The un-American solution to the subprime mess

Among the remedies mentioned for the subprime crisis, I haven’t seen listed the system I went through when getting a mortgage in England back in those days. Here is how it worked: the first step would be for you to open an account with a building society; then you would start saving, sending a check whenever you could in whatever amount; one month at a time your account would then accrue interest. Until one day, when the fateful 20% threshold was reached you would receive in the mail a letter saying: “Rejoice: the time has come, and we’re going to lend you the money you need to purchase the house of your dreams!”

This process could take a number of (gasp!) years! Shall I pronounce the P word? Yes: it required patience. But there was something more, something else that made it so… un-American.

You don’t see many comments at the bottom of my blogs but this is for one reason, it is because I carefully weed out most of the candidates. It always looks like this “Hi Paul! Cool site!” followed by a link reflecting one of the people’s most essential preoccupations. Here’s a list of them in ascending order: car dealerships, porn, rock concerts, recipes for weight loss and, outranking them all and by much, state lotteries.

Lotteries! And here lies the answer. At the end of the day, in the humdrum English system, you wouldn’t have made one more red penny than you knew already when you had opened, three years earlier, five years earlier, your building society account. The reason this doesn’t seem a fair proposition to the American mind is that the image of an ideal commercial transaction is based on that of the state lottery. If a deal doesn’t possess that special ingredient that can accidentally make you one day a multi-billionaire, just forget it!

It’s as simple as that!