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Friday, March 02, 2012

So You Think You Hate Debt Collectors?

Not as much as this guy hates 'em:
In a horrific incident in Bihar's Arwal district, about 80 km from Patna, a 20-year-old daily wage worker had to pay a heavy price for failing to pay a debt of Rs 300. The daily wage worker, Ram Sagar Chandravanshi, was attacked and one of his hands chopped off after he refused to work for free for a couple of contractors in lieu of Rs 300 that he owed a money lender.
This is India. File it under the problems with micro-lending. That's approximately 6 US dollars.

We in America have mostly forgotten about "nasty, brutish, and short", haven't we?


All the old evils are still out there, waiting for us to stray away from the campfire.
Only, in this country, the chopping would be done by someone that bought the debt off a company that decided they couldn't collect it. It's one thing to owe someone that provided you with a service. It's another to be told that you owe someone that you've never heard of for services you received from someone else.
That's a very good way of summing it up, A_Nonny.

This is one of the reasons that I could never be a libertarian. There's always a group of people that really like it out there beyond the circle of the firelight.

They hacked at his other hand, too. Clearly the idea was that if you won't work for free to pay off your debt, you won't be working at all. One presumes that the object lesson will be learned - I assume the small debt collection rate in Bihar is arcing right up.

But such things should not happen.
The old evils are alive and well in this country. The only difference is our society tends to think along the lines of "What's in it for me?" Cutting off a guy's hand doesn't put the money in my pocket. In other words, what good is an indentured servant with purposely-reduced productivity?
Charles - I assure you that if the law permitted it, debt collectors the US would be armed with axes. It would be a highly effective debt collection mechanism. A whole lot of people with purchase money mortgages and high other assets would not even CONCEIVE of walking away and sticking the creditor with the loss.

The man's hands weren't chopped off for $6.00 USD. The man's hands were chopped off to make sure that others did not refuse such an excellent refinancing deal.
Don't forget lawyers get their cut, too. But I would expect people to freely sign loan documents allowing amputation.

Reminds me of a Monty Python sketch:

Customer: This policy says something about filling my mouth in with cement.

Insurance Saleman/Mobster: Oh, that's just insurance jargon!

WV: ibust. Sounds like a new Apple product!
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