In the fall of 2007, when the U.S. economy first seemed in peril, I began answering reader queries here on the Business Desk. I still do so occasionally, but this page has expanded to include posts from eminent economists, "far-flung correspondents," and a variety of voices that have intriguing and/or useful things to say about economics, broadly defined. Please feel encouraged to respond to any and all of them.
We first set out to cover the student-debt story last year when we read David Graeber's book, "Debt: The First 5000 Years" and listened to him speak (online).
Graeber was pushing a proposal for mass repudiation of student debt. He was arguing that the interest rate incorporates the risk of default, so creditors should hardly be surprised when unforeseen circumstances like a jobless job market make repayment difficult to impossible.
Graeber's online initiative has since been superseded by more practical alternatives -- both of which we mention in our first student-loan story -- but his reasoning is well worth examining.