Dickensonian. Draconian.

A reality in many countries until the 19th Century.

Would you take a chance of building your dream business if it could land you in prison?

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Written by ben.corporate@ILforums
1453 days ago

Great job Yonatan. I think the thing I love most about your blog is that I never know what to expect in the next article. It's always a very pleasant surprise!


Written by yoni67
1453 days ago

Ben and Shosh,

I guess the fact that I am an expert in nothing in particular makes me vary things to cover up my shortcomings in business. Glad you enjoy and glad to surprise!


Written by ShoshFromJobShuk
1453 days ago

My sentiments Ben. It's always a surprise!

Written by businessavante
1453 days ago

Hi Yoni,

Is there a direct relationship between this and being an indentured servant? They were charged for their living expenses, too, making it next to impossible to pay it off - to the extent that their children were born into the debt, as well.


p.s. For executive criminals like the Enron crowd, I've long (half seriously) said they should spend 99 years in hard labor - like the 3 Stooges - breaking big rocks into little rocks (which intentionally produces nothing of value) dragging a ball & chain on their leg. That'll teach 'em!

Written by yoni67
1453 days ago


From what I've read, some people did act as benefactors, bailing debtors out and making them indentured servants until the debt was paid off...better than prison I suppose.

Others were offered the choice of serving in his/her Majesty's Navy. I'm guessing that serving on a 72-gun Man O' War also beat prison.


Written by ronika
1453 days ago

I suppose it's good that we no longer have debtor's prison as I imagine half the population would be in prison! This is a really interesting idea, Yoni, as I do think individuals should take responsibility for their debts, but of course on the other hand you are right - onerous restrictions would certainly reduce risk taking and entrepreneurship. I guess some of it depends on the individual and his or her sense of responsibility, integrity and circumstances.

Written by yoni67
1453 days ago


Half the population plus one...me!

I think fear and restrictions would make people more cautious, but it would probably curb the wellspring of ideas which lead to innovation and profitability.

On the other hand as you say, responsibility and circumstance are key factors.

What to do? I'm not sure. That's, for better or for worse, what politicians are for :)


Written by shepherd
1453 days ago

Yonatan, it is an interesting look. I have heard the phrase so many times that they abolished debtor's prison. It's usually said when someone owes money. It's nice to see what it was really all about. I have had a few businesses and has my wife that have ended up losing money. Maybe I would have ended up in prison!


Written by yoni67
1453 days ago


Glad you enjoyed. For further reading I certainly recommend Little Dorrit!


Written by lovedthisarticle!
1453 days ago

Lovely job Yoni!

Great mixture of business and history from the businessman/history buff! 30 years in prison is a loooooong time to spend for owing money. Today the prisons would be overflowing!

Heidi K.

Written by yoni67
1453 days ago


You are correct. Prison space is already at a premium. Where would they put everybody?


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