Sunday, November 13, 2005

The best democracy money can buy

Greg Palast's recently updated compilation of his investigative journalism makes for eye-opening reading. The long, detailed examination of how the Florida Republicans managed to wrongly exclude many tens of thousands of black and poor citizens from the electoral roll shows how persistance, lying and lawbreaking can deliver the presidency of the world's most powerful country. The look at the influence of corporate lobbyists from the beginning of the Blair era shows yet again that Bush rather than Clinton seems the better match across the Atlantic for our own Dear Leader. And the look at the effects of IMF/World Bank interventions in developing nations do not provide much to be happy about for supporters of the "Washington consensus" on economic development. I saw some of the pot-banging and window-smashing protests in Buenos Aires over this issue in 2002; according to Palast, even the middle classes were starving as a result of the pay cuts and damage to the economy caused by IMF dictats.

Like Michael Moore, Palast might get his well-researched points over better if they were put more moderately. But there is a great deal in this book for supporters of globalisation to think about.

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