My understanding of jubilee comes from the reading of the bible. Admittedly, the language of the bible in translation is often a muddy affair. It is, at best, poorly written, roughly translated, biased in interpretation and, all too often, entirely misunderstood.
Jubilee was never effectually put into practice. This is perhaps due to personal greed, a misunderstanding of its purpose or the disruptions it might have caused to the economy. Every 50 years the Israelites were to leave the land fallow and to forgive all debts, which may well have included the freeing of debt slaves. The prophets denounced the Israelites vigorously and repeatedly for their “inequity” – which is more an economic term than anything else.
While jubilee bears some kinship with modern bankruptcy practices it was not intended, as bankruptcy is, to break the debtor, picking his bones like vultures, but rather for the money lenders themselves to thank God for all his blessings: a life of wealth, ease and success thru usurious undertakings.
Jubilee is the shedding and redistribution of accumulated wealth. If every Israelite freed their slaves and debtors all at once chaos would ensue but, if practiced individually, say from bar mitzvah (manhood) to age of 62 (retirement or 50 years) it would have served to strengthen the nation rather than weaken it.
If we can agree on nothing else we can all agree the language of the bible is indeed muddy.
The accumulation of land and other forms of property polarizes the nation into two camps: the very rich and very the poor. The poor slaves and servants are unwilling to fight to defend your inheritence.
When the Visigoths sacked Rome the people stood by the roadsides applauding – most of the population were slaves in some form or other and so too were the denizens of Judea some centuries earlier, which easily fell to Rome.
Ruinous usury and excessive inheritance were fatal mistakes for the Israelites.
There are similar tribal hospitality and sharing customs in many other cultures.