Mia Stout Final Essay

During the 2008 housing crisis families were forced out of their homes. In order to even get a house you needed to have good credit and a stable job to get a mortgage. When the investors wanted to make more profit the lenders had to loosen their “standards” on who could get a mortgage. This allowed lenders to give out sub-prime mortgages to “people with poor credit” and unverified income to borrow money. They trusted the bankers when buying their house; in return, they were forced to leave everything behind. All because of the new lenders’ “requirements”, and low-interest rates which drove up housing prices. So that means the subprime mortgages would have to default (when a debtor cannot meet debt payment) because the person wouldn’t be able to afford to pay the mortgage anymore. To get a better understanding of the 2008 housing crisis the novel The Big Short sheds so light on the issues. The Salomon brothers “took giant pools of home loans and carved up the payments made by homeowners into pieces, called tranches. The buyer of the first tranche was like the owner of the ground floor in a flood. The buyer of the second tranche – the second story of the skyscraper – took the next wave in payments. The investor in the top floor of the building received the lowest rate of interest but had the greatest assurance that his investment wouldn’t end” (pg 7, Lewis, M. The Big Short). This means that the bank sold the mortgage to a “third party”.

In Parable of the Sower, Lauren and her family lived inside a wall to protect them from the outside world. It was hard to make enough money to support everyone but her family managed to do it. With the world in shambles, the government spent its money on sending astronauts into outer space. “All that money wasted on another crazy space trip when so many people here on earth can’t afford water, food, or shelter” (pg 17). During this book, there is a huge financial crisis. Not a lot of people can afford the amenities to live. But here is the government not doing anything about the global crisis. “After all, politicians have been promising to return us to the glory, wealth, and order of the twentieth century” (pg 20). Ever since Lauren can remember politicians have been promising a return for civilization but, it yet has to happen. This is a great example of fraud. The government has claimed it wants to help the global communities but no action has been taken to help them. Money is a huge issue in communities behind the walls. If you want the police or even the fireman to come inside the walls it costs a fortune. “Most of our households couldn’t afford another big bill, anyway” (pg 32). It seems that not a single person can afford anything anymore. You have to scavenge for food and water if you aren’t lucky enough to grow your own food. This is a great example of a financial crisis because without food or water you’ll be dead in days. During this time people have to learn to protect themselves and their families inside and outside of the wall. The walls give them protection and hope that they can see another day but, it’s not always granted. “Someone shot Amy right through the metal gate” (pg 50). The wall is supposed to keep them safe but things keep happening near it. Things get thrown over the gate or left around it by the scavengers. This is toxic, some of the things they throw over are “ a maggoty dead animal, a bag of shit, even an occasional severed human limb or a dead child” (pg 50). It seems like these scavengers are trying to do anything to get these people disgusted enough to where they want them to leave their homes. These acts are also putting pressure on the community, they need to feel safe and secure and these vial acts aren’t doing that in fact it’s doing the opposite. “Our thieves paid us a visit last night” (pg 73). With everything that’s happening in the world, this is a huge global financial crisis. Everyone in the world, on the walls or out on the street is having a financial crisis. When it comes to Laurens’ area being robbed it seems to be liquidity. Somehow the robbers are getting easy access to jump over the wall to steal food for themselves. In this world, there is just a lot of corruption happening everywhere and there’s no way to stop it. 

During this crisis, there is a lot to worry about, your friends, family, loved ones, and yourself. It can be very difficult to stay together as a community, there is so much happening that can destroy a person’s perception on life. “We are coming apart. The community, the families, individual family members….We’re a rope, breaking, a single strand at a time” (pg 116). This global crisis is breaking down everyone’s spirits. When it comes to living in the walls you need money. Olivar is another walled-up town that needs to be bailed out by corporations. “A company called Kagimoto, Stamm, Frampton, and Company–KSF–has taken over the running of a small coastal city called Olivar” (pg 118). During the 2008  housing crisis banks needed to be saved by the U.S. government. The U.S. basically bailed them out of their money issues they were having and it seems that Olivar is getting the treatment. Later on in the book a big change occurred that turned everything upside down for everyone living in the walls. There was a break-in, someone smashed the front gate open, started burning houses down, and took everyone’s possession. “Last night, when I escaped from the neighborhood, it was burning. The houses, the trees, the people: Burning” (pg 151). Lauren’s house was destroyed by people wearing colors on their heads. “[B]ald people with painted heads, faces, and hands. Red faces; blue faces; green faces” (pg 154). Everyone’s possession are now gone because of the scavengers. Everyone in that community lost everything and some tragically lost their own lives. This comes back to the 2008 housing crisis, Octavia E. Butler wrote a story that shares information about a global financial crisis, housing crisis, foreclosure crisis, and subprime mortgage crisis. This can be compared to the housing market crash, everything that these families owned are gone. Their house, valuables, and even their own lives are all gone. Nothing can be restored and the only people they have to blame are the scavengers who can be related to Wall Street, everyone is just trying to survive. Accountability has been taken for some of the intruders but the rest stole what they could carry and left. This leaves Laurens’ community in corruption and they will not be able to come back from it.

At the beginning of this class, I didn’t understand what the 2008 housing crisis was. Now I understand it happened because of Wall Street and third-party bankers. Banks would give out mortgages to anyone that wanted one no matter what, even if they couldn’t afford it they were given one. If they couldn’t pay their mortgage the loan would default and be given back to the bank. The 2008 housing crisis affected many families in the United States. Many lost their homes because of careless businessmen wanting to make extra money. During the crisis, I was only about six years old at the time so I have no memory or recollection of this happening. Thankfully both my grandparents and parents weren’t severely affected by this. My grandparents still own the houses they built and my parents lived with them at the time so thankfully we weren’t affected either. We had trust as a family that if something were to happen we would be there for one another. It was like we were in our own bubble, we didn’t get touched during the housing crisis which was surprising, for other families though they weren’t so lucky. I think learning about the housing crisis before college would have been more beneficial for me because it is still hard to understand everything that went on behind those “closed doors” of Wall Street. It also doesn’t help that no one wants to take responsibility for their actions which to me is aggravating.  I believe that when it comes to buying a house in the housing market you should have some knowledge about what goes on and what you are expected to do. It could help you in the long run, also look at the fine print in the contracts you are signing it could have some “unspoken rules” that you might not know about. Change is inevitable it will happen anytime and anywhere so you need to be ready for it. Take precautions if you have to. Learning about this 2008 crisis was an eye-opener for me. I never expected something like this to happen. I cannot imagine being told to pack up my belongings and leaving all because of a bad investment. Learning to change is the best thing to do in this case. Learning can grow a great change in perspective and instead of thinking of the bad parts, focus on the good parts. Yes, you lost your house which is horrible but, you still have your family, everyone is in good health, and now moving forward will make you stronger than you ever thought you could be. In the end, never give up, push forward and you might just surprise yourself with how strong you can be.

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