Michael H Goldhaber on Tue, 22 Nov 2011 04:28:00 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Debt Campaign Launch

In this country (US) we agree by law that 18-year-olds do not have the judgement to drink alcoholic beverages, yet we let them join the military possibly to kill or maim or to be killed or maimed and we let them sign up for  possibly a lifetime of student debt repayment "of their own free will." (I happen to think the age of consent for military service should be raised to 65. ) We also let them marry of their own free will, but they can get no-fault divorces if they change their minds. They are free to change their college majors, or to drop out of jobs. They can agree to all kinds of contracts they haven't read and aren't really expected to in order to download software or aps. Something is clearly wrong with these different standards. 

Why is agreeing to pay back money to a bank to be regarded as particularly sacrosanct? Can we truly say no  equivalent of a gun was held to students' heads as they signed up? How does paying of the debt differ from involuntary servitude? House owners can and do walk away mostly unscathed from "underwater" loans even if the banks have no real chance of reselling the home for the amount remaining unpaid on the mortgage. Do we think it right that sick people be required to take out loans to obtain necessary operations or other medical care? (This in fact is one of the main causes of bankruptcy filings.) People who have run up excessive credit card debt can also file for bankruptcy. 

The Reagan revolution set about deliberately pricing education out of the options of ordinary people without student loans so that they could lower taxes for the wealthy. Higher education is one of the things that should be paid for by such taxes, including back taxes for their wealth gains over the past 30 years

A counter-revolution the Reagan one has to start somewhere. (Though, to be honest, I doubt a million people will entrust their names in advance to those planning this strike, so it remains symbolic.) 


On Nov 21, 2011, at 9:30 AM, Sascha D. Freudenheim wrote:

> For me, it doesn't change the fundamental problem: walking away from a
> current commitment people have made, namely: to pay their student loans.
> If everyone walked away from every obligation they've made every time
> they feel like the future doesn't actually look like what they thought it
> would or should, we would have social collapse in a very different and
> even more troubling sense.


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