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The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons and High Finance Fraudsters Paperback – 27 Mar 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson; New Ed edition (27 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841197149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841197142
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy contains Greg Palast's greatest hits, and that means some of the biggest stories and scandals in recent memory. Palast is an internationally recognised expert on the control of corporate power who previously worked with labour unions and consumer groups in the US, South America and Europe investigating corporate corruption. Since then he has become a journalist whose investigative reports for the BBC and The Observer are all but banned in the US but that nevertheless pick up awards by the dozen.

The book opens with his report on how Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris allegedly stole the 2000 election for Bush by illegally removing African-Americans from voter rolls. This take-no-prisoners opener sets the tone for much of the book. It is followed by his report claiming that Bush killed off the FBI's investigation of the bin Laden family prior to the September 11 attack-–for which he was awarded the California State University's Project Censored Prize for a report too hot for US media.

The heart of the book is about the institutionalised economic criminal activity that is part and parcel of the politics of globalisation. Palast portrays the IMF, the World Bank and the assorted group of agencies as institutions that "dream up, then dictate, the terms of the new international economics" to create what he describes as "the Golden Straitjacket" of globalisation. He produces vivid case studies from across the globe to challenge even the most paranoid of conspiracy theorists. On the whole, the book claims to show that economic "assistance plans" presided over by these institutions amount to a (so far) guaranteed sentence of economic damnation.

As much has been published elsewhere; there is little new here and Palast's strident style can sometimes obscure the finer points of analyses. But this is an in-your-face book with a powerful call to action that will outrage and energise many of its readers. --Larry Brown

Review

Essential reading for anyone who feels that the principles which politicians constantly spout are being eroded by those very same people . . .a shocking exercise in investigation, this ought to be required reading. (Leon McDermott, Big Issue in Scotland)

Palast demands to be read. (The Good Book Guide)

Those in authority will not agree, but we need more Greg Palasts (Will Hutton)

The information is a hand grenade (John Pilger)

The journalist I admire the most. I'm an avid reader of everything Palast writes - can never get enough of it (George Monbiot)

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ok, we all knew that Bush couldn't have won the election without some shenanigans, but Greg Palast blows the lid off corruption on a scale that's hard to imagine. How he got through all the red tape and obstructions put up to stop him getting at the truth is amazing.
When he then shows how corrupt are the people in Blair's close circles, you stop feeling secure in anything. Top that with the machinations of the IMF and World Bank in Latin America, the big business at the heart of political decision making
and you want to move somewhere far away, like Alaska. Except that the Exxon Valdez got there first. Read this book - it shows the world as it is, not as they like you to believe it is.
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Format: Paperback
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 world�s 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. It�s 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"!
Palast�s 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.
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Format: Paperback
If the answer to either of these questions is yes not only should you read this book you should try to get everybody you know to read it too.
Everybody knows that politicians are dodgy characters to put it mildly (and after reading this it's hard to keep it mild - I want to scream these "expletive deleted"s are taking the piss) but the extent of their outrages and the contempt they show for the public is truly shocking.
This is not an anti-Rebublican rant. The collusion of the Democrats in much of the immoral and often downright criminal activity outlined here is apparent and Bill Clinton's behaviour is possibly more reprehensible because the man doesn't have George Bush's excuse of limited intelligence.
Neither is it anti-American. It is a condemnation of the abuse of power and so focuses on the powerful, this means primarily America.
The UK does not come out of this well and Mr Blair's supine acquiescence to the desires of the powerful whether political or financial is both frustrating and embarrassing for me as a UK citizen.
The book is very readable, the writing style is humorous which is no mean feat considering the subject matter. If Palast is sometimes guilty of an emotional subjectivity then I think that is the rational response of any human being to the facts he presents.
Reading this book may not change your life, but it should.
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By A Customer on 20 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
Greg Palast manages to expose the total lack of principles and the total domination of self-interest within the world of politics and big business (the bigger the better it seems !).
The scary things are:-
1. Why do these people get away with it ?
2. If they are this cynical in their methods, what will stop them doing whatever they want in future without retribution ?
3. If Palast is being discredited, why have they never taken him to court over these stories ? (i think I know that one !).
Read this book to open your eyes ! Vote accordingly !
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Format: Hardcover
If you ever wanted evidence of the back-room dealings in the Labour government, the rampant self interest of lobby groups or the un-ethical practices of some of the UK and USA's best known companies (US Wal-Mart, Exxon, RBS, etc.) this is the book for you. It deserves 5-stars based on that alone - we need more journalists like Mr. Palast.
Where I feel the book is stumbles is Greg Palast's writing style. While it is a feature of his writing and makes the book entertaining, the emotive innuendo's can become a bit too much and sometimes just a little abrasive, especially when trying to get sceptical readers to take in what he is saying. Also, a lot of what Palast states, which I don't doubt is true myself, has to be taken on face value. Apart from a few pages of documents there isn't anything else available in the form of references. If this kind of journalism is to be taken seriously and indeed, if it is to be quoted, we need to be able to back up our sources. Just saying "Greg said so" or "I saw it in the guardian" is not enough if you want to be taken credibly. I would have liked to have seen an online reference, as in Chomsky's - Understanding Power. As it stands it is difficult to counter anyone who refuses to believe what this book offers.
All the same, if you are comfortable with these negative points I think we would all do well to take in what Greg Palast has to say, now and in the future.
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