In this day and age you are seen as a different entity if you do not have a credit card. But in the current economic state, I wonder why this still remains the case. Since credit cards came to be, they have been seen as a status symbol, ‘all the rich and powerful people have them so does that mean I can be rich and powerful if I have this piece of plastic?’ is something that might have been going through the mind of many people worldwide when credit cards were introduced to the world. Almost everyone I know my age has one, and almost all of them regret it. Not only that, it is BECAUSE of credit that we are in the economic crisis we are in today. People didn’t seem to understand that credit, though it is an invisible currency, it has real repercussions. This adds even more interest rates, where they charge extra to people who don’t even have the money. What does anybody get out of this situation? Well… I suppose bankruptcy, foreclosures, and ultimately the death of the American dream. To me the American Dream is the idea of a society where you can be what you want, and do what you want however you want, so long as you are not hurting yourself or others in the process. Ultimate freedom. The United States was founded on such beliefs, was it not? This is a universal ideal, freedom. What does freedom mean in a world with an invisible currency? Well, it simply does not exist. When people can be weighed down by invisible chains, they will never grow, though you cannot see the chains, it does not mean they are any less heavy. Credit can, and has destroyed new businesses, and businesses that have been around for a long time. Just like the housing market, it pulled the proverbial carpet from under everyone’s feet, but very few were left standing.
Credit cards can come in handy from time to time. Perhaps your getting paid tomorrow but you have no money to eat tonight, just put it on the card and pay it off when you get paid. Perhaps your in college (like myself) and you need your text books but you can’t pay for all of them at the start of the semester. Put it on the card and pay for half one paycheque and half the next. In these ways, in precautionary ways, credit cards excel. I believe every student should have one, just in case of an emergency, and anyone who attends college knows from day one that these emergencies happen often. I applied for a credit card once, only to get declined. I didn’t understand because my credit rating was amazing, I have never missed a bill in my life, my whole family has a great track record. When I put more thought into it, I decided I didn’t really need one at the time, I’m sort of glad I didn’t re-apply. Though I am a student, I like the challenge of balancing paycheques. Also, scholarship money helps too.
Before, when, for example, a new film maker wanted to break out, he would borrow money. Maybe not just from one source, but likely a bank was involved at some time. Banks would give out loans, and add interest rates on the loan based on how much was borrowed, and how long it takes to pay it back. Credit cards are based on this ideal. Cheap, and easily accessible loaning of money, or credit. This seems innocent enough, only when everyone has these loaning devices, even the unemployed and the welfare lifers, something is wrong. Why are credit card companies loaning money to people who simply do not have it? Because they can charge interest? Perhaps they missed the lesson in grade 3 where anything multiplied by zero is still zero. In this case, you can’t go zero to hero either. As King Lear said in Act one to his daughter “Nothing will come of nothing”. All the current system of credit does before giving the cards out is they check the applicants current credit rating. For most people, it’s all downhill from there. Put yourself in debt, allow that debt to get additional charges on it, and watch yourself paying bill after bill for the rest of your life, not able to go anywhere because you had to have all those things that nobody needs. Maybe your wife goes shopping from time to time and spends a few hundred dollars, maybe you wanted a nice sports car. Capitalism is only a destructive force when you become careless enough to let it. Don’t be so hasty to point that finger, because it is all your fault.