Borrow: The American Way of Debt

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Vintage Books, 2012 - Business & Economics - 292 pages
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.

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User Review  - Carlie - LibraryThing

Beginning with a story about a young couple who purchase a house only to discover that the terms of the mortgage are set up in a way that makes repayment very difficult, the couple must refinance in ... Read full review

BORROW: The American Way of Debt

User Review  - Kirkus

From an economic historian, a timely look at the evolution of consumer debt in the United States.Staggering debt, specifically in the form of student loans, accounts for many of the numbers swelling ... Read full review


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About the author (2012)

Louis Hyman attended Columbia University, where he received a BA in history and mathematics. A former Fulbright scholar and a consultant at McKinsey & Co., he received his PhD in American history in 2007 from Harvard University. He is currently an assistant professor in Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where he teaches history.

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