I think what Moo is saying answers this. If you pollute the water, then you are clearly damaging property of others and doing "harm" to others. That falls under the laws protecting life and property. It ALL go's back to this.
I think that the in a truly free market you would have more choices. Most businesses and consumers wouldn't tolerate another business that practices illicit behavior and people could go elsewhere and or else seek damages. I believe that self regulation must be the first option rather than our current default option of allowing the government to step in at every snivel.
A great example is Chicken products. We currently have two monopolies over this. Tyson and Perdue. Government goodies and regulations have allowed them to corner markets and become national industries where the local guys don't do as well. little guys can't compete because they can't handle the expenses of the regulations. If they could compete on an even field, you would have a dozens, maybe more. Your food would be alot healthier too.
Of course I'm not so blind to believe that some industries wouldn't try to take advantage of others, but with multiple options people usually are better able to make better decisions. I think most people want the best product or service at the best price. I think most people with better employment choices would also demand better working conditions. The regulations that were put in place to protect employees in the 19th and early 20th century are a far cry as to what's occurring today.
This industry couldn't continue those practices for long...(and the final caveat)......IF the legal system we had were both moral and ethical. As you and I both know we are a long way from being anything resembling a good Christian society anymore.
We are closer than we think on this.
It was the same with loans for car titles. Many people lost their cars over relatively minor delays in repayment. I know that these people chose to take these loans and they agreed to the terms but should a person lose his car because he needed money to pay for medicine for his family?
These companies preyed upon those who really needed a few extra dollars for some emergency but 50 and 70 percent interest rates are just over the top for people who were already not in the best of financial shape. The state stepped in had banking oversight groups adopt regulations that put caps on the amount of interest that could be charged by these types of financial institutions. The rates can still be high 21 to 25 percent but less people fell behind and lost property or money. Many of these businesses closed, not because they weren't making money, they just weren't making enough to keep them happy.
It can be deduced that some got in to this business for the sole purpose of fleecing people for as much money as they could and moved on to more lucrative scams created by loop holes in financial regulations. Loan sharking is illegal but these companies thwarted the intentions of the law by exploiting the lack of regulations in the financial industry. Trust me on this. I work for a very big bank and I can tell you they and most all banks do things that are not illegal but in my opinion are unethical in order to increase profits. Laws aren't needed to eliminate the unethical practices, just well thought out industry regulations.
I think alot of this can be solved by more competiton and fiscal policy. This would lower costs on things like automobiles and homes and high dollar items. By not destroying the value of the dollar so that people have more purchasing power, this might negate the need for people to make imprudent credit purchases.
Easy access to loans because interest rates are so low put people in positions where they buy into the lie they can handle multiple credit lines and start maxing them out. Yes, people have personal responsibility, but so do the lenders. So we agree.
When I was a kid, I remember it was much harder to get a bank to loan you money for expensive cars and especially a home. Now people expect it.
I do trust you on the banking question. Large banks are some of the worst at practicing what I call "mafia" type practices. But what is one to do when you have the power of Uncle Sam who's "got your back"? That's the type of regulation I'm talking about. BOA should have been dead on arrival 6 years ago. Instead it thrives. Do you think some of those "unethical" practices to increase profits might have been negated if the people playing with the money thought they had alot to lose?
In my idea of a free market, yes, scamming would be seen as "theft" and it would be illegal. If a company could be found guilty of that, they would owe restitution. That's the way it should work. I understand it currently doesn't.
FlaGator, Back in the day, if you didn't have the cash, you didn't buy the new car. Now people will pay outrageous interest rates to get that new car, house, phone (etc) to keep up with their neighbors. If a person signed a CONTRACT with high interest rates it was their fault, not the loaners. If I am late on my mortgage I get a credit mark. There are repercussions to actions. Bailing everyone out due to stupidity or mistakes led us to the mess we are in now. Regulations didn't stop people from buying $500,000 houses with 0% down when all they really could afford was a $200K house.
"The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), enacted by Congress in 1977 (12 U.S.C. 2901) and implemented by Regulations 12 CFR parts 25, 228, 345, and 563e, is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate. In this section of the web site, you can find out more about the regulation and its interpretation and information on CRA examinations. "