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My audio for the week is an interview by Terry Gross of journalist Gary Rivlin, whose new book Broke USA explores the world of marginal finance.

Full transcript available at NPR.

I particularly like the way Rivlin discusses exploitation without flatting out the narrative into one of class warfare. He talks about the ways in which institutions like payday lenders and rent-to-own businesses provide services to poor neighborhoods and rural areas that are often vital and welcomed by their clientele. He doesn’t come across as shaming poor people for being dupes of predatory loan companies or (for that matter) universally condemning financial institutions for providing services that are in high demand.

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