Morally bound to pay off school debt or not?Submitted by Jarrett on Mon, 09/24/2012 - 18:00
Hey everyone. I just wanted to get your insight on something my friend said to me recently that's a bit of a conundrum for me. Let me preface this by saying that I'm current on all my student loans and bills.
He's 37, got his masters a couple years back at a school that supposedly had a 100% placement rate at good companies. Turns out that 100% bit wasn't true in his experience and his advisor just kinda shrugged his shoulders when he found himself without any takers after graduating.
So here he is with $100,000 in student loans staring him in the face and without the high paying gig he was "promised" to pay it off with. He decides he needs to clear his head and goes to Asia where he now teaches English. In my 1 year of knowing him, I've never known him to lie or slack off when there's work to be done and my impression is that he is an honest, hardworking, outgoing American.
So then day he says to me, "you know there's no way I can possibly pay off that debt, right? And why would I? It's not real money anyway. Some banker created it out of thing air. No private citizen is directly hurt if I default on the loan, and it'll just kill my credit in a country I no longer wish to return to as its become nothing more than a police state with a grim future. Is there a reason to be honest when you're dealing with thieves and liars?"
Kinda dark, I know. But my question is does he have a point in there somewhere or is he just being a "sore loser" (for lack of better words)? I mean, when the government and the banking system that gave you the loan are crooked as hell (fractional reserve, "money as debt", bailout after bailout, etc.), why should we the customers be beholden to being honest and pay our debts off? Now, I'm not looking for an excuse to stop paying my loan installments or bills. I just want to know if there's a reason to be moral towards those that aren't moral towards you.
I kinda felt a little soiled by what he said and at the same time found myself agreeing for some reason. In a just society, issues like this wouldn't be an issue. You make a promise and keep your word and that's that. In an unjust society, questions of morality become more abundant and "stickier".
Anyway, thought? I've had a few drinks so I hope this has made sense and all that ;-)