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Credit cards and the banking problems
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-11-24 09:10:23
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I’m one of these old-fashioned people who has a credit card in a draw to only use in a case of emergency and that doesn’t include books or DVDs! And of course I have learned my lesson something like twenty years ago when I had a very good job that let me have a nice collection of credit cards and no control over them; but I’m not going to go into that, I think most of you are pretty aware of what I mean.

So past experiences and stories from others have made me keep away from credit cards and to my satisfaction for long credit cards kept away from me, till lately. I suppose you all remember that I live in Finland and I don’t speak the language so when I check my post, most of it is adverts or some kind of marketing post that doesn’t interest me and I’m not going to read anyway so it follows its way to the recycling bin. That till sometime a couple of months ago I noticed the logo of a known international bank mainly American. The letter had my name on and the address was correct.

As I said I cannot read Finnish so I had to wait for the translation which was the usual marketing thing of a bank trying to promote a credit card. As I said, to the recycling bin. But the week after another letter from the same bank followed and then another and another. Something that started as a marketing communication was becoming a stalking or at least that’s how I felt. And I wouldn’t have bothered anymore if I hadn’t found out that the certain American company was in the center of the financial crisis and was asking or better urging the American administration for funding. And all that due to wrong loans and investments on vitriolic portfolios!

And is funny the games the mind plays because one thing brings another and then you find yourself remembering the most amazing things. A few years ago in a friend’s house I found out that his son had just got his first credit card, a silver one and he was a university student yet. My friend and I were wondering how any bank approved a credit card especially one of their supposedly prestige ones with higher expense limits to a student. Of course my friend found out after a few months the truth, the bank after the son crossed the limits and didn’t pay on time started harassing the father even threatening him with taking his house, so nice! You can imagine that this memory send me to the internet starting searching for similar cases and to my surprise I found thousands of them all of them similarly bitter, but the worst of all was not the similarity between the cases and the outcome but how often I saw the name of this gigantic American bank, you know the one who’s demanding help nowadays from the state and by the way has announced over 75,000 job losses internationally!

This very same bank – I presume you have guessed the name by now – has obviously invest a capital on me the last few months with all these letters they have send me and by this ‘me’ apparently I mean me because they obviously paid somebody to find my address and my occupation further more they must have paid somebody to find out my financial situation because how else they know – you can see that from their letter – that I can afford a credit card? I remember something over thirty years ago when credit cards were starting becoming the exchange currency a professor had said that your credit card should never get more than the one twenty-fourth of your monthly income, if it does then you are in deep trouble meaning that even the one twenty-fourth was already too high.

So this bank has invested money to find out that I am a potential customer who can afford I suppose comfortably the expenses of their credit card and of course I’m ready to use it as often as possible, you see I forgot to mention that in their latest letters they mentioned offers, presents I’m going to get if I spend over a certain amount of money and of course cooperation they have with shops and places where I can benefit a discount.

You see with all this stalking and I am very well aware of the meaning of the word I’m using, I’m sure that they have checked my financial situation and they are ready to give me the most prestigious credit dared, unlimited expenses they have on my appearance in their office with the letter they have send me, signed from their manager in Finland. And of course this is where I remembered my friend’s son and his silver card! I’m sorry for the word but these people are full of shit and they want us now to pay for their screw ups. The best way I can put it is, who the hell they think they are and why the hell the state doesn’t tell them to shut up? Why the state, any state doesn’t protect me and in extent protect itself? Because nowadays the governments all around the world are going to use tax money to save the banks submitting in unacceptable and cowardice blackmail, save us otherwise your unemployment increases which means say goodbye in the next election! The people becoming victims of the politicians and I mean it.

I pay my tax hoping for better schools, better education system and better health system; I pay my tax expecting the state to use them for the common good and prosperity not to save the asses of some executives with expensive taste in houses, airplanes and women who screwed up with everything they touched for the simple reason they didn’t care! Because they didn’t care otherwise they would have never invest all these money and time on my friend’s son and me. You think I’m joking with my often reference to me? Think how much money and time these letters have cost and how much money the information about my name and my address has cost them. To find these catalogues with the residents of an area and perhaps their family situation costs money sometimes a lot of money since is personal information and it should be protected which adds to the expenses of a questionable source and perhaps legal problems.

I don’t agree with the Bush’s attitude that the market should correct itself but just think of it, if you screw up with your company would the government come and pay your loans? Of course not, on the contrary the state will help the bank to liquidate every single asset you have, so what’s the difference now with the banks? The state should take over and use the chance to put some rules they have to follow and respect and not use the money that should go to education, research, culture and health to save them. In simple words this is the chance all the states were looking for to stop the bankers of manipulating the system to their advance.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-11-24 14:28:49
Indeed, man is religious by nature; he needs to worship something, either the Creator, or creatures such as himself (narcisism), or idols such as the market made into a demiurge or a god of sort who corrects himself and delivers the goods, never mind Plato's Good. What feeds Moloch the market is human greed or human desires which as they get bigger and bigger (aided by Madison Avenue advertisments)makes us more and more destitute intellectually and spiritually. We do indeed live in very interesting times.

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