“My Story Has No Strings Attached”: Credit Cards, Market Devices, and a Stone Guest

[Los amigos del Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion- UC Irvine publicaron como documento de trabajo, la versión actual de un experimento sobre deudas y tarjetas de crédito en Chile del que ya hemos discutido acá]

My Story Has No Strings Attached”: Credit Cards, Market Devices, and a Stone Guest. José Ossandón


In the retail industry, consumer credit is sometimes seen as a dangerous parasite that can become bigger than its host. Credit cards are marketing devices that aim at easing the attachment between consumers and goods. Credit cards are also value meters that trace every single transaction. Credit cards can even be “gardening” tools. Sowing is the name used in Chile’s retail industry to call the data management strategy that consists of extending the credit limit of low income customers depending on their payment behavior. Data on previous transactions and behavior replaces collateral. Credit cards are not only used by the persons whose names are on the cards; People borrow and loan their cards, or, more precisely, their cards’ credit limits. Credit cards do not trace behavior but hidden networks. Can social relations act as parasites on credit – uninvited guests whose host is already a parasite? This article tells the story of a study that started in the middle – credit cards – and slowly became a Serresian economic anthropology.

Link: http://www.imtfi.uci.edu/files/blog_working_papers/2014-3_Ossandon_Working%20Paper%202.pdf

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