- Paperback: 232 pages
- Publisher: Common Courage Press; First Printing edition (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: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #935,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Merchants of Misery: How Corporate America Profits From Poverty First Printing Edition
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The conclusion by the editor emphasizes that minorities and low income people are starved by lack of credit as they feel the squeeze of higher prices. It explores sociology of integration with the age old syndrome of whites moving out of neighborhoods as blacks move in. To restore economic vigor to neighborhoods there is hope in the rise of neighborhood credit unions that are much more economically friendly, eschewing predatory practices like required insurance.
There's an old banking adage that states “Never lend money to someone unless they don't need it.” Many of these writers imply that this fact of life is a social evil. Others are more even handed, recognizing the need of lenders to charge a risk premium.
Missing from the book as sources of money for the poor are family and friends, mafia type organizations and most of all government. Though dating from 1996, the midst of Clinton era fueling of the RE bubble in the name of the Great American Dream, the editorials understate the role of government, while allocating blame between lenders and borrowers. Balance between need for credit for poor and society versus the need for protection of people who don't know or care about contract conditions.
Politicians now embark on popular campaigns to mitigate predatory practices. Unfortunately, they promote the illusion of universal protection for everyone, so expensive for society that has to pay more and get much less than purported victims ever did. Though not without current interest, an update of the book is overdue.
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.
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....