NPJ Book Review: Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer by Dean Baker


Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer by Dean Baker (2016)  When I worked on my Master’s essay in Foreign Relations the subject matter I chose was the downstream impact of globalization on international politics and economies. As a “public servant” for over twenty years in library administration I experienced the frustrations of working a fulltime job and having a partner that also worked in an attempt to make ends meet and have a middle class lifestyle. I had a friend that owned a seat on the stock exchange, with an incredible network to wealth and the savvy and meanness to make the mythical Wall Street character of Gordon Gekko look empathetic and caring.

The author, Dean Baker, with experience and research backing him, tackles the complexities of how the modern economies are structured to benefit the wealthy, which in some ways reminds me of Noam Chomsky’s interview about “socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.” That is, we live in an unequal and unfair economy among other things, that began to grow stronger a few decades ago and continues today under trade, banking, investment, legal and financial rules that are and will be even more disruptive under the current global nationalistic fervor. Ultimately, talk and writing are cheap.

The rules of economic engagement are rigged in favor of the wealthiest individuals. Are we approaching the political, technological and economic precipice whereby a minor misstep will lead to a bloody revolution? Do the wealthiest truly understand the downstream effects of their ventures? Or does it matter to them? And is the strategic use of fear part of the purpose for the sake of manipulation? Who do you trust? Or is trust, fairness and facts part of the equation in accumulating wealth?