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Finding the Edges of Payday Lending

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image of Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

Abstract Although virtually unknown in 1990, payday lending has become an important and profitable credit practice over the past two decades. Because of this growth, and because it has been implicated in ever-increasing levels of debt among the poor, payday lending has been confronted by an active political movement which has had some success in imposing forms of regulation in the United States and abroad. This paper argues, however, that this activism has failed to address the increasingly globalized nature of payday lending. Over the past five years, in particular, payday lending has become a thoroughly globalized practice deeply connected to and enabled by liberalized global financial markets. This paper reflects on the distance between the activism that now confronts it in national or subnational contexts and this increasingly global reach of payday lending. It concludes by making the case for a more fully globalized conception of global financial justice.

Affiliations: 1: University of Alberta


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