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Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy Paperback – September 28, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0520224636 ISBN-10: 0520224639 Edition: original

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; original edition (September 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520224639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520224636
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,240,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A well-researched, scholarly and deeply disturbing expos of modern-day slavery with well-thought-out strategies for what to do to combat this scourge. None of us is allowed the luxury of imagined impotence. We can do something about it." -- Desmond Tutu

"An insightful overview [and] a powerful expos of human tragedy." -- Dallas Morning News

"As fine and accessible a work of investigative reporting as any of the best that have appeared over the last decade. Serious, impassioned, and unflinching, he has told a story that is too often ignored, and that, as he points out, shames us all." -- The National Post (Canada)

"If you read no other book this year, read this one." -- The Santa Rosa Press Democrat

"Kevin Bales knows pretty much all there is to know about slavery in the contemporary world. In Disposable People he parlays a combination of fact and indignation into a compelling indictment of an aspect of globalism most of us prefer not to think about. This is a timely and important expose. Bales has cast a little light into a very dark place. " -- The Globe & Mail

From the Inside Flap

"Convincing, emotionally wrenching, and freighted with appropriate moral indignation, Kevin Bales's startling presentation shows us that while the general public is convinced slavery is a historical phenomenon of the ancient past . . . it is in actuality a widespread tragedy found worldwide and on a large scale. This book innovatively and usefully describes the permutations of an ancient tradition as it exists in this modern day and age."—Richard Pierre Claude, editor of Human Rights Quarterly

"A timely and fascinating book . . . of crucial importance. Few people realize that the increasing globalization of the economy has led to the use of coerced labor in many parts of the globe. . . . Bales has traveled widely and has gathered a great amount of shocking and disturbing information."—David Brion Davis, Director, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery and Abolition, Yale University

"A well-researched, scholarly and deeply disturbing exposé of modern-day slavery with well-thought-out strategies for what to do to combat this scourge. None of us is allowed the luxury of imagined impotence. We can do something about it."—Desmond Tutu

"Ending Slavery takes the critical next step of providing a practical road-map for ending one of the worst human rights abuses of the modern era. Using a common sense approach, Bales offers a clear, economic rationale for why slavery is not as profitable or sustainable as fair labor practices. In addition, this book shows that the solutions for such severe suffering are not simply the purview of the social sector but are opportunities for transformation among policy makers and business people around the world. Bales shows how we can all play a role, and he inspires each of us to take action."—Pam Omidyar, Founder, Humanity United, Co-founder, Omidyar Network

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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All of this work makes his arguments irrefutable.
Jedidiah Palosaari
Mr. Bales tells us that in the case of Brazil, the landowners who blithely ignore such practices include some of the largest corporations in the world.
Malvin
The book is very well-researched (including undercover research)and only left me wishing the book was longer and wanting to learn more.
Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Palosaari VINE VOICE on July 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow. This *is* a book everyone should read. I'd heard about bits of slavery here and there in modern times. After I heard Bales on NPR and read about his work in Scientific American and the Sun, I was eager to get ahold of this book. But I had no idea that the horror was so widespread.
Bales writes with clearness and imagination, yet is thoroughly scientific and researched. He followed sociological procedures and didn't merely report on other's ideas, but did primary research himself with a set variable questionnaire. All of this work makes his arguments irrefutable.
Disposable People traces the three main types of slavery- old fashioned chattel slavery, debt slavery (the largest) and contract slavery (the fastest growing), in five different empirical countries. The first case of contract slavery in Thailand I found the most horrendous- families selling their daughters into slave-prostitution and death by AIDS, for the price of a colour TV. The case of chattel slavery in Mauritania was the most interesting- Arab Muslims speaking of their black slaves as their children, who need to be guided by a firm hand, but are inferior; who are fed the bare minimum to work and live, and not allowed to go to school. A place where the children of a female slave become the property of the slave owner, whether or not he is the father, and women can be kept as slaves by the claim that they are actually the wife of the slave owner, who has on his side the Qur'an's stipulation that one may have sex with one's female slaves. It was all too reminiscent of the antebellum period. Bales' weakest arguments were in regards to the form of slavery in India.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on March 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Disposable People" by Kevin Bales is an important book on the topic of slavery in our time. The author intelligently combines original cases studies and third-party research with a solid understanding of global economics. The result is a startling but convincing expose that should be read by everyone.
Mr. Bales describes the major factors driving slavery today. First, the post-WW II population explosion has created a huge and desperate reserve army of the unemployed. Second, the process of proletarianization continues in many so-called "developing" nations as millions of peasant farmers are displaced by mechanization. Third, economic globalization serves to break down the social fabric as materialism and greed substitutes for the communal values that prevail in peasant societies.
Mr. Bales is careful to contrast the "New Slavery" of today with the "Old Slavery" of the past. The New Slavery is clearly embedded within the logic of post-industrial production, where capital avoids its social and environmental responsibilities and ruthlessly exploits human and natural resources for maximum profit. In this light, the New Slavery represents the race to the very bottom of a brutal system that is controlled by speculative investors and is accountable to no one.
Case studies examining prostitution in Thailand and coal production in the Brazilian rainforest help us further understand the dynamics of the New Slavery. Subcontractors do the dirty work of luring and keeping laborers in servitude while shielding owners from justice. Mr. Bales tells us that in the case of Brazil, the landowners who blithely ignore such practices include some of the largest corporations in the world.
The Old Slavery defined by the traditional master/slave relationship has survived into the present as well. Mr.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Reader on January 1, 2005
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If you think slavery was abolished after the American Civil War, then read this book. Schoolbooks these days are mostly filled with historical references to the evil trade in slaves. Something that was used to build empires, but eventually was overcome by a moral desire to right the wrongs of the past. But next time you buy charcoal at the local Wal-Mart, think about the human and environmental cost of your BBQ. This book gives an excellent overview of modern slavery in various forms from direct servitude to forced labor in countries like Mauritania, Brazil, Thailand, India and Pakistan to the extent of an estimated 27 million people in some sort of forced labor worldwide. As a person interested in human trafficking, I found this book gets right to the heart of why so many people are in trouble in the world. Easy and cheap labor is a necessity of global corporations, the cheaper the better. What is cheaper than someone you don't have to pay? Bales looks at not only the economic factors, but also the cultural factors involved which keep people succumbing to slavery. Many cultures regard women or certain races or ethnic groups as inferior and therefore available for exploitation. This is one hindrance in the fight against slavery. The book is very well-researched (including undercover research)and only left me wishing the book was longer and wanting to learn more.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J.C. on September 29, 2002
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I first glanced this book becasue I was in need of information for my school project, and then I fell deeply into this book as it revealed things that I had fuzzy understanding in clear illustrations and explanations. Instead of giving abstract reports that abuses happened in some part of the world at certain time in certain way, the author presented a live descritption of the abuses and analyzed the reason and structure of modern slavery so reader could easily understand how this exploitation machine works.
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