Views #962 | High Intermediate 6

Financial Crisis

Diego and Hana debate the current financial crisis.

Hanna: OK, so we were talking about finance, so we're just going to talk a little bit about the financial crisis. What do you think about it?

Diego: I think the financial crisis is a huge mess and a lot of people don't really understand how it happened or why it happened, so I think it's important to talk about the general background of the whole thing, so basically in my own personal opinion, I think it is that credits got out of hand and they were given to people who were not able to repay those credits and the whole system collapsed.

Hanna: But at the same time, if you are taking out a loan and you have a look at the details and realize that you might not be able to pay it out, maybe you should be thinking a little more, a little bit more carefully about whether you actually can afford to take out this loan or not

Diego: You do have a point but I think it has to do with culture in a way because I am from Mexico and we Mexicans see Americans, that they never ... that they're always taking out loans for everything, right? So they buy a house. they take out a loan. If they buy a car, they take out a loan. So there's this common expression that Americans are always in debt, so that's the whole thing, that people were taking out loans to buy a million dollar house, a 750,000 dollar houses, when they were only able to afford 500 ... 300,000 dollar houses, but they knew they weren't going to be able to pay looking at their income statements and all that, and regardless of all of that, they still gave out those loans.

Hanna: That's true but at the same time, I think you are the person signing the contract if you're taking out the loan. I don't think being in debt is a bad thing, but I think that if you are going to take out a loan, you have to do it responsibly, so you do have to read all the fine print, and you do have get a second opinion about whether you will actually be able to keep going with this loan. I mean, as you said, if you're taking out a loan that's, you know, or mortgage, that's 750,000 grand, I mean, you're gonna be paying that for a long time, and you want to know that twenty years into the future you're not gonna end up losing your house.

Diego: Well, that's the thing, like, the banks in a way ... it's all about the social contract, right, and that social contract was broken from both sides, but the banks knew that the these people we're going to lose their houses in twenty years due to their ... you know, because they weren't going to be able to pay out these loans?

Hanna: Really?

Diego: Yes, they knew that, like I'm pretty sure, because it doesn't take a rocket scientist. If you look at their income statements and you do the math for twenty years at the interest rates they were charging, like I don't .... I think it was just taking advantage of the people in a way.

Hanna: I think the banks have been a little bit irresponsible in this matter, but in the end it is the person taking out the loan who signs the contract, so they also have to bear some of the burden.

Diego: Yes, but this is not the first time that this has happened. It happened back, I don't when ... with the Asian crisis in Thailand, and it was a huge collapse around the world economy, and it happened in the States before, so it's not the first time that it has happened, so it makes you wonder why do we allow this huge financial institutions and big government to allow these things to happen.


Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

get out of hand


It got out of hand.

When something ‘gets out of hand’ it becomes a problem. Here are two samples.

  1. As police walked towards the protesters, things got out of hand.
  2. The two boy's stated arguing and things soon got out of hand.



Regardless of all that, they still gave out the loans.

‘Regardless of all that’ means the point we are making is not affected by other things. Here are two samples.

  1. Regardless of all that, I think things will improve,
  2. He had no University degree or experience, but regardless of all that, he got the job.

read the fine print


Always read the fine print.

‘Fine print’ talks about the details of something. Notice the following.

  1. The fine print required product registration to activate the warranty.
  2. I’ll have my lawyer look over the fine print.

rocket scientist


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the problem.

The phrase ‘it doesn’t take a rocket scientist’ means that something is easy to understand. Notice the samples.

  1. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that saving money is a good thing.
  2. If you take out a loan, you need a steady income. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

bear the burden


The borrower has to bear some of the burden.

To ‘bear some of the burden’ means to take some of the responsibility for something. Notice the samples.

  1. After dad lost his job, our whole family had to bear some of the burden of working.
  2. Students must bear some of the burden of responsibility for their own learning.

Vocabulary Quiz

out of hand • regardless • fine print
 rocket scientist • bear the burden
  1. It doesn't take a to understand how this program works.
  2. He shouldn't have to of his parents' problems.
  3. The party got a little last night.
  4. Make sure to read the before you sign anything.
  5. of your grades in your last semester you are accepted to our university.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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