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critical writing

Debt, how to get out of it

About work

Debt is a bit of memory that lives within social sphere. Even if, we decide to disconnect with society, living alone in the forest, we are in debt with the nature for water and food. In this singular case, debt enhance consciousness to solve it, most of the cases with respect of the surrounding, establishing deeper relations with flora and fauna and having a clean state of mind occupied to feel instead to think.

Money, Design, Media, Energy, Communication


Editors comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

This essay creates connections among several social problems and offers some useful suggestions in trying to turn problems into productive challenges. I like the tone of the piece, which is critical and cognizant of the depth of our problems, yet also positive and even a bit hopeful. While offering a strong critique of things as they are, the author also recognizes the complexity of our society and avoids simplistic utopian ideas.

One issue he brings up is the banalization of culture. In this, he responds to Walter Benjamin’s trumpeting of the loss of aura in art and Benjamin’s hope that this loss of cultural power will actually be liberating, in spurring a more decentralized and democratic experience of culture. The two sides of this dynamic remain with us: the Internet is indeed decentralizing and democratic in many respects, but also promotes its own kind of addictive passivity. The protest movements that have grown in the wake of the economic collapse show that digital and social media can be useful tools for activism, but ultimately, to create political change, actions must be based on old-fashioned physical activity to demonstrate visible commitment to change. In these movements and moments, we transcend the banality of our daily experiences through participation in larger events, without re-creating the cultural hierarchies of earlier eras. Of course, this does not guarantee such movements will succeed. But participants must share the critical yet hopeful attitude that Antonio displays here.

View other works commented by Daniel Marcus  ››

This is a reasonable essay with an open-minded interpretation of the effects of debt upon society. He well articulates the issue of modern societies enslavement to monetary growth through rising debt levels, resulting in excesses. The problems of maintaining production capacities, seducing consumers through media, our dependence on energy and societies failing ability to successfully communicate issues, are deeply seeded into the socioeconomic fabric of today’s capitalist world. The ultimate problem of imposing excessive debt levels upon society, through rising asset prices, creates an excess of unsustainable spending power that consumers exploit, which in turn maintains growing production capacities. Antonio addresses this issue excess through the proposal of ‘a new industrial protocol that is related to the entire life cycle of a product, from the design moment to the destruction moment as trash.’ He implies the infatuation and glorification of self-interest facilitated through modern capitalism via rising debt levels reinforces the current short-lived ‘built to break’ philosophy of production. This point is central to his argument of creating the fundamentals of longevity production outputs to enforce the social interest of sustainability. Antonio validly suggests using the powers in the industry, media, energy and communication to resolve the greater social issue of a debt infused world.

His “money was invented…” argument repeats the myth that money originated as a convenience from barter.

View other works commented by Steve Keen  ››

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This work has been commented by 2 editor(s):
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Entry details


Debt, how to get out of it

Concept author(s)

Antonio Rollo

Concept author year(s) of birth




Competition category

critical writing

Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Academy of Fine Art, Bari / Visual Art / Computer Art