The Agenda

Building Better Credit Scores

Weeks ago, Business Insider profiled a few of the Chicago-based start-ups that angel investors Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, best known for backing Groupon, are funding, including an intriguing stealth concept: a company that leverages “the power of the social graph” to build more reliable and more meaningful credit scores. This is exactly the kind of idea that drives my left-of-center friends up the wall, and I love it. It is a sociological truism (or is it a lazy assumption?) that we are like our friends, hence childbirth and obesity are “contagious.” Something similar presumably applies to our financial proclivities.

The difficulty lies in identifying our true social graph. When money is at stake, it becomes important to weight different relationships appropriately. And of course money being at stake will incline us to “curate” our social graph, to make it less like our real social relationships and more like an idealized version of the same — or rather a version designed to maximize our credit score, or whatever other metric we’re looking to game. 

Regardless, we have to start somewhere. This is one reason why I now think I was foolish to cheer on cutting out the for-profit middlemen in the student loan industry: apart from creating a political constituency that would resist populist loan forgiveness, private providers like MyRichUncle really did find new and smarter ways to identify good credit risks. There is value in that.

Reihan Salam is president of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Chicago Gun Myth

The tragically incompetent mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union this weekend to deflect attention from the horror show unfolding in her city by blaming interlopers for its spiking murder rate: “We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, ... Read More
U.S.

The Chicago Gun Myth

The tragically incompetent mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union this weekend to deflect attention from the horror show unfolding in her city by blaming interlopers for its spiking murder rate: “We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Barr-room Brawl

I’ll confess that I did not watch the entire Judiciary Committee hearing with Bill Barr; I’m grateful that Andy and Rich did the work for me. But I have seen enough of it to fully agree with their sentiments. It was a circus, full of gross process fouls, and everyone who is familiar at all with Congress knows ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Barr-room Brawl

I’ll confess that I did not watch the entire Judiciary Committee hearing with Bill Barr; I’m grateful that Andy and Rich did the work for me. But I have seen enough of it to fully agree with their sentiments. It was a circus, full of gross process fouls, and everyone who is familiar at all with Congress knows ... Read More
Culture

Our Summer of Cultural Suicide

Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit. Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions, and cultures simply died off. Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ... Read More
Culture

Our Summer of Cultural Suicide

Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit. Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions, and cultures simply died off. Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ... Read More

Waiting for the Counterrevolution

We are in the midst of a revolution, a cultural and racial one, that seeks to refute the past, damn the present, and hijack the future. So far, however, we have only heard from one side, the revolutionaries and their enablers themselves. Those trying to reject and then reboot America are small as a percentage ... Read More

Waiting for the Counterrevolution

We are in the midst of a revolution, a cultural and racial one, that seeks to refute the past, damn the present, and hijack the future. So far, however, we have only heard from one side, the revolutionaries and their enablers themselves. Those trying to reject and then reboot America are small as a percentage ... Read More