Lion of the Blogosphere

Pension loans and libertarianism

This article in the NY Times about scummy lending practices targeting retirees demonstrates why I’m opposed to libertarianism.

To retirees, the offers can sound like the answer to every money worry: convert tomorrow’s pension checks into today’s hard cash.

But these offers, known as pension advances, are having devastating financial consequences for a growing number of older Americans, threatening their retirement savings and plunging them further into debt. The advances, federal and state authorities say, are not advances at all, but carefully disguised loans that require borrowers to sign over all or part of their monthly pension checks. They carry interest rates that are often many times higher than those on credit cards.

The rest of the article details the outrageous and immoral practices used by these pension-advance lenders.

Libertarianism assumes that people are capable of making intelligent and wise decisions, but the reality is that the average person isn’t all that intelligent or wise, and half the people fall behind even the average.

While there may indeed be some instances where the modern nanny state has gone too far, with respect to pension-advance loans, the nanny state hasn’t gone far enough. These types of loans need to be outlawed.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 28, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Posted in Libertarianism

58 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. If you lack empathy like the vast majority of libertarians (which is probably a mental disorder), you don’t don’t care if nana gets swindled and experiences hardship and premature death. You’ll only care about what you’ll inherit after she dies.

    Bobo

    April 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    • “If you lack empathy like the vast majority of libertarians (which is probably a mental disorder)”

      Oh yeah, a mental disorder. Otherwise known as having a masculine brain. Big sister would approve of your misandrist outlook.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444358804578016291138331904.html

      Empathy is a sign of weakness, i.e. femininity. Who demands empathy? Certainly not the strong. In a world without weakness, what need would there be for empathy? Maybe that’s libertarians’ problem: They’re just not weak and pathetic enough, unlike the rest of the population. Those damn unempathetic, self-reliant bastards. Clearly we should exalt the sheep of mankind.

      Wrt the article, the businesses making those loans are either operating within the bounds of their contractual terms or they aren’t. If they are, then play ball. I see nothing outrageous about it. If they aren’t, then the aggrieved parties may seek redress through the courts. There’s no need for hoopla, outrage, or the passage of any new laws to address this situation.

      What’s “the problem” this time? High interest? *Yawn* Aren’t people supposed to learn how interest works in middle school? Are you telling me that our “esteemed elders” — people we’re told to look up to — can’t figure it out? Well then, here’s a modest proposal: Let’s send the mentally challenged old farts back to middle school, where they can relearn how interest works, and in the meantime, take away their pensions and give them to 13 year olds instead, provided those 13 year olds first pass a test involving interest calculations, which I would assume that many could. Meritocracy, baby — it ain’t just for the young.

      Allerious

      April 28, 2013 at 7:05 PM

      • Yeah, let’s teach seniors with dementia or post-stroke TBI how interest works. That’ll save them from themselves. Oh wait, who cares about saving anyone anyhow? Who cares about masses of people defaulting loans and filing for bankruptcy. Who cares about the economic, social and psychological implications of allowing masses of people to do very careless things that directly affects YOU in numerous ways.

        Bobo

        April 28, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      • LOL only a libertarian could look at a corporation and Joe Average side by side and declare, “two consenting parties; they look the same to me…it is so LOGICAL!”

        ATC

        April 28, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      • It’s not just the elderly who don’t know anything.

        Pretty much everyone else is in the same boat.

        Government school education is really abysmal.

        All MLK, Rosa Parks, and Cesar Chavez worship.

        Conquistador

        April 29, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      • “Empathy is a sign of weakness, i.e. femininity.” – Allerious

        Agreed. It’s really bad for a male to be soft. Only females can be soft.

        Conquistador

        April 29, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    • Libertarians have loads of empathy. They overflow with empathy. It’s just that all their empathy is lavished on billionaires, who aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, so the misconception prevails that libertarians lack empathy.

      Mark Caplan

      April 30, 2013 at 5:16 AM

    • No, empathy is how you learn how other people think, which is useful in the social world. It can be used for good or evil. Most successful people are empathetic, which they use to take advantage of their compatriots. I wish I had more empathy.

      SFG

      April 30, 2013 at 6:37 AM

  2. If people aren’t capable of making such basic decisions about matters of such importance, what do you propose to rectify this problem?

    Dan

    April 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    • Government regulation seems to work best in smaller countries or regions with fairly homogenous populations that have average IQs in the high 90s or better – Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore, England (before mass immigration), New England, and Canada are all examples where government intervention has been mostly positive. So the real answer might be to decentralize the US, and stop immigration, and then restore government regulation to the levels we had during the Eisenhower administration (very socialist by today’s standards).

      Peter the Shark

      April 28, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    • Having the government make decisions works if the people in the government are smart. You might be able to attract the best people for top government jobs by paying top salaries: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/04/congressional_salaries_senators_representatives_and_their_staff_all_deserve.html

      John

      May 1, 2013 at 4:36 PM

  3. You sound like a liberal who wants to have it both ways. So are these people adults or not? If so, let them bear the consequences. If they are not, then they shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

    chucho

    April 28, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    • Many of these people have diminished cognitive capacity. They should no more be allowed to fall prey to such schemes than a child should be allowed to play with a loaded gun, and for exactly the same reason.

      Kudzu Bob

      April 28, 2013 at 4:26 PM

  4. We have the worst of everything. Big government and big business in cahoots.

    Government power is only used to curtail rights, grab guns, and shake YOU down.

    Meanwhile big business gets bailouts and connected elites are free from prosecution.

    This is how most of the world operates. America WAS the exception but not anymore.

    Conquistador

    April 28, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    • There is an additional function of government: to hand out entitlements to the poor and the elderly in return for votes. It’s the people in-between who are getting squeezed.

      steve@steve.com

      April 29, 2013 at 11:02 AM

  5. Oh, please. Pension loans have suddenly become a “crisis” solely because they target retirees, who are a privileged group with disproportionate political influence. Contrast with how there’s little if any fuss about the far more serious student loan crisis. That’s because most of its victims are young people, and nobody much cares about young people.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    April 28, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    • What’s the interest rate on student loans these days? Many times higher than credit cards?

      steve@steve.com

      April 29, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      • Interest rates on student loans are lower than credit cards.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 29, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      • It isn’t the interest rates that are the problem. Even if the interest rates were 0% student loans would be a huge problem. The problem is that student loans con children into thinking that they should go to college, which is disastrous for society. Student loan payments (however “fair” they may be) then reduce the fertility of graduates, which is again disastrous for society.

        A better system would be something like this: Everyone gets a series of IQ tests in middle school. The top 18% (IQ 115+) are then put into a track that results in them having a general science/statistics/economics/engineering degree by age 20, which also gives them the right to vote. Then specialized education for the upper half of the class (9% of the population) follows from there, with female access restricted to those who can meet fertility targets. Instead of costing money all of this education would come with stipends.

        So in order for a woman to get a phd in the humanities she would first need to do well on IQ tests, then take a “liberal arts” (conservative sciences?) degree that focuses on logic and data. Then she would have to have kid in order to make it into a humanities program, then she would need to have a second kid to make it onto the PhD track. She’s be expected to have a third kid if she wants to work somewhere prestigious, and a fourth if she wants tenure. During this time she and her husband would be getting stipends, and so they would have plenty of money to buy a nice suburban house in which to raise their children.

        I say that this would be good as someone who is almost an anarchist libertarian. Repairing the gene pool is so incredibly important if our civilization is to survive. Quite frankly, I am convinced that Western civilization is suffering from a terminal illness and that nothing will be done.

        T

        April 29, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      • The interest rate on my grad school loan from ’98 – ’00 is 2.25% fixed.

        E. Rekshun

        April 29, 2013 at 5:55 PM

      • What about private student loans?

        chicnoir

        May 9, 2013 at 2:12 AM

  6. Lion is making great sense. The median American just lacks the ability to save over 40 years of working for 20 years of retirement. The deferring consumption part of this he is capable of, but only if there aren’t a bunch of usurers tempting him at every turn with blowing it in a new SUV, boat, vacation, or house renovation.

    The society libertarians want is one where a single moment of weakness can destroy 30 years of virtue and savings. Sign here and now we own you, your family, your house, your pension, and we’ll attach your car too if it is nice enough.

    Liberal capitalists more wisely try to limit this cognative weakness with forced savings, strong bankruptcy laws, and strong usury laws.

    Peter: it isn’t either/or with stopping the rip off of students v the elderly. I’d like to stop both. And Obama did do something big about student loans: a huge portion of student loans are now forgivable and subject to reduced payments under his large expansion of income based repayment. There are better ways to deal with student loans, but are impossible because big finance and big education own both parties.

    Obama is also trying to stop high interest loans to unsophisticated middle class people via the consumer financial protection bureau, however republicans in the senate and DC circuit court of appeals have blocked every single one of the proposed regulations.

    Zog

    April 28, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    • What constitutes a “high” interest rate? What is high today may be low tomorrow (say if inflation takes off) The only reason the education loans were not forgivable was because big education lobbied for it, so that the lenders can lend more (in principal, because the rate would go down, principal goes up) and to more people which allowed the education sector to expand.

      The smartest approach to this problem that I have seen is to make a certain loan that basically you sign off on some future earnings, and it’s called income driven repayment. If the college takes the risk then it’s fine, if somebody else takes the risk, then they will basically judge the student and college on a case by case basis, which is also fine. Of course, if this becomes popular the democrats will start crying that it discriminates, and red lining and that the rates and inversely proportional with the potential success of the student and all that…

      C

      April 28, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      • No, the smartest approaches to the problem are to either make the schools free and fund them well (European model) make the individual departments cosign on loans. This will force the departments to be far more invested in student outcomes, slaughter a lot of the crap departments, and cut down on the ‘diploma-mill’ization of the schools. The academics will cry out that college shouldn’t just be a materialistic job training program, but that’s garbage. If you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars, there better be a reason.

        cannibal

        April 28, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      • Many small l libertarians like the Singaporean approach. Forced saving into a retirement fund that’s carefully managed and that isn’t like the faux Soc Security “fund.” It’s not pay as you go, as our system is. It seems to do well at promoting savings, without the insolvency of our current system and allows a limited number of investment options.

        corleonii

        April 29, 2013 at 6:17 AM

  7. the reality is that the average person isn’t all that intelligent or wise

    I think it was Jim Simons from Renaissance Technologies (hedge fund) that said:

    “We all like to believe that we’re smarter than the average. Half of us are deluding ourselves.”

    These types of loans need to be outlawed.

    So how about:

    – Check cashing companies
    – “Buy here/pay here” auto lenders (these outfits can charge up to 24% interest for an auto loan in NY State)

    Wade Nichols

    April 28, 2013 at 5:24 PM

  8. Zog –

    What are the specifics of these laws? The devil is in the details not the connotation given by their titles.

    map

    April 28, 2013 at 5:46 PM

  9. What is not understood is that the poor and the stupid will always be taken advantage of by the smart and the rich. Liberals are against this so they want the government to come and protect people. Trouble is, the expansion of the government in this area simply means that the smart and the rich get a much larger palette on which to run their scams. The result is the level of swindling attacking the public is far larger than it otherwise ought to be.

    What is needed is a much smaller state and much greater transparency.

    map

    April 28, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    • Anti usury laws are basically just caps on interest rates and are not anything like laws governing complex wall street financial transactions that run thousands of pages in length. The main argument against them is that it forces people out of the legitimate financial industry and into the arms of loan sharks which i’m guessing is not really much of a problem for the elderly.

      How could more transparency help here? And how would less regulation achieve that? They already have to make the paperwork clear enough that the people here can understand it and with laxer regulation the paperwork would be so complex that noone without legal training could understand it. Yes, there would be a market for loans with understandable (although still very complex terms) but it would occupy a totally different niche than the one described in the article.

      Reynald

      April 29, 2013 at 3:17 AM

  10. “LOL only a libertarian could look at a corporation and Joe Average side by side and declare, ‘two consenting parties; they look the same to me…it is so LOGICAL!’”

    That is precisely what the courts, as currently configured, do when evaluating contracts. So perhaps you’d like to overhaul the legal system and rewrite contract law?

    If the difference between Joe Average and Corporate Joe is so large, and this is apparently obvious to everyone besides libertarians, then it should be obvious to Joe Average too, since most Joe Averages in this country aren’t libertarian, going by statistics. This being the case, why does Joe Average choose to enter into contracts with Corporate Joe in the first place when the odds are so clearly stacked against him? Got any explanation for that? I would venture that the vast majority of Joe Averages who enter into contracts with corporations get their due consideration from the latter and DON’T end up getting screwed. But hey, what do I know, I’m a libertarian sympathizer.

    Also, what about the other side of the coin? I.e., how often do businesses, both small and large, get screwed over/stiffed by their contractual customers? Does anyone even care a smidgen about this? Because it happens vastly more often than the opposite scenario. Every small claims court docket in the country is loaded with cases of local businesses attempting to chase down deadbeat Joe Averages for bills long overdue.

    Allerious

    April 29, 2013 at 1:08 AM

  11. And Lion, you’re critique of libertarianism is only half of it. Libertarians assume that what is best on the whole is just each individual pursuing, without coercion, whatever he thinks is best for himself. One giant flaw is what you mention, the fact that people are often terrible judges of their own interest especially when it comes to balancing the present and the future. The second giant flaw which you don’t mention is the existence of externalities and the fact that a world without any coercion isn’t actually possible. Part of being in a society with other human beings means being constantly affected by actions of others that we have no direct say in and don’t consent to.

    Reynald

    April 29, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    • Speaking of coercion, a lot depends on how one draws the boundary between right and wrong. For libertarians, any decision made without coercion is acceptable (good, or at least not bad). Other people draw the boundary differently. From my point of view, a good decision must be an informed decision. The person making the decision must understand what he or she is doing and material information that would affect the decision must not be withheld.
      This justifies, among other things, government regulation of loans to elderly, who are often demented. Similarly, laws requiring public companies to disclose their finances on a regular basis help investors make an informed decision about buying or selling shares, in fact, without these laws buying stock would be like buying a pig in a poke.

      WRB

      April 29, 2013 at 10:39 AM

  12. “The advances, federal and state authorities say, are not advances at all, but carefully disguised loans that require borrowers to sign over all or part of their monthly pension checks.”

    That is exactly what an advance is. c.f. “The sales, authorities say, are not sales at all, but cleverly disguised contracts that require people to sign over all or part of their cash in exchange for goods and services.”

    Anyway, for sure snake oil salesmen will exist in a libertarian society (though, do you think there are none in government?) but this seems like a minor issue. Most of your blog is complaining about things the state enforces ultimately out of a desire to buy the votes of poor and unsuccessful people. How do you think eliminating that is compatible with retaining a technocratic democracy? It’s not a coincidence these policies are largely the same everywhere; it’s a stable equilibrium of the system. Maybe if the population always had equal or near-equal IQs and never changed the results of this redistribution would be comparatively minor, but if that ship ever existed it has long since sailed.

    dha

    April 29, 2013 at 9:36 AM

  13. Lion, sometimes you make these shallow statements… You always ignore the enforcement side of law. Is it enforceable?

    The reason that we allow payday loan companies to exist is because it’s better to have these kinds of business to be out in the open and be regulated. What’s the worst that could happen if you screw up with payday loans? Your credit gets destroyed..

    What happens if you get in too deep with a loan shark? You die or get seriously maimed. I know this is a bit different, but you get the idea..

    Which is why drug legalization is so important, prostitution, and so forth. Better to be out in the open than in the dark.

    This isn’t about Libertarianism, it’s about dealing with people and the fuck ups they’re bound to be.

    Kaz

    April 29, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    • The loan-sharker would go to jail. And people who are tricked by corporations operating under the veneer of being a real bank doing sophisticated marketing based on credit reports, they would not be fooled by Vinny the loanshark. The vast majority of these elderly being taken advantage of by real “banks” woudldn’t even know how to find an illegal loanshark.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 29, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      • While Clinton and his Justice Department like to take credit for breaking up the mob, some economic deregulation surely undermined organized crime. What has six balls and rapes the poor? The lottery. We also say payday loan operations. However, these loan outfits should probably be more tightly regulated.

        Re: libertarianism as masculine. Sure. It’s extremely manly to con the elderly out of their life savings. Libertarians oppose the state because they’re full of so much shit they’re afraid of being condemned by city sanitation. Whatever happened to Rand’s rhetoric about the self-created man versus the collectivist moocher. We see the real principles at work: the strong should not be restrained from exploiting the weak.

        Vince, the Lionhearted

        April 29, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    • Payday loans aren’t a terribly bad idea if customers typically used them once and only once. Interest and fees on a $500, 14-day loan average about $75 to $100. Obviously, that’s a lot, but using a payday loan to cope with a financial emergency and paying it off with the next paycheck isn’t going to ruin most people.

      Whatever the theory may be, payday loans in practice can be a very bad deal because most customers can’t pay them off when due. Instead, they roll the balances over into new loans, and when those loans come due in another two weeks the process just repeats itself. Incurring the high interest and fees each time, of course.

      Payday loans are illegal in about 15 states, and are losing popularity in the states where they are legal.

      Peter

      ironrailsironweights

      April 29, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    • Kaz’s idea of female beauty:
      http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-204_162-10014847.html

      Better in the open, right?

      Dan

      April 29, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      • Yeah bro, because making meth illegal and more police state amounts of incompetent law enforcement is just what we need.

        Money spent on rehabilitation programs would be better than that.

        Regardless, that is the effect of bad adulterated meth made by shitty ghetto ‘chemists’. Pure meth gives you cleaner high similar to clean cocaine without the face degrading side effects. .

        Kaz

        April 29, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      • Kaz, do you just make stuff up to win arguments? Did that work in your college dorm? Its obvious to everyone that you pulled your unsourced baloney about better ‘pure meth’ out of your… The toxic adulterant in meth is… meth.

        “Because meth causes the blood vessels to constrict, it cuts off the steady flow of blood to all parts of the body. Heavy usage can weaken and destroy these vessels, causing tissues to become prone to damage and inhibiting the body’s ability to repair itself. Acne appears, sores take longer to heal, and the skin loses its luster and elasticity. Some users are covered in small sores, the result of obsessive skin-picking brought on by the hallucination of having bugs crawling beneath the skin, a disorder known as formication…

        Their day- or week-long meth “runs” are usually accompanied by tooth-grinding, poor diet, and bad hygiene, which lead to mouths full of broken, stained and rotting teeth.”
        Source, pbs.org

        Kaz, you have comically proven Lion’s point about Libertarians.

        Dan

        April 30, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    • Kaz, FYI, the Netherlands now hates its legal prostitution. It brought massive human trafficking, abuse of women and organized crime. Only 5% of the women registered anyway.

      http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8835071/flesh-for-sale/

      Dan

      April 30, 2013 at 9:37 AM

  14. this is why i abandoned libertarianism. it sounds great in theory (FREEDOM!!!!!) but has really bad unintended consequences.

    aki (@DSGNTD_PLYR)

    April 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

  15. My favorite form of libertarianism is that espoused by Friedrich Hayek. He is, by far, the most sophisticated of the libertarians and I would encourage everyone here to read him.

    The essential struggle that exists in our society is a conflict over planning. The choice is stark: either you have the right to decide what is best for you or someone else will decide for you. Either you have the right to plan and organize your own life or someone else will plan and organize your life for you.

    The essential struggle is over the basic question: Who plans? Do you plan and organize your life, or does the government plan and organize your life for you? When there is a conflict over planning, someone is going to be disappointed. If the government wants you to be a ditch digger and you want to be a doctor, someone is going to have to give up their plans. Who will that be?

    It is easy to sit here and argue that the stupid and ignorant should be protected for their own good, when one assumes that the stupid and ignorant is always going to be someone else. But, remember, the State wants you in chains. You are the prize. The weak and stupid are just the means the State uses to set up a system designed to corral…you.

    You know yourself better than anyone else can possibly know you. You also have a vested interest in looking out for yourself. No one else, no matter how smart or informed, has these same conditions. How, then, can anyone else be in a better position to decide what is best?

    map

    April 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    • If you were dealing with people that entered into these deals and then never had a problem with them and were only being told that they should regret them then you would have a point. But we’re dealing with people who come to bitterly regret their decisions either because they did not understand what they were agreeing to begin with or did understand but couldn’t rationally the interests of their present and future selves.

      Reynald

      April 30, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    • Good comment map.

      Conquistador

      April 30, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      • Thanks, Conquistador

        map

        April 30, 2013 at 10:11 PM

  16. “Libertarianism assumes that people are capable of making intelligent and wise decisions, but the reality is that the average person isn’t all that intelligent or wise, and half the people fall behind even the average.”

    We never claimed any such thing. All we believe is that I don’t have the right to point a gun in someone’s face and tell them what kind of business deals they can engage in, or vote for a politician who will do it by proxy.

    “But wait, sometimes pointing a gun at someone is good from some sort of Benthamite utilitarian perspective.” Sorry–don’t care.

    John

    April 29, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    • But libertarians do believe that the government should regulate business transactions. They may think think the state shouldn’t interfere with the kinds of business deals outlined in the article but that’s just because that’s where they’ve arbitrarily decided to draw the line.

      Reynald

      April 30, 2013 at 12:54 AM

  17. Linda Gottfredson “Why g Matters: The Complexity of Everyday Life”, article of 1997:

    Click to access 1997whygmatters.pdf

    Florida resident

    April 30, 2013 at 6:08 AM

  18. Should the kind of people who can be suckered into these terrible loans still vote?

    notbob

    April 30, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    • A better question is: should the people who suckered demented pensioners into these terrible loans be allowed to vote?

      WRB

      April 30, 2013 at 4:01 PM

  19. This is not really a Libertarian vs Statist issue. Like most issues, it is a people and culture issue. Something like this wouldn’t happen in Japan no matter how libertarian their culture because the social stigma against anyone caught doing it would literally require the person to kill themselves. Libertarianism does not equal the absence of a moral code. Just because government does not prohibit something does not make it right or that there wouldn’t be consequences. If you need government laws to prevent people from swindling the elderly out of their life savings, then you are as a society past the point where law can save you. The real problem with America is that the country is simply too large and too “diverse” for such a sense of community to develop.

    southbeachprimal

    May 1, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    • South Beach for the win.

      Libertarianism seems to have made this leap from the simple right to be let alone (the ethos of frontier America) to “everything not expressly prohibited is permitted.” Bryan Caplan can pull this off; Ghetto D’Antavious or Trailer Park Suzy, not so much. High g, spergish libertarians don’t understand the rules of social conservatism weren’t written with them in mind.

      Really, libertarianism should just be concerned with exit rights and freedom of association. A localized society where people from the dim to the bright can find their own level–and criminals and con men can be marginalized–is a very good thing.

      Sound money has salutary effects on the whole culture as well.

      The Anti-Gnostic

      May 1, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    • “Something like this wouldn’t happen in Japan no matter how libertarian their culture because the social stigma against anyone caught doing it would literally require the person to kill themselves.”

      Southbeach, scams like this are in fact the order of the day here in Japan. Scammers prey on whomever they can, particularly the elderly, and make use of whatever social trends can help them. A popular one a few years ago was for the fraudster to trawl through the phone book looking for names that seemed elderly and then call them pretending to be that person’s grandson, all agitated because he’s just gotten into an accident and needs money instantly to pay the person he hit (or whatever). He gives the unsuspecting grandmother a bank account to wire the money into, grandma goes to the bank and does it, and then the next day when grandma calls her grandson to ask if he’s OK, the grandson has no idea what’s going on, since it was a stranger (and a scammer) who made the call. The bank account is then closed and grandma has lost her life’s savings.

      I wish the traditional sense of Japanese honor were more than a myth… but it isn’t.

      Kyo

      May 2, 2013 at 1:47 PM

  20. Seniors might not want to admit it but people lose mental capacity as they age. It begins after 40 and accelerates after 60 and 70. Until the average senior is in the bottom 20% cognitively. And yet they have control over 40 years worth of savings and investments. In some cases worth millions or tens of millions.

    I disagree with Lion’s using this issue to take cheap shots at libertarians. Libertarians aren’t against protecting those with limited capacity whether they be minors who haven’t reached the age of consent or the elderly who might get ripped off.

    The question is how to protect them. I wouldn’t want to see a whole bunch of new laws and regulations. Because I figure that Big Finance already has Big Government wrapped around its Little Finger. They would just lobby for laws and regulations forcing seniors to do things with their money that would make Big Finance even bigger money. I have serious objections to allowing foxes to tell chickens how best to protect themselves.

    This is the kind of issue that requires real thought so that the cure doesn’t turn out to be worse than the disease.

    destructure

    May 1, 2013 at 1:33 AM

  21. It took me a while to figure out what was going on with T’s comments. Then I realized that they are interpreting _A Farewell to Alms_ as a how-to book.

    “So in order for a woman to get a phd in the humanities she would first need to do well on IQ tests, then take a “liberal arts” (conservative sciences?) degree that focuses on logic and data. Then she would have to have kid in order to make it into a humanities program, then she would need to have a second kid to make it onto the PhD track. She’s be expected to have a third kid if she wants to work somewhere prestigious, and a fourth if she wants tenure. During this time she and her husband would be getting stipends, and so they would have plenty of money to buy a nice suburban house in which to raise their children.

    I say that this would be good as someone who is almost an anarchist libertarian. Repairing the gene pool is so incredibly important if our civilization is to survive. Quite frankly, I am convinced that Western civilization is suffering from a terminal illness and that nothing will be done.”

    Herb Dregs

    May 2, 2013 at 1:35 PM

  22. Libertarianism doesn’t assume people always make wise, rational decisions. It assumes that

    a) People, on the whole, tend to know more about their own personal needs and wants than anyone else,

    and

    b) even if Person B would be better off if Person A makes decisions on his behalf via the mechanism of government, there’s no reliable way to ensure that Person A either obtains the necessary government power, will use it for Person B’s benefit, and will not use it for Person C’s harm.

    The latter is important, as it’s the subject of James Buchanan’s work. Basically, Buchanan recognized that government actors have their own incentives, and there’s no reason to assume they will implement ideal policies (as indeed they do not), since ideal policies are often not in the government’s interest or the interests of individual bureaucrats.

    Fearsome Pirate

    May 17, 2013 at 8:16 PM

  23. “Libertarianism assumes that people are capable of making intelligent and wise decisions, but the reality is that the average person isn’t all that intelligent or wise, and half the people fall behind even the average.”

    First, libertarianism assumes no such thing. Indeed, it is among the most common criticisms from the non-libertarian left that they perceive libertarians as having no concern for such persons despite their recognition that this sort of exploitation can and will happen.

    Second, libertarians are generally quick to insist that adjudication agencies, be they state or non-state, should not uphold or enforce a ‘paper’ contract signed by someone who is unable to give consent, for reasons of senility, abnormally low intelligence, or otherwise. Libertarians also do not condone the enforcement of an agreement in which a party was misled or defrauded about the terms of the contract.(See footnote.) This applies here, as there was outright fraud in some of these loans; i.e. marketing a product as not being a loan, but an ‘advance’, when in fact it is a real debt obligation.

    Third, libertarianism proper, as a moral perspective on the scope of lawful violence in society, has nothing to say about the many other moral views one may have on human relationships. Most libertarians, when not talking about libertarianism, have relationships with friends, family, and organizations of religious faith, which encompass certain normative assumptions, many of them strongly felt, regarding the treatment of the vulnerable and those that would exploit them.

    (Necessary note: Libertarians tend to emphasize ‘fraud’ as regarding the terms of the contract itself, and not the circumstances surrounding it or a party’s expectations of future events. For example, a contract regarding the sale of a shipment of a product may be considered null and void should it be discovered that said shipment did not conform to certain standards of quality as specified in the contract. It would not, however, be a matter for contract law to weigh in on should the buyer later discover that the product he had assumed to be popular turn out to have fallen out of favor with the public.)

    NoGodsOrKings

    May 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: