Deciding not to prosecute the Bank, the
Did he mean people like me?
A definition of madness is to keep recreating the same experience expecting a different outcome.
After a number of 'near misses' over the years, 2008 brought a major financial crisis, generated by sheer greed. It shook the foundations of probably every nation on the planet. Short-sellers (those who divest of an asset in the full knowledge that the pice will fall and they can repurchase at a much lower rate thereby making a profit) exposed a system which, having lost integrity, had lost its way. When the music stopped, the behemoth that was Lehman Brothers was left holding the baby and sunk into oblivion.
World leaders breathed a sigh of relief when, with some sleight of hand, they managed to avert a serious derailment of capitalism. Who knew that the next threatening economic tsunami was waiting around the corner. Not the collapse of another major financial institution this time, but the “collateral consequences” if a European country goes belly up.
On and on it continued, relentlessly. I wanted to yell "shut TFU". The bank had my number on speed dial. The callers and letters were cold and demanding. I was dealing not with human beings but with machines. I lived in a world of robots. On one occasion I asked a woman from the utilities company what would they do if I dropped dead tomorrow. She told me not to be so pessimistic! That was the Fool speaking; it actually enlivened my day.
On the surface it seemed a brilliant deal. The company followed up with telephone calls and text messages encouraging me to sign and return the form as quickly as possible so that my money could be released immediately. Apparently I was considered a ‘good risk’. However, their persistence set off alarm bells. Perhaps that inner voice was right; perhaps my need for additional borrowing was not urgent after all. I read the small print with a fine-toothed comb several times.
In short, this was the prime lender’s ‘sub-prime’ manoeuvre.
However, to draw a smaller amount on the equity in my home at the current variable rate, which would simply add the amount borrowed to my existing mortgage plus the normal interest, was a mountain to climb. It required various checks and verification of my identity, income, etcetera, going back three years. This experience opened my eyes to the efforts invested in keeping the unsuspecting and unwary in debt, the repayment of which lashed individuals to the treadmill of survival.
Money like every other material thing is simply static energy; it is to the world as energy is to the human body, they are both the lifeblood of the system. We exchange static ‘energy’ – whether that is cash, stocks and shares, precious stones or gold bullions - for goods and services to either meet basic needs or provide us with pleasure. When we deplete and waste either type of energy, and/or plunder our reserves, both the earth and human body begins to deteriorate.
Purchasing on credit to me is symbolic of tying up my vital energies; and the interest charged on credit balances represents others getting benefit from our very life force - a bit like the vampire. I now view interest payments as representing a drain on my creative potential, and constraining my autonomy. In mortgaging the home, symbolically we are placing a lien or bond on our own life force, until it can be redeemed. But then most of us have no other choice. For others that is not even an option nowadays.