The early 19th century French social critic, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, is best known for his biting comments on the social injustices of his own day.  Perhaps the most famous of these was his assertion — “Private property is theft!”

In the spirit of Proudhon I shall post here notes on a series of contemporary property games which are being played on Americans by ruthless corporations, unleashed by pre-purchased politicians.

One of the more vicious of these, which has hit virtually any and all who have held and used a credit card, is the imposition of costly penalties (a payment lost in the mail) and arbitrary increases in interest when a company figures that it has a victim hooked with a large balance.

I had this happen twice just as I was refinancing a bank credit line to pay off credit cards — a sudden doubling of the rates by MBNA and Capital One — notices for which came in the mail which had ironically crossed with my payoffs.  Others, however, may not be so fortunate and one reads not infrequently of individuals who have been hooked for as little as $2500.00 in charges for which they have paid $7000.00 with $4000.00 still remaining. Such outrageous profiteering not infrequently results in forced bankruptcy, loss of a home.  There is currently an American Express con that offers a 3.99% rate on large transfers from other cards — with a small print caution that one late payment will bump the rate to 31.99%  The unwary player then discovers with the first billing that huge monthly repayments of principal are also required. Cute!

And adding to the burdens here the Republican Congress a few years ago revised the bankruptcy laws so that one can not escape on-going payments even with poverty budgets — sometimes caused by an illness and resulting medical expenses that could not be paid due to an inability to work and the loss of job related medical insurance.

Shall look more closely at some of these monsters at a future date.

Generally the daily news brings one or more property horror stories that will also be featured here.  Today’s:

In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich
Many members of the digital elite do not see themselves as
particularly fortunate, in part because others have more.

P.S. Hope people’s pensions are still intact with the current market crash brought on by speculative property games.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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