These posters explore the intimate links between personal debt, a new moral politics around indebtedness and how that links to the wider political economy of debt in the U.K.

Poster: Credit and Debt – Industry in Crisis

This poster visualizes the shame and emotional strain of debt experienced by many debtors. It advocates for people to speak out and give testimony to the strain indebtedness causes people and communities.

  • The people on the receiving end (debtors) are in crisis, while the industry makes money
  • Food Banks as example of recent crisis, but few public voices of why. Many told it is about being lazy, not working (alcholocs etc.)
  • Advertising – are some lenders targeting vulnerable consumers? and why are they so effective
  • Are rates of profit in the payday sector higher than in other sectors?

Poster: Student Debt

In a similiar way, the student debt poster compares how educational loans  benefit the economy, the higher education sector and the private sector as a whole (from a highly educated work force) versus the costs the student must bear to get an education and the moral complications of asking young people to endure a life in debt for an education.

  • HEI’s are potential power actors on a range of social issues
  • Student fees = up front “tax” without success requirement – i.e. income tax, profit etc.
  • Not Student Debt – Financialisation of Education
  • Apply quality technique “root cause analysis”
  • Movement from welfare to rentier/debtor economy coincided with perception of education as investment not right!!

Poster: The Debt Leaf

The Debt Leaf visualizes how we categorize types of debt over one’s life beginning with how childern experience the debts of their parents to taking on student loans, the high cost debt to make up for welfare cuts, mortgage debt to buy a home and the high cost of debt to supplement stagnant pension incomes.

  • Debt-leaf: Neoliberalism brings a year of autumns
  • Make debt a healthcare issue – link to inequality depoliticize (Medact)
  • Debt risk analysis – should be built into the initial costs, not subsequent charges
  • Debt life-cycle: Different debts for different ‘parts’ of life?
  • Leaf as a motif of interconnection and fragility

First published May 2014