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The indebted man 

You owe it! About moral and financial debt
Forfatter: Mikkel Thorup
Forlag: Klim (Danmark)
Being indebted has become our time of being human.

What is the reason why so many people refrain from changing society, thinking critically, and coming together in new communities? What is the reason why so many countries in the so-called rich part of the world are pursuing the same cutbacks and socially and humanly have come to resemble each other immensely? 

The answer to these two questions can be traced back to the same thing: financial debt. The low growth over the past several years has caused politicians to "save" the social economy through credit, mortgages and debt reduction. While efforts were previously made to raise loans, one must today make a conscious effort not to owe: "Debt and indebtedness are a social necessity for almost everyone." Debt has strengthened the market as a deity, while at the same time it just steals our lives.

Your fault!

The basic story in media and among politicians about debt and debt crisis is about short-term irresponsible consumption: You have lived above capacity, the orgy is over, now comes the bill, pay! Not a word about speculative debt, that the cause of the crisis is often neither private nor public debt, that greed is not the right explanation for why most people do what they do. 

Whether it is micro-loans in Bangladesh that enslave women or start-up projects for web designers in Copenhagen – the logic is the same.

In writing the cultural history of debt, Mikkel Thorup makes it unclear why an economic mindset, especially in the last 30 years, has come to permeate the entire political climate and human existence in every corner. He shows how the economy through debt succeeds in colonizing our entire lives. That its success story is based on a mix of economics and morals, hypocrisy and moral wrongdoing: on the one hand, borrowing and increased consumption are encouraged, on the other you are chased wildly if you cannot pay off your debt yourself, guilty as you is in its abundance. The financial crisis and market management of the community's institutions are not seen as the very cause of the problem, but merely an opportunity for increased debt management.

The forms of debt

Gælden findes i mange former, som moralsk gæld, gæld blandt venner, mellem forældre og børn, gæld til . . .

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Alexander Carnera
Carnera is a freelance writer living in Copenhagen.

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