I was recently informed of a new movement being orchestrated by Occupy Wall Street group (OWS), called Rolling Jubilee. Coming from the previous position that OWS was well-intentioned but lacked real movement potential I didn’t expect to see much of them – so with this I was surprised.
The idea? Buy debt that is sold from the bank to collection type agencies. Stressed debt, mortgage and student loan debt among others will be bought by Rolling Jubilee at a fraction of the loan value and then Rolling Jubilee will forgive this debt. Simply, it sounds like they just wont care to collect on it and will erase it from the books.
Kudos for the almost brilliant idea. I still don’t have confidence it will work as well as some may expect. While I’m sure the market is huge, I assume those who are selling these loans can avoid entering a transaction with the Jubilee. Of course, perhaps the thinking is, if you offer the banks more money than others do they will be strongly encouraged to enter into these agreements. In doing so, then aren’t you propping up the banks by giving them even more money? And if you assume that some of these debtors wouldn’t repay the loan anyway, then in essence I worry that you aren’t leveling the playing field as much as you could claim.
Also, what about the agencies who make their profit off of collecting on these debts? I can see a lobby effort, either to the banks, or to congress to make this type of citizen action illegal – as noble an act it may be.
But until that happens, I do like and support the idea and have the highest hopes for its intended success. I throw my full support behind this effort.
If you want to learn more about it you can visit the Rolling Jubilee’s website http://rollingjubilee.org
Donations made to the Jubilee will be used to buy distressed debt on ‘the shadowy market’. They estimate that for every $50,000 donated they can erase about $1 million dollars of debt. You can donate now, and the project officially starts on November 15th.
Have any more insight? I’d like to hear it, it certainly IS an interesting idea.