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Flat Broke in the Free Market: How…
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Flat Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People (utgåvan 2009)

av Jon Jeter (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
291636,633 (4.6)Ingen/inga
Two-time Pulitzer finalist Jon Jeter reports on the freemarket reforms of the IMF and the World Bank, which in a single generation created a transnational underclass by imbibing a risky cocktail of deindustrialization, privatization, and anti-inflationary monetary policy that have led to the subprime mortgage scandal, the food crisis, and the fraying of traditional social bonds (marriage).… (mer)
Medlem:ArrupeLibrary
Titel:Flat Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People
Författare:Jon Jeter (Författare)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2009), Edition: 1st Edition, 256 pages
Samlingar:First Floor Library
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Flat Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People av Jon Jeter

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In this relatively short book (216 pages including notes), the ex-journalist author tackles the broad subject of the consequences of globalization around the world. Story-heavy, the narrative features portraits of poor people from countries as diverse as Zambia, Buenos Aires and the United States (Chicago and DC).

Meet Isabella Lopes da Silva, an unemployed 49-year-old woman in Brazil, who lives with her unemployed daughter and son-in-law. Meet Rose Shanzi, of Zambia, who sells tomatoes to keep herself and her children from starving; they barely survive on corn meal, at least on the days when Rose makes enough to afford food. Meet Metolina Methembu, 70, of South Africa, who has to turn to the cholera-infested river for water after she can't pay her bills and the utility disconnects her tap. Jeter interviews these women and many other people, from community activists to economists, painting a picture through their personal experiences.

As compelling (and horrifying) as these glimpse into everyday lives were, I could have done with more analysis and explanation of the mechanics of globalization to contextualize these stories. It's only in the chapter on Chile that Jeter really goes into specifics of policies; otherwise, brief references to the IMF and the World Bank, to discarded tariffs, and to the privatization of public utilities are all that are offered to explain how domestic economies imploded. I would have liked to have gotten a clearer picture of how these pieces fit together, the timeline of these events, and how the emerge neoliberalism fits into a wider sociopolitical context.

Besides conducting interviews with people throughout the the Global South, Jeter also shines a spotlight on the United States. He details the concerted efforts these cities employ to push black and poor people out of Washington D.C. and south Chicago. He also devotes a chapter to critiquing black politicians who turn their backs on impoverished black communities, serving instead the interests of the upper- and middle-classes. Bobby Rush, former Black Panther turned mainstream Democratic representative, features as a prime example; Jeter also turns a critical eye to Barack Obama, who, at the time of writing, was yet to be elected.

Jeter's analysis of women's situations leaves much to be desired. Although he points out that women and people of color face the brunt of poverty, he doesn't acknowledge, for example, what prostitution actually means: paid rape. He interviews prostituted women in Argentina, detailing how the economic crisis forced these women into prostitution, but treating it, ultimately, like any other unfortunate "job," not male sexual violence against vulnerable women. In his chapter on "Chicago and the Family," Jeter mourns the lack of strong heterosexual ties (i.e., marriage) in the black community. Of one of his interview subjects, he actually writes: "to truly get ahead, Sonia needs a man." He then details how black men who make less than their black female partners often feel threatened by these women's relative success and frustrated by their own inability to live up to what they believe to be a "man's job." The ensuing tensions make black women even less likely to have husbands. This dynamic is a tragic result of economics, apparently, not misogyny — as though black women would have idyllic lives, if only they could get themselves hitched to well-paid men and stay at home, cooking and cleaning. (That's the fantasy of Sonia's off-and-on boyfriend, by the way.)

Ultimately, even with its pain points, Flat Broke makes a good introduction into the effects of globalization around the world, offering vivid stories in a readable and informative format and spanning an impressive number of countries. Unfortunately, the broad scope overwhelms the few pages of the book, and so it feels incomplete in its analysis.

Note: I read an advance reader's copy (acquired secondhand, not provided by the publisher), so there may be discrepancies between it and the final published book.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
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Two-time Pulitzer finalist Jon Jeter reports on the freemarket reforms of the IMF and the World Bank, which in a single generation created a transnational underclass by imbibing a risky cocktail of deindustrialization, privatization, and anti-inflationary monetary policy that have led to the subprime mortgage scandal, the food crisis, and the fraying of traditional social bonds (marriage).

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