The terms poverty industry or poverty business refer to a wide range of money-making activities that attract a large portion of their business from the poor. Businesses in the poverty industry often include payday loan centers, pawnshops, rent-to-own centers, casinos, liquor stores, tobacco stores, and credit card companies. Illegal ventures such as loansharking or drug-dealing or prostitution might also be included. The poverty industry makes roughly US$33 billion a year in the United States.[page needed] In 2010, elected American federal officials received more than $1.5 million in campaign contributions from poverty industry donors.
While the ethics of the poverty industry are debatable, this does not necessarily imply that the industry can not offer legitimate services or that all businesses of a given type should be considered part of the industry.
- Rivlin, Gary (9 June 2010). "Fat Times for the Poverty Industry". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 July 2013. "The pawnbroker, the subprime auto lender, and the rent-to-own operator might say the same. These and other merchants, part of what might be called the poverty business..."
- "EXPOSÉ on THE JOURNAL: The Business of Poverty". Bill Moyers Journal. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- Grow, Brian. "The Poverty Business". Business Week. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- Rivlin, Gary (June 2010). Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.—How the Working Poor Became Big Business. HarperBusiness. ISBN 0061733210. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- McNay, Don (29 July 2011). Legalized Loan Sharks. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 July 2013. "The poverty industry has given huge contributions to lawmakers. According to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, payday lenders donated more than $1.5 million to federal office holders during the 2010 election cycle."
- Hudson, Michael, ed. (1993). Merchants of Misery: How Corporate America Profits From Poverty. Introduction by Maxine Waters. Common Courage Press. ISBN 978-1567510829. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- Caskey, John P. (1996). Fringe Banking: Check-Cashing Outlets, Pawnshops and the Poor. Russell Sage Foundation. ISBN 978-0-87154-180-2. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
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