Profiting from poverty: how the working poor became big business

Jun 14, 2010

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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