People’s bailout: A social innovation you won’t have heard about before…

Occupy Wall Street. Remember them? Well, in that well worn cliched phrase: They haven’t gone away you know!

One of the more successful actions of the Belfast group was occupying the old Belfast stock exchange on Royal Avenue, thereby flagging up latent resources.

Well, in the US there’s a fascinating little scenario (flagged up on Google Plus by Jeff Jarvis just now) in which OWS, well, here they are in their own words:

OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)

This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy. As you can see from our test run, the return on investment approaches 30:1. That’s a crazy bargain!

Now, after many consultations with attorneys, the IRS, and our moles in the debt-brokerage world, we are ready to take the Rolling Jubilee program LIVE and NATIONWIDE, buying debt in communities that have been struggling during the recession.

Hey, it’s called messing with the software. Or life hacking. We’ll see how far it gets. But at the very least it shows up a rather unflattering end of the market system.

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