Thursday, October 04, 2007
Swimming with sharks
I just watched Maxed Out (link via coell via Spring), a documentary on the debt industry (credit cards companies, banking institutions, etc.) and how it's in their interest to offer incredible lines of credit to those who can't really afford it since they'll be paying off forever (one example brought up in the film, for every dollar a credit card company attempts to collect, only 33¢ is for the principle—the rest is interest and late fees).
I'm of mixed minds on this. I think it's horrible what the credit agencies have done to the people interviewed in this documentary (half were deep in debt, the other half had family members who committed suicide because they were deep in debt), seducing them with loose credit and no way of ever paying it all off. On the other hand, these are corporations we are talking about, and if by 18 you haven't learned that corporations are out for themselves (or their shareholders if they're public companies) then maybe you should learn it the hard way.
How far should we as a society go to protect ourselves from our own stupidity?
I can see those who don't speak English, or have learning disabilities as sucessfully sueing these companies for fraud; but if you can read and write English, then no, it's your responsibility to read the fine print, since by law, they do have to spell it out (even if it's 10 pages at 8pt).