Monday, April 28, 2008
Loretta Napoleoni's Rogue Economics is pretty much a must read. On first glance it seems to another of the "we're fucked" variety of planet and political doom of the future. And it is pretty harsh: she goes through the last 18 years looking at the rise of sex and worker slavery (even shipping slavery on the oceans) and environmental crises like overfishing. But what's amazing about the book is that it goes through the effects of globalization on politics using examples like the Bulgarian Mafia and the Italian 'ndrangheta to show how illegal or at least unethical economics skirt around politics in a globalized world. Her perspective is not as dark as you might think, though. In the introduction she basically spells out how her original idea changed. She wanted to write a book about the devastating changes on Eastern Europe and the world after the fall of the Berlin wall. But in her research she basically came across similar historical shifts that allowed these rogue economic forces dominate, i.e., during the industrial revolution. One of the responses to this system has been Islamic Sharia economics and it's stress on investment over speculation. She uses the example of Malaysian which refused all Western aid after the Asian tiger meltdown in the late 90s. Here's an interview with the author on Democracy Now.