A “debtcropper” (debt + sharecropper) is someone who is a slave to debt. Matt Stoller’s “A Debtcropper Society” in Next New Deal (The Blog of the Roosevelt Institute) coined the term in November 2010. The financial blog Naked Capitalism reprinted the article and has featured the word in the headlines of other articles.
“The Student DebtCropper System: Even the Destitute Hounded by Debt Collectors” was posted on Naked Capitalism on January 2, 2014.
sharecropper (plural sharecroppers)
1. A person who enters an agreement with a land owner to farm the land and then pay a portion (share) of the produce as rent. One who sharecrops.
Next New Deal (The Blog of the Roosevelt Institute)
A Debtcropper Society
NOV 18, 2010 Matt Stoller
Robo-signers. Moratoriums. Botched documents. In the midst of a complicated and crooked mess, New Deal 2.0 asked leading thinkers and activists to help navigate the maze of the foreclosure crisis. Our “Foreclosure 411” series focuses on the values inherent in explaining why we should care and what the crisis means to all of us. In the third part, Matt Stoller explains how we are in danger of becoming slaves to the banks—just like the sharecroppers of yore.
Today, we are in the midst of creating a second sharecropper society. I first heard the term “slaves to the bank” from a constituent fighting a fraudulent foreclosure. The details aren’t so important—this couple had been illegally placed in a predatory loan—but at one point, the wife explained that she and her husband were so scared they would have “given their first born to the bank to keep their home”. That was fear speaking, total unadulterated panic. And as we watch debt-holders use the ornaments of fear, such a loan sharking company that set up fake courts to convince debtors they were losing cases, we should recognize that what the creditor class wants is what they’ve always wanted: total dominance of our culture.
Stoller: A Debtcropper Society
Posted on November 18, 2010 by Yves Smith
By Matt Stoller, a blogger-turned Congressional staffer. He was a policy advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson on financial policy issues. Cross posted from New Deal 2.0.
A lot of people forget that having debt you can’t pay back really sucks. Debt is not just a credit instrument, it is an instrument of political and economic control.
The Rise of an American Debtcropper System for the Young
Posted on October 22, 2013 by Yves Smith
Readers have often been using the term “neofeudalism” to describe the outlines of the new economic order, in which the uber wealthy and a thin cadre of their advisors, managers, and other elite professionals do well, with a network of less lofty managers helping oversee and orchestrate the provision of services to the broad base of the public, and they struggle to eke out a meager existence.
Debt appears to be the “one ring that rules them all” of this emerging order. And if that is the case, it’s likely to be much more like the old sharecropper system of the post Civil War era, where poor whites and blacks were kept on a debt treadmill that turned them into slaves in all but name. As Matt Stoller wrote in 2010: ...
The Student DebtCropper System: Even the Destitute Hounded by Debt Collectors
Posted on January 2, 2014 by Yves Smith
As most people who have passing familiarity with student debt in the US know, it’s a millstone that is brutally difficult to remove. But it turns out that even the limited ways out are often not available in practice thanks to the hyper-aggressive conduct of a critical government contractor.
Unlike every other type of obligation save child support and criminal penalties, it can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. The lone type of exception is “undue hardship”: when a borrower is so clearly incapable of ever paying that it’s ridiculous to keep pressing them for the money.
The undue hardship standard is very difficult to meet, so one would think given how stringent it is, and therefore the comparatively small number of cases that are involved, that the student debt collectors would accept this minuscule level of losses and focus their resources on people with means.
Someone tell the OED about “debtcropper”. Should be 2014’s word-of-the-year http://www.alternet.org/education/student-debtcropper-system-even-destitute-hounded-debt-collectors …
9:23 AM - 4 Jan 14
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • Monday, January 06, 2014 • Permalink