Years ago, we watched, through blurred vison, Peter Sellers in Doctor Strangelove. The blurring was either from the hilarity or the grief the film inspired. The dialogue could double us over with mirth, while the story directly confronted us with our mortality and that control of our fate resided with such devious leaders. Greg Palast evokes an identical response. He chronicles the stolen election of the worldï¿½s most powerful leader, how the International Monetary Fund and World Band exercise immense control over national destinies, and how the rich increase their influence and income at our expence. He keeps us charmed with his wit, while reminding us of our near-helplessness in the face of mighty, but hidden, forces.
Every essay in this collection jolts the reader. Itï¿½s like turning over a rock or breaking open a rotten log - the ugly grubs exposed bring revulsion and dismay. How does life produce such distasteful creatures? Palast exposes the putrid path of the Bush dynasty, the betrayal of the British voters by "New Labour" and the intrigues of international corporations in Asia, Africa, Latin America. How, he asks, do we allow these people to gain their ascendancy over our lives? One answer lies within our favourite ideal community - the small, rural, American town. There, he notes, avaricious investors have overturned local attempts to retain their values to instil the symbols of corporate enterprise These blights on our landscape are made welcome - "they boost the economy"!
Palastï¿½s concluding set of essays, how the Blair government sold out the British populace would bring tears to the hardiest. He shows how corporate executives and their agents have become an "arm of government" in policy making and implemetation. The arm has a long reach, extending from New York banks and government offices in Washington. Centre to these revealing articles is the overthrow of a tax on shopping mall car parks. The deal, engineered by a major corporation was part of an overall plan to "head the [Labour] government in a different direction." In other words, reverse the policies that were the foundation of Labourï¿½s successes at the polls. Blairï¿½s real foundation is "Americaï¿½s enterpreneurialism," the drive for global markets which "projects corporate powers onto one tiny, cold island" welcomed by its "always-grinning native chief." Blair prides himself on "listening to industry" before formulating policy.
Palast has few peers as an investigative journalist. Of necessity, he must shield his sources, which keeps us mildly suspicious. Are things really THAT bad? Unfortunately, as time passes, his assertions are substantiated, restoring our faith in his reporting. As an investigative journalist, the solutions for many of the social ills he reports are lacking here. And so they should - the solutions lie with his readers. This book isnï¿½t a prescription for what besets us, but a learning tool. He notes cases of how success against corporate indifference has been achieved. Find out how to tap in to $1.04 TRILLION available to those without adequate local banking services. Read this book to understand what is happening around you and take the first steps to implement the cure. It's your choice. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]