Anglo-American Credit Scoring and Consumer Debt in the Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2007 as Models for Other Countries?
The system of credit scoring has been built up in recent times on the basis of a compromise struck between individuality and surveillance in ways that boosted consumption through consumer debt. This paper considers the role of credit scoring in the recent financial crisis, concluding that even if credit scoring had worked as intended under its own terms, the practice would not have been enough to limit the defaulting of mortgage borrowers under conditions of falling house prices. The broader economic problem is the crippling amount of consumer debt involved; hence the paper places credit scoring in the larger explanatory framework of consumer debt and, more generally, consumerism in its more problematic form. The sorting accomplished by credit scoring is open to abuses in the marketplace, unless it is tempered by the application of guardrails by a regulatory authority. As cultures beyond the Anglo-American sphere adopt this practice, guardrails like those applied to credit scoring in America are needed; as even the current U.S. Administration has acknowledged, the existing guardrails will have to be complemented by stricter social standards. The paper provides a derivation of the theoretical background on credit scoring as surveillance, and includes a literature survey.
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