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The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters Hardcover – April 20, 2002

178 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0745318462 ISBN-10: 0745318460

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Muckraking has a long, storied tradition, and Palast is evidently proud to be part of it. In this polemical indictment of globalization and political corruption, Palast (a reporter with the BBC and London's Observer) updates the muckraking tradition with some 21st-century targets: the IMF, World Bank and WTO, plus oil treaties, energy concerns and corporate evildoers of all creeds. Some of Palast's reports are downright shocking (if familiar). He shows, for example, how the WTO prevents cheap AIDS drugs from reaching victims in Africa and how World Bank loan policies have crippled the economies of Tanzania and other developing countries. On the home front, he details Exxon's horrific safety record before the Valdez disaster and reveals the price-gouging by Texas power companies during the California energy crisis. In Britain, Palast exposes the "cash for access" policies of the Blair administration, and blasts the legal system for shielding Pfizer Pharmaceuticals from lawsuits by victims who had defective Pfizer valves installed in their hearts. These are all good, important stories. Most of them, however, have been published before. This book is essentially a collection of Palast's newspaper articles, hastily stitched together with some commentary and exposition. As such, it lacks cohesiveness and the depth his subjects deserve. In addition, Palast's bombastic style and one-sided perspective do much to undermine his own credibility. How seriously should readers take a journalist who labels former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers an "alien" and dismisses Wal-Mart shareholders as "Wal-Martians"? There is much of value here, but readers who want a full-bodied, serious analysis of how globalization is affecting developing countries or how corporate giants pay for political favors should look elsewhere.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

'The journalist I admire most. [Palast's] amazing work puts all the rest of us journalists to shame. I'm an avid reader of everything Palast writes - can never get enough of it.' --George Monbiot, The Guardian
 
'The information is a hand grenade.' --John Pilger
 
'Fucking brilliant brilliant.' --Mark Thomas
 
'The raw material is so good and the stories told with such brio.' --Larry Elliot, The Guardian Award-winning investigative journalist
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (April 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745318460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745318462
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

278 of 301 people found the following review helpful By Panopticonman on September 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Greg Palast won't shut up. He won't shut up about how Jeb Bush and his lieutenant stole the election from Gore through a vicious manipulation of the voter rolls. He won't shut up about how cheaply Tony Blair's government can be bought. He won't shut up about how mainstream journalism is in thrall to the prevailing free market corporate ethos. He won't shut up about the Big Lie perpertreated by Milton Friedman and his gang that markets promote democracy, that markets are engines of viture. He shows with unshakable research that instead that instead of breeding virture and freedom, markets breed corruption, inequality, and through a politically moribund media, moral complacency.
The opening chapter on the high-tech mechanism that the Bush camp in Florida put in place before the elections in 2000 to expunge African-Americans from voter rolls is worth the price of the book. Palast tells us how Jeb's gang reinstated Jim Crow laws in the New South by hiring a database firm with strong ties to the Texas Republican party to compare lists of voters with lists of felons and purge names from the rolls that "matched" in only the most tenous ways. Roughly 60,000 voters, most of them Black (because the prison archipelago in the United States imprisons mostly Blacks) were stripped of the fundamental right of voting. Why take blacks off the rolls? Because, as Palast notes, better than 9 in 10 Blacks vote for Democrats. He personalizes these facts in the person of a Black minister who had met and broken bread with Jeb Bush on numerous occasions. The minister showed up to vote at his local precinct where he had been voting for over 20 years and discovered that his name had vanished from rolls.
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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Maginot on April 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
"The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" is a must read for anyone-conservative or liberal-who wants to get a different perspective on what is happening in the world than the one that is consistently portrayed by the consolidated corporate media. While the controversial title of this book implies a liberal critique of Western values and institutions, it actually accomplishes something very different. Veteran investigative reporter, Greg Palast publishes some of the news stories that the consolidated corporate media refuses to report. While some may blanch at the targets of Palast's investigations, which include corrupt politicians, crooked companies, world finance organizations, and the consolidated corporate media, few can deny the accuracy and integrity of his reports. Palast is an independent reporter who originally specialized in racketeering investigations. His methods include scrupulously studying corporate documents, and examining the testimony of whistleblowers, many of whom approach him personally out of disgust toward their parent organizations. Palast does not work for a for-profit media company and is not beholden to corporate interests. This makes him one of the few honest voices in public life.
Chief among Palast's exposés is the illegal manner in which Florida Secretary of State, Kathleen Harris, and Governor Jeb Bush illegally denied tens of thousands of African American citizens their right to vote in the 2000 presidential election in Florida. Palast details the methods used by Bush and Harris to exclude eligible African American from voting such as manipulating database records to wrongfully categorize thousands of African Americans as felons, or wrongfully claiming that convicted felons who has completed their sentences in other states could not vote in Florida.
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204 of 224 people found the following review helpful By Subarachi on March 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a time when fiduciary responsibilities and concern for stockholders have reduced most American newsrooms to ghost towns populated only by cut and paste journalists, Greg Palast, an American working for the Observer in London, still does what reporters used to do. He digs through the evidence, particularly the emails, the government records and the financial reports to get the hard evidence.
His evidence on the 2000 Florida Presidential election voting process is both astonishing and terribly troubling.
Palast also offers clear documentary evidence that Blacks were racially profiled to be eliminated from voter rolls by Florida's voter/felon purge. Essentially, at the behest of Katherine Harris, under Jeb Bush's close watch, Florida systematically and intentionally denied voting rights to approximately 90,000 voters whose right to vote in Florida was legally unquestionable--and over 54% of them were Black. Since Florida Blacks voted 93% for Al Gore, Palast's remarkably detailed book makes it perfectly evident that illegally purged Black votes prevented Florida from voting overwhelmingly for Al Gore and giving Gore the presidency.
Palast also demonstrates that the issue is not one of Black incompetence. Voting machines were set to accept double voted, and therefore uncountable, ballots in Black districts, while they were set to reject double voted ballots in White districts, so Whites could recast their ballots. In other counties with heavily Black populations, the automatic protection systems which reject double voted ballots were simply turned off to "reduce costs."
So while Bush "won" the presidency on a 5-4 Supreme Court vote which said, essentially, that Americans don't have the Constitutional right to vote for the President, something far more sacred was lost in the Florida voting process--the right of every eligible, adult American to have his or her vote counted and to have that vote determine who will lead our country.
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