As a response to the economic downturn of 2008 Margaret Atwood writes her article Debtor’s Prism using examples from history and literature. Atwood’s focus is on debt as a 'human construct'. Debt can be a state of mind where you feel overwhelmed, imprisoned, chocked or drowning in a sea of turbulent water.
Debt can be economic or it can be a mental or spiritual non-place. Christopher Marlowe has described the debt as being hell. Could it be that some people get into debt because it excites them and make their lives more interesting? Debt can be a life game that can expand the entire life span in a positive or in a negative way. Having debt can be beneficial. For some people paying off their mortgage gives them a purpose in life. In the 1940’s they had parties to celebrate the end of a mortgage. For others it can be a game of adrenalin rush of how much they could get away from paying their bills. It makes their mundane life more exciting. Atwood brings in a familiar character, scrooge from the novel “A Christmas Carol”. She conflates 2 scrooges, the miser scrooge and the spending scrooge. At the beginning of the novel scrooge was such a wicked miser that he couldn’t spend any money on himself for food, heat, or clothes. The first scrooge was a screw and a gouge that was covetous. He worshipped his money. He made a deal with the devil to worship the so-called “golden idol”. He was always looking for free lunch, which is called “get out of jail free card”. The miser scrooge was playing a game that had a criminal aspect to it. Towards the end the 2nd scrooge transforms and refuses to sit on his pile of money and begins to spend it. He also had an open heart and shared his wealth with others. The Scrooges happy ending is when he became a philanthropist, capitalist and enjoyed the company of his friends and others.
Atwood mentions that scrooge’s ancestors were the opposite of being a miser. If they were living today you could read about them “in luxury magazines for gentlemen”. They want to travel, be rich, have power, have sexual interaction and get back against their enemies. For example Jay Zee, Kanye West, Micheal Jackson are tremendous talented artists who are some of the greatest pop icons.
Why was it important that scrooge was rich? He wasn’t just rich he was a benevolent guy who gave of himself and spent his money on others while the miser scrooge was wicked and hoarded his money, hurting himself and others.
I believe that scrooge represents our beliefs with the way we handle our money and our beliefs in money itself. Scrooge believed "You can't trust anyone with your money." He didn't even trust himself, his clerk Bob Cratchit or anyone else.