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Debt is generally defined as a sum of money or some other valuable that is owed by one individual (or group) to another. Debt is created when a person or company turns over a sum of money to be repaid at a later date, usually with interest.

The recorded history of private debt can be traced back to the second millennium b.c.e., although debts between individuals almost certainly date back much further than that. The existence and rules for dealing with debt appear in the Torah (all debts must be erased every 7, and every 50 years) and are subsumed into both Christianity and Islam, together with prohibitions on “usury,” which at least initially simply forbade the charging of any interest. However, the need for ready ...

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