I find it interesting that during the early 19th century, the East India Company (that some would suggest were the originators of the British Empire), used debt as a mechanism to subvert revolution or dissent. Debt not for themselves, but for others.
Working alongside money lenders, they recognised that by presenting people with what they wanted, but through the mechanism of debt, meant that they could continually control the individual through the threat of loss. They also identified that by burdening people with a growing amount of interest, or presenting them with the availability for further finance, you could stifle protest by a sense of disempowerment towards the system they were caught in.
In other words, they created an illusion of change and progress, but held tightly onto the reins of debt and control.
Food for thought when thinking about the systems of empire today.