A startling window into the bribery that shapes the world in which we live, including the major corporate players and...

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EXPOSING THE GLOBAL CORPORATE BRIBERY NETWORK

Following the money to discover how corporate payoffs and billions of dollars in bribes have shaped current events.

In his debut book, investigative journalist Montero, a former Christian Science Monitor correspondent and Frontline producer, peels back layers of corruption to uncover the secret network of bribery and intimidation that exists among many of the world's largest corporations and the public officials who profit from their misconduct. Culled from a mix of court records, leaked confidential documents, and personal interviews, the book details how corporate payoffs contributed to the regime of Saddam Hussein, the economic collapse of Greece, and other instances of national governments selling out their constituents to the highest bidder. “Corporate bribes involve a remarkable amount of money,” writes the author. “The World Bank has estimated $1 trillion a year, though this may represent the high end; others have placed the amount at 10 percent of the $4 trillion spent annually on global public procurement.” Providing a closer look at how these massive transactions are orchestrated, Montero profiles the middlemen who specialize in rubbing elbows with world leaders and heads of industry while ensuring that any illegal financial transactions remain below the radar of federal investigators. The incredible wealth and unapologetic public personas of the many co-conspirators are both fascinating and deplorable. The author is at his most compelling when connecting these sordid backroom dealers with some of the world's most recognizable brand names and the international conflicts that they helped foster. Although Montero’s tendency to hurry through the complicated chain of events involved in such high-level payoffs makes them sometimes difficult to follow, many of his revelations are worth studying. While often treated casually among those directly involved, these payoffs have consistently significant, wide-reaching effects on world events. After all, writes the author, “corporate bribery is not a rogue act.”

A startling window into the bribery that shapes the world in which we live, including the major corporate players and government parties involved in the corruption.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-670-01647-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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