The doublers are parallel figures to Wall Street stockbrokers and investment bankers, signifying the possibility of corruption and exploitation anywhere. Two weeks before the world learns about the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Jende Jonga has a dream in which his old friend, Bosco, reappears. Bosco expresses his hatred for the “money doublers”—that is, swindlers who take money from people with the promise to double their sum. In the dream, Bosco recalls how his mother gave the doublers his school fees so that she could double the sum and use the second half to pay for Bosco’s sister’s school fees. Bosco wails with grief while telling Jende about how the doublers ran off with all the money, leaving no money at all to pay for school fees. The author uses the dream to foreshadow the financial doom that will await the world when Jende wakes up. Though the doublers are street criminals in Cameroon, far removed from the elite, privileged world that the Wall Street brokers inhabit, both are linked by their immoral willingness to exploit people’s dreams to enrich themselves.
The Doublers Quotes in Behold the Dreamers
“Because right now we're pulling these tricks and the SEC's playing dumb, but you know as well as I do that if this shit falls apart and the chaos starts spreading they're going to throw us out for the public to crucify, by claiming they didn’t know a damn thing, and we all know it's a lie.”
By all accounts, no one in Limbe had ever given money to a money doubler and gotten the money doubled […] And yet people continued to give to them, falling into the trap of crafty young men who walked up to them on the street and visited them in their homes, promising quick and high returns on their money through incomprehensible means. One woman at Sapa Road had been so enraptured by the two charming men in suits who visited her at home that she’d given them all of her life's savings for double the money in three months’ time. Her hope, the story around Limbe went, was that she would use the doubled money to buy a ticket for her only son to move to America. But the doublers did not return on the appointed day. Or the day after. Or the month after. Destroyed, the woman had eaten rat poison and died, leaving the son to bury her.
More jobs would be lost […] The Dow would drop in titanic percentages. It would rise and fall and rise and fall, over and over, like a demonic wave. 401(k)s would be cut in half, disappear as if stolen by maleficent aliens. Retirements would have to be postponed […] College education funds would be withdrawn; many hands would never know the feel of a desired diploma. Dream homes would not be bought. Dream wedding plans would be reconsidered. Dream vacations would not be taken […] In many different ways it would be […] a calamity like the one that had befallen the Egyptians in the Old Testament. The only difference between the Egyptians then and the Americans now, Jende reasoned, was that the Egyptians […] had chosen riches over righteousness, rapaciousness over justice. The Americans had done no such thing. And yet, all through the land, willows would weep for the end of many dreams.