“It is a low, dirty-looking, dusty shop, the door of which stands always doubtfully, a little way open: half inviting, half repelling the hesitating visitor.” That was how Charles Dickens depicted a pawnbroker’s shop in Drury Lane circa 1835.
Today the industry is keen to shed its tawdry image as tough economic conditions fuel its growth: stores are springing up on high streets around the country as Britons borrow against their family treasures to get them through to payday.
We, the American people, are being Scrooged by such political attitudes that threaten to undo all the progress our society has made since the terrible toll taken on society by runaway industrial capitalism in the 19th century. The post-industrial capitalism of the 21st century is no less a threat. We are rapidly becoming a society driven by banking practices that manufacture nothing but debt, and an economy that grows only fast food, service jobs and an increasing class of working poor.
Take notice of my words, sir. If ever the defaulting part of this here country pays its debts — along of finding that not paying ‘em won’t do in a commercial point of view, you see, and is inconvenient in its consequences — they’ll take such a shine out of it, and make such bragging speeches, that a man might suppose no borrowed money had ever been paid afore, since the world was first begun. That’s the way they gammon each other, sir. Bless you, I know ‘em. Take notice of my words, now!