Saturday, June 19, 2010

Consuming the Poor

The poor are growing in number and desperation.

Classical liberalism from the time of Adam Smith has found the poor dangerous. Because the poor are difficult to manage with repressive apparatuses, like LA and Phoenix policing, other strategies are pursued.

Neoliberalism, that re-freshed liberalism, has sought for the last 30 years to manage the poor through debt. Microfinance fleeces the poor who have lost their factory jobs due to structural adjustment in developing nations. Credit card companies and banks manage the poor through debt servitude in the US.

The newly impoverished--a growing class in the U.S.--constitute a heady market for a growing industry--the "debt relief" industry.

The New York Times has a good article and short video on this roaring industry that exploits impoverished populations' efforts to repay their mounting debts.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/19/business/economy/19debt.html?src=linkedin

For smirking audiences who have no sympathy for debtors, let me ask you how long you could continue to pay your mortgages, car payments, etc if you lost your job? Many Americans--even some with college degrees and no shortage of work ethic--live paycheck-to-paycheck because of stagnating wages and outrageous health and auto insurance requirements. Unexpected illnesses constitute THE major reason for personal bankruptcies in the US.

Payday lenders used to represent the most obvious vultures but now they face a new contender. Debt relief companies apparently have an approximately 1% success rate in eliminating clients' debt. Yet the industry earns plenty of fees managing the payments desperate debtors give them with the understanding that the industry will deliver legitimate debt reduction.

I am sickened yet again by the greed and villainy of the debt industry.

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