{short description of image}  
 

... and forgive them their debts

Michael Hudson

 

Subtitle: Lending, Forclosure, and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year. ISIeT - Verlag, Dresden, 2018, 311 pgs., index, extensive bibliography, foot notes, illustrations, paper back

 
 

Reviewer's comment: This is a very important book in which the author refutes many myths about the origin of money and banking. It is based on a detailed study over many years of the records still being translated about the economies of Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. The author has published many books on this subject and organized many conferences in which he brings together specialist scholars on the many little known details being literally uncovered by archeology and translation of cuiniform documents. See for instance his essay in David Landes' ed. book - The Invention of Enterprise - listed below.
Dr. Hudson is a severe critic of the exploitation of debt today, and the entire financial system. He provides a full history of the ancient economies overlooked or ignored by most economists. But his main motivation is to show that the fundamental conflict between debtors and creditors so prevelant today and during the historical times that modern economists study actually existed from the very beginning of settled societies. What he reveals is that during these really ancient eras such as Mesopotamia 3000 - 2000 BC it was the rulers (governments and temples) that instituted, for their own purposes, debt cancelation edicts (laws) to abolish private debt or prevent it. The rulers were opposed by private creditors seeking to expand their personal wealth at the expense of the general public. He considers that the same motivations are the basis for the modern conflict between debtors and creditors. For a summary of his thinking on this, read his Finance and Warfare, listed below

 
 

The Rise and Fall of Jubilee Debt Cancellations and Clean Slates

 
 

Archaic Economies versus Modern Preconceptions

 
 

The Major Themes of This Book

 
 

Part I Overview
1. A Babylonian Perspective on Liberty and Economic Order

 
 

2 - Jesus' First Sermon and the Tradition of Debt Amnesty

 
 

3 - Credit, Debt and Money: Their Social and Private Contexts

 
 

Part II: Social Origins of Debt
4. The Anthropology of Debt, from Gift Exchange to Wergild Fines

 
 

5. Creditors as Predators: The Anthropology of Usury

 
 

6. Origins of Commercial Interest in Sumer's Palaces and Temples

 
 

7. Rural Usury as a Lever to Privatize Land and Impose Bondage

 
 

Part III: The Bronze Age Invents Usury, But Counters Its Adverse Effects
8. War, Debt and amar-gi in Sumer: 2400 BC

 
 

9. Urukagina proclaims amar-gi: 2350 BC

 
 

10. Sargon's Akkadian Empore and its Collapse: 2300 - 2100 BC

 
 

11. Lagash Revives under Gudea and his Debt Cancellation: 2130 BC

 
 

12. Trade, Enterprise and Debt in Ur III: 2111 - 2004 BC

 
 

13. Isin Rulers replace Ur III and proclaim nig-si-sa: 2017 - 1861 BC

 
 

14. Diffusion of Trade via Assyrian Merchants: 1900 - 1825 BC

 
 

15. Privatizing Mesopotamia's Intermediate Period: 2000 - 1600 BC

 
 

16. Hammurabi's Laws and misarum Edicts: 1792 - 1750 BC

 
 

17. Freeing the Land and its Cultivators from Predatory Creditors

 
 

18. Samsuiluna's and Ammisadqa's milarum Edicts: 1749 - 1646 BC

 
 

19. Social Cosmology of Babylonia's Debt Cancellations

 
 

20. Usury and privatization in the Periphery: 1600 - 1200 BC

 
 

21. From the Dawn of the Iron Age to the Rosetta Stone: 1200 - 196 BC

 
 

Part IV: The Biblical Legacy
22. Judges, Kings and Usury: 8th and 7th Centuries BC

 
 

23. Biblical Prophets Call for Debt Cancellation

 
 

24. The Babylonian Impact on Judaic Debt Laws

 
 

25. From Religious Covenant to Hillel

 
 

26. Chritianity Spiritualizes the Jubilee Year as the Day of Judgment

 
 

27. The Byzantine Echo

 
 

28. Zenith and Decline of Byzantium; 945 - 1204 AD

 
 

Conclusion

 
{short description of image}

Amanda Podany - Ancient Mesopoamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization

 
{short description of image}

Amanda Podany - Brotherhood of Kings

 
{short description of image}

David Landes, Joel Mokyr & William Baumol, eds. - The Invention of Enterprise

 
{short description of image}

J. G. Manning and Jan Morris - The Ancient Economy: Evidence and Models

 
{short description of image}

Joan Aruz, ed. Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.

 
{short description of image}

Michael Hudson - Finance as Warfare

 
{short description of image}

 
{short description of image}

 
{short description of image}

 
{short description of image}

 

Return to Xenophon.