Whether it be earning a college degree, buying a house, or addressing income shortfalls, access to credit is essential for many people’s well-being and social opportunities in today’s richest countries. Yet, with credit also comes the burden of debt, which many are shouldering in an unsteady economic climate. But why are some people in some countries more indebted than others?
Andreas Wiedemann, assistant professor of politics and international affairs, seeks to understand this in his new book, “Indebted Societies.” Through detailed accounts of individuals and countries, Wiedemann develops a new social policy theory of everyday borrowing to examine how the rise of credit as a private alternative to the welfare state creates a new kind of social and economic citizenship. He also addresses the fundamental question of who should be responsible for managing socio-economic risks and providing social opportunities.
Endnotes is a podcast series taking listeners behind the cover and through the pages of books and publications on politics, policy, and more — all written by faculty at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). The show is hosted, produced, and edited by B. Rose Huber, communications manager and senior writer at SPIA. Check out the show archives.