Since I have had a shred of free time this week, I finally took some time to warp my loom and begin another project. I used the entire reed as I would like to work up a light, summer blanket for the bedroom. To make it easy-care, I’m using either acrylic or washable wool for the warp and weft.
Has anyone else had trouble going to a brick and mortar craft store in search for acrylic yarn and been stuck with various colors of the baby-kind? Since I typically make objects with wool or other animal fibers, I never noticed how trying it can be to find acrylic yarn –which yarnies usually scoff at in terms of quality; me included- that isn’t in some kind of baby-color. Pastel pinks, blues and purples line the shelves. Kind of frustrating when you just want to grab something inexpensive and local (waiting for lower-quality yarn in the mail from an online store is kind of like getting a lousy Christmas present).
Anyway, I’ve been happily weaving away this week and thought I’d share a bit of the progress. My only concern so far is that I didn’t want the blanket to resemble a bath or beach towel, which I dread occurred anyway (cream-colored warp with some green/blue weft striping?). Well, what do you think?
Also, I thought I’d bring up an interesting topic that I can’t help but be exposed to, thanks to being home with daytime TV. Yeah, I know, I’ve gone on about daytime TV before, but as it turns out, there’s plenty to discuss.
For example, the many commercials for short term or payday loans that fill the breaks in between finding out who the baby’s dad really is. Has anyone seen one of these lately?
Short term lenders and their marketing devices have been criticized a great deal in sociological, legal, and consumer-advocacy literature which tend to call them predatory and unethical due to their sky-high interest rates and specific –even strategic- locations within cities. Despite this, other articles and analyses
justify the presence of these lenders as fulfilling a need- they serve a population often underrepresented by banks and other financial institutions.
When commercials for payday and title lenders air, they certainly seem like they want to portray themselves in a particular light (as all companies do, I suppose). Actors appear on the screen, claiming that they would have lost their car or home without quick access to the money the lender made available. Others push the envelope even further; one that I viewed recently had a mother saying that “she is always there for her daughter, and (payday lender) is always there for me.” It appears short term lenders intend to spread the idea that they are not only charitable, but philanthropic. In particular, these companies seem to want to connect their business with the concept of family, which is ironic considering that while many family members might be willing to forgive a debt, a payday lender, is certainly not willing to forgive…or forget. Kind of reminds me of a certain kind of family…the kind that gives offers that you cannot refuse.
On another note, it is just as likely that the way payday lenders portray themselves in the media reflects how the consumers of these companies view them, illustrating a feedback relationship. When a person is in a serious financial bind, a deferred deposit lender can certainly seem like a saving grace. In this way, these lenders are less the villains that seek out to sway the disadvantaged, but are reliable options in the face of losing what little a person may have. This could be the difference between going hungry and having food on the table. The reality of the media image of payday lenders and their relationship with consumers is probably more related than many consumer advocates are willing to admit.
Research supports that payday and short term lenders tend to serve minority populations, who also tend to live in less-affluent neighborhoods and the inner-city. Minority groups are underrepresented in large banking institutions, for a variety of socioeconomic reasons. Less access to education, low paying jobs, scarce health care coverage, etc. have all contributed to minority groups relying (necessarily or willingly) on local, short term financial companies than banks. When the problem of representation in large financial institutions is viewed with socioeconomic concepts in mind, it seems clear that these companies do indeed serve a certain niche population in the U.S. This is where the idea of predatory lenders comes in. They can be found in abundance in neighborhoods rife with poverty, low-paying jobs, and minorities. But is this evidence of predation?
Some articles, such as “Rollover, Rollover: A Behavioral Law and Economic Analysis of the Payday Loan Industry” in Texas Law Review by Karen E. Francis (2010), argue that consumers of payday lending often “underestimate” the nature of their borrowing, and how lenders can take advantage of this bias in order to incur more costs, leading to a “debt trap”. Here is more of the argument of predatory loan practices. Misleading or overtly complicated fees, charges, and rollover rates designed to entrap a borrower in a spiral of money hemorrhaging. On the other hand, a 2011 article by Kelly D. Edminston entitled, “Could restrictions on payday lending hurt consumers?” in Economic Review suggests that tighter restrictions of deferred deposit lenders can leave some consumers with already limited access to financial resources with heavier burdens. In this counter-argument, reasons for poverty be damned, the short term loan is access to more financial resources for a needy population, and more is simply more.
While regulation is one route, and certain one that has seen a lot of action as of late, others suggest that short term loan education for consumers is key, which corresponds with Francis article. In the 2011 article “Information Disclosure, cognitive biases, and payday borrowing” by Marianne Bertrand and Adair Moorse in The Journal of Finance, research hints to psychological-based financial information that puts emphasis on the long-term effects of rollover loans and their fees. Realizing the delicacy of this type of education however, the researchers were mild in terms of this strategy in generalized terms. In other words, the research suggests a correlation, but results may vary. A lot.
So, there are many different ways in viewing the mainstream presence of deferred deposit loans. Although it seems to me that the problems imbedded and even exemplified in the deferred deposit loan situation are a symptom of a much grander and more difficult issue: social inequality.
When you’re poor, money is actually more expensive.
Whether you support for more or better financial education, access to better paying jobs, or more regulation of the industry, the intrinsic, driving issue rests in the lingering problem of social inequality in the U.S. Have a nice bite of what social inequality in the U.S. looks like by visiting here.
*** Quick update! The New York Times just released an article this morning that discusses the database of client information that is used to evaluate bank account applicants. The story outlines how small infractions, such as a bounced check or a minor overdraft, can prevent a person from getting a traditional bank account -often for years in the future. This is a good article to follow up on that further explains some of the points I brought out above. Click the link below***