You might think that policymakers would take a keen interest in the amounts that are stolen, coerced, or extorted from the poor, but there are no official efforts to track such figures. Instead, we have to turn to independent investigators, like Kim Bobo, author of Wage Theft in America, who estimates that wage theft nets employers at least $100bn a year and possibly twice that. As for the profits extracted by the lending industry, Gary Rivlin, who wrote Broke USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc – How the Working Poor Became Big Business, says the poor pay an effective surcharge of about $30bn a year for the financial products they consume and more than twice that if you include sub-prime credit cards, sub-prime auto loans, and sub-prime mortgages.
Beyond the question of “why listen to the Atlantic?” there are plenty of gaps in the argument this particular article makes, gaps that we disregard if we just jump to its conclusion and say “oh, so true.” I’m not, by the way, offering a rebuttal of the argument it makes, just pointing out that the conclusion offered in its headline doesn’t necessarily follow from the evidence given.
When I agreed to write a column for VICE, I was granted this space, and I am responsible for what happens in this space. Today, I’m going to use this space to rub your racist and bigoted shit in your own faces.
Sound does not persist, neither across space nor across generations, so the tremendous rattle of horse-drawn drays, the clink of cupboards, the sneezes and shuffles of domestic life fall into the vacuous, silent crevices of history. “How did diners respond to the switch from pewter to china?” Schwartz wondered aloud. “How did a midwife register the sound of a new baby coming into the world? How did a person walking out in the woods register the sound of thunder or lighting?” In the course of nearly two decades of research, he had examined diaries, listened to wax cylinders, poured over digitized copies of the Brooklyn Eagle from 1901, and yet these subtle historical shifts in the soundscape eluded him. (“Even,” he said, “for a book of nine hundred pages, too intimidating.”)