How far is too far when collecting a debt?

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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:35 pm

pErvinalia wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:34 am
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:06 am
rainbow wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:28 am
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:41 am
I dispute that this is taking the term 'violence' beyond its usual meaning.
The term that covers this is 'coercion'.
Then in this case coercion becomes a form of violence - a deliberate act intended to harm - or a feature of violence.
Loaning people money isn't a deliberate act intended to harm. Where are you getting this stuff from? :think:
I think you're being a little reductive here. I started with a qualification - 'in this case' - and am not talking about loaning people money in general but how, as rainbow put it, coercion can be a form of or feature of violence. If I'd said that loaning people money was a deliberate act intended to harm in every instance you might have had an excellent point.

Where I'm getting this from is a number of places (this is a good read for example), but what I'm trying to articulate is how a system which can fully predict its potential and ability to cause harms,and then proceeds to act and cause those predictable harms, conforms to a simple definition of violence: a deliberate act intended to cause harm. In this case, a system which removes someone's access to immediate and necessary medical treatment and then repossess their property is knowingly causing actual physical harm to an individual, and the fact that this is backed by the state with specific legal frameworks makes the state, and by extension the citizenry, complicit in that act.

But then again, I am a bit of a lefty. :tea:
pErvinalia wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:34 am
...
If violence is only a deliberate act that results in physical harm then the threat of violence isn't itself an act of violence, but I'm pretty sure that most of us would accept that a threat of violence is at least an expression of violence, which basically makes it a form of violence (here, a form of emotional or mental violence) or a feature of violence.
That doesn't follow at all. A threat of violence is a threat, not violence.
Threats can do harm if those making them have the power to fulfil them. As I mentioned earlier harm can cover emotional or phycological distress as well as physical distress. Perhaps a dictionary definition of 'threat' would be useful here?
pErvinalia wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:34 am
...
Somehow we don't see this harm as a violence not only because the 'assault' portion of the equation doesn't seem to take place - although making people bankrupt and homeless while limiting or completely removing their access to necessary medical treatment is certainly an unavoidable consequential harm in those circumstances - but also because we're encouraged to see the so-called real moral crime as being the one against money: the debt, the inability to pay for treatment and the defaulting on a finance agreement. The medical finance entity has all the power and yet as the judge basically pointed out the victim of the system only has themselves to blame for taking out a finance agreement for immediate and necessary medical treatment which they couldn't service because of their illness.
The vast majority of people service their loan without default. There's been no violence towards these people.
Again, you're talking about 'loans' in a general, or all-inclusive sense and not in the good-faith context of my reply, but nonetheless, one might suggest that the point doesn't rest on whether people service their loans but on what basis and under what conditions they are obliged to do so.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by Sean Hayden » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:55 pm

Getting away with murder so long as the other guy agrees to let you kill him is as American as apple pie. Thankfully I don't think courts always see it that way. But we'd probably be sick to discover the number of ordinary folk who embrace the idea wholeheartedly.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by rainbow » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:07 pm

pErvinalia wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:34 am


That doesn't follow at all. A threat of violence is a threat, not violence.

Say for instance in the old days, you were put in the pillory.That in itself is not an act of violence. However if they are left to die of thirst for not obeying a rule, would you consider that an act of violence?
This isn't a hypothetic, it was widely used in the middle ages by savage Europeans.

...so threatening to take away someone's house for a debt they had no choice of entering into is in effect an act of coercion bordering on violence, as it removes their basic needs.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by JimC » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:24 pm

rainbow wrote:

Say for instance in the old days, you were put in the pillory.That in itself is not an act of violence.
It often involved violence, in the form of the populace throwing rotten fruit etc. at the defenceless people in the stocks...
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by pErvinalia » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:07 am

Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:35 pm
pErvinalia wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:34 am
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:06 am
rainbow wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:28 am
Brian Peacock wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:41 am
I dispute that this is taking the term 'violence' beyond its usual meaning.
The term that covers this is 'coercion'.
Then in this case coercion becomes a form of violence - a deliberate act intended to harm - or a feature of violence.
Loaning people money isn't a deliberate act intended to harm. Where are you getting this stuff from? :think:
I think you're being a little reductive here. I started with a qualification - 'in this case' - and am not talking about loaning people money in general but how, as rainbow put it, coercion can be a form of or feature of violence.
Rainbow didn't say that coercion is a form of violence.
If I'd said that loaning people money was a deliberate act intended to harm in every instance you might have had an excellent point.
That's exactly what you said when you started this whole bizarre line of argument.
but what I'm trying to articulate is how a system which can fully predict its potential and ability to cause harms,and then proceeds to act and cause those predictable harms, conforms to a simple definition of violence: a deliberate act intended to cause harm.
Again, loaning people money isn't "intended to cause harm". It's intended to loan people money.
In this case, a system which removes someone's access to immediate and necessary medical treatment and then repossess their property is knowingly causing actual physical harm to an individual, and the fact that this is backed by the state with specific legal frameworks makes the state, and by extension the citizenry, complicit in that act.
People freely choose to take out the loans. Remember, most of the people without insurance choose to have no insurance.
pErvinalia wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:34 am
...
If violence is only a deliberate act that results in physical harm then the threat of violence isn't itself an act of violence, but I'm pretty sure that most of us would accept that a threat of violence is at least an expression of violence, which basically makes it a form of violence (here, a form of emotional or mental violence) or a feature of violence.
That doesn't follow at all. A threat of violence is a threat, not violence.
Threats can do harm if those making them have the power to fulfil them.


Not physical harm. You are going around in circles.
pErvinalia wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:34 am
...
Somehow we don't see this harm as a violence not only because the 'assault' portion of the equation doesn't seem to take place - although making people bankrupt and homeless while limiting or completely removing their access to necessary medical treatment is certainly an unavoidable consequential harm in those circumstances - but also because we're encouraged to see the so-called real moral crime as being the one against money: the debt, the inability to pay for treatment and the defaulting on a finance agreement. The medical finance entity has all the power and yet as the judge basically pointed out the victim of the system only has themselves to blame for taking out a finance agreement for immediate and necessary medical treatment which they couldn't service because of their illness.
The vast majority of people service their loan without default. There's been no violence towards these people.
Again, you're talking about 'loans' in a general, or all-inclusive sense and not in the good-faith context of my reply,
Shove your "good-faith" bullshit. YOU started this whole bizarre line of reasoning referring to loans in general.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by Brian Peacock » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:07 am

I see you're finding my point a bit hard to swallow, but I don't see much more than that. What is it that's troubling you about what I've been saying?
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by JimC » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:46 am

rEv, I don't think that it's loans in general that are the critical point in this thread, but that (in the US at least) a pathetic health system is sending people into debt, often those already struggling. Then, the rigid apparatus of the law proceeds with debt collection practices which are clearly harsh, and drive people further into poverty. I disagree with Brian terming this "violence", but it's clearly part of systemic harm inflicted by capitalism...
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by pErvinalia » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:50 am

Brian Peacock wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:07 am
I see you're finding my point a bit hard to swallow, but I don't see much more than that. What is it that's troubling you about what I've been saying?
As I've said, debt/loans aren't violence. It's stretching the definition of "violence" to meaninglessness. Debt/loans can of course be coercive and exploitative and a real pain in the arse. Doesn't make them "violent", though.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by pErvinalia » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:53 am

JimC wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:46 am
rEv, I don't think that it's loans in general that are the critical point in this thread, but that (in the US at least) a pathetic health system is sending people into debt, often those already struggling.
Well he specifically referred to all debt when he said:
Debt is violence when its usury. Discuss.
I suspect he meant "usury" as unreasonably burdensome interest rates, but the term usury applies to all interest bearing loans. In any case, exploitative levels of interest still aren't "violence". Words have meanings.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by JimC » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:25 am

The coercive part applies when someone is forced into debt, for example to pay for a life-saving operation. This is rather different to me being in debt when buying a half share in a gin distillery, or a new Range Rover...
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by rainbow » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:36 am

JimC wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:25 am
The coercive part applies when someone is forced into debt, for example to pay for a life-saving operation. This is rather different to me being in debt when buying a half share in a gin distillery, or a new Range Rover...
...in a nutshell.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by Brian Peacock » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:16 am

pErvinalia wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:53 am
JimC wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:46 am
rEv, I don't think that it's loans in general that are the critical point in this thread, but that (in the US at least) a pathetic health system is sending people into debt, often those already struggling.
Well he specifically referred to all debt when he said:
Debt is violence when its usury. Discuss.
I suspect he meant "usury" as unreasonably burdensome interest rates, but the term usury applies to all interest bearing loans. In any case, exploitative levels of interest still aren't "violence". Words have meanings.
I agree. Words have meanings, but often they don't just mean one thing and one thing only, like the Biblical literalists say. Words can have nuanced and subtle meanings, context-dependent meanings. I've said that I think violence occurs when someone acts with the intent to harm someone else. That's a pretty blummin' clear statement, and I frame it like this in order to distinguish violent acts from negligently harmful acts - it's the intent that matters. If you hold that 'violence' is a rigidly specific term that only ever equates to a physical assault, a punch-in-the-face kind of violence, then that's fine - I'm only trying to tell you what I think, not what you should think. Violence means something to you, and something different to me. Sure you've told me that you think I'm wrong, but you haven't said why you think I'm wrong, just that I am. So let's just leave it at that eh(?)

As for 'usury', I'd say that the term doesn't just refer to interest rates but to exploitative finance arrangements in general. Exploitation is a power dynamic, and when lenders have the power to set conditions on loans which they know are detrimental to the borrower then loans become usurious. If an when those detrimental effects are foreseeable harms, either psychobiological or physiological, then usurious financial arrangement can become acts of violence, particularly when backed by the state in law.

"A loan may be considered usurious because of excessive or abusive interest rates or other factors defined by a nation's laws." - Wiki

Encouraging someone into a finance agreement for necessary medical treatment which you know will be difficult to service because of the illness and/or the treatment, and then withdrawing the treatment and repossessing their home (and no doubt covering your legal and admin costs in the process) when they default on the agreement is usury, and the foreseeable psychobiological and physiological distress it causes is violence in my book. It might not exactly be a punch in the face, but it's certainly a kick in the teeth.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by pErvinalia » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:46 am

Words have meanings. That's why you are wrong. For the fifth time or thereabouts.
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by Brian Peacock » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:47 am

Well as you've asserted that for the fifth time too we'll just leave it at that eh?
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Re: How far is too far when collecting a debt?

Post by rainbow » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:11 pm

pErvinalia wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:46 am
Words have meanings. That's why you are wrong. For the fifth time or thereabouts.
Do you not accept that the threat of physical violence is the equivalent of psychological violence?
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