In international law, odious debt is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.
I’m going to tell a short story. This is a true story, and one that I think is a microcosm of a global phenomenon.
One day I was a responsible, debt-free citizen. I had never even owned a credit card. Every car I bought, I saved up for and paid for in cash. In a literal flash, all of that changed. I woke up one moment in an ER, tens of thousands of dollars in debt. My great sin was being epileptic and uninsured.
When you think of debt, the image that comes to mind is the specter of the Irresponsible Buyer. The person who buys the new car they can’t afford, or the person who gets a large flatscreen TV they can’t afford, or whatever. I’m sure those people exist. I just haven’t met any of them.
I know people like me. I know people wage garnished (aka – fired because of accounting hassles) over medical bills, and people who went into debt for an education, promised a job by the Masters of the Universe in a new “information economy” that never materialized. I know people who were told by the Masters of the Universe that their house was worth $100K when really, it’s worth less than $25K.
How is this not odious debt?
Whole nations are selling off public lands and utilities to the parasitic FIRE sector over similar odious debts. It used to take conquering, military armies to do this. Now Wall Street can do it with a click of a computer keyboard.
Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be paid.