The French are right: tear up public debt – most of it is illegitimate anyway … As history has shown, France is capable of the best and the worst, and often in short periods of time. On the day following Marine Le Pen's Front National victory in the European elections, however, France made a decisive contribution to the reinvention of a radical politics for the 21st century. On that day, the committee for a citizen's audit on the public debt issued a 30-page report on French public debt, its origins and evolution in the past decades. The report was written by a group of experts in public finances under the coordination of Michel Husson, one of France's finest critical economists. Its conclusion is straightforward: 60% of French public debt is illegitimate. – UK Guardian
Dominant Social Theme: Declare a moratorium so the people can rejoice.
Free-Market Analysis: Just yesterday we criticized the movement to create a universal basic income. This movement to repudiate public debt makes us uneasy as well, unless it is accompanied by a rollback of the fundamental building blocks of the modern state: corporate personhood and monopoly central banking.
Notice, please that this "committee for a citizen's audit" could have repudiated corporate personhood and monopoly central banking – but we read nothing about that in this Guardian article. Instead, we get an elaborate statement encouraging class warfare. This is the way the power elite operates: divide and conquer.
The references are suspect. Faux-anarchist and Occupy Wall Supporter David Graeber is mentioned in the article. OWS itself is lauded – though surely the Guardian knows by now that George Soros helped sponsor OWS – and that ultimately OWS itself was essentially another failed attempt at recreating the conditions that led to the initial, horrible French Revolution.
The kind of duplicity shown by those who must know the antecedents of OWS but ignore them is disheartening. The insistence on demonizing the "one percent" – those who own one percent of Western wealth – is disheartening, too. The problems of society do not stem from those who have worked themselves up to millionaire status but a relatively small number of immensely powerful global elites who control both central banking and multinational corporations, from what we can tell.
Again, you won't find these distinctions in the Guardian article. Not a word about central banking. Here's more:
Anyone who has read a newspaper in recent years knows how important debt is to contemporary politics. As David Graeber among others has shown, we live in debtocracies, not democracies. Debt, rather than popular will, is the governing principle of our societies, through the devastating austerity policies implemented in the name of debt reduction.
Debt was also a triggering cause of the most innovative social movements in recent years, the Occupy movement. If it were shown that public debts were somehow illegitimate, that citizens had a right to demand a moratorium – and even the cancellation of part of these debts – the political implications would be huge. It is hard to think of an event that would transform social life as profoundly and rapidly as the emancipation of societies from the constraints of debt.
And yet this is precisely what the French report aims to do. The audit is part of a wider movement of popular debt audits in more than 18 countries. Ecuador and Brazil have had theirs, the former at the initiative of Rafael Correa's government, the latter organised by civil society.
European social movements have also put in place debt audits, especially in countries harder hit by the sovereign debt crisis, such as Greece and Spain. In Tunisia, the post-revolutionary government declared the debt taken out during Ben Ali's dictatorship an "odious" debt: one that served to enrich the clique in power, rather than improving the living conditions of the people.
… A legally organised ignorance forbids the disclosure of the identity of the bond holders. This deliberate organisation of ignorance – agnotology – in neoliberal economies intentionally renders the state powerless, even when it could have the means to know and act.
This is what permits tax evasion in its various forms – which last year cost about €50bn to European societies, and €17bn to France alone. Hence, the audit on the debt concludes, some 60% of the French public debt is illegitimate.
An illegitimate debt is one that grew in the service of private interests, and not the wellbeing of the people. Therefore the French people have a right to demand a moratorium on the payment of the debt, and the cancellation of at least part of it.
There are some pretty astounding statements in the above excerpt. First, there is the concentration on debt as the primary problem in modern societies. This comes perilously close to an endorsement of the anti-usury movement that we have debunked so many times in these pages. Modern society's problem is NOT usury. It is monopoly central banking, corporate personhood and other fundamental building blocks of the current corporatist state.
The article also makes the alarming point that, "An illegitimate debt is one that grew in the service of private interests, and not the wellbeing of the people." Really? This is the kind of rhetoric one might expect to find in the history books referring to rationales justifying "people's republics." Who is going to determine the "wellbeing of the people"? And why does a federal government have the responsibility to finance it?
Finally, there is the statement that, "Tax evasion cost about €50bn to European societies, and €17bn to France alone." We can see from this statement, again, that fundamental issues are not being grappled with.
The article is blunt about its larger prescriptions, which in aggregate it calls "the new internationalism." This includes "the disclosure of the identify of debt holders" and "the socialization of the banking system" as part of the process of debt repudation. Banks should be put under the "supervision of citizen's committees."
Some of this is right out of the playbook of the Third Reich, believe it or not, though even Hitler ultimately found such remedies too radical. We guarantee you won't read about such antecedents in the mainstream press.
What do we make of all this? It constitutes a noxious stew of anti-usury remedies, economic re-engineering, class warfare and virulent socialism. At every level, freedom is repudiated and technocratic and populist nostrums are introduced. The end-result of these remedies, if implemented, will go far beyond debt repudiation and could indeed usher in a kind of second French Revolution – only this time one that could convulse the entire West.
Alternatively, these concepts are being introduced to help pave the way for an even more radical but also more subtle remedy, which is a rolling revaluation of modern fiat currencies designed to end up finally with a single currency linked to a basket of national currencies along with gold and silver.
In any event, debt repudiation will likely leave intact every element of the modern, technocratic state. A repudiation of corporate personhood and monopoly central banking would usher in real change. We'll wait for the next Guardian article …