Saturday, August 04, 2012
Bunyan on predatory lenders
In The Life and Death of Mr. Badman, Bunyan has a scene wherein Mr. Wiseman discusses with Mr. Attentive those (like Mr. Badman) who took advantage of the poor through unfair lending practices. His description of the "Pawn-Broker" of his day has the ring of a contemporary predatory pay-day lender:
Deceit! Aye, but I have not told you the thousandth part of it; nor is it my business now to rake the bottom of that dunghill: what would you say, if I should anatomize some of those vile wretches called Pawn-Brokers, that lend money and goods to poor people, who are by necessity forced to such an inconvenience; and will make, by one trick or another, the interest of what they so lend, amount to thirty, forty, yea sometimes fifty pounds by the year; notwithstanding the principal is secured by a sufficient pawn; which they will keep too at last, if they can find any shift to cheat the wretched borrower.