Bad Paper by Jake Halpern
Bad Paper is a riveting exposé, a moving story of an unlikely friendship, and a gritty narrative of how scrappy entrepreneurs profit from our debts. Jake Halpern introduces us to a former banking executive and a former armed robber who become partners and go in quest of “paper” – the uncollected debts that are sold off by banks for pennies on the dollar.
As Halpern shows, the world of consumer debt collection is a wild and unregulated shadowland, where operators may misrepresent a debtor’s situation, make illegal threats, and even lay claim to debts that are not theirs to collect in the first place. It is a realm of indelible individuals who possess a swagger and vocabulary that even David Mamet could not invent. Halpern follows his collectors as they intimidate competitors with weapons; manage high-pressure call centers, and scheme new ways to benefit from American’s debt-industrial complex. He also explores the history of collection agencies and reveals the human cost of a system that leaves hardworking Americans with little opportunity to retire their debts in a reasonable way. The result is a bravura work of storytelling that is also an important consciousness-raiser.
Nothing But Thieves Upcoming Shows:Nov 14 – Electric Brixton – London, UK
Joe Virgillito chats with Prof. Gerald Friedman about COVID-19 and the case for Medicare For All. J. McVay and Jacqueline Soller discuss 2011 movie, ‘Contagion.’ Plus a preview of Scoville Unit’s upcoming BTR Live Studio session. | listen