The Best Democracy Money Can Buy:
The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization and High-Finance Fraudsters
by Greg Palast

UK publication details:
Constable & Robinson Paperback 400 pages
27 March 2003
Price £7.99
isbn: 1841197149
368 pages

cover 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  

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