I mentioned it before in a link post, but it deserves one of its own, and an update.

Rolling Jubilee is a project to bail out ordinary people instead of businesses. It’s using a quirk of our financial system (the ability to buy debt for less than its value) to take a small amount of charity and do a much larger amount of good — about $20 for every $1 donated. In so doing, it pushes back against the notion of debt as an inescapable moral burden, a moral failing, that should pursue people beyond the point of reason.

As of me posting this, the site’s meter says it has raised $412,368, which is enough to abolish $8,252,175 of debt.

Laid against the debt in the United States, it’s a drop in the bucket. Tuition debt alone is over a trillion dollars; the site doesn’t say how much is owed on, say, credit cards. So it’s easy to look at eight million dollars and think, nice idea, but it isn’t doing much good.

That’s looking at it from the wrong end. I donated $100, which translates to $2000 of effect. For some individual or family out there, that $2000 is huge.

Eight million is enough to fundamentally transform the lives of countless Americans. People who had a serious illness or an unexpected breakdown in their only car or, yes, even people who made bad decisions, and are now being crushed under the weight of a debt burden they’ll never be able to repay. Would I rather wait until they’re out on the street, then donate some cans of food to a soup kitchen? Or would I rather donate that $100 now, and give them a second chance before their lives have been destroyed?

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. I’m thankful for the fact that my husband and I are on top of our debt; pretty much the only thing we have is my student loans (and they’re small). I have a check at home, waiting to be deposited, for thirty some-odd dollars — payment for a small short story sale. It won’t hurt me one bit to send that money to Rolling Jubilee, and give somebody else six hundred some-odd dollars to be thankful for.

If you can, I encourage you to do the same.

0 Responses to “Jubilee”

  1. Marie Brennan

    Yes, sorry — I quoted that number because it’s available. If there’s a trillion dollars in tuition debt, that gives us something resembling a scale to guess at other debt (which can be dealt with in this fashion).

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