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Flat Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People Hardcover – May 11, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In an eloquent, no-holds-barred indictment of globalization, Jeter, former Washington Post bureau chief for southern Africa, weaves the narratives of prostitutes in Buenos Aires and cab drivers in Brazil, tomato sellers in Zambia and an upwardly mobile black woman in Chicago into an analysis of how globalization and free trade have transformed many of the world's manufacturing hubs into global flea markets. There are true moments of heartbreak, particularly when Jeter shows how globalization has slowed progress in postapartheid South Africa and mingles with racism in Brazil, where employers and the state target poor black women for forced sterilization for the putative sake of a larger work force. The ghetto is in its ascendancy, he writes, challenging free trade orthodoxy and its ability to reduce poverty with examples of nations like Chile which have rethought their attitudes toward globalization and are moving toward new strength and independence. Jeter's stinging criticisms are a catalyst for a truthful and painful discussion about who a global economy helps and who it destroys. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This moving account of what poverty looks like in Mexico, Malawi, and Johannesburg (among other sites) by a former Washington Post bureau chief gently sings with the indignity of it all. By personalizing the struggle for survival around the globe (and based on seven years of interviews), whether it’s an Argentine prostitute or a Zambian tomato seller, Jeter dramatically paints the pictures of the “have nots,” pointing to political machinations, economic greed, failed governmental policies, and the deconstruction of the family framework as contributing causes to famine, disease, and crime. Readers will recognize many contemporary portraits, including that of Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush, now far from his roots as a Black Panther “power to the people,” and that of Chicago Afro-American Sonia, who cannot find a comparable mate. Yet he also profiles two countries—Chile and Venezuela—that have bucked the system and invested in manufacturing and exports, with no small reduction of the world’s chasm between wealthy and dirt-poor. An impassioned storyteller, Jeter wisely refrains from polemics and preachifying, gaining a powerful voice that, one hopes, will not be ignored. --Barbara Jacobs

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (May 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393065073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393065077
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. A. Barricklow(Scaramouche) VINE VOICE on May 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The author succinctly dismantles the mainsteam kudos of globalization without remorse. This is the story of how globalization has widened inequality, corrupted politicians, estranged neighbors from one another, torn families apart, privitized the commons(even rainwater!), prostituted women, caused numerous suicides, and sadly, the gut wrenching beat of betrayal goes on.
The World Bank, IMF, U.S. Treasury has created a transnational underclass. Globalization is an international shakedown, that targets ordinary people around the globe, making them economic outcasts in their own countries of birth. This madness is no way accidental, but has a signature of method writ large all over the globe by the financial wizards of elitism. Stock prices jumped because workers didn't get a raise, millions lost their jobs, retirement funds were eliminated,... & WALL STREET REJOICED!
Globalization is extractive, accumulation by dispossession, the rich exploiting the poor for no other reason than to fatten their pockets. Deregulation unleashed transnational corporations that privitized state-owned industries & utilities while eating up and spitting out jobs, driving up electricity & water costs.

The author personally interviewed over a seven year period - cab drivers, prostitutes, produce sellers, garbage collectors, people around the globe knocked down but not out.
A hard but necessary read to understand the depth of betrayal by those who have and are continuing to orchestrate a world/no one with any heart would want/nor frankly allow.
A succinct/without remorse/portrayal of globalization.

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Format: Hardcover
When Ross Perot told us we'd be hearing the giant sucking sound of our jobs leaving the country, he didn't even know the half of it. Perot was right about NAFTA, but that is only one small element in a broad effort to create a world where global capital holds all the cards and the people have no power at all (sometimes literally, their power is cut off), scenarios so aptly detailed in this excellent work by Jon Jeter.

I would consider this a companion volume to Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. Where Ms. Klein's book examined the actions of governments, their policy statements, their military enforcement of corporate will, and the broad effects of trade policies pushed by the WTO and the IMF, Jeter shines a light on specific individuals as examples of the devastating impact that "free trade" policies have on poor people. As a middle class American, it's so easy to feel far removed from the rest of the world. But having read Flat Broke, I will never again turn on a water faucet without remembering the woman in Soweto who can no longer afford running water and instead will walk three hours to the river and three hours back to take a chance on bacteria-infected water, or the people in Bolivia who were forbidden from collecting their own rainwater.

The individual stories that Jeter describes are powerful and heartbreaking, and all the more so because our government, and therefore, WE are responsible for creating these situations -- where multinational corporations win and poor people lose over and over again. Whether they pay with their health, with persistent hunger, or with their lives, or as in the U.S.
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Format: Hardcover
Jeter's credentials include "Washington Post" time. His book clearly illuminates the results of deregulation and "free" market policies which are a bust for the worker but boon for those who rule over us.
According to the author, corporate profits/CEO pay is up while those working for a living receive a smaller portion. "Globilization has widened inequality...(p. xii)." (See page 106 for more information.)
"Globilization is an international shakedown and its targets are ordinary people across the globe...(p. xv)." Privitazation also brings higher utility bills (pp. 76-79). Sweet! He further suggest that politicians are in the hands of multinational pharmacuetical cartels (p.94), which should be no surprise, of course.
The closure of public schools seems to be a major goal of the new colonialist policity. (See "Armed Madhouse" by Greg Palast for insight on this subject.) The flat world seems hellbent in destroying, small business, agriculture, and public education.
His point that the current President refused to vote against a credit card usery limit was particularily disturbing. It seems everyone in power appears to be in someone's pocket.
"It is an effort to bankrupt these institutions (public entities) to shrink the public sphere and expand the sources for private revenue (p.154)."
In the real world, the rejection of global trade may be necessary for may countries to provide food and work for their own citizens (p. 131).
So, Jon Jeter is great at describing the situation, but short on what do do about the present scenario. What're you gonna do about it?!
Unfortunately, although "Flat Broke in the Free Market" is a should read, I am afraid it will be easily dismissed and forgotten. So much the worse for us all.
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