EM 36: Does It Pay to Borrow? (1945)

Does It Pay to Borrow?By Roy B. Westerfield,
Professor of Political Economy, Yale University

Revised by Frank Adams, Copy Editor

(Published April 1945)


  • But is it really as simple as that?
  • Can’t a loan be a wise investment?

What Is Debt?

  • The other side of the picture
  • Can you get into debt without borrowing?

What Does It Cost to Default?

  • How about the bankruptcy laws?
  • How does the word get about?
  • Do you want your own business?
  • Are good intentions legal tender?
  • How many kinds of debt are there?

What Is Consumer Credit?

  • What does consumer credit do?
  • Is this an evil?
  • Is our standard of living supported on credit?
  • You can’t buy a car and eat it, too

Does Debt Influence the Way You Live?

  • A hard way of saving
  • How does debt affect character?
  • Can the government do anything?

Do You Like Charge Accounts?

  • How about the installment system?

Do You Ever Need Cash in a Hurry?

  • Loan sharks
  • Personal loan companies
  • Personal loan departments of banks
  • Insurance policy loans
  • Industrial banks

How Much Does Consumer Credit Cost?

Buying a Home

  • Is it better to buy or rent?
  • But on the other hand
  • How are you going to pay for it?
  • Fixing up the old homestead
  • Where else could you turn?
  • Installment purchase loans

What about Producer Credit?

What Does the Government Offer You?

  • Who is eligible?
  • How does he get it?
  • What are the terms of the loan?
  • Where does the veteran get a loan?

What Kinds of Loans Are Guaranteed?

  • Home loans
  • Farm loans
  • Business property loans

What Are the Rules and Regulations?

  • Look out for the con man

To the Leader

  • Possible approaches
  • Practical discussion materials
  • Questions for discussion

Suggestions for Further Reading