What is Debt?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Today it is hard to imagine our life without money, credits, and loans. But what is debt? Have you ever looked deep into the nature of it?

We see it as a burden, obligation, and sort of a prison we get ourselves into. But is it all true? In his book “Debt: The First 5,000 Years” a famous professor and activist David Graeber reveals the nature and history of debt.

He takes the reader on a long journey into the depth of centuries to examine the long way the mankind has overcome. People created markets and virtual money, exchange systems and credits long time ago. So, the debt itself has come a long way before taking its modern shape. However, not everyone understands the nature of debt.

Listen to the summary at Blinkist to get the better idea of the topics the book covers.

Look Back at the History of Debt

What is debt?

So, if you are questioning the concepts of money and ask yourself what debt is, you should know that these concepts appeared very long time ago. At the time when first agrarian society appeared, to be exact.

It means that they existed even before Ancient Egypt, which can be surprising. There is a misconception that money and debt originated during the Ancient Egypt era, but they had existed a long time before that.

The first exchanging systems known as bartering were functioning at that time. People started to use virtual money, or credits, even before the coinage. All these facts help us conclude that money and debt have a very long history.

To understand the nature of these concepts we should look deeper into the history and study the process of their development. We will see how the attitude to money was changing throughout the centuries. This can help us alter our current attitude to it as well. 

Right Attitude to Money and Debt

When you are thinking about what is debt, you should start your research with the concept of money.

It is interesting to note that money is more important socially than economically. It is a great tool which can be both, a moving power for society and a destructive mechanism. By developing the right attitude to money, we can create a strong society.

We can make a difference and make our world better. Is it possible to live without money? Well, we have an example of Heidemarie Schwermer who lived a cashless life.

She lived without money for around 20 years. Her revolutionary lifestyle has inspired people all over the world.

Heidemarie looked into the ways to reduce the dependence on money. So, she started with opening a swap shop called Give and Take. Later on, as a social experiment, she started to live cash-free.

This experience inspired her to change her life. She continued this practice for many years and admitted that she was happier than ever. She had no debts; she had no possessions, she owned only a few things.

This case could be a bit radical, but it makes us rethink and review our opinions. Does money play the main role in our lives? Has it become our primary goal instead of being a resource which can be used to getting closer to our goal?

What is debt and what is money, and do they matter as much as we use to think? Listen to the book at Audible.

How to Live a Happy Life and Focus on What Matters

Importance of living a happy life

As David Graeber emphasizes in his book, debt does not have to be a prison which it is for many people. It is not an absolute evil as many people might think.

However, you should treat money properly, develop the right attitude to it. It is important to put the value on living, not on the money. For this reason, it is vital to ask yourself: what is debt.

It might take time to find the answers, but the search for them is worth it. While researching you will find out lots of interesting things about human economies and the principles which influence the growth of the economic system.

You will be able to gain the better understanding of how the society works and why some people succeed while others do not, even if they have the same set of resources. You will also become more confident in setting your goals and have a better idea of how to reach them.

So, if you are about to change your life, you should:

  • Develop the right attitude to money and debt
  • Treat financial resources properly. Remember about the power of less
  • Take wise decisions when dealing with money
  • Focus on what really matters, which is living, not money

If you take this factors into account you are most likely to reach your goals and make your dreams come true. It will give you a chance to live a happy and meaningful life. It will also be a chance for others to learn from you and get inspired by your example.