OH, VERY FUNNY….The New York Times today explains the philosophical underpinnings of the recently-passed bankruptcy bill: “Supporters of the bankruptcy bill cite the rise of borrowers who spend money they never intend to repay? In these stories, gamblers and greedy consumers are the main players.” Funny stuff, and it reminded me of this passage from Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, where Panurge sings the praises of debtors everywhere:
Be still indebted to somebody or other, that there may be somebody always to pray for you, that the giver of all good things may grant unto you a blessed, long, and prosperous life; fearing, if fortune should deal crossly with you, that it might be his chance to come short of being paid by you, he will always speak good of you in every company, ever and anon purchase new creditors unto you…
Debts, I say, surmounting the number of syllables which may result from the combinations of all the consonants, with each of the vowels heretofore projected, reckoned, and calculated by the noble Xenocrates. To judge of the perfection of debtors by the numerosity of their creditors is the readiest way for entering into the mysteries of practical arithmetic.
Except, you know, Rabelais’ book was a satire, not a policy prescription.