Links for 10-08-2007

Mortgage psychology, antimatter, lo-fi space launches, cyborg moths …

2 thoughts on “Links for 10-08-2007”

  1. The article on sub-prime mortages argues as if these mortgages exist in a vaccum. Most of the takers are people who are regularly discrimimated against–the evidence is that of two lower m/c couples, a non-white couple is more likely to be offered the sub-prime mortgage. They may have no other choice. This may be reinforced by the absence of suitable rental accomodation, or ludicrously expensive rental accomodation.

    As it happens, we have a UK “sub-prime” mortgage. This came about because we coudn’t sell our old house, one of us is 60 and also happens to work in Dublin. We were offered a mortgage on the younger partner’s income *only* and only one lender was willing to consider us. As mortgage costs and rental costs would have been about the same, we accepted the “sub-prime” mortgage. It makes us vulnerable, but all the other options were worse.

    I dislike articles which attempt to lable individuals as irrational. Said individuals rarely are, it is usually the researchers who assume that all the factors that would affect *their* decisions are repeated across the participatory group: a lovely example of this is debates over the food of the poor, which rarely considers things like the cost of fuel or access to decent cooking facilities (or even a good quality pan!).

  2. Point taken, Farah – though I felt the tone of the article was actual decrying the people who push the mortgages rather than castigating those who take them on. I tend to link pieces like that because I’m fascinated (in a kind of horrified manner) by industries that exploit human psychology, and I’m well aware that their ability to do so is influenced by situations that reach far wider than the products they offer.

    In other words, I just want to assure you that I wasn’t linking just to say “haha, dumb people getting into to debt.” For one thing, I’d be a massive hypocrite if I did so!

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