Listen to Interview: Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty Inc. – How the Working Poor Became Big Business, From June 21 Economic Perspectives
Posted by Hopeton on June 19, 2010
Gary Rivlin, author of Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty Inc. – How the Working Poor Became Big Business, was one of the June 21 guests on Economic Perspectives. Listen to my interview with Rivlin by clicking Gary Rivlin Interview:
Summary of Book from the Publishers Web Site
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 and have proved that pawnbrokers and check cashers, if they dream big enough, can grow very rich off those with thin wallets.
Broke, USA is Gary Rivlin’s riveting report from the economic fringes. From the annual meeting of the national check cashers association in Las Vegas to a tour of the foreclosure-riddled neighborhoods of Dayton, Ohio, here is a subprime Fast Food Nation featuring an unforgettable cast of characters and memorable scenes. Rivlin profiles players like a former small-town Tennessee debt collector whose business offering cash advances to the working poor has earned him a net worth in the hundreds of millions, and legendary Wall Street dealmaker Sandy Weill, who rode a subprime loan business into control of the nation’s largest bank. Rivlin parallels their stories with the tale of those committed souls fighting back against the major corporations, chain franchises, and newly hatched enterprises that fleece the country’s hardworking waitresses, warehouse workers, and mall clerks.
Journalist Gary Rivlin is the author of four previous books. His first, Fire on the Prairie: Chicago’s Harold Washington and the Politics of Race, won the 1993 Carl Sandburg Award for Best Nonfiction; his second, Drive-By, was a New York Times notable book of the year and a finalist for a PEN-West award. He has worked as a staff reporter for The New York Times, where his beats included Silicon Valley and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and his work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Salon, Newsweek, and Wired, among other publications.