The Dim-Post

November 5, 2010

Yet again the dead hand of the state stifles the limitless innovation of the market

Filed under: economics — danylmc @ 7:37 am

Sent in by a reader:

Pa. Debt Collector Will Shut Down ‘Courtroom’

ERIE, Pa. (AP) ― A northwestern Pennsylvania debt collector has agreed to cease collection tactics the state says included a sham courtroom where customers would be summoned.

Unicredit America Inc. agreed Tuesday to stop sending letters to consumers threatening them with arrest if they failed to respond. Erie County Judge Michael Dunlavey also ordered the mock courtroom torn down within 30 days.

The state attorney general’s office says Unicredit used people appearing to be sheriff’s deputies to deliver hearing notices to consumers and used fake court proceedings to get money from them. Authorities say a person dressed in black would preside from behind a raised bench at the front of the room.

The state has also filed a civil suit against Unicredit alleging unfair trade practices. That suit seeks civil penalties for hundreds of affected consumers.



  1. Typical of intrusive Government deciding it holds a natural monopoly over jurisprudence, extortion, willful misrepresentation and mail fraud.

    Let the market decide, I say!

    Comment by Gregor W — November 5, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  2. What the free marketh giveth the free marketh taketh away.

    Comment by Francisco Hernandez — November 5, 2010 @ 10:12 am

  3. I seen this Macdonalds, exxon, Douglas Lockhed faux Senate once

    Comment by k.jones — November 5, 2010 @ 10:27 am

  4. That would make for a sweet new season of Night Court though…

    Comment by garethw — November 5, 2010 @ 10:36 am

  5. As long as I can still hire and arm my own goons… oh, wait…

    Comment by Roger Parkinson — November 5, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  6. So…..a case that on its face screams blatant fraud is dealt with by the state AS IT SHOULD BE.A rare example of the state actually doing its legitimate job for once…..protecting peooples rights from force and fraud.

    …and your issue with this was what exactly…?

    It would be nice if people who are going to try and attack Free market capitalism actually knew what the hell they were talking about..

    Comment by James — November 5, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  7. james, you’re an example to all young man. If only their were more of your kind in this country. Keep up it – not a backward step.

    Comment by k.jones — November 5, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

  8. Personally, I like how James capitalises ‘Free’, like it’s a pronoun or some shit.

    Comment by Simon Poole — November 5, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  9. Didn’t you read A. A. Milne? Very Important Words get to be capitalised.

    Comment by Me — November 5, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

  10. “It would be nice if people who are going to try and attack Free market capitalism actually knew what the hell they were talking about.”

    Don’t be ridiculous! People attacking Free Market Capitalism don’t know what the hell they are talking about by definition! Free Market Capitalism is above criticism in the same way Little Baby Jesus is!

    Comment by Guy Smiley — November 5, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  11. Ahem!
    Do the people promoting free market capitalism know what they are talking about?
    Same as the flat earth people know what they are talking about.
    I mean, it is so logical.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — November 5, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

  12. More kwality discussion on any point relating to non-communism eh Guy.

    Comment by leon — November 5, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

  13. At least people’s toilet habits have been left out this time though eh leon? Probably because you’ve been absent, but anyway it’s a step forward.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — November 6, 2010 @ 12:12 am

  14. You never disappoint Guy!

    Comment by leon — November 6, 2010 @ 7:13 am

  15. Actually, ACT had a proposal not long after it first was set up (before SST and the rednecks signed up) to turn the court system into competing SOE’s.

    Comment by millsy — November 7, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  16. So could someone here HONESTLY please define Free market Capitalism without the usual strawmen,falsehoods and obvious contradictions they usually use…..I won’t hold my breath.

    Comment by James — November 8, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  17. Ummm … it’s usual for persons who argue in favour of a particular economic and social ordering to do the defining, not demand that their opponents do it for them. It’d be like a communist saying to you “could you please define the Marxist paradise that you oppose.”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 8, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  18. Come on Andrew….lets hear YOUR definition of FMC…then I’ll point out where you are wrong.


    Comment by James — November 10, 2010 @ 9:44 am

  19. It’s your definition, only not. That seems to close this thread off nicely.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 10, 2010 @ 10:19 am

  20. How about:
    A free market is one in which the government confers no favour on one participant over another.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 10, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  21. Good CF….now how come poor Andrew can’t even come up with that?

    Comment by James — November 11, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  22. ‘Cause it doesn’t work. Does “no government favour” include property rights? So, for example, who do the Police bash on the head if a group of workers occupy a factory and claim it as their own … the workers’ or the owner’s? And how is that decision not “favouring” one participant over another … the pre-existing holder of a “property right” over the workers who seek to usurp that “right”?

    Oh, I know what you’ll say … “a free market requires that property rights be respected and only traded through willing contractual dealings”. But in that statement you’ve just assumed government favouritism of one set of participants (those with pre-exisiting recognised and protected “property rights”) over another (those without such pre-existing recognised and protected rights) – which then begs the question of why those participants get that protection from the State. Meaning CF’s definition of a Free Market boils down to “one in which the government confers no favour on one participant over another, except for the favouritism it already conferred by setting up the rules of property and contract in the first place.”

    C’mon James – you seem to be trying to leech off the work of others here. I thought as a dynamic, creative entrepreneurial sort you’d be wanting to do this for yourself. Because I don’t think you can.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 11, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  23. usurp? That’s a fancy word for steal, eh? All land vests in the crown (a fancy word for the government of, by and for the people allegedly) and they can take it away. Folk who own land can lose it (just ask some Blue Chip investors, those on the route of proposed motorways, those whose business fails, those who lose their job).
    Thankfully, in this day and age and in the western hemisphere, our society has organised itself so that one doesn’t need land in order to put food on the table. If only we could spread the miracle of markets and relatively good governance to the third world. Unfortunately, their governments favour some citizens over others, which is why politics can get a bit violent in those places.

    “cause it doesn’t work”
    Well, actually it does: who creates all the wealth that generates income that is taxed by the state in order to pay your wages, Andrew?

    “who do the Police bash on the head if a group of workers occupy a factory”
    That is funny. I could argue that due to favouratism shown to workers, the factories have all gone overseas, pushing up un- and semi-skilled wages in China and lowering them in NZ. “What afvouratism?!” I hear you ask. Well, an employer in NZ can’t really just fire you cos you are a unionist pain in the arse, there would be hell to pay. But if a worker got a better offer, he could be off out of there in a shot. If the worker catches a cold at a U2 concert on the weekend, the employer pays the fella not to turn up on Monday. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying “it shouldn’t be this way” I’m just saying “Andrew, what the fuck are YOU saying?!”:
    “except for the favouritism it already conferred by setting up the rules of property and contract in the first place” well, it beats the anarchy of the toughest wins/might is right of Somalia. And communisim, of course, it beats that shit by a long shot.
    Face it man: the private sector generates jobs and tax income for gummints to spend, share and generally piss up against the wall. Most of us in the private sector just want us and our competitors to be treated the same by the government. Most of us citizens just want us and our neighbours to be treated the same by the government.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 11, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  24. CF,

    The challenge was “define a free market” (for James, ’cause he’s a bit … you know, dumb and lazy). You did so by saying it’s one in which Government does not favour any participant over another. I pointed out that such a state of affairs is impossible, as “markets” by definition require Government-sanctioned, legal rules of property and contract that inevitably favour some individuals over others. So your definition fails on its own terms. It’s a simple application of logic to a statement, not anything at all to do with the relative efficiencies of any given Government imposed background rules.

    The rest was just you having a little eruption and working off some stress, so I ignored it.

    Now, given danyl’s desire to shut up shop for a while, I won’t be checking out the dimpost until he returns. If you want to keep up these little chats, feel free to drop by

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 11, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

  25. certainly it’s desirable to have private property rights, but it takes a social contract to create private property rights, and as a result, they are, by nature, aribtrary.

    It seems that libertarians want to keep the side of the social contract that grants property rights and thus restricts freedom of people who don’t ‘own’ said property (say because they didn’t get here early enough to seize the land, or they got here too early and someone else seized it off them), but they want to do away with any parts of the social contract that would restrict the rights of said property owners.

    It rather reminds me of the changes that provoked the French Revolution – basically, the Royal Fimail decided they still wanted to have all the rights that came from being the royal family, but they no longer wanted to have the responsibilities that they had taken on in return for the nobles and peasants agreeing to recognise them as being in charge.

    Comment by kahikatea — November 11, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

  26. “The rest was just you having a little eruption and working off some stress, so I ignored it.”
    ACtually, it was a challenge to you to describe how wealth is created other than through markets, but I guess your claim that “fairness” doesn’t rule is not the same as saying that markets don’t work. So, is that what you are saying, that markets don’t work? i will concede that markets can fail (not fialure as in the banking crisis, but “fail” in that there is no incentive not to pollute the air, which is a public good).

    “So your definition fails on its own terms” You can very well say that, just as I can say “there is no proven link between manmade co2 and increases in global temperatures” and it is so.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 12, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  27. I like pie! Pie is good.

    Without the free market, where would I buy my pie?

    That is my definition: it is a place to buy pie.


    Comment by Joey — November 12, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

  28. Where was the free market when we had Georgie Pie, eh? I reckon some govt department should bring back GP, protect our heritage. Maybe historic places Trust?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 13, 2010 @ 9:40 am

  29. Of course there was a free market when “we” had Georgie Pie.
    We know this because David Lange used to claim that his idea of a great time was to dine out there with the family.
    That was when he was married to Naomi, and was still sort of best buddies with Roger Douglas who, as you know, wrought with his own hands, moustache, and anus the very free market to which you perform your daily ritualised frottage, or whatever it is.

    Comment by joe W — November 15, 2010 @ 12:51 am

  30. “daily ritualised frottage”
    Well, on a daily basis I DO cast my economic vote. Does that count? There’s certainly a ritual around it: invitation to treat, decision, offer, acceptance, payment, smiles, a word of thanks.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 15, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  31. On an ever so vaguely related note… Berend’s found a new home (same old talking points) at

    On a slightly more related note, I like to think of the Free Market as being much like SkyNet at the end of Terminator 3. It’s not a ‘thing’ that you can touch or move or turn on and off.

    But it’s always there, in all of us, every day in the decisions we freely (or, in some cases, not so freely) make.

    Comment by Phil — November 15, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: