The Greek crisis got me thinking along these lines again, about yet another one of those huge cultural shifts that has occurred in my lifetime and that a great number of people will frantically insist has never been any other way.
This one is back in the “old” days — say pre-2005 or so — if a bank made a bad loan, nearly all of the responsibility for taking such an ill-advised risk rested on the creditor — that is, the entity making the loan.
Since ~2005 however, the responsibility both actuarially and just as important morally has been shifted in the common discourse to the person or entity receiving the loan.
This is a huge shift, symptomatic of the now utterly dominant neoliberal mindset and benefiting no one but a very few rich and large institutions.
In other words, if TBTF, Inc. made a loan to Rianne in 1990 and Rianne could not pay back her loan, the question would have been, “Why would the bank have been so stupid to have loaned $500,000 to a waitress making $8,000 a year?”
Now this has shifted almost completely to, “Rianne is an evil scoundrel for taking a loan out from a bank with terms she didn’t understand, marketed at her ceaselessy, meanwhile she was assured that she’d later be able to refinance — and oh yeah the loan officer lied to her, changed her application without her knowledge to be fraudulent, and also signed her name for her after she had doubts. Obviously Rianne is the evildoer in this scenario!” says the neolib apologist.
The same with Greece. It’s all the Greeks’ fault, despite the fact that the EU and Germany knew that the loans given were extremely unlikely to be repaid.
I don’t intend to delve into the details here. Debate them elsewhere. The point is that the responsibility for making a bad loan used to lie 90% with the creditor. Now that has irrationally shifted to the receiver of the loan.
A huge shift that nearly everyone now takes for granted and many insist has never been any different. Very strange.