Max Dunbar in 3:AM reviews Loan Sharks

Written by Ashwin Rattan Wednesday, 05 December 2012 17:17
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 An extract from Max's review:


Loan Sharks is more than a Toynbeeish campaigner’s text.


Packman has a fascinating chapter on the history of lending, and illuminates the religious taboos against usury and debt. Liberal tirades against consumer fetishism are just a modern updating of that prejudice.


Credit is the lifeblood of the economy, you can’t have a functioning society without debt, and lenders should be entitled to charge interest – otherwise, what’s in it for them? People want food and shelter, they also want indulgence and good times, and if they can’t afford these things they will borrow, and if they can’t find good credit they will turn to bad credit.


Packman identifies the real class struggle here: ‘People have fought, along class lines, long and hard to enjoy access to credit, even if it is to enter into the world of consumer capitalism.’ If people cannot get good credit from banks they will get bad credit from legal or illegal loan sharks, and Packman is realistic about the ability of credit unions to fill the huge gaps in the system.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 17:25

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