When I asked my economics professor if he could sum up in just a few words what should have been done to prevent the economic crisis, this is what he said. Delayed gratification is the ability to wait in order to obtain something that one wants. His argument is that so many people decided against delaying their gratification, that they made irresponsible choices that compounded into our current economic crisis. Politicians didn't delay when they wanted everyone to be able to have a home. People who couldn't afford a home didn't delay when they signed up for sub prime loans. Lenders didn't delay when they repackaged those loans and sold them off to banks. Banks didn't delay when they borrowed against those packages. Why as a society has it become so difficult for us to delay gratification? Why do we insist on living beyond our means?