Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ask and you shall receive: a trap?

Getting (and giving) what we want can bring on big trouble

1. Mom gives kid chocolate diet
Did you hear about the preschooler last year who ate a mostly chocolate diet?
“Chocolate milk, chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip pancakes — it was unbelievable,” said Ms. Worobey, director of the Rutgers University Nutritional Sciences Preschool in New Brunswick, N.J. “His mother just thought, ‘That’s what he wants, so that’s what I’m going to do.’ ” More here.
Another trap brought on by asking and receiving...

2. Debt Trap
In a magnificent piece, "The Debt Trap", NY Times Louise Story leads with a popular slogan lenders used - successfully - to entice people to get a second mortgage on their home:

"Live Richly."
"The advertising campaign, which cost some $1 billion from 2001 to 2006, urged people to lighten up about money and helped persuade hundreds of thousands of Citi customers to take out home equity loans — that is, to borrow against their homes. As one of the ads proclaimed: “There’s got to be at least $25,000 hidden in your house. We can help you find it.
Nearly a quarter of Americans with first mortgages have seconds. It's been a boon for banks. And people got money they wanted.
"However, what has been a highly lucrative business for banks has become a disaster for many borrowers, who are falling behind on their payments at near record levels and could lose their homes."
Yes, cool ads encouraged Americans to go deeper into debt. But bank executives say that their customers wanted to borrow more money, and that desire is what drove changes in the lending marketplace. Consumers wanted more credit...and got it.

Now both borrowers AND lenders are in - way over their heads - and ALL stand to lose money, homes, positions of power, self esteem - just check today's latest congressional bailout news.

We asked for it, and we got it. In hindsight, maybe that wasn't such a good idea.

3. Industrial food trap.
Hasn't food become like debt? We want lots, fast, cheap with a dab of salty, crunchy, sweet, and oh - make it stimulating, too. Well, we got it. And look it. And feel it.

And big manufacturers thrive, happy to feed our need for speed. Of course they justify what they produce by pointing to our demand for it. And telling themselves that if THEY didn't sell us this stuff, someone else would.
Meanwhile, one day on Main Street, everything goes upside down. An unexpected diagnosis. Your neighbor is stricken. You hate looking in the mirror or getting naked. You know you're not eating and living right and it's getting worse.
But what to do? (continued here.)

1 comment:

Dave C said...

The guaranteed high-yield economy has made even Dumb people richer and richer over the past 20 years. It is also a law of nature that when too many dumb people get rich all at once, they will naturally rise to the top and be making more and more Executive decisions that will affect the lives of more and more people.

George W. Bush is an obvious example of the spiral of dumbness in action. But he is not alone. We live in times of diminishing expectations. -Hunter S. Thompson April 16, 2001