Third-World Country? No. Sorry, it’s Seattle…

There are so many of us who consider that ‘if you can’t pull your weight, you don’t deserve to live’…

On the other hand, there was a moment in time when the Brits had abolished the institution of debtor’s prison… And a second moment, no less significant, has been the Marshall Plan.

You see, for whatever reason, an individual or a business might fail. Sometimes, even a whole continent might fail…

Until recently – historically speaking, debtor’s prison was abolished in 1869 and the last war reparations had been extracted after WWI – it was a matter of ‘one strike, you’re out’. One mishap, for what ever reason – bad luck was enough – and you were practically reduced to ‘servitude’. If somebody else didn’t bail you out, your chances of getting out ‘alive’ were very slim. No matter whether you were an individual, a business or even a country.

Interestingly, the first who was allowed the protection of bankruptcy was the business sector, countries came next – but only if they were sovereign states, while individuals are not yet completely out of the woods.

Now, where would any of you prefer to live? In the XIX-th century Britain or in the XXI-st century Britain? Ceteris paribus. As in ‘conserving all other ‘variables’ ‘. Given the fact that hot water was practically absent in XIX-th century Britain, I’d prefer the present century anytime.

Was ‘bankruptcy’ the only explanation for the economic take-off which happened after the second half of the XIX-th century?
Probably not but it surely helped. Just as the present day Europe owns a lot to the Marshall Plan.

Then why aren’t we extending a more helpful hand to more of those who have ‘stumbled’?