Noam Chomsky is one of a rare breed of people.
He is a polymath (linguist, philosopher, logician and cognitive scientist) and an erudite.
Even more importantly he is a public intellectual who speaks with the voice of reason in a time of mercantile opportunism.
For some time now, I’ve wanted to write a blog on why debt goes beyond the personal and destroys the very fabric of our society.
There is no more need; just read this carefully.
You see, most personal finance sees debt as the fault, and responsibility, of individuals.
You are in debt?
You must have done something silly; like spending more than you earn.
You have a lot of debt?
You have to pay it off, of course. And any self-righteous Dick and Harry can have a swipe at you. They do; the abuse that pours on public forums over people in debt is surprising.
And we, poor debt sinners, hang our heads in shame! Or we fear debt because of loss of lifestyle and threatened consumption.
I know I did! Shame and fear were my immediate responses to hearing how much consumer debt we had.
Debt, however, is not about shame and fear: these are only emotions and it’s your choice whether to indulge them.
Debt is devastating by:
- Robbing your freedom;
- Limiting your choices;
- Draining your energy; and
- Restricting your life.
Noam Chomsky is right about that: when you are trapped in debt you don’t want to change the world any longer. Your world shrinks to the next debt payment, to the next pay day, to the next wholesome meal.
Debt is devastating for the individual; it almost killed me and I’m not a weak willed flower.
Debt reaches far beyond the personal, however. It is a disciplining device used by our consumer societies.
Debt is what keeps us locked in a cycle of mindless consumption. We get in debt to pay for our education, our houses, cars and life style. We use this education to make money to pay for our education, for our houses, cars and lifestyle.
We keep our noses to the grindstone; our eyes on the task of making money. We spend money to relax from the strain of making money.
Most of us yield and live a life locked in a cycle of debt and consumption.