Friday, 17 June 2011

Schlichter: The Inconvenient Truth about Sovereign Debt

Via The Cobden Centre I discovered another superb article by Detlev Schlichter:
I maintain that the vast majority of people do not consider the debt of their government to be the equivalent of their own personal debt, nor do they feel obligated morally to assume responsibility for any action that government officials undertake or any contract that they sign. This position is sensible. To have any real sense of personal responsibility one needs to have control over affairs. In a democratic nation state, no single voter has sufficient control over the borrowing and spending activities of the government, and it would thus be absurd to assume the citizen will readily forfeit a considerable part of his or her future income or property to honour debts incurred by those who are running the government.
And later:

It gets even more absurd. While my children do not have to pay for my debt – debt, for which their father signed personally – and can thus control their financial future without being burdened by my financial extravagance, they will be on the hook for servicing and repaying the debt of governments that accumulated that debt while they were not yet allowed to vote or were not even born yet – and that not even their father ever voted for.

If this represents the currently accepted notion of what a government is rightfully allowed to do, it is clear that then the notion of private property has no meaning in our society. In such a system there can be no private property. If the government can tax my income and property and engage in loan contracts that create an everlasting and potentially unlimited claim on my future income and future property – then the phrase “private property” is a vacuous term.

It's refreshing to find someone else who is as incensed by the immorality of government debt as I am.

I thoroughly recommend the whole article.

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