predatory finance

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pages: 299 words: 83,854

Shortchanged: Life and Debt in the Fringe Economy by Howard Karger

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big-box store, blue-collar work, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, delayed gratification, financial deregulation, illegal immigration, labor-force participation, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, low skilled workers, microcredit, mortgage debt, New Journalism, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, payday loans, predatory finance, race to the bottom, Silicon Valley, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, underbanked, working poor

For some at-risk consumers, fringe financial services are like an addiction—there’s always money there when they need it. But, like most addictions, it comes at a high price. A final goal was to show how the modern fringe economy reflects a break from the past. The availability of high-cost predatory credit is hardly a new phenomenon in the United States. On the contrary, the nation has a long history of indentured servants, debt servitude, company stores, loan sharks, pawnshops, and predatory finance companies. For example, company stores in mill towns, coalfields, and migrant camps have traditionally kept poor workers in a cycle of perpetual debt. Black sharecroppers were held in debt servitude to landowners by land and crop mortgages carrying exorbitant interest rates.2 What makes the modern fringe economy different is the level of organization, the corporate control, the presumed legitimacy of these enterprises, the growing appeal to large sectors of middle-income households, and the geographic reach of these companies.


pages: 504 words: 143,303

Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Plutocrats, plutocrats, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War

Lawyers have profited handsomely from drafting secrecy rules that tax havens use to protect the businesses they hide. All this has happened in piecemeal fashion – again with no conspiracy or central organisation. At first it all looked unproblematic, in fact, the sector boomed: deregulation appeared to work. There were a few crises, but nothing to come close to 2007. The impressive expansion of the sector’s revenue seemed to justify everything. In the US, Michael Hudson comments, Predatory finance has concentrated wealth and used it to buy control of governments and their regulatory agencies. It even has taken over the Justice Department and the courts, so that financial fraud in America has been decriminalized. Bank lobbyists back the campaigns of politicians committed to deregulating banking and its major clients (real estate, natural resources and monopolies). So there is no regulation of outright criminal behavior even by the largest banks such as Citicorp and Bank of America where fraud was concentrated.88 The City’s and Wall Street’s escape from the threat of serious restructuring is a function not only of their control of the commanding heights of the economy and their colonisation of the polity and the networks influencing policy, but also of their success in constructing a story of success – in which, whatever the turmoil of the crisis, the sector remained vital to the future as the powerhouse of their respective economies.


pages: 700 words: 201,953

The Social Life of Money by Nigel Dodd

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, informal economy, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kula ring, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, late capitalism, liquidity trap, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mental accounting, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, predatory finance, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, remote working, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, Scientific racism, seigniorage, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Wave and Pay, WikiLeaks, Wolfgang Streeck, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Meanwhile, the Fed faces an interest rate quandary: if it keeps rates low, the financial sector will be forced to gamble to achieve the growth in asset values it needs; if rates rise, real estate values will fall and the banks and pension funds will be forced even further into negative equity. If Hudson is right, we ought to be witnessing the end of two myths. The first is about free markets. We cannot continue to believe that they are free when they support rent seeking rather than real GDP, reward banks for pushing junk mortgages, and use credit rating agencies to make predatory finance look like sound wealth creation. Free markets need to be protected from fraud and rent seeking. The second myth is that central banks cause inflation by monetizing public spending. They do not cause inflation if the spending in question goes toward new production and employment. Instead, such spending is being diverted to support inflated asset prices and continued financial speculation. CONCLUSION This chapter has traveled across a broad terrain: from the argument that it is debt that renders money social, to the prospect that, through money, today’s brutally one-sided debt relations pose a major threat to democracy.