John Gianino

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Debt Is not real

The concept of economic loss and debt is firmly emended in society. Do we really owe anything to anyone? I challenge people to argue against the idea that debt exists and state why it does not exist as a test of reasoning and creativity within this forum. I will reply to your comments with my counter argument. Try to remain clear, concise, and cogent in your statements.

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    Mar 12 2013: Reciprocity is vital towards humans and human survival, and it is honourable to repay your debts.
    I mean even debt in kindness is sort of involuntary : for instance if I pay you a compliment then you may be more likely to be nice to me, and I may seem more reasonable. I would call that debt. Hope this is relevant to the question :)
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      Mar 12 2013: Bernard, you are well spoken. Can you argue the this challenge from the other point of view? The intended challenge was to argue that "Debt does not exist" If you would like me to clarify, just ask.
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        Mar 12 2013: I supose I could say if someone does not pay his debts, then the debt probably never existed.
        But I'm not sure that would be an entirely valid argument. I mean you don't have to pay your debts but that still doesn't mean they don't exist.
        So until further examination for now I would probably have to conclude : No.
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    Mar 9 2013: John, can I borrow $5000 from you? Please send me an email and I will give you the address where you can send the cash. And, don't worry, I will pay you back. Thanks.
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      Mar 9 2013: let me guess that this argument will not be taken seriously and answered, but rather will be dismissed.
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      Mar 9 2013: Do you take debate seriously?
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        Mar 9 2013: No offense intended sir. Your question allows for the possibility that economic loss and debt do not really exist. My proposal is intended to demonstrate by example the very real existence of both. You will experience economic loss if you send me the cash because I will not pay you back even though I will acknowledge the debt. Absolutely debt exists. Absolutely economic loss exists.
        • Mar 9 2013: But also isnt the 5000 “dollars” that you want him to loan you just a promissory note issued from the federal treasury that has nothing backing it other than an IOU from them which leads to the topic does it really exist? And I only post this to see what type of response I might get
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          Mar 11 2013: Edward, "experiencing economic loss" is a subjective emotion, don't you think?

          How about 2 Corinthians 9:7 "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." What if I (hypothetically) "cheerfully" give you (or a charity) $5000 from the goodness of my heart? Would I experience economic loss?

          The act of transferring the money does not create debt. Our ATTITUDE towards the act and our ATTITUDE towards the money does.
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        Mar 10 2013: @ Daniel Harder:
        Yes the 5-grand is without intrinsic value but so long as others, like the grocery stores and shopping malls, are accepting the fiat money I can get real merchandise in exchange for it. John will suffer real, uninsured economic loss when I do not repay him. This is demonstrated by the fact that he will not be able to exchange the 5K for merchandise. The debt I owe John will be very real too. But so what? I would much rather owe John the money than not pay him. Now, if John were an FDIC insured bank he would not suffer economic loss when I don't repay the loan. The loss is passed-on to the taxpayers who don't even notice, much less care.
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        Mar 10 2013: RE: "How can a slave. . ." Are you talking to me?
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          Mar 10 2013: Hi Edward,
          I was thinking about another issue and got off topic so I deleted the comment. Can you add more support to your argument?
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      Mar 9 2013: Edward if you are clear on that argument, why not have some fun and argue against it? We can all use a good exercise now and again right?
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        Mar 9 2013: I know I can use a good exercise!
        Argument against the existence of economic loss and debt in the USA:
        1) An economy based upon fiat money does not acknowledge intrinsic values of goods or services.
        2) The US economy is based upon fiat money.
        3) Nothing of intrinsic value is associated with a monetary/economic loss, or with an obligation to repay, aka a debt. Therefor economic loss and debt only exist as an extrinsic concept and do not exist in reality.
        (I still want you to engage you in the extrinsic concept of loaning me $5000).
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          Mar 9 2013: Edward, you get my $5000! It probably won't be worth anything soon but you engagement in the debate is worth more than gold. I'm eating lunch now, I will think of an argument and reply soon. Thanks for accepting the challenge.
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    Mar 16 2013: Thank you for participating in this debate everyone!
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    Mar 12 2013: Re: "I will reply to your comments with my counter argument."

    Does anyone see a counter argument here? I only see lots of questions, some 17 or more.
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      Mar 12 2013: Has anyone fully completed the challenge?
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        Mar 12 2013: Another question, hmmmm.
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        Mar 12 2013: Why do you think that?
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          Mar 13 2013: Socrates was a philosopher that believed that asking questions could eventually lead one to understanding. He makes a reference to how Socrates would be "engaged" because of the fact that he is asking so many questions, just like Socrates. Socratic seminars were one of a few things named after the well-known philosopher.
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    Mar 12 2013: Even without currency, we can trade. When we make a trade, we have made an agreement. If I provide my end of the agreement, you are then in debt until you provide your end of the bargain.

    This is a very simple concept. How could you possibly argue otherwise?
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      Mar 12 2013: Is this question related to exchange timing in a trade? Can you clarify?
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        Mar 12 2013: You asked for an argument that proves that debt is a real thing. I provided just that. How are you confused?
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          Mar 12 2013: Hi Chris,
          I'm glad you are participating. Did you read the challenge carefully?
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        Mar 12 2013: Now that I have read your debate description, I feel compelled to let you know that your debate title is poorly chosen. If you want people to argue against debt being real, you should not have titled your debate "debt is not real". Hopefully you understand where my confusion came from.
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          Mar 12 2013: Hey Chris, No worries..Are you up for the challenge?
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        Mar 12 2013: I find it very difficult to argue for a position that I disagree with. Sometimes I can, but not in this instance. Since possession is already an abstract concept, you cannot say debt is not real without saying that possession itself is not real.

        Regards.
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          Mar 12 2013: You are very rational and your mind is able to grasp the concepts. You definitely have the ability to make this happen. Would you like to try? Something short and easy, to start.
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        Mar 12 2013: Is [debt] {real}?
        ------------------------------
        [debt] --> an obligation owed by one party (the debtor) to a second party, the creditor

        {real} --> actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed
        -----------------------------
        Is [an obligation owed by one party to another party] {something that actually exists in reality}?

        My argument for:

        An agreement may not be tangible, but as any philosopher will tell you; Existentialism does not end with material objects. If concepts are considered existent, then so too is debt.


        My argument against:

        An agreement may not be tangible. If concepts are not considered existent, then debt is technically not real.
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          Mar 13 2013: Chris,

          You have succeeded to bring a valid argument to the conversation. We solute you! Good Job.
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    Mar 12 2013: @ edward long Re: "Christian giving is based on suffering the economic loss cheerfully, willingly, and not grudgingly." Hmm... cheerful suffering... I didn't think Christian giving is about suffering. I thought, it's about, well, being cheerful, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - replacing emotional attachment to things with love to your neighbor in your heart. Anyway, I think, we are talking about the same thing, and other people get bored with religious debates quickly (as they should).

    I think, you got my point:
    Re: "If we negotiate a loan and he gives me the money based upon our agreement then I do incur a debt." Mutual *agreement* ("mutual", is, perhaps, redundant, but I'll use it to stress the bilateral nature) is necessary for debt to exist. If I don't want money back - there is no debt. If you manage to take my money without my agreement, there is no debt. And why we agree to take responsibilities? Because we *want* something. And *wanting* something is an emotional act.
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    Mar 11 2013: Money is a symbol. It can represent anything - power, pleasure, security, safety, sex, freedom, love, material things. Money has value only as long as it represents these things in our mind and only as long as we are emotionally attached to these things.

    If we cut the link between the money and what they represent to us or cut our emotional attachment to these "values", then money turns into simple pieces of paper or metal and ownership and debt lose meaning.
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      Mar 11 2013: How do you feel about debt? Arkady can you explain without metaphors please?
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        Mar 12 2013: Without metaphors, you will not be able to "see" what I mean or "hear" what I say (because I "write" or, technically, type). You cannot ask a question about money and expect an answer without metaphors. When we say "money" we never mean pieces of paper or metal, but things they represent to us.

        Julian Jaynes said, "metaphor is not a mere extra trick of language, as it is so often slighted in the old schoolbooks on composition; it is the very constitutive ground of language." "It is by metaphor that language grows. The common reply to the question “what is it?” is, when the reply is difficult or. the experience unique, “well, it is like —.” "The grand and vigorous function of metaphor is the generation of new language as it is needed, as human culture becomes more and more complex.
        A random glance at the etymologies of common words in a dictionary will demonstrate this assertion. Or take the naming of various fauna and flora in their Latin indicants, or even in their wonderful common English names, such as stag beetle, lady’s-slipper, darning needle, Queen Anne’s lace, or buttercup."

        But back to your question...

        I feel bad about debt. To me, debt represents slavery. Attachment to things also represents slavery.
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    Mar 11 2013: I would argue that values do not exist outside our head, and ownership is a fiction also. Both are expressions of emotional attachment despised by many religions.
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      Mar 11 2013: How do we maintain integrity without a promise?
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        Mar 11 2013: How do we maintain integrity giving promises?

        "do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

        I prefer to make statements about "what is", not about what I imagine things or future to be.
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    Mar 11 2013: How many people are aware that debt is currently bought in different markets for a fraction of its original amount and that it is resellable?
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      Mar 11 2013: Of course this happens all the time with mortgages
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        Mar 11 2013: Can you explain why a debt should be reduced, divided, and resold but remain constant to the repayer?
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          Mar 12 2013: Debt bought and sold is a commodity of Interest Income. You are purchasing contracts, debts representing a steady stream of income from profits on interest collected on the debt from the original debtor. This can only be profitable if you purchase the "debt" at a discount.
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    Mar 10 2013: Of course both exist, Wealth does not have to be monetary to be consider debt or an Economic loss either. It can be any form of wealth loaned or loosed by any individuals or group. Money is a tool to measure wealth and exchange wealth! I understand that you want me to argue against the idea that it does exist. It is like arguing time does not exist.
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      Mar 10 2013: Hi Shelby, how is wealth a topic related to this argument?
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        Mar 11 2013: Wealth is want is actual loaned and loosed, not money. Look at the definition of wealth http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wealth

        Then Look at the definition of Money
        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Money?s=t

        Do you see the difference, you can loan or loss wealth with out money but can't loan money or loss money with out wealth
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        Mar 11 2013: Wealth can only be destroyed, created or exchanged. You can exchange many different types of wealth for loss or gain. Negative wealth does not exist, this does not mean debt does not exist or economic loss does not exist. Debt is an exchange of wealth and economic loss is the destruction of wealth.
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        Mar 11 2013: Re: "How do you create negative wealth?"

        The absurdity of this terminology often puzzled me. A corporation where I used to work used a term "negative savings" to designate losses. When a store has a 90% discount on a $10 item, they advertise it as "$9 savings". I see it as a $1 expense. Especially if it is some junk I would not buy otherwise.

        Values are based on emotional impulses. They exist only as long as the emotional impulse exists. Therefore, values can be created by words or imagination and likewise disappear on a whim.
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          Mar 12 2013: RE: "Edward, 'experiencing economic loss. . . " Technically. I believe you suffer economic loss any time your net worth is reduced. Christian giving is based on suffering the economic loss cheerfully, willingly, and not grudgingly. Regarding debt, I believe it is a legal issue. If I steal $5000 bucks from John I do not incurr a debt. If we negotiate a loan and he gives me the money based upon our agreement then I do incurr a debt. Transferring possession of currency does create debt unless it is a gift, or a theft.
  • Mar 10 2013: The terms need to be defined. What does it mean to "exist" in this context? Economic loss in a macro or micro sense? "Debt" in terms of a financial, ethical or moral obligation? From the way you've asked the question and from the nature of your responses, it appears that you are much less interested in the question itself than in trying to provoke some sort of imaginary, preconceived response. Although I may have missed them, I haven't seen your promised counter-arguments presented in a clear, concise and cogent manner. What do you think and why?
  • Mar 9 2013: Of course they don't exist, if by exist you mean they have a frangible, tactile physicality, but then, neither do ideas of any sort.
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      Mar 10 2013: David,
      Way to make a statement! You have a conclusion and a few premises can you expand on these?
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    Mar 9 2013: Yes, absolutely. After all, we are part of the system. When we open up a bank account, apply for a loan, go to a store, take the bus, drive a car, make phone calls, use the internet, change your oil, and even drinking right from the tap--it's safe to say that we do owe something to the ones who provided these things for us. Mind you, I did give this topic a little bit of thought and wanted to say something that would be in favor of this argument, that perhaps we actually don't owe anything to anyone as far as the intangible things in life that we receive. Things like love, respect, happiness could come from internal or external that may or may not be tied to anything that we can obtain from the government or the rest of society. I think any product or service that we have access to still comes from that place it was produced. Unless we can come up with our own kind of monetary fund, live on a secluded island and build our own house and wireless service, we wouldn't have to pay for anything... right?
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      Mar 10 2013: Christy,
      You seem very passionate. Can you elaborate your main idea, conclusion, etc?
  • Mar 9 2013: hello
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      Mar 9 2013: Hello Kemal,
      You are invited to participate. Please break the ice.
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    Mar 9 2013: You and Obama are on the same page. Of course that requires that diluting the value of the dollar are not relevant. This requires that opinion trumps fact.
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      Mar 9 2013: Is the speed of light constant? And you infer that I take sides, why?
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        Mar 9 2013: You are ignoring the natural law of exchange. You are ignoring or have not learned the below video I referred you to once before, it is the most important video on TED, I recommend you pay some interest to it.

        http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html
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          Mar 9 2013: Thanks, for the continuity efforts. I love this video. Do you feel that when we reply we affect the readers and meld ideas like Matt Ridley suggests?
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        Mar 9 2013: Mr Ridley

        Mentions that the willingness to communicate is more important than IQ.

        Underline this, Circle it twice, Write in bold letters because IMO it cannot be overstated.

        Yes of course this is the very definition of a confluence of ideas. I have learned from many on this forum, in fact the video I linked is one of them.

        I might add that I also learn from those I disagree with. This is because learning by definition is a comparison or evaluation or weighing of values and ideas.
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    Mar 9 2013: Why would you assume that I have not done this? It has been my experience that when you do not have a solution present you must truly form your conclusions from the information provided or you will not be able to complete your objective.
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    Mar 9 2013: Do you not believe you are capable of empathy?
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    Mar 9 2013: Perhaps, if you want to see this debate, you should argue the position that others don't want to argue (because they don't believe it), as you say to test your reasoning and creativity, and let others reply with their counterarguments.
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      Mar 9 2013: Are you asking me to be your leader? How do you form your own conclusion with an example paving the way, the parameters are set to understand the group dynamics.
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        Mar 9 2013: All I am saying is that if people do not want to accept the assignment you have made to them (which they can do if they choose, precisely because they do not accept you as their leader) and if you still want to see a debate unfold, you might take on your own assignment and let others choose for themselves the positions they take.
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    Mar 9 2013: i don't get this at all. take something that clearly exists, ask people to argue against it, regardless of their actual views, and then you can debate them? what do you or anyone gain from this?
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    Mar 9 2013: You were supposed to argue against the idea not for the idea.
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      Mar 9 2013: Wow well this is disappointing... Can you help me find any flaws in my logic? And I'll try to think of reasons as to why there is no such thing as economic loss or debt.
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        Mar 9 2013: If you start with nothing and end with nothing, what is lost?
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          Mar 9 2013: But you don't start with nothing, you start with the potential of all the earth's resources and all of the possible opportunities that you could make the world into. We haven't chosen the most efficient one and therefore are suffering an economic loss
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        Mar 9 2013: In economic terms, loss or debt results when? According to your initial argument, its when things are wasted or another way to look at would be the opportunity cost is greater than the opportunity benefit and you still proceed. If you have stored resources that means they came from somewhere to begin with. Its the old chicken and the egg metaphor and an illusion to control people. someone had to take something for free to begin with.

        I'd really like to hear your creativity arguing the opposite side
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        Mar 9 2013: John, your initiative is refreshing. The challenge still remains if you would like to accept it.
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          Mar 9 2013: It seems to me that you are asking us to debate why gravity does not exist despite then enormous amount of evidence that it does and despite our own personal opinion that it does. Yes, we can create another force or some crazy reason as to why gravity, or in this case, economic loss, doesn't exist but why? I don't believe it is good practice to argue for things that you don't believe in. In this case I believe in the principals of economic loss and gravity and see no reason or logical explanation as to why they wouldn't exist.
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        Mar 9 2013: You stated earlier in another conversation that you are able to be persuaded if someone can supply an argument with validity, strength, soundness and cogency. Why can't you do this on your own?
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          Mar 9 2013: Because in this case I can't find an argument with any validity, strength, soundness, and cogency supporting an apparently ludicrous idea. I'd be very willing to listen to any arguments though.
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        Mar 11 2013: Re: "It seems to me that you are asking us to debate why gravity does not exist despite then enormous amount of evidence that it does and despite our own personal opinion that it does."

        Gravity exists inasmuch as we experience it. A debt exists also inasmuch as we experience it. If we don't have a feeling of gain or loss while transferring money, debt loses meaning. Gravity relates to physical experience. We do not control it. Debt relates to emotional experience which is arbitrary and subjective.
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          Mar 12 2013: Debt - An amount of money borrowed by one party from another.

          According to the definition, if I borrow any money (or anything that can be used as money) from someone else then I am in debt to them. I have borrowed money which can be used to buy any amount of goods in the world as long as the buyer is willing to accept money as a medium of trade. Therefore, by loaning me money, the loaner has given up physical goods that could be bought, and given those physical goods to me for a certain amount of time before I have to pay my debtor back. When you loan someone money, whether you FEEL anything or not, you still are creating debt.

          So, please explain how debt doesn't exist.
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        Mar 12 2013: John, I do not argue that debt does not exist. What I am saying is that it exists as an agreement between humans. "Borrowing" is an agreement between two parties. Agreements are intangible. Debt can be forgiven, i.e. annulled. One word, and ...puff... debt disappears. You cannot do that with gravity. Although we can experience both gravity and debt, there are substantial differences.
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          Mar 12 2013: Debt is an idea, much like any other ideas. The IDEA of debt still exist however the obligation of debt does not. Yes, when comparing an idea to a real physical law of the universe, there will be stark differences.