A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 08, 2012
Debt-Serfdom

"Debt-serfdom” (or “debt serfdom") is a condition where someone works like a serf or slave to eliminate a large debt. The term “debt serfdom” has existed since at least the late 1800s, but was applied to college costs by 2005. The blog “Of Two Minds” by Charles Hugh Smith popularized the term on October 19, 2011 with the essay “The Origins of American Debt-Serfdom,” reprinted on Business Insider as “Debt-Serfdom Is The New American Norm.”

“Student Debt Serfdom” appeared in Dissent magazine on February 7, 2012. Charles Hugh Smith wrote an “Of Two Minds” blog post about student loans on March 7, 2012:

“Debt serfdom is most effective when it starts young, so graduating with $100K in student loans and a couple thousand in high-interest credit card debt is the perfect start.”


Google Books
Strapped:
Why America’s 20- and 30-somethings can’t get ahead

By Tamara Draut
New York, NY: Doubleday
2005
Pg. ?:
This life of debt serfdom often begins in college. About a quarter of all college students report using credit cards to pay for tuition and books.

OpEdNews.com
March 15, 2008 at 12:26:43
Debt Serfdom Comes to America
By Ellen Brown Posted by Ellen Brown
Today We’re All Irish.

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, when people of all national origins raise a glass and declare, “Today we’re all a bit Irish!” This may be truer than we know. The Irish were driven to America by debt, and they are leading the Western world in household debt today.

Of Two Minds by Charles Hugh Smith
The Origins of American Debt-Serfdom (October 19, 2011)
The commodification and expansion of credit and the transformation of housing from shelter to speculation doomed the nation to debt-serfdom.
How did America become a land of debt-serfs? We can trace our debt-serfdom to three core dynamics which now dominate the American economy. To understand the transition from a state of minimal financial wealth/maximum freedom to one of debt servitude (illusory wealth and sacrifice of freedom for all that lifetime debt can buy), we first need to understand the gradual nature of this transmogrification.

It has become a cultural given that major political changes are often wrought by conspiracies, official or informal. Conspiracies--otherwise known as crony or cartel capitalism and insider manipulation of process and perception--do exist. However, major cultural shifts are long, drawn-out affairs that result not from conspiracy but from the steady application of self-serving agendas by wealthy, politically powerful special interests.

Business Insider
Debt-Serfdom Is The New American Norm
Charles Hugh Smith|October 19, 2011

Of Two Minds by Charles Hugh Smith
EU Fiscal Union = EU Debt Serfdom (December 7, 2011)
“Fiscal union” is a code-phrase for a highly profitable debt-serfdom: the banks profit, the EU bureaucracy flourishes and the people of the EU are imprisoned in a modern serfdom.
The stock and bond markets are gearing up to celebrate the EU’s approval this Friday of “fiscal union,” the necessary surrender of sovereignty that’s needed to seal the bondage of the EU’s hapless citizenry to the banks and the lapdog bureaucrats slavishly devoted to their dominance.

Dissent magazine
Left Forum: Student Debt Serfdom
Editor - February 7, 2012 11:37 am
(...)
The Daily estimates that for students in the class of 2034, a college education in the United States will cost between $81,000 and $422,320. College tuition rises far faster than the rate of inflation, while median family incomes decline. According to the Project on Student Debt, two-thirds of college seniors graduated in debt in 2010, at an average of $25,250. They faced the highest youth unemployment rates in decades.

Increasing levels of student debt have been accompanied by laws preventing relief or forgiveness of loans. Creditors can seize any type of income, including Social Security, from indebted graduates. The loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Zero Hedge
Guest Post: Our “Let’s Pretend” Economy: Let’s Pretend Student Loans Are About Education
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/07/2012 12:34 -0500
Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds
Our “Let’s Pretend” Economy: Let’s Pretend Student Loans Are About Education
(...)
Student loans are skyrocketing—yes, America, we have a growth industry and it’s called debt-serfdom. Debt serfdom is most effective when it starts young, so graduating with $100K in student loans and a couple thousand in high-interest credit card debt is the perfect start: ...
(...)
What that $1 trillion does further is profits and debt serfdom. Here are a few other resources to review:

The $1 trillion student loan market begins to implode Department of Education shows two-year default rates at for-profit colleges up to 15 percent. Student loan debt increasing at a rate of $170,000 per minute.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Thursday, March 08, 2012 • Permalink