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Artists Report Back

What is a work of art in the age of $120,000 art degrees? A new report (PDF) by activist collective BFAMFAPhD laments the shrinking job prospects and growing debt burden for art school graduates. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Oct 21, 2014 - 60 comments

keeping up with the Joneses

give me gratitude or give me debt [more inside]
posted by flex on Sep 1, 2014 - 45 comments

"— a fixer who knew just what to do."

PAPER BOYS: The Dark World of Debt Collection [New York Times] In the murky world of unpaid bills, a banker and an ex-con can make a fortune — if they don’t run into too many crooks.
posted by Fizz on Aug 15, 2014 - 16 comments

Millennials Don't Stand A Chance (gasp!)

Millennials Don't Stand A Chance. A terrific debate from Intelligence Squared: "...spotlight is shown on millennials and their use of revolutionary technology while growing up in a time of recession. Some think they are coddled, narcissistic and lazy. Have we let conventional wisdom blind us to the millennial's openness to change, innovation, and optimism in the face of uncertainty, which, in any generation, are qualities to be admired?" (running time ~50:00) [more inside]
posted by xtian on Aug 14, 2014 - 51 comments

Argentina and the future of sovereign debt

In 2000, Argentina defaulted on international debt, and then renegotiated with most of its bondholders. Some of the rest of the bonds were snapped up by hedge funds at deep discounts. Recently a U.S. district court judge, Thomas Griesa, ruled that Argentina couldn't pay the renegotiating bondholders -- and no bank or other agent could help it pay them -- without paying the hedge funds, too, in full. The 2nd circuit affirmed, the Supreme Court denied appeal, and the ruling could have a major impact on the future of sovereign debt and on the role of the U.S. as a world financial center. If a solution is not found, Argentina will default again today.
posted by shivohum on Jul 30, 2014 - 84 comments

Out to Pasture: Herding Education to Slaughter

Friedrich Nietzsche, famously a full professor at the tender age of 24, was in a good position to develop an acute sensitivity to the university as machine: "The student listens to lectures . . . Very often the student writes at the same time he listens to lectures. These are the moments when he dangles from the umbilical cord of the university. The teacher . . . is cut off by a monumental divide from the consciousness of his students . . . A speaking mouth and many, many ears, with half as many writing hands: that is the external apparatus of the academy; set in motion, that is the educational machinery of the university." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 29, 2014 - 13 comments

For Me, For You, For Later

“Financial education supports not only individual well-being, but also the economic health of our nation,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in a speech last year. In case that doesn’t make clear what’s supposedly riding on this effort, in 2012 the U.S. Senate held a hearing titled “Financial Literacy: Empowering Americans to Prevent the Next Financial Crisis.”

There’s only one problem: mounting, resounding evidence shows that financial literacy education doesn’t work.

posted by frimble on Jan 16, 2014 - 57 comments

A bail out of the people by the people.

Rolling Jubilee have spent just $400,000 to purchase $15 million of Americans' personal debt from banks before 'abolishing' it, freeing individuals from their bills.
Apart from The Guardian, HuffPo and Business Insider no one else seems very interested. Rolling Jubilee is a project of Strike Debt - slogan You are not a Loan. Previously - just on a year ago.
posted by adamvasco on Nov 13, 2013 - 82 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

Matt Taibbi on the Ripping Off of Young America

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal. "The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education - saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy."
posted by homunculus on Aug 16, 2013 - 142 comments

"to restructure your debt is to declare yourself similar to …"

Lee Buchheit, fairy godmother to finance ministers in distress
Lee Buchheit, a lawyer at US firm Cleary Gottlieb, has been present at all the major debt crises of the past three decades. His reputation among investors is as a fearsome and aggressive litigator, but finance ministers in distress see him as something of a fairy godmother.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 19, 2013 - 5 comments

To eat, or not to eat and maybe pay the gas bill instead

Which? poll says many 'borrowing money for food' - "One in five UK households borrowed money or used savings to cover food costs in April, a Which? survey says. It suggests the equivalent of five million households used credit cards, overdrafts or savings to buy food." [BBC]
posted by marienbad on May 5, 2013 - 11 comments

''Escrache'' it's direct action.

Mortgage fraud, faux-democracy and escrache in Spain. Those unfortunate enough to lose their homes are also burdened with a debt for life.
Anatomy of an ‘escrache’.
Spanish banks repossessed 30,000 family homes in 2012 and those who take part in doorstep protests may face fines of up to 6,000 euros in Madrid.
Between 2002 and 2008 an average of 754,000 new homes were built in Spain every year. It is currently estimated that up to 6 million homes remain vacant.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 14, 2013 - 17 comments

Smaller Wallets, Larger Households?

A dozen ultraleft voluntarists arguing about shower schedules is a noise complaint; 120,000 downwardly mobile yuppies doing it out of necessity is a substratum. The material realities of declining wages, ballooning debt, and skyrocketing rents at the core of the neoliberal city have conspired to herd young people into unprecedentedly dense, poor, and precarious kinds of living arrangements. - Andrew Fogle on how the economic crisis is changing how people live together.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 12, 2013 - 55 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

The State of our Metafilter is Strong

President Barack Obama will tonight give the first State of the Union address of his second term in office. The address will again focus strongly on the issues of jobs and the economy. The Republican response will be delivered by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and will focus on traditional Republican messages of lower taxes and spending. The bilingual Senator plans to give his remarks in both English and Spanish in an attempt to reach out to the Latino community which has proven difficult for Republican politicians to connect with. There will also be a Tea Party response delivered by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator Paul will call for reduced spending and debt and for the Republican party to be more welcoming of immigrants. Jill Stein of the Green Party will also give a response. [more inside]
posted by Drinky Die on Feb 12, 2013 - 264 comments

Doctors Do it in Debt

American physicians do not make as much money as you think...
posted by Renoroc on Jan 24, 2013 - 87 comments

Japan

What's Going On In Japan? "Really Japan is quite a remarkable case, since neither fiscal nor monetary policy seems to be working to achieve the anticipated results. This year Japan will have a fiscal deficit of around 10% of GDP and gross government debt will hit 235% of GDP, yet the country is still struggling to find growth. Instead of reiterating old dogmas (whether they come from Keynes or from Hayek) more people should be asking themselves what is happening here. This is not a simple repetition of something which was first time tragedy and is now second time tragedy, it is something new, and could well be a harbinger for more that is to come, elsewhere. Oh, why oh why are economists not more curious?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 27, 2012 - 82 comments

"how we learned to stop worrying and embrace the abstraction"

A Brief History Of Money [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 16, 2012 - 53 comments

Great Wealth Is A Public Trust

Last year, The Cooper Union For The Advancement Of Science And Art publicly admitted it was in dire financial straits and raised the idea of charging tuition for the first time in 110 years. The students responded in an appropriate manner. But now as the specter of tuition becomes closer to reality the students took a more drastic option: Since Monday, eleven undergraduate students have expertly barricaded themselves inside the top floor of the New York college. They talk about what they want. They even get pizza. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Dec 7, 2012 - 68 comments

Fiscal-Cliff-Diving

There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration."
Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 1, 2012 - 214 comments

There is no higher education bubble

It's the splashing, not the popping. What if American student debt is just too profitable and secure to admit any systemic reform? An interesting and gloomy argument against the higher education bubble theory. [more inside]
posted by doctornemo on Nov 21, 2012 - 157 comments

It is a time of freedom and of celebration when everyone will receive back their original property, and slaves will return home to their families.

Rolling Jubilee. New from Occupy Wall Street, a program to buy distressed debt for the sole purpose of forgiving it. It starts off with a show. Previously
posted by charred husk on Nov 8, 2012 - 76 comments

Abracadabra, No More Banking Crisis

IMF Economists are suggesting that The Chicago Plan, first proposed in 1936 as a way to avoid another Great Depression, is the answer to our current economic woes. [more inside]
posted by COD on Oct 22, 2012 - 57 comments

Buying useful things, like roads and universities and health care and solar energy and spaceships, should be better stimulus than fighting wars.

"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs. I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously) on Why Liberalism Works.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 30, 2012 - 109 comments

Overcoming student debt by working in war zone

"If I had felt any unease that I was potentially exploiting a horrible situation for personal gain, it was short-lived. The next four months were the most stressful, difficult, and dangerous of my life until that point, and probably—hopefully—ever. ... On December 31, 2004, I achieved a couple of significant milestones: I made my final student loan payment, and I had a positive net worth for the first time in my adult life. Mortars, rockets, and car bombs aside, that was pretty satisfying."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 15, 2012 - 34 comments

Brother, can you spare a dime?

The National Bureau of Economic Research has published a new paper analyzing 138 years of economic history in 14 advanced economies, which proves that high levels of private debt cause severe recessions. (Via) Bonus SLYT: Money As Debt (1hr)
posted by infini on Sep 10, 2012 - 32 comments

Faster, Stronger, Deeper in Debt

Our proud Olympians and their broke families
posted by Renoroc on Aug 8, 2012 - 52 comments

Grandma's New Financial Problem: College Debt

Grandma's New Financial Problem: College Debt
posted by Quonab on Aug 7, 2012 - 99 comments

The Ones We've Lost: The Student Loan Debt Suicides

The Ones We've Lost: The Student Loan Debt Suicides: "I'm an advocate for people who are struggling to pay their student loans, and I've been receiving suicidal comments for over two years and occasionally receiving reports of actual suicides".
posted by ActionPopulated on Jul 9, 2012 - 188 comments

preventing people from accumulating useful skills

An op-ed in today's New York Times promotes replacing public loans for university students with private equity contracts, wherein funding firms would receive a percentage of graduates' earnings. [more inside]
posted by junco on Jun 14, 2012 - 262 comments

sovereignty and taxation

David Graeber: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 8, 2012 - 85 comments

Christine Lagarde "I think of little kids in Niger"

"So when she studies the Greek balance sheet and demands measures she knows may mean women won't have access to a midwife when they give birth, and patients won't get life-saving drugs, and the elderly will die alone for lack of care – does she block all of that out and just look at the sums?" [more inside]
posted by marienbad on May 27, 2012 - 85 comments

"I had little anxiety about buying things because I simply couldn’t afford anything."

"A Harvard MBA Pays Down $101K Of Debt." Two years after he graduated from Harvard with an MBA, Joe Mihalic, now manager of strategic alliances and business development at Dell, vowed to do “everything in my power–short of lying, cheating, and stealing–to pay down" his student loan debt, (then totaling 90K,) "in the next ten months.” After applying for a weekend delivery job, he also decided to chronicle the steps he was taking on a blog: "No More Harvard Debt." First page of posts is here. Penultimate post explains his process: "Mission Accomplished." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 16, 2012 - 194 comments

I am Hellene

A little while ago a video by a young Greek actress appeared on the web, attempting to hit back at the blame and recriminations her country has suffered in the debt crisis. The video (which follows the style of a beer commercial) created all sorts of reactions in Greece, with some people responding with their own videos. Here is one, and here is another. There are more, but these have become quite popular. Enjoy!
posted by acrobat on May 4, 2012 - 53 comments

Give the US credit

"In other words, credit has become America’s welfare policy," says Sheldon Garon, Princeton University professor and author of Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. The US savings rate currently = 3.8%, while the Euro Area savings rate = 13.7%[pdf]. [more inside]
posted by airing nerdy laundry on May 3, 2012 - 106 comments

Think Of Capitalism As A Very Bad Way Of Organizing Communism

David Graeber in conversation with Rebecca Solnit. From Guernica. Previously.
posted by chavenet on May 2, 2012 - 5 comments

"If you have your checkbook in your car I will be happy to wait for you."

Hospitals in Minnesota have hired a collections company that plants its employees in the ER, squeezing money out of patients before they can get further care.
posted by reenum on Apr 24, 2012 - 67 comments

Crooked Timber on David Graeber

Crooked Timber's online seminar on David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years (previously, previously, previously and previously). [more inside]
posted by nangar on Apr 7, 2012 - 20 comments

Student Loans on Rise -- for Kindergarten

Student loan debt is now extending to K-12 private educations, fueled by parents who believe getting their children into the "right" primary school is essential to future success.
posted by reenum on Apr 7, 2012 - 113 comments

The Ghost of the Colonels

Adam Curtis on The legacy of the Colonels Coup - "What is forgotten is that from 1967 to 1974 the Greek people lived under a harsh and violent dictatorship that tortured and murdered thousands of ordinary people. The Colonels also corrupted the society by handing out vast loans to individuals in towns and villages across the country - to buy their loyalty. At the same time the repression and torture bred a powerful resistance that finally burst out in incredible bravery in 1973." [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Feb 29, 2012 - 12 comments

Saving Rasquera

Mired in debt, the small town of Rasquera, in Spain, is considering an unorthodox source of funding: growing marijuana. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Feb 29, 2012 - 8 comments

Who owns the State NOW?

Robert Shiller wants to replace much of existing state debt by selling shares of the “earnings” of national economies, in units of 1/trillon GDP.
posted by T.D. Strange on Feb 23, 2012 - 39 comments

The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators

The Control Revolution And Its Discontents - "the long process of algorithmisation over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
posted by kliuless on Feb 23, 2012 - 25 comments

My Big Fat Greek Bailout

Greece gains another €130bn in bailout funds. It's a nice headline, but the reports suggest it still isn't enough and Newsnight paint a picture of a fracturing Greek society.
posted by jaduncan on Feb 20, 2012 - 92 comments

Choose Your Own Greek Fiscal Adventure

Choose Your Own Greek Fiscal Adventure.
posted by escabeche on Feb 16, 2012 - 25 comments

The Greeks have no word for "Sovereign Default" OR timeo danaos et linguas quae futurum tempus habent dicentem.

I find that speakers of languages with little to no grammatical distinction between the present and future (weak-FTR ["Future Time Reference"] language speakers) engage in much more future-oriented behavior. Weak-FTR speakers are 30% more likely to have saved in any given year, and have accumulated an additional 170 thousand Euros by retirement. I also examine non-monetary measures such as health behaviors and long-run health. I find that by retirement, weak-FTR speakers are in better health by numerous measures: they are 24% less likely to have smoked heavily, are 29% more likely to be physically active, and are 13% less likely to be medically obese. [more inside]
posted by gauche on Feb 11, 2012 - 70 comments

Sacred Economics and Beyond

"It’s a very ancient idea that the universe runs by the principles of the gift...in fact the purpose for our existence, the reason why we’re here, is to give." Writer Charles Eisenstein speaks on his book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition.
posted by velvet winter on Feb 7, 2012 - 41 comments

Ivy Level Education-with no debt

MIT today announced the launch of an online learning initiative internally called “MITx.” Think you can hack it at MIT? If so, the world-renowned university is willing to give you a new kind of credential to prove it. [more inside]
posted by Ruthless Bunny on Dec 29, 2011 - 50 comments

I'm gonna sing the Doom song now

China's economy poised to join the rest of us in the toilet. I certainly hope one of you smart people can prove this article wrong.
posted by coriolisdave on Dec 15, 2011 - 84 comments

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