All readers who will be attending the Austrian Scholars Conference at the Mises Institute this weekend are welcome to check out my presentation, “Credit Card Companies as Private Producers of Justice.”
Even the most ardent supporters of “limited government” tend to agree that the state is necessary to provide certain “public goods.” One of these goods is the protection of consumers from acts of fraud, and the provision of justice where consumers have been the victims of fraud.
Activities of the credit card or payment card industry, however, suggest that this may not be the case.
Through voluntary contractual arrangements, motivated by a desire for customers and profit, credit card associations like Visa and MasterCard, and other payment systems like American Express and Discover, provide an entirely private means for consumers to gain redress when one of the card’s merchants wrongs the consumer in some way.
As international commerce becomes increasingly common, the nation-state is becoming increasingly obsolete, especially in the resolution of consumer disputes in which buyer and seller may be located in separate jurisdictions. Payment card companies’ dispute resolution services effectively and efficiently provide the sort of cross-border justice that separate governments cannot, and new international governmental agencies could not do without seriously hindering the free flow of commerce that makes the internet so useful for bringing consumers around the world products they otherwise could not have enjoyed.
Sound interesting? I’ll be presenting as part of the panel on “Liberty, Finance, and Banking,” Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m., and hope to see you there.
Meanwhile, those who would like to take a look at the paper, including those who are unable to attend the conference session, are invited to drop me a line.