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1 Beaverton Economics- General
1 Burnside American Studies- Poverty

This title in other editions

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

by

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

ISBN13: 9780061733215
ISBN10: 0061733210
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Review-A-Day

"The poor we may always have with us, but must they always get a raw deal? That's the question award-winning journalist Gary Rivlin poses in Broke, USA. "Poverty, Inc." is the somewhat loaded term he uses to describe financial services firms that cater to the working poor — people in American households making up to about $30,000 a year.... Rivlin reports scrupulously on both sides of the fight over the ethics of payday lending and other financial services for the poor. Ultimately, however, he concludes that the poor are being exploited... But exploited compared to what?... Rivlin might say we were exploited — but it beat the hell out of the alternative." Jeremy Lott, The Wilson Quarterly (Read the entire Wilson Quarterly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Timely, shocking, and powerful, Broke, USA offers a much-needed look at why our country is in a financial mess and gives a voice to the millions of ordinary Americans left devastated in the wake of the economic collapse.

Review:

"[An] incisive, important new expose, Broke, USA...is enraging, but Rivlin's work also is scrupulously fair....[W]hat makes Broke, USA so readable is Rivlin's skill at telling a complex story through engaging characters." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[A] fascinating book." Fortune

Review:

"To understand American finance, you need to understand Ace Cash Express as much as you need to understand Goldman Sachs. Which is why Gary Rivlin's Broke, USA is a necessary companion." Washington Post

Review:

"Mr. Rivlin brings to his subject a genuine gift for storytelling." Wall Street Journal

Review:

"A fascinating and very important work of investigation and explanation, which I hope gets the wide attention it deserves....This is a book with the potential to stimulate outrage — and political reform." Atlantic

Review:

"Broke USA will leave you mad as hell. Thanks, Gary Rivlin, for introducing us to folks like Bill Brennan, who early on saw it coming: the predatory lending that has destroyed communities. If only we had listened." Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here

Review:

"Rivlin strives to portray the people behind Poverty Inc. in a fair light...but his sympathy and the reader's steadily evaporate with his well-chosen tales of the industry's coercive tactics and its leaders' astonishing wealth....Rivlin is the consummate tour guide, quick with a memorable anecdote or telling statistic." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"In Broke, USA, Rivlin lays out this depressing story in rich detail....[H]is riveting look at the calamitous effects on America demands attention." Charlotte News and Observer

Review:

"This thorough and thoughtful piece of reporting has much to teach us about the challenges the U.S. faces today, especially when it comes to improving financial literacy. It should be required reading for legislators and lenders across the land." Bloomberg News

Book News Annotation:

"Poverty, Inc." is journalist Rivlin's name for the commercial complex of payday loan operations, subprime lenders, check cashing outlets, pawnbrokers, and the like that have grown into big business in the United States over the past two decades, generating immense profits in the process of fleecing and often defrauding the working poor. Rivlin takes the reader on a tour of the recent history and current landscape of Poverty, Inc., profiling both winners and losers, as well as describing the efforts of various organizations and activists to put a halt to some of the industry's more egregious practices. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

A veteran New York Times reporter chronicles and dissects the voracious, often predatory poverty business that has flourished over the past two decades — at enormous cost to our economy, our society, and our democratic institutions.

Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times Notable Book of the Year Drive By comes a unique and riveting exploration of one of Americas largest and fastest-growing industries—the business of poverty. Broke, USA is a Fast Food Nation for the “poverty industry” that will also appeal to readers of Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) and David Shipler (The Working Poor).

About the Author

Gary Rivlin is the award-winning author of Fire on the Prairie; Drive By (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year); and The Plot to Get Bill Gates. A two-time Gerald Loeb Award winner, he has worked as a writer and reporter for the New York Times, Industry Standard, East Bay Express, and the Chicago Reader, and his articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Salon, Newsweek, and Wired, among other publications.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Mara Lee, February 7, 2011 (view all comments by Mara Lee)
Gary Rivlin is not the first to write a book about check cashing, rent-to-own, payday loans, subprime lending and all the other ways the poor pay a big price for living on the edge (and it must be said, for having poor self-regulation when it comes to wants vs. needs.) But the interviews with Poverty Inc. moguls and mogul-wannabes, and the crusaders against predatory lending make the topic seem fresh and newly outrageous.

This book is a page-turner, even though we all know how it turns out.

I lived in Mansfield, Ohio and Dayton, Ohio for 10 years, two of the places where a lot of the action in this book happens, and during many of the years he's writing about. He gets a detail or two wrong -- Wright-Patt mostly has professional, good paying jobs -- but for those of you who have never seen the Rust Belt up close, this could tell you a lot about what happens when manufacturing is hollowed out.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
E Linda Wenning, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by E Linda Wenning)
Wanna see what big business does to the little guy? This book will tell you, in chilling detail. It used to be just pawn shops. Now, it is pay day loans, instant tax refunds, all sorts of ways to turn a dime at the expense of the poor. Where did the usury laws go? Try interest rates of up to 500% (this is not a typo).

All quite readable, and should be a call to action! Predatory is a very polite word for what they do.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Susan Jacobson, July 9, 2010 (view all comments by Susan Jacobson)
This is a disturbing book. It is crazy how the working poor are taken advantage of in the name of profit. These types of businesses did not always exist--and hopefully some day they will again go away.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061733215
Subtitle:
From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.--How the Working Poor Became Big Business
Author:
Rivlin, Gary
Publisher:
HarperBusiness
Subject:
General
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Economics - Macroeconomics
Subject:
Poverty -- United States.
Subject:
Working poor - United States
Subject:
General Business & Economics
Subject:
Economics - General
Subject:
Sociology-Poverty
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20100608
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.17 in 18.32 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » 80s to Present
History and Social Science » American Studies » Poverty
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Poverty

Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. -- How the Working Poor Became Big Business Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages HarperBusiness - English 9780061733215 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "The poor we may always have with us, but must they always get a raw deal? That's the question award-winning journalist Gary Rivlin poses in Broke, USA. "Poverty, Inc." is the somewhat loaded term he uses to describe financial services firms that cater to the working poor — people in American households making up to about $30,000 a year.... Rivlin reports scrupulously on both sides of the fight over the ethics of payday lending and other financial services for the poor. Ultimately, however, he concludes that the poor are being exploited... But exploited compared to what?... Rivlin might say we were exploited — but it beat the hell out of the alternative." (Read the entire Wilson Quarterly review)
"Review" by , "[An] incisive, important new expose, Broke, USA...is enraging, but Rivlin's work also is scrupulously fair....[W]hat makes Broke, USA so readable is Rivlin's skill at telling a complex story through engaging characters."
"Review" by , "[A] fascinating book."
"Review" by , "To understand American finance, you need to understand Ace Cash Express as much as you need to understand Goldman Sachs. Which is why Gary Rivlin's Broke, USA is a necessary companion."
"Review" by , "Mr. Rivlin brings to his subject a genuine gift for storytelling."
"Review" by , "A fascinating and very important work of investigation and explanation, which I hope gets the wide attention it deserves....This is a book with the potential to stimulate outrage — and political reform."
"Review" by , "Broke USA will leave you mad as hell. Thanks, Gary Rivlin, for introducing us to folks like Bill Brennan, who early on saw it coming: the predatory lending that has destroyed communities. If only we had listened."
"Review" by , "Rivlin strives to portray the people behind Poverty Inc. in a fair light...but his sympathy and the reader's steadily evaporate with his well-chosen tales of the industry's coercive tactics and its leaders' astonishing wealth....Rivlin is the consummate tour guide, quick with a memorable anecdote or telling statistic."
"Review" by , "In Broke, USA, Rivlin lays out this depressing story in rich detail....[H]is riveting look at the calamitous effects on America demands attention."
"Review" by , "This thorough and thoughtful piece of reporting has much to teach us about the challenges the U.S. faces today, especially when it comes to improving financial literacy. It should be required reading for legislators and lenders across the land."
"Synopsis" by , A veteran New York Times reporter chronicles and dissects the voracious, often predatory poverty business that has flourished over the past two decades — at enormous cost to our economy, our society, and our democratic institutions.
"Synopsis" by , From the author of the New York Times Notable Book of the Year Drive By comes a unique and riveting exploration of one of Americas largest and fastest-growing industries—the business of poverty. Broke, USA is a Fast Food Nation for the “poverty industry” that will also appeal to readers of Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) and David Shipler (The Working Poor).
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