The American Way of Debt

eBook - 2012
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In this lively history of consumer debt in America, economic historian Louis Hyman demonstrates that today's problems are not as new as we think.
Borrow examines how the rise of consumer borrowing--virtually unknown before the twentieth century--has altered our culture and economy. Starting in the years before the Great Depression, increased access to money raised living standards but also introduced unforeseen risks. As lending grew more and more profitable, it displaced funds available for business borrowing, setting our economy on an unsustainable course. Told through the vivid stories of individuals and institutions affected by these changes, Borrow charts the collision of commerce and culture in twentieth-century America, giving an historical perspective on what is new--and what is not--in today's economic turmoil.

A Paperback Original
Publisher: New York : Vintage, 2012
ISBN: 9780307744906
Branch Call Number: DOWNLOADABLE eBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Jun 01, 2013

While this book had some interesting history regarding the change in how society perceives debt and lending, there is a glaring gap in the author's analysis. There is no mention about the Federal Reserve and how it has orchestrated the very thing the author set out of illustrate--the proliferation of American indebtedness. No mention about, for instance, Greenspan's policies of low interest rates and easy credit which produced the tech stock and housing bubbles. The author focuses on big name banks who got into the business of issuing credit cards and approving subprime loans but ignores the biggest bank of them all in this country--the Federal Reserve, which allowed for this all to happen. Huge blind spot for some reason.

Jul 21, 2012

Well written, interesting history of consumer debt in America. Examples from the 1920's show how balloon payments and interest only mortgages are nothing new. Quick read, no need to have any economical background to appreciate this. Solid conclusions on the good and bad of consumer debt.

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