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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Break free

To cut down the rainforest, you need logging roads and rivers, so that you can empty the land. And to extract the wealth and freedom of a nation, you need a money system, banking, credit and debt.

Thanks to iTulip, I'm working my way through a series of YouTube postings of an Argentinian documentary. It describes how banks and multinational companies raided Argentina from the nineteenth century onwards, and how successive betrayals by popular politicians and union leaders have perpetuated the crisis.

Some years ago, I watched a documentary about an old American farmer, trying to make ends meet while crop prices fell and the bank continued sucking up interest from his debts. Finally, he did a brave, bold, heroic thing: he sold. He took the farming equipment he had acquired with a life's work, and auctioned it to his farming neighbours, who were rooting for him. Then he cleared his bank debt entirely, gave the home farm unencumbered to his son, left the big sky and went with his wife to live in a little flat in town.

I don't think I shall ever forget the dignity and restraint he showed when the bank telephoned him with hypocritical words of goodwill.

Pay off your debts, save cash (or whatever will keep its value), and don't put it all in the bank.


Anonymous said...

"or whatever will keep its value" - that being.....? I'm long tinned pears and beans.

Sackerson said...

Poached in wine is nice; probably good for pears, too.

Chervil said...

Yes, pay off your debts - that should apply to mortgages and credit cards, too. I know more than one person who keeps their money under the mattress. Doesn't always work though - my great-grandfather managed to lose a fortune that way because he hadn't factored in the possibility of monetary re-evaluation.

Dragonstar said...

Sounds like excellent advice. Like Chervil, I'd include mortgages and credit cards - and don't buy on the "never-never".

Sackerson said...

Chervil: when my grandmother died, we found a tin full of white five-pound notes, far too late to exchange them at the bank.

Dragonstar: I would make an exception for a first mortgage, provided one didn't buy at the top of the market.