by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Worried about inflation? Stockpiling food? If so, you have lots of company. Interested in ensuring you and your family are safe?
While pondering the question, remember all problems have causes. This article takes you to the real causes, the ones no one mentioned, no matter how long you were in school or how many degrees you earned. Here, we show you the enormous over-riding problem everyone ignored. You know about foreclosure, repossession, and more ominous terms; there are 47 of these. You have seen what can happen in your own communities. All of these are forms of Debt-Bondage, the inability to pay your debts. Today, 81% of us have erratic incomes, which is a big part of the problem. If you don’t know how much you will have to spend, how can you depend on anything?
As Dr. Milton Friedman said, "If the only thing Certain in business, is Uncertainty, then we must base our fiscal systems on Uncertainty."
Uncertainty – Scary thought. Milton knew it was the source of dramatic swings in our economy; he did not know what to do about it until 1976 when an enthusiastic young man called him, providing the solution based in part on one paragraph from Friedman’s book “Capitalism and Freedom”.
If the young man had not taken 30 years to exhaustively confirm his own idea, we would not now be facing an economic meltdown of monumental proportions. The good news is this; a sustainable economy is possible for all of us, and he is sorry about that. Better late than never. The book will be out soon, titled, Human Investments (HI)
The problem exists around the world in such seemingly different places as Carbon County, UT, USA and Kolhi Villages, Sindh, Pakistan, two communities joined in scary uncertainty.
Very different in many ways, these two places have a lot of history in common: each needs solutions to put things right. Life grows increasingly hard for the families in Kolhi Villages and life in East Carbon has been economically challenging since the coal mines closed.
Both areas have historically been plagued by Debt Bondage.
Our Towns, the 2-Way InterActivist TV show series, focusing on East Carbon, UT and Kolhi Villages, Pakistan, each encountered this problems at different times in their histories. Debt Bondage is an ancient, and current form of slavery. Kolhi has always had subsistence farmers in their past and still, today; few now exist in Carbon County. These died off or turned to different ways to make a living.
Tom McCourt, a Carbon County native, noted this in his book, “The Split Sky”, his narrative of life from the time he was 16 and working for the summer on the Nutter Ranch in Utah’s Nine-Mile Canyon, included the problems faced by small farmers, driven to work for others to maintain their spreads.
The incomes of small farmers remain erratic today; big operations evade the impact of erratic incomes, explaining the corporatization of food production and the reasons family farms have been disappearing. Only smaller farms or employees face the harsh reality of not being able to pay their debts; this is known across time and throughout human cultures as Debt Bondage. As McCourt noticed, small farmers and ranchers were forced to work on larger commercial operations to pay their expenses or obtain seed money, tools or needed food.
For miners, Debt Bondage was also being limited to a company store and having no other options for feeding their families. In a similar scenario, early Carbon County miners working for themselves was displaced as miners were forced to accept an hourly paycheck, greatly reducing their pay.
Subsistence farming, with its erratic nature, depending on the weather and other factors, made people vulnerable to having their labor taken out of their control, a form of slavery.
The mining companies realized they could squeeze out more profits by starting company stores and housing in remote locations, making miners dependent on the company for credit. This resulted first in objections, and then in union organizing. People died violent deaths struggling for economic survival when they sang uncheerfully, “I owe my soul to the company store.”
For Carbon County further education for careers in other fields largely alleviated the problem in its original form. Former miners found other professions.
The problem is far older for Kolhi Villages by thousands of years. The mothers and grandmothers are still making patterns found in the archaeological digs close by. The lack of any educational resource has largely left them with no exit until now that education is becoming a possibility.
Slavery is a gradient with multiple forms, controlling the lives of people. Debt Bondage is one of the steps of control that imposes a valuation on life, and the time of individual whose choices are gravely limited because erratic an incomes leaves them vulnerable to manipulation. Having an accident, death, the vagaries of weather, the demand for coal, and more are hazards which can force an individual to cede control over their time and choices.
Debt Bondage and Slavery, only two of the forms this strategy takes, depend on impelling or compelling terms on one party by another in a quasi-contract which gives the weight of the benefit to the more powerful party requiring a Lump Sum and or Rigid Installment Payments. One party takes the risk: the other the benefits, pushing those struggling ever closer to disaster.
Reprise: Remember what Milton said earlier? "If the only thing Certain in business, is Uncertainty, then we must base our fiscal systems on Uncertainty."
Debt Bondage and Slavery - A Long History
As you see at the link, the fathers of the students already attending Kolhi School and those who want to attend, have been working hard to build the school with materials locally available, most of this free, with only their unpaid labor added for the shell of the building.
Their leader in this is a local man who got an education. Leela Ran Kolhi holds both a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and is finishing his Master’s in Sociology. Leela’s father, himself a rice farmer, donated the land for Kolhi School which will be the only school of any kind for 75 miles in any direction. Children attending now are walking as far as 5 miles to get there.
Most of the families with children attending Kolhi School are subsistence farmers. and societies in transition from early, subsistence farming are extremely vulnerable to manipulation by those using debt as a tool to own people and their labor. Many have struggled with debt bondage for generations.
In Carbon County, which includes East Carbon, schooling for children has been available since at least 1900. Carbon County’s population, growing rapidly over a century ago, was diverse, many people coming from southern Europe for jobs and opportunity. The many of the descendants of those original pioneers remain here. Most of their ancestors were literate in their own languages as soon learned to speak English as well.
However, schooling has never been available, or affordable, for the families in Kolhi Villages. Until now, and they are making this happen themselves.
Education makes an enormous difference, providing alternatives – but all of us, no matter how much education we acquire, are vulnerable to Debt Bondage. Remember all the tuition loans out there. Those are creating a new, modern form of Debt Bondage.
Debt Bondage is recorded first in ancient Mesopotamia, cited in "DEBT: The First 5,000 Years" by David Graeber. Graeber goes on to cite passages in the Bible which appear to refer to the practice, citing the words, 'padah' and 'goal' both, Graeber says, referring to redemption, buying back something being held by another party. The practice included not only pledging property for a debt but pledging relatives, wives, children, and others, as part time or full-time labor property then controlled by the holder of the debt.
Graeber includes on page 81 of his book a quote from Nehemiah, Chapter 5, 3-7, which was written during the years of Persian dominance.
"Some also there were that said, "We have mortgaged our lands,
vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth."
There were also those that said, "We have borrowed money for the king's
tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.
"Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo,
we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters
are brought into bondage already; neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have
our lands and vineyards."
And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.
Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them,
"Ye exact usury, every one of his brother," And I set a great assembly against them."
David Graeber's specific area of inquiry was not economics, but anthropology. He was a socialist, having failed to thoroughly research American history from colonial times to the early 20th Century. He notices and comments on the appearance of “elites", always denoted by their wealth and power, ignoring the use of the economic tool that has caused erratic incomes during his own lifetime. This trend began in the early 20th Century when America's economy was put under the control of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.
"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild
There is much bickering over who said what when. But the phrase would more honestly have been, "let me dictate the terms for payment and nothing else will matter."
Does ideology matter? Not much.
Remember the quote from Dr. Friedman? "If the only thing Certain in business, is Uncertainty, then we must base our fiscal systems on Uncertainty."
Dr. Friedman waited patiently for the young man to write his book. Writing the book is a highly regarded act in economics as originality is for inventions. Many people in a short period of time invented the light bulb. But only one patent was issued. Economists operate in much the same way. An ethical economist, Dr. Friedman did not publish on the young man's insights as this would have violated his principles.
Dr. Friedman had entirely overlooked that it was the tool for charging which entirely altered America’s economy, converting 85% of people from small businesspeople to the 85% of us who are employees today.
One tiny easily overlooked economic tool did this to us.
This is the Rigid Installment Payment (RIP). Its use today in America is standard for nearly all larger purchases and for credit cards.
The adoption of the Federal Reserve System was a carefully orchestrated action which achieved the conditions needed to control America's economy and so direct unearned benefits, taken directly from people facing the hazard of erratic incomes. The predatory use of Rigid Installment Payments (RIP) and strip of equity. RIP & Strip is the most accurate description of RIP. You can make regular payments on a house for 29 years and 11 months and lose it because of one missed payment. Ensuring that the well-understood nature of human life was ignored dictated the use of RIPs.
The rise of an elite class in America was in place through government soon after the American Revolution was won. This became obvious with the publication of Leonard R. Richard's book, "Shays' Rebellion: The American Revolution's Final Battle", published in 2003.
The lies told by government were uncovered when the local historical societies went through the records of court actions, providing this data to Leonard L. Richards, a professor and local resident. Richards correlated these records with those for military service. Professor Richards had not expected this; a history professor based in Amherst; Massachusetts Professor Richards realized the facts had been intentionally concealed. Veterans who had returned home from the war to farm found themselves unable to use the script given to them for their military service, even to pay the high taxes on their farms being exacted by the government under constitutions not necessarily voted in by more rural, distant counties.
How Graeber missed these facts is a question which cannot be answered. Graeber died suddenly, from necrotic pancreatitis, on September 2, 2020, while on vacation with his wife and friends in Venice, Italy.
Graeber notes these factors across thousands of years and with most cultures but does not study the economics of voluntary exchange and tool providers as lenders of stockholders.
Today, Debt Bondage also includes home and car loans along with 45 other forms for payment. All of these have the same impact; to take the property of people who are vulnerable to the impact of changed conditions and life events which produce an erratic income for a time.
The solution is the charging tool that turned American immigrates into business owners from the Colonial Period, 1620, until 1913. This economic tool was used to solve a problem for the Merchant-Adventurers who had acquired lands in the New World but had no way to profit from this. Those are the colonies you might have heard about briefly in school. At the bottom of this article see the Power Point which explains the this.
The young man discovered this first in the BYU Library, where he cut the pages in never read books of Lading that recorded the shipments back to England and the transfers of payments. The list of respected experts, many of them economists, is HERE.
This is the source of the American prosperity we once knew. 85% of Americans for these three centuries were small businesspeople. Erratic incomes were never a problem.