Streams

Modern Debt Culture

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The AP recently reported that American consumers are increasingly moving away from credit cards and using cash and debit cards instead. Margaret Atwood talks about the evolution of our modern debt culture. Her new book is Payback.

Weigh in: How has the financial crunch affected your own spending habits? Are you using your credit cards more or less often?

Guests:

Margaret Atwood

Comments [5]

Tami from New Jersey

Jews didn't become money-lenders only because Christians weren't allowed to. It was because they were barred from practically every other industry in Europe. They were not allowed to own land. They were not allowed to join professional guilds (therefore not allowed to be professionals). The ONLY opportunity for them to earn an income was money-lending. And a sorry income it was. It reinforced the already strong anti-Semitism and made Jews and easy scapegoat for all evils.

Nov. 26 2008 12:58 PM
Siouxie from Brooklyn

Credit cards are not an option, having defaulted on two Citibank accounts, due to periods of unemployment.

I spend my money on two things: subway travel and food.

Poverty simplifies your life.

Nov. 26 2008 12:45 PM
Gary from UWS

I think Australia should converted back to a debtors prison, and we should ship all the corporate greedsters and government incompetents there for life.

Nov. 26 2008 12:40 PM
Harvey W. from Yorktown Heights, NY

I use a credit card to pay for evrything including food, fuel, cell phone, etc. and make the one payment a month when the bill comes in. In this economy, its best to take advantage of the "Reward" points offered by the credit card companies.
Of course you have to be disciplined enough to make a full payment in order to avoid the interest charges which can be enormous.
Right now I have over 60,000 points which amounts to $600 in merchandise, gas or gift cards.

Nov. 26 2008 12:30 PM
Denise from NY

Do we really need credit for anything other than big-ticket items like a mortgage, car, or to start a business? When I used credit cards, I wound up paying $100 for a $50 item due to interest, fees, and my own mismangement. Since I stopped using credit cards a few years ago, I have less anxiety. Also, I do not feel deprived; since I am not losing my money to interest and fees, and have more (guilt-free)money to spend on my needs and wants. How can one enjoy a handbag or electronic gizmo that they are continuing to pay for long after they tire of the item?

Nov. 26 2008 09:52 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.