Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Good Gamblers and Bad

When the zloty was strong a lot of people took out mortgages denominated in other currencies, especially the Swiss franc. In a so-broad-as-to-be-meaningless sense any loan is a gamble of course, but this seems to be a double hazard: (1) I will be able to pay off the loan and (2) the zloty will not fall in value against the Swiss franc. Well it did fall and some are now seeing mortgage repayments fifty per cent higher than they bargained on six months ago, and loans worth more than their houses. These people are bad gamblers and so far no one is suggesting that they simply renege on their loans and give the banks the finger.

Of course not: tearing up contracts like that just wouldn’t be cricket. As Blihr points out, one of the state’s main raisons d’etre is to guarantee contracts. But amazingly, Poland’s deputy prime minister is talking about tearing up the contracts signed between businesses and banks regarding foreign currency options. When capitalists, as opposed to would-be home-owners, gamble on a strong zloty things look very different.

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