On page five James begins to detail the history of liberalization South Africa. This is the background to the view of individual being a matter of personal responsibility and not a group problem. The individual is seen to be the one taking on loans and therefore the responsibility of repayment is their responsibility as well. This trend continues into the relatively new practice of credit counseling where by an individual will pay a debt counselor to aid them in repaying their dent and the contractual agreements involved.
Another layer is added to the debt issue when the reader is able to see that the loans offered by most lenders were often unfair or even illegal in such large amounts that the borrower would almost certainly be unable to pay back with interest. Again, the problem is not seen as a systemic problem however with this argument of illegality not being successful in court. James records a debt counselor explaining this practice saying
"The person must pay back, and must make an effort to do so. Don’t look at it as ‘They had no right to extend the loan’ – this is beside the point. Instead, I try to encourage people to pay back. Make an effort – it has to be a painful process. Otherwise they won’t learn the lesson. You need to make sacrifices. Forget about movies, eating out 3 times a week. The only way is to pay in as much as I can. This way I get a lot of acceptance from creditors (in court). I try to practice a system that makes sense" (James, 17).
This quote summarizes the problem of a systemic failure being placed on the shoulders of the victims. Reform is seen to be needed on the debtors behalf; they need to learn the lesson. How can financial literacy be learned by a person who is being penalized so harshly for past debts? The issue of debt and financials in general needs to be viewed as a systemic issue but in order to do so the discourse used to describe finances in a neo-liberal world needs to become caught up with the times. Instead of discussing debt as one would have two hundred years ago in an economy without modern "finance" the discussion of debt needs to look at individuals as part of a greater problem. A failure of financial education and awareness to all. Only then will the system be reformed.