The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons and High Finance Fraudsters Paperback – 27 Mar 2003
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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
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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Democracy is the best system of governance.......
Corporations are successful due to all their collective hard work and customer focus.....
Western governments are not corrupt.........
Big Media always tells us the unedited truth......
Standing for ones right against authority is bad.........
I think the world need more Palasts to help us deal with our learned helplessness.
Although I am always sceptical about the motives of politicians I still found this book a real eye opener and was unprepared for the extent of corruption in the highest places. For instance, Maggie's sell off of the country's silver (the public utilities) was actually due to following the teachings of a maverick professor in a Boston (USA) university. I never realised that the IMF and the World Bank were anything but benign institutions. However, the loans by these institutions come with strings attached. Countries are compelled to sell off their state owned utilities and largely USA-owned buyers snap them up at a bargain price and then increase the costs enormously which subsequently results in profits going out of the country and therefore reducing the country's ability to pay back the loan. A vicicous circle is thus created that keeps the country in debt.
There are many other revelations in this book but don't want to spoil it too much for readers so I'll leave it at that. The only negative I can find is that I think it is a little self-indulgent and the style is a little Americanised for British taste but that doesn't detract from the content. I shouldn't hold the latter against him as Greg is an American although he has spent much of his working life in UK.