Margaret Atwood prophetically wrote Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth just before the 2008 economic crash which had been ushered in by irresponsible lending. I was in middle school during that recession, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to grasp how previous generations understood debt, but I understood from a young age that my generation would be defined by it.

Payback is just as relevant post-2020 as it was in 2008. We are experiencing, yet again, a cruel economic recession, but our current confrontation with debt goes deeper. Atwood asserts that humans share an innate…

Megan Newsome

Astrophysics PhD student at UC Santa Barbara; NSF Graduate Research Fellow

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