Customs: Making Bankruptcy Pay

Once upon a time, when both morals and money were harder, bankruptcy was bad. Wastrels used to be bailed out by their better-off relations in order to save the family name from the stigma. But in these days of looking-glass economics, bankruptcy is growing more and more fashionable as a way to settle one's debts and land some more credit.

During the past decade, the national bankruptcy rate has risen dramatically. In 1952, there were 34,873 bankruptcies, of which 28,331 (81.3%) were personal; in 1962, the U.S. total jumped to 147,780, of which...

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