For much of history, failing to repay debt was regarded as not merely a breach of contract, but a crime. People who failed to repay their debts in timely fashion were thought to have stolen from their lenders; they were put in prison. In the Middle Ages even a dead debtor's children could be sent to prison.
Now, bankruptcy laws allow individuals and businesses to go to rehab. Then, they can stiff creditors again. Neither sin nor crime, debt is now just a cost of doing business.
~ Bill Bonner, "Paying Off Debt Is Like Dying…," LewRockwell.com, October 21, 2009