By Howard Karger
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Extra resources for Shortchanged: Life and Debt in the Fringe Economy
Indeed, many financial transactions have become so tricky that the middle class, especially the functionally poor middle class, is also vulnerable to the predations of the fringe economy. As Shortchanged illustrates, the lines between the fringe and mainstream economies are blurred, and the interests of the poor and the functionally poor middle class are growing closer. Several readers may find details about the fringe economy tedious. In the fringe economy, as in many things, the devil is in the details.
They also wire money back to their family in Honduras through ACE. In fact, ACE is an important part of the Rodriguezes’ banking system. Occasional trips to pawnshops and check cashers round out their informal banking system. There are several reasons why the Rodriguezes use check cashers. For one, they can’t wait for checks to clear. Because they make so little money, they live hand-to-mouth, and waiting a week or more for a check to clear the banking system means not having food on the table.
9 The growth of the fringe economy parallels the economic development of the 1990s and early 2000s. Specifically, during this time there were four distinct economic phases: a downward spiral from 1989 to 1993 (family income fell $1,572 from 1989 to 1992); a slow recovery up to 1995; rapid growth from 1995 to 2001 (family income grew $4,555 from 1995 to 1999); and another economic dip, starting in 2001. One measure of the economic well-being of workers is the median hourly wage of male and female workers.
Shortchanged: Life and Debt in the Fringe Economy by Howard Karger