This is by my colleague at Beauty and the Breast, Laurie Essig:
Perhaps one of the most bizarre things about America is our economy - which is driven by consumption, paid for on credit. As the sub-prime mortgage market collapses, it might be time to finally ask how we got to a place and a time where 80 percent of Americans are worse off than they were in 1979, but are spending more than ever before. The answer of course is debt. And debt, as anyone who has studied the World Bank and developing countries will tell you, makes you poorer. So when we learn that 85 percent of cosmetic surgeries are paid for on credit (either companies like CreditCare or actual credit cards) and that one third of those getting cosmetic surgery earn less than $30,000 a year (this from ASAPS surveys of cosmetic surgeons), it should come as no surprise. Paying for breast implants on credit is part of overall American patterns of consumption and debt - no different than paying for European holidays or designer clothes on credit. We get poorer but we want more. We pay for it on credit - with interest rates around 25 percent in the cosmetic surgery credit industry - and then we get even poorer. Eventually not just the sub-prime mortgage industry will collapse, but the entire system of debt and credit and consumption. The question is no longer if, but when. And yet, what will happen then? Will breast implants get repossessed the way houses are now? Will we be able to buy repossessed implants on EBay at a discount? How is going into debt to remake the body different than going into debt to renovate the kitchen? What do you think?
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