by Theodore Dalrymple (January 2010)
I was in New York when Lehmann Brothers collapsed and I was in Dubai when property prices fell there by fifty per cent in a week. I claim for my presence no causative relationship to these unhappy events, of course, but it did occur to me that I could start an investors’ newsletter, and charge for it, that consisted solely of my travel plans. more>>>
“Who’s to blame?”
"while you can lead a man to a loan, you cannot make him borrow."
-- but you can engineer a bubble that makes it appear to be overwhelmingly in his interest to borrow. A system that forces young couples to choose between debt+family or no-debt+no-family is going to either kill itself through debt, or through extinction.
Nothing new here - the bankers who print the money will always be made whole when their ponzi schemes collapse, and the people who have evaded their lures of easy credit, who still believe in the old-fashioned virtues of prudence, parsimony and financial accountability, will pay what's left of their meager savings because they are, after all, naive to believe such personal virtues have any effect on the real world. And, in the end, we realize like Antonio that our lives were meaningless until we sacrificed them to debt -- and we die happy, our complicity complete.
Mr. Butrick, Dalrymple did say:
"...almost everything possible has been done to encourage them in their improvidence. In the United States successive governments encouraged, indeed required, banks to lend money to people whom the banks knew to be bad risks; in Britain, a government stood by while banks offered mortgages of 125 per cent to people in areas where unemployment was not exactly unknown, simply because its own popularity depended upon the illusion of prosperity created by the asset inflation which easy money provoked."
I believe, sir , that a theme of your observations of this human enterprse to to shape a better scheme for the happiness of mankind, is that moral overreaching invarriably results in its opposite. How then can you not focus on the grand moral imperative to increase home ownership as the repeated disaster it has been. And would a skewer for Sir Barney, as the champion of home-ownership for the broomless, been entirley innapropriate for the general scope of your observations.
We are like drug addicts.