Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Local News: Free State Project school site sold at foreclosure auction

From The Useless Leader:

EPSOM - Pathfinder Academy, an Epsom Montessori school owned by a member of the Free State Project, was sold back to its mortgage bank at an auction Tuesday. 
The private school had filed for bankruptcy in August. 
According to Justin Conway of Paul McInnis Auctioneer Inc., there were third-party bidders at the auction, but none met Bank of New Hampshire's (formerly Laconia Savings Bank) price. Conway said he was not at liberty to divulge the final price or the identities of the third-party bidders. The property's value has been assessed at $844,900. 
Pathfinder Academy was founded by Wayne Anderson and his wife, Julie, in 2001 to counter what Anderson referred to as the "socialist indoctrination" of the mainstream education system. Anderson is affiliated with the libertarian Free State Project movement and identifies as an "Objectivist," a philosophy based on the writings of Ayn Rand. 
Montessori schools are not necessarily libertarian-leaning. Montessori is a "child-centered" education system that features multi-age student groups, uninterrupted work time, guided student choice of activity, emphasizing "discovery learning" over instruction.  
Pathfinder Academy opened with about 40 students, peaking at 75 in 2007. Anderson told the Concord Monitor in 2010, however, that after 2007, enrollment dropped yearly by about 10 students. At the time, he blamed government regulations and the faltering economy. According to Anderson, the school's entire budget came from annual tuition, which was $7,100 per elementary student and $7,500 per junior high student in 2010. 
The school's revenue in 2010, 2011 and 2012 was about $295,000, $221,000 and $61,000 respectively, of which the school kept about $6,000 in profits, according to the filing. By August 2012 the school had $123 in checking account and $13,000 in assets while owing over $257,000 to its creditors. 
Anderson's Pathfinder Real Estate company, which is the school's listed owner, also filed for bankruptcy in the same month, listing close to $600,000 in debts, most of it to its mortgage bank and now owner, Bank of New Hampshire. 
As of Jan. 11, the real estate company also owed $50,384.70 in property taxes to the town of Epsom from the last three years, according to the Epsom tax collector's office.
The Andersons claim that the company owes them $100,000 for personal funds they invested into the business to keep it operational in its final years. In the last year, the Andersons withdrew $2,000 from the company for living expenses. 
The property, described as "mixed-use" by the Paul McInnis auction notice, is located at 59 Sawyer Ave. in Epsom and is "visible from the traffic circle." The 3.5-acre complex includes four buildings that total more than 9,000 square feet: a main house, two classroom buildings, and an outbuilding with two drive-in doors used as garage and workshop.  
According to the auction notice, the property is zoned for residential and commercial use.
So much irony here.

Anyone who thinks the public school system is "socialist indoctrination" has obviously never been a student at Salem High: we watched videos hosted by John Stossel and read that oh-so wonderful broken window parable in our required freshman economics class, and read Ayn Rand in 9th grade English. "Get 'em while they're young," is a popular rallying cry amongst the more vulgar types.

It's probably rude of me to make fun of shit like this, since I know how the banks and the state are scum (despite the fact that this dude was working with a mutual bank, which are overall much more honest), but damn, this is amusing as hell. Perhaps this should also serve as proof that the market doesn't always work in the favor of what's desirable. Que: "That's not the TW00 free market capitalism!",


  1. Whatever one thinks of Ayn Rand or the Free State Project; the Monstessori model isn't a too shabby alternative educational model. It's relatively liberatory. This doesn't strike me as a particularly good example of the market not always producing desirable things. That's not to say markets always produce desirable things, but this isn't the worst market institution out there.

  2. To my knowledge, Monstessori schools are rather leftist in their education model. The fact that far-right libertarians took it over is pretty odd. Usually, when free staters move here they like to take advantage of the existing infrastructure, and the way this dude and his wife took over the school is a perfect example.

    This doesn't strike me as a particularly good example of the market not always producing desirable things.

    It shows that a pure market transaction failed in the fact that libertarian owners were not able to hold up the contract they made with the bank. Libertarians are constantly pushing contracts as a means of preserving authoritarian property relations.

    A large reason why markets fail to produce good results is because the commodities sold on the market are made up of several different parts that are mostly unknown to consumers. Think of it this way: if you're going to accept the notion that there's no way a successful economy can be planned because producers don't have the knowledge to plan successfully, what makes you assume that the knowledge problem that austrians love to bring up so much doesn't carry over to consumers as well?

    For example, let's say you want to buy candy from an agorist woman in Manchester because you want to support state-free consumerism. Now, you may think all you're doing is "voting" for this one woman's product with your dollar/gold/silver/bitcoins, but you're also "voting" for everything that went into making those candies as well. The chocolate she uses was shipped over from Guatemala, the sugar she uses was grown and shipped over from Hawaii, the milk comes from Vermont, and so on. Now, how is your average consumer supposed to know all of this, and even if the consumer did know, why would they care? All they see is the finished product, and the only producer they see is the one woman (in this case) who only mixed the ingredients together and sold them as a finished product. This is part of Marx's theory of the fetishism of commodities; that being, that the labor is hidden and all that consumers see is the nice shiny product sitting on the store shelf.

    I'm going to tackle my main issues with agorism and related strategies/ideologies in a future post but right now I need to finish my thesis (which actually touches on commodity fetishism) and get my shit together so I can visit some comrades in California.

  3. Julia,

    It occurred to me that I did miss your point here. You weren't referring to the educational model, but the bank foreclosure as an example of markets producing undesirable results. I'll write more later as it comes to me. You go into great depth. I'll have to digest and ponder it.

  4. All right. I'd really like to know what the left-libertarian response to the veil of production is, since it seems like something completely unsolvable. I live in the most free market state (New Hampshire) in a region full of small businesses and I don't know about the behaviors of all those businesses, so I strongly doubt that a more "decentralized" open marketplace full of nothing but small producers would solve this problem. I don't know where the store down the street from my neighborhood gets all their wines and raw milk cheese from. I don't know if that business is a place I want to stay in business. It doesn't seem like a free(d) market will be able to guarantee perfect info.