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Hanna Ficklin
Mrs. DeBock
English 4 Honors
March 4th, 2015
Consumers Changing Debt Loads
Consumers debt is an ongoing worldwide problem. Throughout time consumers have
changed their debt loads but in different ways. Since the beginning of times, debt has existed but
at different costs. Attitudes toward debt is changing each year as society changes the peoples
perspectives. What is causing this change in debt? Are consumers becoming more comfortable
with their increasing debt? Throughout history consumers have found new ways to change their
debt loads. From the ancient biblical period to the modern 21st century, it has been impossible
for people to escape from this debt.
Consumers debt has existed for numerous years. Personal Debt states, The promise
to repay a loan was considered a sacred pledge. Loans and debt were not taken lightly and in
most cases looked down upon. In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeares, performed in the
1600, the words, "Neither a borrower, nor a lender be are proclaimed. It is clear that debt has
been an ongoing issue and used to be considered a dishonorable act. In the Bible and Koran
scriptures have been interpreted as prohibiting the charging of excessive interest on loans that
were made to certain groups of people (Personal Debt 1). Modern day debt has strayed away
from these ideas. Most everyone is involved in some kind of debt, and some even comfortable
with their current ongoing debts.

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Debtors Prison was another step taken in the Middle Ages to prevent Consumers Debt.
Often times people with borrowed money or debt were held in a debtors prison until the debt
was paid off (Consumers Debt 1). The article Consumers Debt claims, In the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, some debtors fled to the American colonies to escape their debts; in
fact, the area that later became the state of Georgia was originally planned as a colony for
debtors. This idea was eventually banned, and now people see debt in a brighter way. No person
can be imprisoned for their debts, because most citizens currently have a tremendous deal of
personal debt for themselves.
When market demands began increasing Credit Card use created a major reason to why
consumers are building up their debts. Consumer borrowing expanded by $14.8 billion in
December, causing consumers debt to increase to an all-time record above 3 trillion (Borrowing
Increased by $14.8 Billion in December 1). Borrowing Increased by $14.8 Billion in
December says, It could be a sign that consumer spending will accelerate as strong jobs gains
give shoppers more confidence about taking on debt. People are allowing themselves to take on
more debt loads when they become comfortable with the debt they currently have, along with
their current job.
Once debt stopped resulting in prison and other acts of cruelty, consumers spent dollars
they did not have. In the 1800s through the 1930s charge coins were introduced (Woolsey 1).
These coins were the start to the newer credit card system. Later in the 1940s oil companies
created their own credit card, resulting in the bank card in 1946 (Woolsey 1). When credit cards
hit consumers, the number for personal borrowing skyrocketed.
Throughout history consumers have found new ways to change their debt loads. From the
ancient biblical period to the modern 21st century, it has been impossible for people to escape

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from this debt. In the beginning disgusting attitudes toward debt existed, but throughout the
many years this attitude has become less concerning. With credit card use and no more
discrimination against debtors, it is easy to get caught up into a dark abyss of debt. Comfortable
thoughts and feelings towards debt now take hold of the consumers, and will only deepen as time
passes.

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Work Cited
"Borrowing Increased by $14.8 Billion in December." New York Times 7 Feb. 2015: B2(L).
Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.
"Consumer Debt." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Opposing
Viewpoints in Context. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.
"Personal Debt." The American Economy. Kim Masters Evans. 2011 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2011.
Information Plus Reference Series. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Harold Jenkins. London: Methuen, 1982. Print.
Woolsey, Ben. "The History of Credit Cards." CreditCardscom News. CreditCards, 11 May 2009.
Web. 03 Mar. 2015.