The Racket: A Rogue Reporter vs. the Masters of the Universe

Matt Kennard. Zed Books (Univ. of Chicago, dist.), $24.95 (359p) ISBN 978-1-78032-988-8
"A class war is being fought and the poor are losing," former Financial Times reporter Kennard (Irregular Army) announces in this ambitious but only intermittently successful book, which depicts the U.S. system of economic control and exploitation as a violent, highly oppressive nexus of government power and private wealth. Kennard's global investigation of the effects on the ground of what is known variously as the Washington Consensus, neoliberalism, or, in Naomi Klein's phrase, "disaster capitalism"—including severe poverty, loss of political autonomy, and war and terror as conditions of life—follows in the footsteps of previous critics of U.S. imperialism like Klein and Noam Chomsky. Kennard includes unusually candid interviews with members of the World Bank and other financial institutions. These and other sections from a journalistic perspective help elucidate his ideology-driven approach to such tragedies as Haiti's post-earthquake "reconstruction" or aggressive mining operations in Africa and South America, but don't add much to the picture painted by previous, often more thorough, investigative reporting. The chapters on Haiti or Evo Morales's Bolivia may be instructive for an under-informed general audience, but many of Kennard's case studies range so widely as to blur the book's focus, offering cursory treatments that raise more questions than they answer. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/13/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
Paperback - 359 pages - 978-1-78032-987-1
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