Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Great Seduction

I love this column by David Brooks. He makes the point that the deterioration of Americans' financial values is one of society's biggest problems. As I read this I thought back to my days in college where there were kiosks sprinkled throughout campus with credit card companies giving away all kinds of gifts to get college students to sign up for yet another credit card. Really interesting read.


Over the past 30 years, much of that has been shredded. The social norms and institutions that encouraged frugality and spending what you earn have been undermined. The institutions that encourage debt and living for the moment have been strengthened. The country’s moral guardians are forever looking for decadence out of Hollywood and reality TV. But the most rampant decadence today is financial decadence, the trampling of decent norms about how to use and harness money.


On the one hand, there is what the report calls the investor class. It has tax-deferred savings plans, as well as an army of financial advisers. On the other hand, there is the lottery class, people with little access to 401(k)’s or financial planning but plenty of access to payday lenders, credit cards and lottery agents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article!!! Very wise and astute. We, as Americans, need to listen!