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Anthony

Chattanooga, TN, United States

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  • Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. - How the Working Poor Became Big Business

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Gary Rivlin
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    For most people, the Great Crash of 2008 has meant troubling times. Not so for those in the flourishing poverty industry, for whom the economic woes spell an opportunity to expand and grow. These mercenary entrepreneurs have taken advantage of an era of deregulation to devise high-priced products to sell to the credit-hungry working poor, including the instant tax refund and the payday loan. In the process, they've created an industry larger than the casino business.

    Wade T. Brooks says: "A Good Read"
    "Important story. Embarrassing accents."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Broke, USA to be better than the print version?

    No.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Understanding the connection between big banks and payday lenders is essential to understanding the scope of the cultural, fiscal and political breakdowns of the past decade.

    The book is definitely biased. The money lenders and big banks are bad guys; the class-action lawyers and activists are good guys. I'm curious both about the financial incentives of the good guys as well as the veracity of the bad guys claim that they provide fair and essential services to the working poor. The book never plays devil's advocate and it suffers for it.

    The book does, however, thoroughly analyze the tactics used by title loaners, payday lenders, rent-to-own retailers and, yes, large "legitimate" banks to extract what can only be described as punitive fees from the working poor.

    No matter how libertarian one's leanings, the sheer magnitude of the so-called "poverty industry" is bracing. Furthermore, the industry's combination of ego, victimhood, righteous indignation and seemingly boundless greed make it difficult to accept as the normal machinations of a completely deregulated free market.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scott Sowers?

    Will Patton, a Carolinian, is both a fantastic actor and capable of authentic Southern drawls.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    That the massive success of the poverty industry has influenced trends in "legitimate" business like car dealers, big box retailers and private real estate developers.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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