Shortchanged
Life and Debt in the Fringe Economy
By Howard Karger
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Final Release Date: September 2005
Pages: 252

Every day, this alluring come-on entices unsuspecting consumers into the depths of the "fringe economy"—a parallel economic universe of pawnshops, payday lenders, check cashers, and other businesses that prey on the financially desperate. These people are duped by clever slogans that promise to alleviate their financial woes and help them gain access to the American Dream. Instead they find themselves in an economic netherworld of spiraling, sky-high interest rates and ever-increasing debt. Once there, the road out is nearly impossible to navigate.

This compelling look at the dark side of the American economy chronicles how these predatory businesses ruthlessly and systematically exploit the poor and middle classes. And it proposes practical reforms that could prevent the ruination of millions of lives.

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