Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Tragedy of Home Foreclosure
Takes An Even More Tragic Turn

You knew it would come to this eventually. The Boston Globe reports that a woman facing foreclosure on her home committed suicide last month. The 53-year-old shot herself to death with her husband's high-powered rifle 90 minutes before the house was set to go to auction. To compound the tragedy, the auction had already been postponed. She left a note instructing her family to take the life insurance money and save the house. The harrowing story prompted the editors of the Harvard Business Review to write this on the publication's blog: "It’s widely debated whether business has a moral dimension. Many argue vehemently that it doesn’t—a position that becomes harder to defend when that lack of morality turns garish and unseemly. Throughout the mortgage crisis, predatory practice has been in full flower, an entire industry Ponzi chain of ungoverned greed and unfixed accountability. The human consequences of predation are coming home to roost, and it is tempting to see them as the outcome of evil."

7 Comments:

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Valdis Krebs said...

Well you know the next headline that is coming... any day now... that high-powered hunting rifle is used to shoot at the auctioneer and the bidders on the house... a "Columbine Foreclosure"?

 
At 3:48 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I had the same thought when I read that Valdis. It also reminded me of a front-page Wall Street Journal story of a few months back that I'll have to search for and link to. It was about how the sheriff of Detroit's county simply refused to enforce the court judgments ordering evictions after the foreclosures, and how he had become something of a local folk hero for doing so. I'm guessing that by now, the banks in question have found a way to get those orders enforced.

 
At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Roldo Bartimole said...

It's certainly tragic that someone would commit suicide under the pressure of foreclosure. However, that doesn't tell the story completely. How many families are broken up as a result of this crisis. How many children are damaged or destroyed. How many people suffer mental and physical breakdowns now and in the future under these pressures. The costs economically are, we know, tremendous but the impact hits people individually and the suffering doesn't become public but causes enormous private and public costs. Once again, we have the failure of lack of oversight. Government is the only counterveiling power over enormous
private wealth that does almost anything it wants to expand itself. We've had 20 or more years of cutting back the public oversight as the Republican Party, along with Democrats, have diminished or destroyed the government's ability to monitor the private economy. Here is the result of Grover Norquist's desire to reduce government until it can be strangled to death.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I certainly would agree with all of that. Well said as always, Roldo. Thanks for the comment.

 
At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As with all financial disasters the trick is learning from them and pull your bootstraps up,start again and hope you have your health since you can't afford health insurance on the way back!!

 
At 1:26 AM, Blogger Maria said...

I have a cousin who lost her house and the stress of the proceedings (I believe) contributed to her 50-ish husband having a stroke that very week. He is slowly recovering. They have a teenager, whose world view is being shaped--not favorably--by witnessing the effects of work downturns for both parents, which caused the house loss. My heart goes out to all affected by this economic climate. None of us is immune. I do not feel that the human side of these problems is being covered adequately by most media.

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You said it, Maria. But with that comment and the story you've provided, you've done your small part to increase people's awareness. Thanks.

 

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