EP 619 The Economy of Promises

 The idea that someone who has the capacity to loan money to someone else to start a business or buy a house is really what fuels the consumer-based economy in America is indisputable. How that came about, the creative products developed, like a thirty year mortgage, and the safeguards that keep those commitments from running aground are fascinating when you stop and consider them. Often times there is no collateral to back them up and yet we enter into these arrangements, in effect, every time we swipe our credit card. Bruce Carruthers, a Professor Of Sociology at Northwestern University describes the complex arrangements that underpin and lubricate the economy in his book, “The Economy of Promises: Trust, Power and Credit in America”. As we consider what went wrong with the system in the financial meltdown of housing loans in 2009, we must marvel at how well the system generally works for many, though not all, in a society that prides itself on the concept of risk.