Blog #1- “Surely one has to pay one’s debt”

The “financial crisis” continues to raise questions and concerns for many. Specifically, debt is the biggest issue many Americans are facing today. David Graeber, an anthropologist explains his argument about debt in his book. He makes the argument that debt is a “moral confusion”. Many see debt, or better yet paying off debt as a value of morality.

Graeber explains that paying off your debt is a notion of morality. It is the greatest obligation one has and it would be almost unreasonable not to pay your debts. This idea of morality that is attached to debt is what Graeber argues. It like the morality of paying off your debt is the greatest value that is above anything, in that as individuals we use it justify everything. Is it correct? Should we uphold “debt” to a higher standard than any other value?


4 responses to “Blog #1- “Surely one has to pay one’s debt”

  1. I agree that paying off your debt is a great thing but looking at it as a form of morality is different. Some people, once their in debt they cannot get out of it due to paying bills, mortgages, car notes, and other expensesone may have. It is known that an individual can have better offers given to them if they have good credit which comes from paying off debts…. they can get better options in owning a home, or leasing a vehicle without paying a deposit.

    I would say paying off debt is more of a norm in society than a moral, although I do not disagree . It shows ones ability to be responsible, trustworthy, and grown in a sense where they can take responsibly for their actions.

  2. You’re asking just the right questions: “Should we uphold [repayment of] ‘debt’ to a higher standard than any other value?” Graeber thinks not. He observes that historically we have treated debt as a sacred obligation — but not always. He points to shifts over time in how societies treat debt, and to how all societies always seem to have contradictory and confused ideas about debt.

    To Graeber debt is a promise that’s been “perverted by math and violence,” basically a “financialized promise.” It’s not the kind of promise that is “freely” made. The ability to make real promises, Graeber contends, would require freedom, genuinely free men and women. Then, we could call these promises “sacred.”

  3. Debt is a promise that you haven’t kept a promise (to pay the first time you took some type of a commodity) As Graeber says, debt is just another moral drama. People love to talk about themselves and their “problems” and how to solve them. The most universal “problem” is money, so we hold it to a high standard because everyone can relate. We feel great when we wipe our hands of a payment. We get anxious and upset when someone hasn’t payed us back or if we get swindled. Then, we complain about it. It makes great gossip. .
    Since debt is a monetary promise, we turn it into a moral issue. In my opinion, (at the risk of overusing this word) a promise is a promise and money shouldn’t be held at any more of a standard than a wedding vow or keeping an appointment.

  4. I am completly agree with this post that “debt is the biggest issue many Americans are facing today” thats is very true, most of the american have probelm paying of bills, as we can see its very hard to paying of all the debt in this economy, many people are surfaring for job, and if we don’t have job where would we bring money to pay it off. anther thing that come in my mind would be wealth, or saving, but if a parson have wealth or saving, they why would he/she go for loans, credit cards. therefore its very hard for those peple who are going through debt.

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