November 20, 2019

If the World Is Ending, Do I Need To Pay My Debts?

“Stereotypically, there are two sources of anxiety constantly nagging all millennials at a semi-conscious level like a pair of battery-draining mobile phone apps that can’t be uninstalled. One app is called “Massive Debt,” and the other is “Anxiety About an Impending Climate Catastrophe.” There’s even a certain harmony to them; an inexorable descent into personal financial oblivion pairs nicely (at an aesthetic level) with a perceived inexorable descent into universal destruction. The latter, it would seem, may even cancel out the former.

If Earth really is about to stop being habitable, why pay your debts at all? If we’re literally talking about human extinction being inevitable in the next decade or so — and more on that in a minute — we’re free, and there’s no point in doing anything that doesn’t give us raw, hedonistic pleasure. I should add, though (and please don’t take this the wrong way) that were that the case, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.

If you get your apocalypse news from Twitter, it sounds like the ultimate debt jubilee has arrived, and it’s called Armageddon. According to @leftistgrrrl, for instance, “the new climate report that came out has inspired me to not pay back my 50 grand student loans cuz nothing matters anyway and we’re all gonna be underwater in 10 years.” (I’m not sure if “underwater” is supposed to be a pun or not).”

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