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Debt is at the center of today’s economies. Debt can fuel consumption and investment to stimulate economic growth. But debt also has pitfalls. Excessive leveraging of debt contributed to the collapse of mortgage-backed security markets in 2008 and the onset of the Great Recession. Since then, households, students, nation-states, local governments, colleges, and others have struggled under the weight of unsustainable debts.
The excessive leveraging of debt has occurred together with a process that scholars call “financialization.” Financialization is both the growth in the relative size of the financial sector as well as the growing importance of financial markets, strategies and activities throughout the rest of the economy. Debt and Society features research and discussion of the causes, consequences, and meanings of financialization and uses of debt. We hope that Debt and Society can be a meeting place for scholars, policy makers, reporters, and any members of the public who want to join this discussion.