Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Subprime Broken Rib

With the fall of Lehman Brothers yesterday, the world is a slightly more chaotic place. Global finance is so interconnected, only a fool would say "It doesn't affect me". Japanese businessmen who built careers working for one firm are packing their bags today, dishonoured and shaken. People are scared to look at their next finanical statements, even if they had no direct knowledge of the aforementioned company, which filed for bankruptcy after 158 years in the money business. Analyists relate this to the continued fallout from the subprime lending crisis, where people who wanted to buy houses were furnished with ridiculously low interest initial loans in the hope they could renegotiate mortgages later on.

It doesn't take a Sociologist or Psychologist to understand that people with a history of subsistance living do not know how to save money. It is analagous to leaving your dog with a plate of food for each day you are on vacation, assuming he/she will ration their eating. People are not dogs, but there is a serious problem with capitalizing on people's dreams (like the right to own property), while setting them up for failure. It ties in with a culture of immediacy that encourages us to consume rapaciously without the thought of how and when we are going to find the money to pay for it. I see it as an analogy to the awful state of Montreal's roads. After a century of amusing ourselves to death, someone looked beneath the beer bottles, concert tickets and used condoms and found out that our plumbing is about to disintegrate. What a drag on the party scene!

While I don't expect the world to divest itself of interest in the American economy (afterall, other investment companies were bailed out to avoid the financial repercussions associated with their demise) it would be nice if every Economics program in North American universities featured mandatory courses on ethics and consumer behavior in relation to socioeconomic status. Ah, I'm so naive!

1 comment:

Cubicle 4 said...

O Paul! Keep up the great writing, and moralizing! You'll be the next James Agee in no time!