This chapter argues that the key to understanding debt as a technology of power is not just to appreciate that modern money is largely created as debt by commercial banks but to point out that the production and allocation of money is privately owned. It examines how debt became capitalized by organized power and finds its genealogy rooted in war, the national debt, and the capitalized state of England. While the birth of the Bank of England can be traced to the scarcity of money debates of the seventeenth century, the ultimate reason for its creation was not the Hartlibian improvement of society but to finance war against Europe's most powerful ruler, Louis XIV. The key development occurs with the creation of the Bank of England in 1694 and the innovation of a funded long-term national debt capable of being serviced by the ever-growing regressive taxation on the public.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book attempts to convey the different sociological contexts for how contemporary anarchist theory and practice is to be understood. It concentrates on the issue of broadening the parameters of how anarchist theory and practice is conceptualised. The question of individual liberty and collective needs raises an equally important anarchist principle: equating the means of an action with its ends. The book compares the major philosophical differences and strategies between the classical period and the contemporary anti-capitalist movements. It assesses the viability of libertarian education, a century on from the life and work of Spanish writer and activist Francisco Ferrer and finds considerable evidence for the endurance of these ideals.
This chapter illustrates the importance of broadening the understanding of social anarchism. Social anarchism has shifted its ground as it has embraced some elements of poststructuralist philosophy. This shift in territory from social to poststructuralist anarchism is most noticeable and particularly important at two levels of theory. The first, and the one that underscores the others, is the poststructuralist denunciation of foundationalist discourses or narratives. The second shift in theoretical territory is less pronounced but nonetheless real. The chapter suggests that, when situated alongside the practices of new social movements associated with the anticapitalist protests, the poststructuralist perspective affords insight into how new modes of anarchist practice are emerging. It also highlights how anarchist theory and practice is evolving into something distinct and is, at the same time, nurturing contemporary modes of resistance against traditional social, political and economic forms of oppression.