Discussion of the pay-day loan scandal seems to assume that the main issue is that companies are being 'irresponsible' – as if it were somehow responsible to charge ruinous rates of interest as long as those borrowing can be shown to 'afford' it.
Just as with the rest of the financial industry, pay-day loan companies have clearly demonstrated that they cannot be expected to behave 'responsibly'.
Regulation is what is required. In the Middle Ages, when usury was frowned on, the Church declared that interest charged on money lent should not exceed 1% per month (12.7% APR). That still seems like a reasonable yardstick.
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