Old idea

The state maintains health and education so you can have a productive life (and pay taxes).

New idea

Private companies sell us health and education which we take out loans to do (and which guarantees an uninterrupted flow of debt repayment money for the businesses that own these institutions).


Jubilee is the ancient practice of debt forgiveness instituted once every seven years and designed as a reset switch to guard against egregious imbalance (like we have now).

Rolling Jubilee has found a loophole to bring back the ancient practice.  In America, banks sell debt to debt collectors for 5 percent or even less and the collectors hound us (the holders of the debt) to make their profit. (How banks can afford to sell so cheaply tells you something about the profits they are making on the system). Rolling Jubilee acts in the same way that the collectors do: they buy the debt at the reduced rate, using donated money. But instead of calling in the loans they cancel the debt. Since their inception they have raised $400,000 to buy and cancel $15m worth of debt. A Jubilee for our times.

Here is Andreou at the Guardian:

This is why the debate on the back-door privatisation of medical and education services in this country matters so much. The extraction of profit from these two key areas changes the social contract in a fundamental way. The idea is no longer that the state will educate you and keep you healthy, so that you may continue to contribute with both your work and your taxes. It has mutated instead into “you will borrow money from the state’s private partners in order to become educated and stay healthy, so that you may continue to contribute to their bottom line.” All of the 99%, in a very real way, work in part for an assortment of financial institutions, largely invisible and certainly unaccountable.

Iceland’s – strangely unreported – decision to write down mortgage debt for its citizens, undermines that notion. A rejection of traditional systems of credit and money as a response to austerity, such as in the barter markets of Volos in Greece and Turin in Italy undermines that notion. The Rolling Jubilee project undermines that notion in a significant way, by asking the sizzling question: “If a corporation is prepared to accept five cents on the dollar in exchange for our debts, if that is our debt’s open market value, how much do we really owe?”

Occupy Wall Street’s debt buying strikes at the heart of capitalism: In buying debt so cheaply and writing it off, Occupy has revealed the illusory and circular nature of owing money, by Alex Andreou, The Guardian

good taste is often in bad taste
May 25, 2013, 8:47 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , ,

house-good-taste-contemporaryThis is Granta editor John Freeman offering a clear and challenging definition of taste.  I studied literature and design, both of which are disciplines heavily invested in taste as an idea and also no doubt as a commodity.  I came to see taste as the safe, prescribed, status quo solution.

Freeman thinks otherwise.  In his definition he says taste is loyal and unfaithful: so, contradictory and unpredictable.  It is not safe nor prescribed but an anti establishment stance.  He says:

Could my job have been done by a computer? I suspect someone at Google or Amazon would say yes – why don’t all creative writing students upload their files to a server and let a program look at their language and score its uniqueness? The reason we care about taste, however, is because it is a human trait. Good taste is erratic, irrational, passionate, wrong-headed, determined, loyal, unfaithful, grumpy and pleased with itself. Good taste is often in bad taste. It is foul-mouthed, marginal, irreverent, unpatriotic, and deeply inappropriate. You know it when you see it.

Then and now: Granta’s best young British novelists, John Freeman, The Guardian

Read the linked article Then and Now at the Guardian on four decades of British novelists.