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Margaret Atwood: “A Matter of Life and Debt”

Nachdem man eine Reihe von Journalisten und Finanzfachleuten zum Thema Wirtschaftskrise gehört hat, tut es gut, mal eine Äußerung aus der Feder einer Schriftstellerin zu lesen. Margaret Atwood schreibt in ihrem Op-Ed-Beitrag “A Matter of Life and Debt” (NYTimes.com) unter anderem (NB: smart allusion in the headline):

In “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” for example, human beings are sold to pay off the rashly contracted debts. In “Madame Bovary,” a provincial wife takes not only to love and extramarital sex as an escape from boredom, but also — more dangerously — to overspending. She poisons herself when her unpaid creditor threatens to expose her double life. Had Emma Bovary but learned double-entry bookkeeping and drawn up a budget, she could easily have gone on with her hobby of adultery.

For her part, Lily Bart in “The House of Mirth” fails to see that if a man lends you money and charges no interest, he’s going to want payment of some other kind.

As for what will happen to us next, I have no safe answers. If fair regulations are established and credibility is restored, people will stop walking around in a daze, roll up their sleeves and start picking up the pieces. Things unconnected with money will be valued more — friends, family, a walk in the woods. “I” will be spoken less, “we” will return, as people recognize that there is such a thing as the common good.

On the other hand, if fair regulations are not established and rebuilding seems impossible, we could have social unrest on a scale we haven’t seen for years.

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