Some things never change

There's been quite a bit of debate about the rising levels of US debt recently, and rightfully so. However in case anyone thinks the use of debt is a recent phenomena in economics, I recently read a piece about the economy of ancient Syria. The passage below was written on a tablet in around 2,000 BCE:

From Silla-Labbum and Elani

Tell Puzur-Assur, Amua, and Assur-samsi:

"Thirty years ago you left the city of Assur [one of the capitals of ancient Assyria, 250 or so miles north of Baghdad]. You have never made a deposit since, and we have not recovered one shekel of silver from you, but we have never made you feel bad about this. Our tablets have been going to you with caravan after caravan, but no report from you has ever come here. We have addressed claims to your father but we have not been claiming one shekel of your private silver. Please, do come back right away; should you be too busy with your business, deposit the silver for us. (Remember) we have never made you feel bad about this matter but we are now forced to appear, in your eyes, acting as gentlemen should not. Please, do come back right away or deposit the silver for us.

If not, we will send you a notice from the local ruler and the police, and thus put you to shame in the assembly of the merchants. You will also cease to be one of us."

So I think it's safe to assume the use of debt has been employed by nations far before the US started printing money, and it's still not easiest topic to deal with once it's out there!


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