90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Globalization and Black America
Flat Broke

The global financial crisis has focused attention on the power of unfettered free markets. But for decades now, that power has dealt a bad hand to those on the losing end of the global economy.

From the world’s poorest countries to its richest, whole populations have been battered as once secure jobs disappeared, and with them economic mobility.

Jon Jeter, former Washington Post bureau chief in southern Africa and South America, has seen globalization’s impact on the third world. And as an African-American man he’s seen the same forces undoing progress in black America.

This hour, On Point: what globalization has wrought, from South Africa to Chicago’s South Side.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

-Jack Beatty, guest host


Jon Jeter joins us from New York. He was The Washington Post’s bureau chief for southern Africa from 1999 to 2003, and the Post’s bureau chief for South America from 2003 to 2004. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His new book is “Flat Broke in the Free Market.” In a blog post at powells.com, Jeter describes what led him to write the book.

Joining us from Washington is Arvind Panagariya, professor of economics at Columbia University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has worked at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization. He is author of “India: The Emerging Giant.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • nik

    “A new critique out of the third world and Black America.”

    BLACK AMERICA ! White Americans have been fleeced too! ANYBODY IN MANUFACTURING HAS BEEN FLEECED. Anybody in the Toy, Printing, Shoe, Hardware, and so on industry has been fleeced so that Wall Street and the few at the top can buy that third or forth vacation home.


  • Frank the Underemployed Professional

    It’s nice to see Tom finally do a show on Global Labor Arbitrage. I look forward to listening to it later and I’ll probably have more comments then. I’m going to guess that the economics professor disagrees with the author, so in my comments later after I’ve listened to the archived show I’ll probably explain why the concept of Global Labor Arbitrage is completely valid and why the professor of economics is using “no think” economics.

  • Sally


    Yes, white Americans have been fleeced. But if you know anything about race in America, you’ll know that whatever hits America hits minority Americans the hardest. Accepting this does not lessen the suffering of white Americans, but denying the disparity does smack of ignorance and bigotry.

  • david

    Global trade has not worked out as predicted. A good solution would be for any company that wants to import a good or service would have to export a product or service of equal value.

  • Greg

    I haven’t nearly wrapped my mind around the way economies get manipulated by banking interests… but a US citizen, white or black, has only to look around them to see the evidence.

    For more on the way the IMF/World Bank manipulate and enslave foreign countries, check out John Perkins work. You can watch a great interview with him here:

  • Chris

    Something that does not get mentioned as often as the effects of globablization is the effect of the ever increasing automation of manufacturing. Isn’t it the case that industrial automation in the US, which registers as “increased productivity”, been responsible for the elimination of a comparable number or more of low skill industrial jobs as off shoring has?

  • Todd

    Jeter’s story exposes only one small piece of the larger puzzle. Globalization is the scourge of the Earth. It is this massive move toward global collectivism that has undermined the political and economic sovereignty of both nations and individuals.

    Simply put, globalization is a push for a one world government rule by the Elite. And, like the analogy of the “frog in the pot,” the entire planet is being slow-boiled into acquiescing to it. Complete power and control over the world’s population is the end game.

  • http://michaellachowski.com Michael Lachowski

    Isn’t the “race to the bottom” in manufacturing the same as it has always been? Such as, textile industry moving from England to the US, then moving within the US from New England to the South, and recently moving from the Southern US to other countries? Are we thinking that changing trends in manufacturing is necessary?

    I think you’re talking about this a bit now…

  • John

    Three points.
    1. Argentina’s problems after 1991 were not because of globalization. They were because prior governments had tried and failed to build an anti-global, inward-looking economy. The mess that resulted is still being cleaned up. The disaster that was the economy in 1991 included many unproductive private and government businesses, six decades racked by inflation (including hyperinflation), a wrecked agricultural sector and no idea how much the government was spending or taxing.
    2. We see the consquences of involuntary “deglobalization” today during the current financial crisis, and they are not pretty for any country involved.
    3. Issues of poverty and unemployment in the US are consequences of all sorts of things: single-parent households, bad schools, racism, etc. Globalization when compared to these other conditions is really small potatoes.

  • Robert

    Yeah, what Todd said…

  • Rahuldeep

    But is the choice not to “globalize” available in OUR political system? Do citizens of emerging economies have a choice? Or are we not all victims of capital’s desire to maximize itself? In other words: where is our agency?

  • Sally

    Anybody who’s interested in globalization should check out “The Story of Stuff:” http://www.storyofstuff.com

  • Todd

    Panagariya is merely an Elite shill. He’s worked for the very organizations that are at the root cause of the problem (i.e., IMF, World Bank, IMF, WTO). What have these organizations and Elitists like Panagariya done except promote global chaos through the destabilization of the politics and economies of sovereign nations around the globe? They don’t want self-sufficient national economies, because strong self-sufficient nations are much more difficult to control than the weaker ones that they create.

    Jack, you’re consulting the Wolf for answers about chicken coop security!

  • Sally

    Growth? Growth is the problem! This is a finite planet. Growth can’t continue indefinitely. That’s what “sustainable” means.

  • Todd

    Sally, growth isn’t the problem–unless, of course, you’re referring to the chaotic growth of the Elite’s global control. There are plenty of resources on this Earth to sustain its population. The problem isn’t growth; the problem is the manipulation of global economies by the Elitists that causes an unnatural imbalance of resources–and, thus, also an imbalance of growth.

  • Istvan Kiraly

    Mr.Todd, as for your “theory” of plenty on this earth,why don’t you go try fishing
    in the Hudson or the Charles (at Boston)once full of fish.
    Or take a deep breadth of the Manhattan juicy air.Or from any big town’s air !
    Or why not have a mercury stuffed salmon ! Broiled,yum ! while they are still with us.
    I do not know your definition of elite.Do you mean guys called in the past
    robber barons,colonizers,slavetraders,exploiters,etc…(how would you define
    the Bush/Cheney venture in Iraq,or in US for that matter ?)
    “Elite” etymologycally is related to “elect”.Sounds to me very democratic.
    But again,we live in a politically… whatever times.

  • Todd

    Stef, thanks for bolstering my theory! But, don’t simply extract and isolate my use of the word “plenty,” without also giving due attention to my reference of an IMBALANCE of growth. It is such an imbalance that has caused all of the woes that you enumerate above. Land is the primary resource that has been utilized in an unbalanced fashion. There is indeed plenty of room on this Earth to comfortably support its population. Unfortunately, most of the land, as well as its life-sustaining resources, are controlled by the political Elite of the world. By Elite, I mean the world oligarchy: Bilderbergers, Trilateral Commission members, Council of Foreign Relation members, Club of Rome members, the United Nations, IMF, WTO, World Bank, Federal Reserve, et al. Etymology aside, it is more “select” than “elect.” Since when has democracy become the political panacea for the world’s ills? It hasn’t done much to improve the U.S. situation of late, has it? What nation in its right mind would willingly accept the importation of the kind of corrupt democracy that the U.S. has been practicing for the past 100 years?

  • “Mr. Sx”

    I say that the majority of us will be starving. A world wide situation that is imminent whatever the continent one resides on.

  • Jane

    For a very interesting examination of the problems in Argentina and other similar economic crises in developing countries, I recommend Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”.

  • Faithful Listeners

    Great show. It was nice to hear Jack in the captain’s chair.

  • Maureen

    Yes to the “Shock Doctrine” … essential read for any American.

    Also relevant to this conversation if the film “The Corporation.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa3wyaEe9vE)

Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

Aug 28, 2014
Some of the hundreds of earthquake damaged wine barrels cover and toppled a pair of forklifts at the Kieu Hoang Winery, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A powerful earthquake that struck the heart of California's wine country caught many people sound asleep, sending dressers, mirrors and pictures crashing down around them and toppling wine bottles in vineyards around the region. (AP)

Drought in California, earthquake in Napa. We look at broken bottles and the health of the American wine industry.

Aug 28, 2014
Photos surround the casket of Michael Brown before the start of his funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014.  (AP)

The message that will last out of Ferguson with New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

More »
1 Comment