[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae...

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Mon Feb 11 17:38:57 UTC 2008

Tom Nowell:
>I had a small grant but most living expenses were covered by a
>low-interest loan (which I still haven't paid back). These loans had the
>magic condition of you don't have to pay anything back until you're
>earning at least 85% of the average national wage.

Many of my classmates were financially crippled coming out of the their
universities with their degrees, because they were required to pay
20-50,000 dollars educational loans on their graduate and postdoc salaries
at 'normal' interest rates. What you describe sounds better, but is it
really? Isn't the initial cost what one should address, not how easy it
is to pay off the loan? I strongly object to any aspects of a society
that encourage and support young people to acquire massive amounts of
debt, no matter what the interest rate.

The permanent job that was offered to me in Italy as I was leaving would
have given me the power to walk into any Italian bank and acquire a
mortgage on property where I would not have to pay more per month than
my financial 'means', like your situation, above. But with my 10 
euros/mo permanent salary (with almost no chance of it increasing in 
next ten years), and average prices on property in my area of 300,000euros
for a 70 sqm apartment, I would have a 100 year mortgage. Yet, my
colleagues thought that I was crazy to turn down such a 'great
opportunity' for my life! If you'll notice on Stuart's debt chart, Italy
is not too far from the US in total amount of debt.  Why are these
societies teaching young people -- more, *encouraging* them -- that
massive debt is OK ???????


Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
Research Scientist, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado

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