Tony Curzon Price

    is a British economist and entrepreneur educated at Lincoln College, Oxford (PPE) and University College London (PhD, Economics). From 2007 to 2012 he was Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy.net where he is now contributing editor and technical director. He is online editor at Intelligence Squared and blogs at tony.curzon.com. “Why do we favour debt over equity and guilt over sympathy? It extends the domain of control of the stern judges, and that might be enough of an explanation. But maybe there is more: a mind shaped by sin and guilt will feel comfortable—at home even—in a debt contract. And if you’re in debt, you can make sense of your plight through the notion of sin. Guilt is a market in the mind and it paves the way for markets in the world, while the economy provides a model for how the mind can be organised. Debt really does motivate through fear; it can super-charge the economy. Burdened by debt, the company does more than is natural to make its next payment. The guilty person is always striving to keep their judge at bay.”