CHAPTER 8The Debt Trap

Freeing yourself from dependence on debt.

Isn’t it funny how the socially accepted ladder in life involves accumulating more and more debt, and more and more recurring expenses?

Get your first job — get a car loan! Get a higher education — get a student loan! Start your career. Get a first home — get a home loan! To make sure you can pay back all those loans, you had better get some income protection insurance, and car insurance, and home insurance, and finally death insurance for when you work yourself into an early grave! And on top of all those recurring expenses you had better start making some regular payments towards your retirement too. One thing after another, binding you tighter and tighter to your job, forcing you to work for a salary for the rest of your life.

In chapter 7 we talked about how being dependent can limit your thinking and creativity. Nowhere is this truer than with our reliance on debt, and our dependence on passive growth.

And not just individually: virtually the whole world — nearly every country — is addicted to debt too.

The illusion of stability at one of the most unstable times in history

Despite the familiarity of this life path and the centrality of debt to it, the past 100 years are actually quite historically abnormal. Over this time, the money supply has been consciously expanded, and since the 1980s the use of debt in particular has exploded, fuelling bubble after bubble and driving up the costs of some of the most ...

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