[ExI] A new low

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Dec 21 20:39:33 UTC 2007

bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Dagon Gmail
Subject: Re: [ExI] A new low

...Addiction is not a sign of progress imho. but a sign of a sick society 
that values instant pleasures over everything else...

This "new low" discussion started in reference to the proletariat being not
universally grokish with regard to negative numbers.  That particular case
was in Britain but it works in the states and perhaps the rest of Europe as
well.  I had another thought related to this.

On the radio this morning I heard someone talking about having gotten
involved in some legal battle of some sort.  He mentioned that he had spent
his life's savings.  I was only half listening, but that comment caught my
full and undivided, because I realized it had been some time since I heard
anyone mention the term "life's savings."  I heard it a lot growing up in
the 1960s.  Nearly every adult had a bank account with some unspecified pile
of money in there, which represented nearly all of their liquid assets.  In
the 90s people might have transitioned their life's saving to the stock
market, but an investment portfolio is really the same thing as a life's
savings, perhaps with a bit more volatility.

In the states today, we hear so much about the sub-prime lending crisis, and
how this bank and that bank is in trouble, and how the government plans to
make some people will be eligible for relief from some loans.  This radio
program was arguing that those who will benefit from these programs are the
ones that already have a good credit rating.  I didn't see the problem with
that, seems like those are the ones you want to help: the ones most likely
to pay back eventually.  But the radio commentator was arguing that if it is
targeted at credit-worthy people, it is helping exactly the wrong crowd.
Appalled was I. 

I came to an uncomfortable realization.  Over the years, somehow we have
come to regard a good credit rating as equivalent to money in the bank.
Like the cold cash game, it somehow demonstrates a lack of understanding of
the importance of negative numbers.  The critically important number now is
not the amount of money one has in the bank but rather how much the bank is
willing to loan one.

Am I the only one who sees a deep pathological social condition here?

I welcome the comments of Europeans, Aussies and others.  Same there?


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