One moral lesson for today's society that can be extracted from Guy De Maupassant's short story 'The Necklace' is that trying to emulate peers and raise one's status carries risks that may not be worth it in the end. Mme Loisel and her husband were not rich at the beginning of the story but they were 'free.'For example, one presumes from reading between the lines that as the husband was lucky enough to be in employment, they may not have had fancy things but they had a roof over their heads and did not go hungry like so many of the starving thousands in that society at the time. They were free in the sense that they were not in crippling debt and had no obigations other than the usual one to any boss. They threw their freedom away and chained themselves in debt like many people have done in our various 'crashes' and 'downturns.'
To me, the moral of this story is that people should not be too greedy for material things. Instead, they should be content with what they have and what they can afford.
I would connect this to some of the things that have gotten many Americans into financial problems these days. The current economic crisis has its roots in the "housing bubble" which was caused in part by Americans trying to live in houses that were bigger than they could afford. By trying to get bigger and fancier houses than they could really afford, many Americans got themselves into a position where now they can no longer afford to pay their mortgages.
You can see the same thing in cases where people have high-stress lives because both parents in a family are trying to have careers. Often, this happens because people want more material goods than they can afford on one salary. Because of this, they work too hard and their personal and family lives suffer.
I have identified three moral lessons within the stories. Thou shall not be greedy, thou should be satisfied with what one has and thou shall not lie. The woman in the story "the Necklace" has desired finer things. She is dissatisfied with the life that she has and longs for pricey and beautiful objects. She borrows her friend’s necklace and then loses it. She lies to her friend by not telling her that she lost the necklace. Instead she replaces it by scraping her husband’s and her life savings and borrowing the money. Because of her lie she has been forced to live a life of drudgery and hard work. She and her husband are worn down and aged early because of their hardships. Later when she finally tells the truth, she realizes that had she been honest to begin with, they would never have had to suffer so much.
To put the morals in perspective of today, I think the use of credit cards has led to many people having problems with paying their bills. We as a society have become materialistic and desire more than we can actually afford. We are not often satisfied with what we have. Lying is something that I see as more individualized an issue.