What Jesus preached might help us post-COVID-19

debt jubilee

Anyone who tuned into the broadcast version a Two Cents Worth podcast last week may be forgiven for thinking they had tuned in to a church service.

It began with a recitation of the first part of the Our Father.

But Two Cents worth is advertised as being “Stories that make sense of business and the economy… and how they affect your back pocket.”

“Practising what Jesus preached might help us today as we face huge local and global debt in the wake of Covid-19,” said the presenter Bernard Hickey.

The title of the podcast was The case for a modern debt jubilee.

A debt jubilee

On Easter Sunday Pope Francis called for international sanctions to be “relaxed” and for a “reduction, if not the forgiveness” of debt for poor countries.

The Pope seems to have at least some economists in agreement with him.

The Two Cents Worth podcast asked: “Why don’t we have a modern debt jubilee?”

Central banks they said are printing trillions of dollars to lower interest rates and make asset owners feel richer so they will spend more.

“But that strategy hasn’t unleashed economic growth for over a decade because the rich are parking most of that new money in existing assets.”

It goes back for 500 years

The podcast traced the history of debt jubilee back over 5000 years.

Sometimes after a disaster loss of income was followed by the incurring of debt with high-interest rates.

In many cases, the debt was cancelled – in what we would now describe as a debt jubilee.

It was noted that Jewish tradition around the time when Jesus was alive, also had strict conditions around lending and interest rates which helped protect poor debtors.

“Debt relief was also an important moral principle to the point where the Apostle Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer says ‘forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors’, rather than forgive us our sins.”


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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