what the financial spivs and their colluding journalists are up to. I rarely get a laugh out of it but a recent edition was a real knee-slapping, side-splitter.
From the middle of the paper dropped the 46th edition of Luxury. This was the Jewellery Issue. The feature story was about the Paspaley family and their pearl exploits.