The judicial system considered most of my ancestors to be legal property. As a descendant of slaves, I look at various ways to handle inter-generational wealth, or the lack thereof, and I wonder how to adjust our need for Truth, Reconciliation and restitution to take into account the realities of the various levels of access to resources that different groups of people had (or didn’t have). Racism had its effects, and debt-build up did too, for all poor people.
The ability to build up wealth and pass that on to one’s children requires a fair judicial system that allows one to both build and keep wealth, and then to keep that wealth within a family group safely. Unlike, say, Tulsa, OK in 1921, or many other cases of murder for Black wealth. In studying the book of Deuteronomy, ch. 15, I noticed that the Bible also has much to say about helping people build and keep their wealth.
First, a fair judicial system is a must.
Second, debts cannot be allowed to build up too far for too long.
An interesting repetition in Devarim 15:8 -openly open your hand to him.
Why the redundancy? There are two sides to giving a loan:
1. Short term financial help
2. long term community responsibility to
a. help the person make a sustainable living
b. create equitable structures that prevent neediness.
Loan forgiveness and lending are short term solutions.
Structural equity is the long term solution
1. interest free, egalitarian equitable structure
2. interconnect various communities
3. since a person can donate time and withdraw that time later, it gives along term
incentive for each person to contribute to the community and have that time valued and
recognized by the community.
4. over time this strengthens individuals and communities.
Thus lending is short term, while long term structural fairness is also needed.
Shira Destinie Jones, Mphil, DC “Community Cooperation” Singing Tour Guide
So, it turns out that
1.) debt forgiveness is an old idea, and
2.) a fair judicial system is related to debt, both short and long-term, and both need to be considered together as part of an inter-related justice system. Today, the criminal justice system adds to the debt of many people who were incarcerated rather than educated, and even more people, White and Black, suffer from lack of learning via default judgements on Expired Debts (debts past their Statutes of Limitations, or SoL), and medical or health-care related debt (another reason that Europe has higher upward mobility than the USA).
More on my continuing striving with justice, both judicial and economic, next time:
Yassas, γεια σας! Salût ! Nos vemos! Görüşürüz! ! שָׁלוֹם
Action Item in support of freedom for all that you can take right now:
Write a blog post or tweet that discusses racism, connecting what you can see of the history of debt to that racism.
Click here to read, if you like: