Debt Cancellation Referendum

Previous: The Birch

This article very much summarises what I think of current political situation:

https://medium.com/@theonlytoby/history-tells-us-what-will-happen-next-with-brexit-trump-a3fefd154714#.ca09hmvnb

TL;DR: We're all going to die. Not in some distant point in the future, but next year or so.

If history teaches us anything it is that there's little chance to stop it.

I see red every time I recall that they are going to kill my son. He's 3 years old, for God's sake. I've moved our family to Switzerland, but Switzerland is not going to be a safe haven in case of nuclear war.

So, despite all the historical evidence, is there a chance of stopping it?

One thing that may help would be giving a strong and immediate signal that people are actually able to fix the problems they are facing in democratic way. If they have stopped believing that they can fix the stuff themselves they are going to vote for "strong" leaders and hope they'll fix the things for them. But that kind of approach, in fact, leads to nuclear war.

So, the goal is to show that change is possible. And I mean actual change, not Obama-style change. Something that makes an actual difference in people's lives.

And here's my proposal: Let's have a referendum on debt forgiveness.

Debt may be only one of the reasons for the current shit but it's a major one.

Even more importantly, cancelling debt would send a strong signal to those most likely to vote for all those clowns with dictatorial tendencies that tend to pop up everywhere lately. There's very little chance to speak to all those voters, they are unlikely to read your academic papers or be convinced by your subtle economic reasoning. However, if their debt is canceled, they'll notice. And if it's canceled because they've personally took part in the referendum, that's a pretty strong argument for ignoring said clowns and for for trusting and taking part in the democratic process.

Even better, debt cancellation may be a goal that could unite huge part of the population. Those worse of would vote for it simply out of self-interest, to get rid of loans. Those better of could see it as a way to save their loved ones from the nuclear war.

And even better: Referendum is a mechanism that's to a large extent immune to manipulation by political elites. It would be very hard to ignore it, if for nothing else then for the fear of how would the mob behave if its will is ignored.

As a side note, periodic referendum on debt cancellation may be good "checks and balances"-style of measure. The constant fear of losing the investment in the debt may cause creditors to behave responsibly (not create bad debt, genuinely try to make at least 50% of the population happy etc.) and even self-police themselves. The fear that loans may become unavailable, on the other hand (nobody wants to live in their parents' basement until they are fifty, after all), would be a strong incentive to vote for non cancelling the debt. Eventually the mechanism could create some kind of equilibrium between creditors and debtors and lead to a system where debt cancellation would hardly ever need to happen.

In short, let's not get ourselves slaughtered like sheep and start campaigning for debt cancellation referendum now.

Martin Sústrik, July 25th, 2016

Previous: The Birch

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