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The Politics of Debt

Fear is the strongest negative impulse. While rage may burn more fiercely, it dies quickly and is usually recognized for the irrational force it is, while fear can persist for a lifetime, invading the deepest parts of the mind and heart, taking over judgment and influencing disaster through timidity, worry, and panic. And one of the strongest factors in fear is money, especially debt. The sense of debt has destroyed careers, companies, and marriages, has broken the integrity of many men who never thought they would abandon their principles. Debt works on the spirit as a combination of stress, shame, obligation, and confinement. Just because there are no more debtors' prisons does not mean that people in debt do not fear the loss of freedom, their home, property, lifestyle, and reputation. After all, the Mafia has made great profit from emphasizing just those conditions to prospective clients.

This brings us, indirectly, to politics. Politics is essentially the art of persuasion, to gain power and influence through the consent of the public. And politics have been around at least as long as money, and therefore debt, has existed. Politicians succeed by manipulating emotion, often playing on fear. Whether Republican or Democrat, American, European or Asian, whether first-world or third-world, consent of the governed is an undeniable need for politicians, and fear is always a prominent focus.

The rest should be obvious.


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Comments (12)

Politics has always been an... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Politics has always been an excellent vehicle for perpetuating fear. First, the generated crisis, then "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." Always a proven method, why should they stop now. If only the politicians/puppets knew their usefulness had an expiration date.

Sorry, are you talking prey... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Sorry, are you talking preying on people's post-9/11 fears to justify military interventionism and warrantless wiretapping? Agreed: it's craven to appeal to the basest instincts of the bed-wetting TV-news-watching ignoramuses. It makes them write really stupid books and say really stupid things.

Oops: ...talking *about<... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Oops: ...talking *about*...

you got it wrong again. de... (Below threshold)

you got it wrong again. debt is not by itself a problem, the size of the payments and the ability to make those payments are much more important. People don't lie awake in bed worrying about the $400,000 they owe on their mortgage, they worry about whether they'll be able to come up with the $3,000 payment due a week from Friday. Put another way, debt ain't a problem until you no longer have the cash to make the payments.

Second, fear as a selling tool comes in a distant second to greed. All things being equal, a politician offering someone a better life (however that is defined) will do better than a politician playing off fear.

"debt is not by itself</... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"debt is not by itself a problem"

He didn't say that steve.

"He didn't say that steve."... (Below threshold)

"He didn't say that steve." Huh? He sure used the word 'debt' - and that word alone - a whole lot of times.

Debt is such a strong ensla... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Debt is such a strong enslaver and problem that even the Bible addresses it in many books and chapters. Unfortunately the lagging economy is only worsening this problem for many families, as some seek to use credit cards as a lifeboat to combat with job loss or shorter work hours when they have little real means to pay back those bills in either the short or long term.

steve, he said that debt wa... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

steve, he said that debt was used in politics to generate fear. The post is about the politics of debt, not debt by itself.

You're right, Paul. Debt h... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

You're right, Paul. Debt has a key strange-hold on the American psyche, and that is why the govt will introduce a new monetary system. The idea is to provide the illusion of "freedom from debt".

dang, *strangle-hold... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

dang, *strangle-hold

So politics should cultivat... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

So politics should cultivate fear? Never mind. It's a unique post. And pithy. Good.

In my opinion hatred, greed and envy are mans' strongest negative impulse. And Lust! But I write that one off to God's spaghetti code emulated by that Lucifer virus (treegooDevil). Nolo contendre, Padre.

Anyway, my four (HGE&L) are la mafia's entree.
Fear instills discipline in the arrangement later, but only when necessary. La mafia et cetera feeds passions or it would not be allowed to exist. Fear is not a passion, though the neoconservative weltanschauung exalts it.

A study of Old Norse religion and its failure to *take* in Ireland or France or anywhere else they held sway for hundreds of years should instruct our modern day sages of Ringarok, Valhalla, and the Crack of Doom.
Even Vikings themselves prefered metaphysical shelter under Thor and Frig rather than the perpetuelly P.O.'d old man Odin. Odin's poll numbers were almost as poor as Dick Cheney's in Varmland and Uppland!

A good, different post, DJ. 10pts.

Funny links, hyperbolist. 8pts.

hooson - "Unfortunately... (Below threshold)
marc:

hooson - "Unfortunately the lagging economy is only worsening this problem for many families, as some seek to use credit cards as a lifeboat to combat with job loss

37 percent of consumers say they are using their credit cards less. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, "Credit Card Issuer Profitability in a Difficult Economy,")




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