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Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy [Paperback]

Kevin Bales
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

12 Nov 2004
Slavery is illegal throughout the world, yet more than twenty-seven million people are still trapped in one of history's oldest social institutions. Kevin Bales' disturbing story of contemporary slavery reaches from Pakistan's brick kilns and Thailand's brothels to various multinational corporations. His investigations reveal how the tragic emergence of a 'new slavery' is inextricably linked to the global economy. This completely revised edition includes a new preface. All of the author's royalties from this book go to fund antislavery projects around the world.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Revised edition edition (12 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520243846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520243842
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 15.4 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 625,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The horror of slavery, says Kevin Bales, is "not confined to history." It is not only possible that slave labour is responsible for the shoes on your feet or your daily consumption of sugar, he writes; the products of their forced labour filter even more quietly into a broad portion of daily Western life: "They made the bricks for the factory that made the TV you watch. In Brazil, slaves made the charcoal that tempered the steel that made the springs in your car and the blade on your lawnmower ... Slaves keep your costs low and returns on your investments high".

The exhaustive research Disposable People shows that at least 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world. Bales, considered the world's leading expert on contemporary slavery, reveals the historical and economic conditions behind this resurgence. From Thailand, Mauritania, Brazil, Pakistan and India, Bales has gathered stories of people in unthinkable conditions, kept in bondage to support their owners' lives. Bales insists that even a small effort from a large number of people could end slavery and he devotes a large chapter to explaining the practical means by which this might be accomplished. "Are we willing to live in a world with slaves?" he asks. As a sign of his commitment, all his royalties from Disposable People will go toward the fight against slavery. --Maria Dolan, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A well-researched, scholarly, and deeply disturbing expose 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"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slavery exists today on all continents. 30 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book documents slavery in just five countries, but more importantly it gives a face to victims of slavery. Slaves range is age from 3 years to the age of usefulness. Mr. Bales contrasts American slavery to the slavery of today's global economy. However, horrific and inexcusable American slavery was, in some ways today's slavery is worse. It is certainly far more prevalent than most of us would like to beleive. Mr. Bales gives fairly easy tips on how average people can help combat slavery. My hope is that so many people will read this book that our combined efforts will have a positive and real effect for millions of adults, children, and children yet unborn.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent 6 Dec 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is fascinating, well written, and informative. The author never whines when discussing horrible situations around the world; he simply presents what he has learned from his extensive research. Every issue that I would have wanted to ask the author about is addressed in the book. The book is interesting politically, economically and culturally. I highly recommend it.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slavery is back. It probably never left. 29 Dec 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a book that should be required reading in schools all over the world. It tells the truth about slavery in our time. There are young African girls being enslaved in major cities like Paris, half-starved and tortured. There are little children in India and Pakistan working unbearable jobs all day every day for no pay. There are the sex slaves working in Thailand, unable to escape, picked up by the corrupt police when they try, and beaten, raped, and returned to the brothel where they are beaten and raped some more. There are the slaves of Mauritania, Brazil, and on and on, each with their own story. Of course there are topics not covered in this book, like the kidnapping and forced prostitution of French, British and American girls in the Middle East and Japan. But this book will motivate you to join Anti-Slavery International and become a modern day abolitionist.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slavery exists today on all continents. 30 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book documents slavery in just five countries, but more importantly it gives a face to victims of slavery. Slaves range is age from 3 years to the age of usefulness. Mr. Bales contrasts American slavery to the slavery of today's global economy. However, horrific and inexcusable American slavery was, in some ways today's slavery is worse. It is certainly far more prevalent than most of us would like to beleive. Mr. Bales gives fairly easy tips on how average people can help combat slavery. My hope is that so many people will read this book that our combined efforts will have a positive and real effect for millions of adults, children, and children yet unborn.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slavery in our backyard 10 July 2001
By Raquel B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This powerful informative book cleary examines the slavery in our backyards. Though many every day citizens may be unaware of slavery, our government and big business know what's going on and have systematically denied/ignored it. Most of the slavery involves people of color and women--groups that are repeatedly ingored and abused. If you want to get an idea of what's happening in the US and the world read this book. Become aware, don't invest in companies that do business with societies that accept slavery, and know what you're getting into when you travel abroad. My only regret was that something so horrible is so difficult to fight.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Evil That Is Still With Us 18 Aug 2005
By doomsdayer520 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Sadly, it is not true that human slavery was abolished back in the 1800s, and in fact there are still millions of slaves in the world. There are slaves working in third world brothels, mines, farms, and sweatshops. Even some domestic servants in Western nations are technically enslaved. Here Kevin Bales explains how this is a new and modernized type of slavery. The old "classic" slavery, in which masters outwardly and legally owned other people, has disappeared around the world, except for in the oddly backward nation of Mauritania. The new slavery is not based on ethnic or religious subjugation and punishment, but is the outcome of globalized economics, as certain industries inevitably gravitate toward near-zero cost labor.

Most modern slaves are victims of "debt bondage," in which businessmen or middlemen make poor and desperate people work off their debts, but through fraudulent accounting and trickery make it impossible for the debts to be paid off, therefore gaining forced and unpaid labor. This phenomenon is tragically common in many nations, and tens of millions of people are subjected to hopeless lives of economic subjugation. Bales explores this modern slavery in several nations that are trying to convince the world that it doesn't happen within their borders, or try to justify this bondage with dissembling arguments that are disgustingly similar to those used by the old Southern plantation owners in America.

Bales does a pretty good job of describing how real, quantifiable economics and globalization processes bring this human tragedy about. However, this aspect of his analysis could be strengthened, to make a more effective argument with policy makers. I suggest that Bales team up with a reputable political scientist or economist to make this structural argument stronger. Some international readers may also take issue with Bales' introductory explanations of the cultures on which he is reporting. Statements about how Thailand's culture totally condones that nation's horrific sex industry, or how Pakistan's social structure inevitably results in internecine violence, are most likely generalizations that could be fleshed out with more sensitive research. But overall those are minor flaws. Bales gives you a very disconcerting feeling about the state of modern humanity, and about how slavery has played a part in the manufacture of many of your consumer items and the bottom line of companies in which you may have invested. [~doomsdayer520~]
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