What happened to taking responsibility for our own actions?

August 25, 2010

Rachel Mason is public relations manager at Fair Investment. The opinions expressed are her own.

A recent survey by Moneysupermaket.com has found that the zero per cent introductory offers on credit cards are getting longer while the rates that kick in once the period is over are getting higher, and now consumer groups are arguing that banks should be held accountable for luring poor innocent people into debts they cannot repay.

Yes, the banks should be more sensible, because this is exactly how they got themselves into a mess the last time, but what happened to taking responsibility for our own actions? Just because someone offers you ‘credit’ doesn’t mean you should take it – if you don’t have the money, don’t spend it.

Sadly, it is the same everywhere – we live in a blame society. If something goes wrong, it must be someone else’s fault.

Most days, some ridiculous story will surface where kids have been banned from playing conkers in case they lose an eye (because eye loss as a result of conkers is common place) or skipping in case they fall over and break their neck (again, death by skipping is a serious issue) and we all cry ‘it’s health and safety gone mad!’ but let’s face it, we have brought it on ourselves.

These ‘no win, no fee’ accident claims, where people sue their employer because they dropped a box on their own head, or their local council because they fell over their own feet have created a ‘scaredy cat’ society where no organisation will do anything that might leave them open to be sued.

And I for one think this is sad. The ironic thing is that all these new health and safety laws are starting to create an even more dangerous society. People are getting so used to being ‘protected’ from danger wherever they go, that they are no longer being careful.

And it’s the same with money. People think, if its there for the taking, I’ll have it, and plan to blame someone else if it all goes wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I think lenders are behaving irresponsibly by lending to people who cannot afford to pay it back. In many cases, vulnerable people who often do not understand the consequences of not being able to service their debts are being taken advantage of, and banks should be punished for this sort of behaviour. But ultimately, it is time we all started taking responsibility for our own actions and stopped blaming others for our own financial problems.

Picture Credit: Shoppers fill Oxford Street in central London in this file picture. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

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