Why Enormous Personal Debt Means a More Vibrant Economy

Chris Dillow finds

a silver lining to the ever-increasing amounts of leverage bidding up asset

prices around the world:

My generation (early 40s and older) left college with little debt, and could

buy relatively cheap housing. As a result, we could save, build up housing

equity, and perhaps pay off our mortgage quickly. This means many of us are

in a position to downshift (as I did years ago) or look forward to early retirement.

This means the economy could lose a cohort of highly-skilled workers.

However, more recent graduates are saddled with debt and high mortgages, and

so will have to work longer. This improves the long-run supply potential of

the economy.

This is the point at which happiness researchers start jumping up and down

and saying that people in rich economies who work themselves to death are hardly

the happier for it. But that’s downright uncapitalist, that is. Here’s to cripplingly-large

mortgages and student loans!

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