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Merchants of Misery: How Corporate America Profits From Poverty

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1567510829
ISBN-10: 1567510825
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Editorial Reviews

Examines how corporations profit from the poor by bankrolling pawnshops and high-interest finance companies, and discusses current protests


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Common Courage Press (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567510825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567510829
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,056,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Hudson's two decades of work on mortgage and banking fraud has prompted critics to call him the reporter "who beat the world on subprime abuses," the "guru of all things predatory lending" and "the Woodward/Bernstein of the mortgage crisis."

Hudson is currently a senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. He worked previously as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the Roanoke (Va.) Times. He has also written for Forbes, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and Mother Jones.

His work has won many honors, including a George Polk Award for magazine reporting, a John Hancock Award for business journalism, an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, a SPJ/Sigma Delta Chi Award and accolades from the National Press Club, the White House Correspondents' Association, the American Bar Association, New York Press Club and the New York State Society of CPAs.

He edited the award-winning book Merchants of Misery and appeared in the documentary film Maxed Out. His latest book, THE MONSTER: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis, was named 2010 Book of the Year by Baltimore City Paper and called "essential reading for anyone concerned with the mortgage crisis" by Library Journal.

His 2011 series of stories for the Center for Public Integrity, "The Great Mortgage Cover-Up," was selected to appear in Columbia University Press's Best Business Writing 2012.

Twitter: @michaelwhudson

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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By egalitarian ethos on June 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Merchants of Misery" is a damning indictment of unregulated, free-market capitalism and provides a reader with more than enough material to refute the claim that capitalism is synonymous with fredoom, as espoused by Milton Friedman disciples etcetera.
A lucid, searing and compelling analysis of America's poverty industry, "Merchants of Misery" starts off by illustrating how discriminatory banking practices disallow poor and minority coneumers to partake of their services. By refusing banking services (loans) in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, mainstream banks are creating a vacuum that is being filled by cheque-cashers, high-rate mortgage companies and other financial enterprises eager to fleece the poor.
"Merchants of Misery" provides glimpse after glimpse into the lives of real poverty-stricken people and their efforts to fight back. Fighting back by way of consumer rights attorneys, neighbourhood activists and a coalition of average citizens attacking the purveyors of this despicable industry with lawsuits, protests and alternative financial services. A powerful book.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By (Kenneth R. Kahn) on November 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
How much misery can one person stand in their lifetime? is it not enough to be poor in America? Must one suffer injurious harm and injury at the hands of rent-to-own centers,check-cashing stores, and pay-day lending operations? Michael Hudson catalogs not just the personal misery of those merely seeking a piece of the American dream, he skillfully exposes the corporations behind the merhcants of misery. The names of these corporate perpetrators are all-too-familiar to us--Ford, Chrysler, and NationsBank. Hudson ironically points out that these same corporations, who are unwilling to provide branch operations in the inner city, are perfectly willing to provide finance subsidiaries, check-cashing operations, rent-to-own centers, and a myriad of loan sharking operations that would make the mafia proud. Hudson points out that few states, particularly southern states, have usury laws which prevent these predators from charging anywhere from 20-1,000% for their merchandise. In one case, a TV set, which could have been purchased for $300-400 went for over $1,200 after all the payments were made to a rent-to-own center. Hudson has written an important, must-be-read book detailing yet another war on the poor--the war penalizing those who merely want a piece of the American dream--and get a piece of the American nightmare.
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7 of 85 people found the following review helpful By H. Buning on September 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Not everyone who is poor in America is so because of their own fault. This pointless work would have you believe that NO ONE who is poor in America is so because of their own fault Hello? HELLO?

Big business, to look from the MOST cynical viewpoint, would love for everyone to be rich, just so they could buy more. I'd love to see Ken Lay sentenced to death, myself, but Enron is just an exception. Free market capitalism is the most efficient way to get the most people OUT of poverty....
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