It's in the Cards: Consumer Credit and the American Experience

It's in the Cards: Consumer Credit and the American Experience

It's in the Cards: Consumer Credit and the American Experience

It's in the Cards: Consumer Credit and the American Experience

Synopsis

This is the first comprehensive account of the development of consumer credit. Consumer credit is a vital force driving the development of our economic system. Rather than look at consumer credit solely as an economic phenomenon, Klein examines the social impact of the consumer credit industry within the framework of economic and cultural change. His analysis offers a concise examination of the industry from the perspective of marketing, the creating of material and experiential products, and the product distribution mechanisms. The discussion of changes within the bankruptcy structure accounts for the creation of overzealous consumer spending and the implementation of controls over individual consumer credit. This will be of interest to scholars or students concentrating in economic sociology, stratification, and cultural studies.

Excerpt

Consumer credit is a mainstay of our society. Individuals from every social class position and virtually every occupation or profession accept debt as a way of life. Credit cards are freely marketed on college campuses and at public events. The proferred plastic cards permit the acquisition of many previously unaffordable goods and services.

If we can accept the notion that there is nothing more powerful than an economic idea whose time has come, then consumer credit and financial debt are indicative of the current state of our society. We live fast-paced lives, obtaining airline tickets or other high-priced items on consumer credit and settling the debt at a later point. The middle-class lifestyle is made more attainable through the constant marketing and consumer acceptance of merchandise and provided services. Consumer activity fueled by plastic no longer bears the same stigma as it did for generations preceding and immediately after World War II.

A thorough analysis of consumer credit goes beyond the mere acknowledgment of credit card availability and debt. We must answer questions regarding where the credit card concept originated, why credit cards are a part of many individuals everyday transactions; and the ultimate impact of consumer credit on American lives. The research scope of this study examines the relationship between consumer credit social control mechanisms and the imposition of cultural values. The primary research focus assumes

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