red time stories

Of the many things generally considered to be positive additions to any developing society, one of them is certain to make progressives cringe with the clarity of hindsight. "If only I'd known" is, after all, a phrase that is no stranger to any of us.

Banks have done well to ruin their reputation in Russia. Although locals here are still more likely to stuff their savings under the insulated protection of a well-worn mattress, they are slowly being wooed by one of the banks' spawn. Classifying this beast as a descendent or ancestor is difficult, but a clear blood relative it is. It is cunning, it is charming, every day it moves more and more freely within all clans and cultures. It is little more than cream-coated evil: It is credit.

"Buy now, pay later" -- those corruptive words of the West. Translated, paraphrased or encrypted -- it makes no difference. Nostradamus may have predicted the future with what he wrote -- but seeing one of his verses won't land you with a new lounge suite and a six-month repayment plan.

In the days of old, there was a clear way of establishing whether one had the means to purchase goods from another. One inquired about the price and one rummaged around in the depths of one's pockets. In this simple scenario all one needed was a mind for counting.

Oh, how I miss those days. The devilish nature of credit is what changes our ability to grasp the concepts of wants and needs, cans and cannots. Like rats, we know the cheese will lead to our destruction, but we're drawn to it all the same.

Items bought on credit don't have a conventional price. Forget any analogies by the ones who sell these things. It is the buyer who is in fact selling. Selling their future income, selling that which they do not at this moment actually possess. Make no mistake -- the conditions could not have more power over you if they were to be stapled directly to your soul like some sort of medieval invoice on your life.

The credit-junkie is not one who is easily cured. More and more afflicted live in a society that encourages this gluttonous type of recreation. Never again will the afflicted be able to wander freely in any retail realm. The credit addict shares much with the alcoholic, lying alone in a gutter with a bottle of cheap aftershave all that's left to get them through the nether-regions of dependence.

Families have fallen. What remains of once-great empires can be found under the crushing weight of late-payment and repossession notifications. Don't be fooled, credit is not good. Be aware, don't believe the low-deposit hype when in the euphoric peak of a shopping spree. Stay clear, stay focused -- keep your budget repayment-free!