Exploitative Businesses and the Perpetuation of Poverty

Posted on Categories Business Regulation, Legal Scholarship, Public

walker-thomas_furniture_signProf. David Papke has a new article in print, entitled “Perpetuating Poverty: Exploitative Businesses, the Urban Poor, and the Failure of Reform,” appearing in 16 St. Mary’s Law Review on Race & Social Justice 223 (2014). Here is the abstract:

While rent-to-own outlets, payday lenders, and title pawns operate in suburban and rural areas, these exploitative businesses are most concentrated in America’s inner cities. The businesses’ highly crafted, standardized contractual agreements are central in their business models and for the most part enforceable in the courts. What’s more, the contractual agreements and business models are so sophisticated and adjustable as to make them virtually impervious to regulation or legislative reform. The businesses as a result continue not only to exploit the urban poor but also to socioeconomically subjugate them by trapping them into a ceaseless debt cycle. Profits go up when the urban poor cannot pay up, and rent-to-own outlets, payday lenders, and title pawns take advantage of urban poverty while simultaneously increasing and perpetuating it.

An earlier draft of the paper appeared on SSRN.

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