Tool #7: Staying away from debts

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Stay away from debts, as much as you can. Don’t get loans and don’t contract debts in order to pursue a career. Debt is a creepy form of enslavement: you give up your future life and its potential freedom in exchange for the promise of a career.

Are you sure that if you will work hard enough you will be able to pay back your debt? Where does this value of the individual hard worker come from? How can you be sure to be willing to adapt to the job market to such an extent to be able to pay back your debts in an unknown future? If you are willing to adapt, will your body cope with your will?

Do you believe that pursuing strenuously an individual career will be a guarantee for debt repayment – you against the rest of the world? What will it take for you to fuel this belief? If you believe “you can make it”, where do you think this belief comes from? How did it get constructed? Socially, culturally, through your parents, by your teachers…

Who and what will gain from this belief in yourself as being good/not good enough, hard worker/not working hard enough? And if you will eventually “make it” what will you make it for? Money? A career itself? Happiness? How would that be? What are the models/stereotypes that make you indebt yourself in the hope of achieving them?

Quite a lot of interesting stuff has been written recently on debt and on organizing together against debt:
• Graeber, David. Debt: The First 5,000 Years. New York: Melville House, 2011.
• Lazzarato, Maurizio. The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition. Translated by Joshua David Jordan. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2012.
• Strike Debt / Occupy Wall Street. “The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual,” 2012.

Last edit: 22.09.2014 – contribution by Paolo Plotegher