In everyday speech, debt describes an economic relationship, and typically applies to the money or assets owed to creditors by individuals, households, governments and nation states. But it has long been used metaphorically to refer to non-economic moral obligations as well. A good deed done on someone’s behalf is often said to be owed a similar response, in repayment of a debt. Incarceration and other forms of punishment for wrongful acts are similarly cast as the method by which the accused pay their “debt to society.”

This essay may be found on page 85 of the printed volume.

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