Profiting from poverty: how the working poor became big business

Jun 14, 2010
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Adding insult to injury, the poor are the most likely to fall prey to scams. In his new book, Broke, USA: From Pawnshop to Poverty, Inc., New York Times writer Gary Rivlin looks at what he calls the “poverty industry.”It used to be just pawn shops that offered short-term cash for the remaining valuables of people who’d fallen on hard times. Today, there’s an explosion of companies that offer payday loans, used car financing, and sub-prime loans to people who are too poor to buy things up front. The result: the poor end up so deep in debt, they can never get out. What, if anything, can be done about predatory lending targeting the disenfranchised?

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