Sunday, April 20, 2008
On May 2-3, 2008, the University of Illinois College of Law, in cooperation with the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), is presenting a two-day conference geared to debt counselors, scholars, bankruptcy judges, attorneys, and financial representatives entitled “A Debtor World: Interdisciplinary Academic Symposium on Debt” focusing on the deepening debt crisis in America. Practicing attorneys can earn CLE credit by attending this conference at a cost of just $395. Non-profit agencies and faculty members can register for just $ 195. Online registration and information is available at the official web page, http://www.abiworld.org/Debt08/index.htm.
Perhaps the most
common American experience today is debt. While debt can enable individuals and
companies to do useful things they would otherwise be unable to do, excessive
debt can cause serious financial problems for individuals, businesses and
society at large.
Debt is pervasive in the U.S. today. According to the latest figures from the Federal Reserve, there is almost $30,000 outstanding in consumer credit and home mortgages for every man, woman, and child in the United States. Even on an inflation-adjusted basis, that represents a thirteen-fold increase since 1946 when the figure was only $2,200. There are 900 million credit cards in circulation in the United States. Debt growth has not been restricted to consumers. Business debt is nine times as large as it was in 1946. Put simply, Americans have committed their future cash flows at an unprecedented rate.
Increasing debt loads are not just an American trend. Other countries have experienced burgeoning levels of private debt. In the past decade, the United States consumer credit model has been exported to other countries. Japan, Korea, nd many western European countries have seen consumer debt levels skyrocket. Globalization surely will see high consumer debt levels spread to many other countries.
This conference will explore debt as neither a problem nor solution but as a phenomenon. Many different academic disciplines can make important contributions to help us understand why consumers and businesses decide to borrow money, what happens to businesses and consumers under a heavy debt load, and what norms and institutions societies need to encourage the efficient use of debt. Renowned lecturers from a variety of disciplines will headline this conference, , including Terry Halliday (American Bankruptcy Institute), Heidi Hurd (Illinois, Philosophy & Law), Brian Knutson (Stanford, Neuroscience), Stephen Lea (Exeter, Psychology), Gerry McNamara (Michigan State, Management), Craig Muldrew (Queens’ College of Cambridge, History), George Ritzer (Maryland, Sociology), Amir Sufi (Chicago, Finance), Teresa Sullivan (Michigan, Sociology), Paul Vaaler (Minnesota, Management), Elizabeth Warren (Harvard, Law), and Rich Wiener (Nebraska, Psychology).
In addition, the Conference will welcome acclaimed producer James Scurlock, the producer of the popular documentary film Maxed Out, as the keynote speaker. And, Mr. Scurlock’s film will be shown to a campus and community audience at historic Foellinger Auditorium on the UI Quadrangle on May 1, with commentary to follow by the producer.
For information, contact: Dave Johnson, Assistant Dean for Communications, University of Illinois College of Law, firstname.lastname@example.org, (217) 244-4014.