A powerful, accessible, and eye-opening analysis of the global economy.
Growing up in an African American working-class family in the Midwest, Jon Jeter watched the jobs undergirding a community disappear. As a journalist for the Washington Post (twice a Pulitzer Prize finalist), he reported on the freemarket reforms of the IMF and the World Bank, which in a single generation created a transnational underclass.Led by the United States, nations around the world stopped making things and starting buying them, imbibing a risky cocktail of deindustrialization, privatization, and anti-inflationary monetary policy. Jeter gives the consequences of abstract economic policies a human face, and shows how our chickens are coming home to roost in the form of the subprime mortgage scandal, the food crisis, and the fraying of traditional social bonds (marriage). From Rio de Janeiro to Shanghai to Soweto to Chicago’s South Side and Washington, DC, Jeter shows us how the economic prescriptions of “the Washington Consensus” have only deepened poverty—while countries like Chile and Venezuela have flouted the conventional wisdom and prospered.
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.