The harsh realities facing homeowners and student loan debtors have led to calls for mortgage and student loan write-downs. These calls have been met with a simple but powerful logic that asserts the importance of keeping one’s word. But this logic of personal responsibility fails to take into account the way the economic system works at its most fundamental levels. Most Americans view the morality of repaying debt so rigidly because they believe that someone is lending money that was previously in existence somewhere. In spite of the language of lending, the reality is that money is created through debt. Going into debt is not most accurately described as borrowing, because the acquisition of a debt is also simultaneously the creation of money. The relationship is reciprocal, and not one-sided. This realization changes the morality of owing; there is no kind person out there doing you a favor by giving you a loan; rather, a bank was generating money through its interaction with you.
Education Debt in the Ownership Society | Education | AlterNet (via sociolab)

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