There used to be a time if you didn't have money to buy something, you just didn't buy it.
A revolution comes when what was taboo becomes mainstream.
Ruth Simon And James R. Hagerty:
23% of all mortgage borrowers in the US are underwater.
David Foster Wallace:
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"
In every age, taboo questions raise our blood pressure and threaten moral panic. But we cannot be afraid to answer them.
Simon And Hagerty:
Mortgage troubles are not limited to the unemployed. About 588,000 borrowers defaulted on mortgages last year even though they could afford to pay -- more than double the number in 2007, according to a study by Experian and consulting firm Oliver Wyman. "The American consumer has had a long-held taboo against walking away from the home, and this crisis seems to be eroding that," the study said.
John Bird and John Fortune:
They thought that if they had a bigger mortgage they could get a bigger house. They thought if they had a bigger house, they would be happy. It's pathetic. I've got four houses and I'm not happy.
I've gotten old enough that I now understand why adults seek to escape reality. Paradoxically, I think I was better at escaping reality when I was younger.
On the island where he encounters the Wild Things, Max talks of his desire to do away with the "sadness and loneliness" -- something that has less to do with their needs and desires than with his own -- or, rather, with the screenwriters' notion that so much of experience can be summed up under those two signifiers, and that there's some implicit happiness awaiting those who can suppress them.
It's becoming traditional at this point to argue that perhaps the financial crisis will be good for us, because it will cause people to rediscover other sources of value. I suspect this is wishful thinking, or thinking about something which is quite a long way away, because it doesn't consider just how angry people are going to get when they realize the extent of the costs we are going to carry for the next few decades.
The Economist's Washington correspondent:
By some measures, America already has a lost decade in its rearview mirror. A couple more would mean a lost generation. Worst of all, it would mean my generation. I thought I was unlucky graduating into the tech bust. I had no idea.
1 in 4 Borrowers Are Underwater