about   |   writing   |   archives

Debt Visibility

Tokyo: yearly Japanese mortgage statement
 

To what extent is it desirable to visualise, and maintain an awareness of debt?

What happens when things bought on credit by default reveal the degree of ownership, how much was still owed? How might this change the social dynamics of the neighbourhood? At the traffic lights? In the bar?

And the photo? Every year my Japanese bank sends out a mortgage statement for ‘my’ Tokyo apartment – it’s not a simple one-line statement of what is still owed, but rather a half-dozen sheets detailing every one 238 payments over the lifetime of the loan. As debts go, its very real and lies in stark contrast to the tactics still used by the major credit card companies to encourage borrowing, or over-borrowing.