Guide to the Hidden History of Debt

From Observatory


Ur chariot.jpg

Our financial system originated in Mesopotamia, where it was designed to ensure economic stability for a community. Over time it has transformed into something much more predatory.

Editor: Katherine Dolan

Many of our modern financial instutions and instruments came from Bronze Age Mesopotamia.
When interest-bearing debt moved west from Mesopotamia to the Greek peninsula, debt forgiveness was discarded and a new powerful oligarch class emerged.
Landgrabbing and predatory practices became more prevalent in Rome and may have ultimately contributed to the fall of the Empire.
A power struggle involving popes, kings, and financiers led to a funding drive aimed at launching a huge military pilgrimage .
The document that presaged British democracy came about because of a dispute between Kings and Barons.
A discussion of the origins of urbanization may provide some insight into the character of modern social problems by highlighting the long historical dynamic at work.

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