If you want a realistic look at predatory lending, high-cost financial services, and other "ordinary rip-offs" endured by low-income persons in the United States today be sure and visit this link to the cover story of the latest issue of Business Week, no liberal rag I might add: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/
I expect the story will sicken you, as it did me.
Israel in the days of the Hebrew prophet Amos (circa 8th century B.C. E.) had nothing on the United States today! Might do us all good to read the words of Amos today, right after we read the Business Week article. Let me know when you hear either quoted in church.
What with largely unregulated loan sharks, disguised as reputable businesses; selling used cars complete with strategies to repossess a part of the business plan; rent-to-own electronics and appliances; payday loans; income tax services and extremely high interest credit cards; poor folks in this country discover just one more way to slide further and further into the darkness of not just poverty, but generational poverty. The Business Week report demonstrates that these businesses plan to exploit the poor as standard operating procedure on the way to remarkable profits.
Unchecked capitalism such as this, as well as the injustices it spawns, should be reigned in for the good of the entire society.
Behind this story is a fact that others in the business world should take note of. The subprime and predatory lenders have moved in on the poor for one simple reason: the poor have money and constitute a viable market opportunity.
Here's my question. If there is an opportunity for the shady, why not the legitimate?
For years we have been asking for grocery retailers to set up business in the poorer sections of Dallas, especially in the inner city neighborhoods of South Dallas. Our low-income friends need and purchase food more often and frequently than credit! The market is there. Where is the company willing to step up to the unique challenges of these areas of our city and deliver what would in many low-income neighborhoods be a smashing business success?
I doubt anyone starts breaking ground tomorrow, but I'll keep asking anyway.
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