I finally read War and Peace back in 2010 (and previously posted brief thoughts in this space), and am presently reading Anna Karenina. Both works feature Russian aristocrats beset by debts and the need to raise money to support their accustomed lifestyles (and if I remember my Dostoevsky, there was something of the same sort in The Brothers Karamazov). As Anna Karenina opens, Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky is contemplating the sale of a forest on his wife's property in order to pay his debts.
In other words, he seeks to mortgage tomorrow, by disposing of a productive asset, for the comfort and amusement of today. Has a...familiar ring, doesn't it?