Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Money and Morality

 I feel like all of my podcasts have randomly been showing me how much I link money and morality. 

On Slates money podcast they were discussing deliberate defaulting on your student loans. 2/3 hosts were adamant that there is no morality to be associated with this. That a loan document is merely a contract and if you are willing to accept the consequences of defaulting then you've done nothing morally probalematic. 

This sort of blew my mind. I guess I'd always felt that there is a moral obligation and that simple explanation has me rethinking. 

Then today on Death, Sex and Money a corrupt police officer talked about his time stealing and dealing drugs. They finished the interview talking about the 35k/year pension he collects. I felt insanely outraged but his argument was that he was serving and was injured legitimately on the job. So as laid out in the contract he qualifies. 

Doesnt our economic system need people to feel a moral not just legal obligation when it comes to money for it to hold up? Is that just because the suckers (me, people who chose to keep paying their severely underwater houses, etc) are numerous enough to balance people who -now I can see, rightly- merely chose to take the legal consequences and bail? Is it time to shake my Pa Ingalls sensibility? 


Titanium Spork said...

The short answer is: no, stay Pa Ingalls. People have a duty to fulfill their contractual obligations. Unless there are dire circumstances that prevent someone from doing so you do have a moral obligation. It is your word that you gave. Fuck people who think they can get away with things and game the system.

aeep said...

Well, I'm also not willing to suffer the financial consequences so that does hold me in check. I just feel surprised that I can see how to server are morality which I thought was directly linked.

Cash on the barrel half-pint.

Kathy said...

Ditto! Stay Pa Ingalls! I am equally galled by people who willfully destroy others' property. When people have stolen things from me or damaged things that belong to me, I am mind-boggled at the lack of moral decency. I worked hard for my car (and it's monthly debt payment) that someone keyed a six foot scratch on in the college parking lot, as just one example. I agree with you and Anne. Your word is your word. If you assume debt, you have a responsibility to pay for it. I can't pinpoint the connection at the moment, but this seems related to the idea that ideas and words don't belong to anyone either. People steal images and words (primarily online) and truly don't understand why it's important to give credit to the original creator and/or ask permission to use the images/words. I get that our understanding of information ownership is changing in our increasingly digital world, but man it makes me feel old!