And that’s the problem in Duhigg’s piece. While creditors are savvy and ingenious in the way they track data about their customers and train their personnel to make sure they can push the right buttons, consumers are tragically under-informed. And this imbalance goes sadly unmentioned in the article. Yes, creditors are devilishly clever, but cleverness and virtue are not the same thing. As the recession eliminates jobs, customers face ballooning interest rates allowed by fine print in complex contracts with clauses written in dense legalese. Because, unlike the creditors, they don’t have teams of analysts. Instead, consumers expect to rely on journalists to help them understand devious business practices and expose the devil in the details.

Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.