How did it happen? How did the material dreams of so many turn into nightmares? Many of those idling away on clogged freeways started when they took out their first student loan. Now they sit, dressed in high heels and ties, praying that the next equity loan on the house gets approved before the repo men, collection agents and bankruptcy lawyers appear. Living beyond ones means -over-consumption - and the cycle of debt are addictions just like any other. Neither the junkie nor the bankrupted consumer became an addict the first time he/she tried drugs or took out a loan but...
As time marches on one un-payable debt leads to another and another. Unfortunately consumers and their debt cycle have been labeled by the dismal science of economics as debt slavery, which it isn't. IMO, calling them debt slaves is both a convenient cop-out for the over-consumers and an insult to real slaves, past and present, who have been bought, sold, tortured, chained and forced into bondage. Debt addicts, like all addicts have a choice. The choice gets more difficult with every pull on the crack pipe or every new big screen TV, but it's still a choice.
Ed Abbey once said, “If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.” "Neither to serve nor to rule" Fits perfectly into a world of self-determined people un-addicted to needless crap, like Bhutan maybe, a world where people free from debt and the endless thirst for more allows space for happiness and joy.
Debt never sleeps, it's the ultimate four letter word. The biosphere staggers under the weight of the materialist delusion of endless growth. "If we take a look at who is actually pushing the environment to collapse according to their consumption levels, it becomes clear by the numbers that the real planet destroyers are not the teeming masses of the Third World, but industrial civilization’s energy gluttons driving their SUV’s, checking their stock portfolios on the internet, and wagging their finger at the huddled masses who have been corralled into megacities because globalization wiped out their indigenous means of subsistence:" - Overpopulated by Homo Colossus
The cycle of over-consumption and debt serve the Bankers and Billionaires Club's bottom line but more importantly in the global picture debt addiction makes individuals, cultures and nations much easier to push around as evidenced by today's headlines from Ukraine and Greece. If debt ridden over-consumers are debt slaves, they're self-indentured.
Lao Tzu said, "Only those who know when enough is enough can ever have enough.".