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Mu$eum of American Finance


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Toxic Assets

Toxic Assets
The Museum of American Finance has a series of panels explaining the cause of the 2007 global economic/ banking crisis. The museum is quite frank about the proliferation of toxic assets such as the CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) and ABS (asset-backed securities) that caused a massive increase in personal and household debts since the mid-1990s.

The Western world has seen its personal and household debts soaring since the credit cards were first invented in the 1960s. These days, people buy everything on borrowed money using credit cards, personal lines of credit, taking loans out of the home equity, or whatever other fancy loans the banks invented for us.

It seems like the perceived "rise in living standard" in the past 20 years was mostly paid by borrowed money.

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