Where’s the Win?

In a discussion about mortgages and foreclosure, someone commented that a system has to allow for failure if it is to have any chance of success. This is not unlike the theological argument that forced confession does not engender faith. Even more so, I think this is analogous to the idea that winning a competition is meaningless unless there was a real chance of losing the competition. It’s hard to boast if everyone wins.
I think the commentator was pointing to the genius of free market capitalism. All things being equal, the most industrious and effective people win. But all things are not equal and the ideology of capitalism is no more applied in the real world than the ideology of communism. They are interesting economic theories, but have little to do with the world we live in.
When groups organized around the principle of capital creation grow powerful enough, they change the rules to reduce the possibility of losing. An empty victory is still a victory because the capital continues to grow.
I think the commentator was missing the problem entirely.
Mortgage lenders stand to loose a tremendous about of money through foreclosure. Our country stands to loose a tremendous asset of patriotism through the loss of a sense of rootedness in the land. Corporations loose a level of dedication in their labor force rooted in the sense of indentured servitude a thirty year mortgage conveys.
What does an individual or family stand to loose through foreclosure? Is their sense of financial security better or worse without paying two and a half times the purchase price of a home that is worth only two thirds of that price? Will they have more or less to save for retirement and health care costs? Will they have more or less to save for their children’s education? Is it better or worse to be able to move closer to one’s workplace?
I think a system has to allow for success if it is to continue.

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