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Debate format: Culture of Debt

May 18, 2007

    1. DEBATE: Buying ABJDs fuels the 'culture of debt'.

      In this instance, the term 'culture of debt' refers to a spending pattern where an individual continually buys items on credit, and with money that they don't materially possess, rather than saving up funds. They are constantly paying this money back and living outside their means.

      This is a semi-formal debate, so in your post, please present your arguments for or against the above statement. Like a formal debate, use of supporting evidence (as opposed to pure opinion and speculation) is highly encouraged, but not absolutely required. Unlike a formal debate, there is no limit on the number of times you can 'speak' - or post, in this case.

      Please make sure you're up-to-date with the Debate forum rules before posting!
    2. Against

      While I do believe, and have seen, many people go into debt or rely on credit cards to buy BJD, I wouldn't say that BJD fuels this culture. I'd say that if someone is going to have this kind of mentality for dolls, they will likely have it towards other hobbies and luxuries. I for one will always save first and buy later, not wanting to rely on loans and credit cards.
    3. For- Kind of

      Anything expensive fuels a "culture of debt" Cars, houses, computers, jewelry, shoes, clothing, all of that fuels it. It's a matter of the person. Usually if someone didn't find BJDs to spend money they don't have on, they'd find something else to spend it on. While BJDs DO fuel it, it's not only BJDs, it's anything expensive combined with the right person.
    4. I have points on both sides of this


      I have seen a LOT of people; go into debt due to dolls. I have seen perople buy dolls then a week later have to sell off the bodies or LE outfits they -HAD- to have because they cannot afford bills or needed things. Of course mostly this is due to the person's lack of the ability to budget within their means. However, sometimes I personalily feel that it almost seems that one must have the LE dolls, or LE outfits or this faceup from this perfect person in order to get a few comments on a thread.


      While, some people cannot budget others can, and do it marviously well. They know how to balance dolls and life needs. and are not pressured by the ongoing trends in the dolly world.
    5. So - so

      If you know full well before your next statement that you can pay off what you just purchased, then I haven't a problem with someone using their credit card to buy a BJD. If they pay up their balance in full, they incure no interest so it's not going into a spiralling pit of debt.

      On the other hand, as much as I was tempted to buy my first on my credit card I knew full well that I'd be stung with the interest and it will be a never ending cycle.

      But as others have said, paying for a BJD with a loan or a credit card isn't the reason for this culture of debt. 'Cause as many probably are, they will be just as happy to use a credit card to pay for a different luxury and not just BJD's. The debt culture is more down to society itself and good advertising. How appealing is it to pay something on credit and only have to pay it little by little each month? Great right? You'll get what you want straight away and enjoy it for a long time while you pay it off.

      But the harsh reality is once you do make that purchase, you're paying interest each month. And dolls don't come cheap and neither will the interest. Once some people get the 'bug' of doing that, it's something they do for each expensive purchase they make. And thats not how to treat a credit card. It's a wonderful thing to have and I have one myself. But it's for emergencies, buying supplies [commissions], buying from the US since they won't take a UK debit card. Whatever it is, I'll keep the cash aside or once payday rolls around, it's paid in full. It's not often I'll not pay the whole thing off on whatever I've brought.

      I've seen far too many people use credit cards like a toy. But if you're on a low income or a student, it's even more stress. Stress unrealised until you've gone crazy on the things and your statement comes.

      Unless it's any of the things I mentioned above, I won't use it. I don't use my credit for holidays or anything like that - I just save. You know the money is there and yeah, it takes awhile sometimes. But at least you know you're not going to struggle later on to make a repayment on your piggy bank.
    6. On the fence/Mostly against?

      In today's society, it's very hard not to live above your means. Many people are forced to make a lot less then what they are worth, but media pushes us that we all want to spend like the top 1-2% of the population does.

      Many people have the grapple with the decisions of wanting to go out, wanting to do this and do that all on poor wages. Even on a somewhat good one, people find themselves with nearly empty bank accounts in between paychecks.

      Debt has now become one of the things nearly every one shares, whether it comes from purchases or education. It's a common, understandable ground.

      In an ideal world, we could all save up to buy the things we desire, but that doesn't always happen. In the case of the hobby, doll releases can happen quite fast and at times when you haven't padded yourself up for something you want (saving is especially hard when dolls like limiteds are released that you have little warning for and no real idea before hand that you'd actually really want). An argument can be made that it's all about right place, right time, and there is always latter, but with the rocketing market prices, it's almost impossible to feel like the release is the only true chance.

      While all of this sounds grim, debt is extremely manageable and not something people should fear. Just because someone is always buying on credit, doesn't mean it's a bad thing (they could be budgeting themselves that for them it is acceptable). For a personal example, I bought a DSLR on a credit card (due to not having the funds on hand) and paid it off over several months. Interest might have cost me more then what I would have spent just saving up, but I felt it was worth it.

      I don't think the BJD hobby fuels the culture of debt. It doesn't help, but it's not the main problem. The important thing is to keep on top of it all.
    7. I feel like the debt issue is a case-by-case sort of issue, and some people are simply just not able to control their spending habits.

      I DO think that BJD hobby promotes buying expensive things though. I, personally, do not believe that dolls jeans should cost any more than 30 dollars tops. They are miniature jeans, I do not care if they are hand made etc, the prices for some clothing and props is ridiculous. I think that if there were more encouragement towards making clothing (which is really very widespread, but even seamstresses buy clothing) and buying things that are "Cheap" then some would be more comfortable getting creative with their money.

      I'm not sure if that made sense, but that's my POV anyhow...
    8. Against

      The type of behavior described in the first post is reflective of certain spending impulses that I feel would most likely be exhibited in other forms if said person was not buying dolls. Perhaps they would be buying designer handbags and shoes instead. It is an impulsive, addictive behavior much like gambling or overeating. I will attempt to track down some creditable sources on the manner, but I do remember reading about and discussing this issue in a number of my undergrad classes. I also remember this being discussed on such popular shows as Dr. Phil. I believe he cited clinical research to back up a similar assertion.
    9. Hm. I have to say, I know many more people who have gotten into debt buying expensive clothes than dolls. Or any other kind of luxury "treat" for themselves, really. I've bought a couple of dolls (Blythe/Pullip, so around or under $200 each) with a credit card, but it was only because that was the only type of payment the sellers accepted, and they were paid off immediately. If there were a LE doll I bought as part of an after event or jsut for a good price on a credit card, and I knew I could pay it off moderately quickly, I might do that just because I knew the same doll might cost me twice as much a year down the line when I have the money, and I'd hopefully be paying less in interest that the doll's price inflation.

      Overall, though, I do think it's a bad idea to buy a doll on credit. Dolls are far from being a necessity, and while I would consider getting into debt for a car an okay idea (as most people do, how many can really buy a car without any loan?) since having a car can increase your employment possibilities and perhaps help you get a better job to pay it off faster, etc etc, I don't think a doll is important enough to get into debt over. I don't mean that dolls can't be important to a person, I know to some they are like childredn... but I wouldn't advise people to have kids when they can't afford to pay for their needs either. But I think a lot of people right now grow up thinking that it's OK to be in debt, or rack up a huge credit card bill, because youc an always pay it off later, and they don't realize that they may have just as little money to put into their bills "later" as they do when they're buying things on credit.

      Of course, I'm not one to talk, we're currently paying off a fairly large bank loan! : P The reason why I can't buy myself a beauiful Cue... more important debts. T_T
    10. Eh.... I think it depends on the individual.

      Some people have access to credit cards, while some do not.
      If everyone had a credit card, then we would be able to say "Yes" or "No" because there would be a solid number to work on.
    11. For:

      In a hobby like this where it's abundant from the moment you enter that there is a lot of money involved there's going to be someone who gets in over thier head. There have been numerous cases on the boards of people selling dolls becuase they dug themselves into debt ( weather or not doll buying is the cause it doesn't help) and now have to sell dolls to get out of it.

      if we add to this LE's, special auctions, sudden new openings and even mad dashes for commission slots you're bound to have people reaching for third credit card so they can get that one doll/item/slot without fear of having to wait to have money and losing the chance forever. We even have a thread in GD that talks about how many people have missed dolls for lack of saved money or inability to pay fast enough ( admittedly amongst other reasons.)

      A combination of factors in this hobby make it a contributing factor in our culture of debt.
    12. Against.
      I don't think we can blame a material item for fueling a "culture of debt". It's an individual's choice whether to go into debt and how far to go before you stop and pay it off. Almost any material object can fuel a "culture of debt" if a person makes bad choices. Unless it's for a necessity such as health care or needed food (as opposed to too much food), no one forces a person to spend money. Any "culture of debt" is due to the individual and not to the items that are up for sale.
    13. Against... because the purchasing of BJDs forms VERY little of the overall debt incurred worldwide. In general, I think that BJD owners are not rich. So a $700 BJD costs more ready cash than people generally interested in BJDs have, which is why it is tempting to pay for them on credit rather than saving. Also, limited editions and specified ordering periods force people to buy on impulse rather than saving.

      I agree with what others have said. It is the individual's sense of responsibility (or lack of) that causes the debt, not the BJDs themselves.

      Linda S.
    14. Against:

      While there may be many many BJD owners that are not vocal about it, I see a lot more people with "Saving for:" in their signatures and posts than "paying off:". It does not seem to be a widespread epidemic.
    15. Somewhere in between.....

      I don't blame the dolls, although its what I am most tempted to put on my CC, while others it easily electronics or expensive purses.

      Most the companies take paypal, and the only way to be safe with paypal is to use a CC, so its more tempting.
    16. Somewhat for, somewhat against.

      The dolls themselves are less to blame for fueling any sort of "culture of debt" than the fandom is. There is such a high recognition and non-monetary value placed on expensive and rare dolls. That drives up both the cost and the temptation/desire to spend a lot on them. So in cases like that (putting thousands you don't have on a credit card to purchase a one-off, for instance), I would place more emphasis on the fandom than on the dolls themselves, but I would also say that one could interpret it as promoting a "culture of debt".

      On the side against, though, I would agree with others in this thread who have stated that BJDs are just one of a number of luxury items that people spend money on (whether they have the means to or not). Americans, at least, live in a consumer culture. The focus is on having the newest, best, shiniest, most expensive thing, and that can translate into any hobby. BJDs are the perfect venue for that kind of thinking, due to the emphasis I mentioned earlier, on expensive/rare dolls, accessories, etc. Most people who get into BJDs (or perhaps I should rephrase to say "most Americans", since I can't speak for other nationalities or areas of the world) have already been conditioned into that consumer mindset far before they discover this hobby. Some manage to overcome the culture and budget themselves reasonably, others don't. But the BJDs themselves don't really cause the mindset.
    17. I was a little silly when buying my first - I had the money, but absolutely no income at the time. Fortunately because I live with my family, I didn't really have to worry about paying any bills :sweat
      Second was more sensible, I knew I was going to be recieving some money I was owed that week so I put him on my overdraft, then paid that off the next day. :)

      I already have some debt from previous non-doll purchases which I have to pay off slowly, so I know the perils of "buy now, pay FAR MORE later" of credit cards, and because of that I would never put a doll on credit unless I knew for certain I could pay it straight off.
      I haven't seen a LE that I would have really wanted, either, so I'm relatively safe there. :sweat

      Being in the UK, I don't know what value the $ is worth besides the fact we have to half the number to get a vague estimate. For hand-made jeans, I'd consider that a good price! Yes, the materials required are far less than jeans for humans, but if you try and actually sew a pair of them for MSD, it's very difficult to do - the small scale makes it awkward to sew anyway, and then if you're putting things like pockets in... you have to be very good with a sewing machine to even attempt it.
      What makes the clothes expensive is that when you pay, you're paying for the time the seamstress has spent on the garment rather than the cost of materials. I have to say, I've seen some things on the marketplace where they're really undercutting themselves - our minimum wage here is about £5 an hour - so if you take the cost of materials off, the seamstress is getting paid for less than 2 hours work. When I make clothes for my girl, it takes me twice the time to what it would for a human-size because you have to sew things in a completely different way - just things like attaching sleeves before sewing up sides because the sewing machine won't fit in the space take up far more time.

      Doll clothes can't really be mass-produced like normal clothes can, because although there are plenty of doll owners, there really isn't the demand for anyone to outsource cheap labour. So really, you have to somewhat expect them to be a little on the expensive side. I mean, you wouldn't expect someone who does a delicate, labour-intensive job to get paid less than they deserve for the time?

    18. Culture of debt huh? Buying BJD's on credit is hardly the cause, but it obviously contributes.

      I'm considerably older than most collectors, and would say I have a handle on this whole debt culture problem.

      Essentially, it's the price we are obliged to pay for living in a capitalist society. We are required to constantly purchase new things to fuel the economy. We are obliged to dispose of perfectly serviceable items in order to create space for their replacements. We are encouraged to buy more than we need - of everything.

      Sometime in the 1970s the concept of personal credit was invented and created a massive boost in the flow of cash - into the Banks.

      At the end of the day, the whole capitalist system depends on Consumerism. To feed the system, we must buy and buy and buy. We are persuaded at every level that our lives are empty, inadequate or wrong, if we do not purchase soap powder A, or diet meal B, or canned drink C. We are pressured by our peers to compete for possession of more and more expensive objects. We can no longer be happy with enough. We must have excess.

      We've been fooled. We have been sold a dream that is nothing but empty promises and broken dreams. The non-stop consumption of products is not the satisfying end to our problems. It's the cause. We have become addicted to shopping, and credit is fuelling the addiction.

    19. Against.

      I believe a culture of debt is something fueled by individuals and not products. No one forces anyone to buy dolls, cars, houses, diamond rings, furniture, so on and so on.

      You cannot blame a lifeless thing for the actions of the living. Regardless of the argument "well I had to have it" there is no evidence stating that a certain item FORCES any individual person to purchase it.

      Alot of people believe in instant gratification instead of working hard for something and saving up, so I believe that irresponsible people fuel the culture of debt and not dolls made of resin, or any other particular item.

      If people were a bit more patient instead of rash when it came to making major decisions like this, there probably wouldn't be a so-called "culture of debt." Unfortunately, it's how the world works. Everyone's out to make a dollar, including the credit companies who just LOVE people to go into debt.

      It's a trend that I don't see changing either.
    20. Well, hand made isn't really popular in the culture of 'go for the cheapest'. :/ I know this is a problem within people who are making talented jewelry and decorations. Why pay them decently for their time when you can get the item for a lot less at some 1$ store or similar?

      And to the topic itself, I'm going to blame BJDs for it. Of course not the dolls, but the fandom (I believe that was meant in the debate topic). As a European with a different kind of consumer mindset, I'm sometimed shocked to read post including statements on how they shouldn't buy, but need this or that cute dollie, now now, before it's too late. And how they should cut their credit cards in half. Sometimes it seems like the cool thing to say, the normal chit-chat even if you in reality would have the money? Also, honestly, this community often frowns on cheaper BJDs. You aren't the cool kid with a DOD doll. Also the pressure for the highest priced limiteds was mentioned before. When everyone adores that certain Volks limited oh so much, it might set the opinion of others. Without realizing it yourself, you might slowly start to consider it the must have doll, even if you would have chosen differently if all the dolls were on the same starting line.