Who Gets Second Chances?

Evidently hard times haven’t made some people any more charitable towards their fellow citizens.

From the WSJ:

Bankruptcy is still something of a scarlet letter even though a lot more Americans are seeking to shed their debts in court.

Some $588 billion in consumer loans were wiped out in the past two years — both in and out of bankruptcy — but the stigma of shedding debts in bankruptcy remains strong while the stigma from walking away from a mortgage appears to have eased.

Society for Human Resource Management Survey showed a quarter of employers said a bankruptcy would make them unlikely to extend a job offer to a candidate. Just 11% said the same about a foreclosure.

“The mortgage crisis was caused at an institutional level and we have constructed it that way socially,” says Deborah Thorne, an Ohio University sociologist. “The pickle with bankruptcy is that has been constructed, and it has been for centuries, as an individual failure.”

However, it appears as if we do tend to forgive other transgressions rather readily:

From Yahoo Sports:

But when Woods ran his SUV over a fire hydrant last Nov. 27, unleashing a torrent of tawdry and shocking details about his infidelities, those clever catch phrases quickly became punchlines. Within weeks, Accenture and other sponsors distanced themselves from the golfer who had built a billion-dollar industry on his spectacular success on the course and impeccable image off it. It was part of the fallout from a scandal that eventually cost him his marriage and his No. 1 world ranking.

A year has passed since the infamous crash that started it all, and Woods appears ready to re-enter the marketing game. A survey within the last month to test Woods’ appeal produced “very powerful, positive, positive results,” his longtime agent, Mark Steinberg, said, adding that he’s already engaged in “several constructive conversations.”

“We are a society of second chances. That’s been proven over the years,” Steinberg said. “He’s not going to be in any deal until he looks the company in the eye and has a serious conversation with them. ‘How are you going to live your life? We want to be part of the redemption, rehabilitation. Are you serious about that?’ And he knows that. He’s comfortable with it. And he’s going to do that.”

There’s a moral in there somewhere but the best that I can do is to fall back on the universal truth about the unfairness of life in general.

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