American Consumer Debt Cause and Effect Essay by Writing Specialists

American Consumer Debt
This paper examines various reasons why American consumers are compiling enormous personal debt.
# 92417 | 1,060 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2006 | US
Published on Feb 20, 2007 in Economics (Macro) , Business (Consumer Behavior)

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This paper explains that this nation, which built itself based on the Protestant ethic of hard work and simple living, is now floundering in individual and fiscal financial woe as America lives beyond its means. The author points out that the advent of easy credit and hyper-consumerism has redefined American values; people do not want to wait to own luxury possessions, such as the expensive cars, which now symbolize American values. The paper relates that another cause of America's financial woes is that, for a great segment of the population, economic realities force many people to live beyond their means, simply to meet obligations like mortgages and healthcare costs.

Table of Contents
The Growth of Consumerism
Economic Realities

From the Paper:

"As with many diseases, affluenza is contagious. Cultural conditioning through media and advertising promote an image of "the good life" that is associated with possessions. Instead of hard work and frugality, possessions such as fancy cars, McMansions and designer clothes were now the symbols of success. It was therefore not enough to have wealth; one had to flaunt it as well. Meanwhile, those who did not have wealth could pretend that they did, by using their credit cards and falling deeper into debt."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bell, Daniel. The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. 20th anniversary ed. New York: Harper Collins 1996
  • "Can our empire of debt continue? USA Today. New York: May 2006.Vol.134, Iss. 2732; pg. 7, 1 pgs
  • de Graaf, John et al. Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic. New York: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2001.
  • Lasch, Christopher. Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. New York: Norton, 1991.
  • Sullivan, Teresa et al. The Fragile Middle Class: Americans in Debt. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Cite this Cause and Effect Essay:

APA Format

American Consumer Debt (2007, February 20) Retrieved May 13, 2021, from

MLA Format

"American Consumer Debt" 20 February 2007. Web. 13 May. 2021. <>