Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Finance on the fringes: Public policy and the big business of small-sum loans.


A lot of the problems we see in this industry may have less to do with the fact that the industry is exploitative, and more from the fact that the borrowers are coming into these stores because they have unstable incomes, because they don't have enough money. You can lend them money, but if the underlying issue is that their income is insufficient to meet their expenses, then it's really putting a bandaid on the problem, when it needs a much larger solution, that would involve thinking about how we distribute the bounty of capitalism among workers.

Law scholar Anne Fleming examines a century of shifting power dynamics between small-sum lending businesses, poor customers and the state - from small-scale loan shark operations in the early 20th century to the growth of a modern multi-billion dollar national industry operating in the growing gaps in the economy, and provoking questions about federalism's role in financial regulation.

Anne is author of City of Debtors: A Century of Fringe Finance from Harvard University Press.

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Anne Fleming

Anne Fleming is Associate Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center.


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