Nearly everybody in this country will end up in debt. This class will explore the causes and consequences of debt.
We will study different types of debt, including spending that reflects wise investments in the future (good debt), more frivolous spending that is to be avoided whenever possible (bad debt), and spending that can ruins your life (ugly debt). We will explore the effects these types of debts can have on both individuals and on society at large and will explore consequences that can be easily imagined as well as those that are more hidden and unintended.
We also will critically examine the culture of consumption in the modern United States and will compare it to prior eras in history in order to gain an appreciation for the social forces that currently shape attitudes about debt and spending habits. Throughout the course, we will consider the ways that both individual knowledge and structural factors (e.g., laws) can empower consumers to manage debt and to avoid, at all costs, the traps of ugly debt.