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Collateral Damaged: The Marketing of Consumer Debt to America Hardcover – August 12, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this exhaustive study of the credit card industry, Geisst (Undue Influence) delivers a scathing critique of the routine practices that led to the current consumer debt crisis. He details the origins of credit cards, a path pioneered by merchants bent on making loyal customers, including Sears Roebuck, which established a consumer credit business in 1911, followed by General Motors and Ford opening finance divisions to facilitate car purchases. The banks followed their profitable example, creating finance subsidiaries through their parent holding companies. The book highlights the sweeping financial deregulation in the 1980s and 1990s, the backdrop of the rise in credit card offers, adjustable rate mortgages and, ultimately, the current poor state of consumer financial affairs. Geisst calls for additional regulation of securitized financial products, the establishment of a consumer credit protection agency and reinstatement of usury laws to cap exorbitant credit card and adjustable mortgage interest rates. Given the crippling debt load that many Americans now carry, this important discussion of the troubling marriage of consumer credit and mortgage lending is long overdue. (Aug.)
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Review

We've all heard about 'conspicuous consumption,' the now out-of-vogue affliction. This economic malady has been usurped by 'cannibal consumption' the perilous intertwining of the housing and consumer credit markets, says Charles R. Geisst. And unless the U.S. government straightens out these markets soon, Geisst maintains, the country is in for even more perilous times. --USA Today
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomberg Press; 1 edition (August 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576603253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576603253
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,389,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First and foremost, this is an extremely well-written book. Though my knowledge of finance is limited, Geisst is a joy to read, even if I had to take some sections slowly. I appreciated the historic approach which clearly traces the rise of consumer debt and how it has been financed. Of particular interest is Geisst's explanation of how emergent financial theories that originally applied to picking stock portfolios and corporate debt were later applied to consumer debt.

What makes this book stand out is Geisst's even tenor. Even when taking a position, Geisst does his best to provide a balanced account of each issue. His recommendation of a nationwide but flexible usury law is persuasive in that he appears to let the facts speak for themselves. I am glad that I picked this up, and am eager to read his other works.
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Format: Hardcover
Very informative and interesting book. What we all should know about credit in this country and these times.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm still reading this, but so far I think it's worth every dollar I paid for it.
I think once I complete reading this I'll stop using my credit card
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