ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Spitzer took cases relating to corporate white collar crime, securities fraud, internet fraud and
environmental protection. He most notably pursued cases against companies involved in computer
chip price fixing, investment bank stock price inflation, and the 2003 mutual fund scandal.
Books by Wilson Jeremiah Moses
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Eliot Spitzer, Sub-Prime Loans & Whistle Blowing
By Wilson J. Moses
Where is Eliot Spitzer when we need him? Maybe on his way to jail. He is paying far too high a price for an act that was illegal, to be sure, but certainly not divergent from the common sexual standard in a society where serial polygamy is the norm. The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University credits a report that 56% of American men and 30% of American women have had 5 or more sex partners in their lifetime (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, Michaels, 1994).
Serial polygamy is perfectly normal in our society. Sex between consenting adults can hardly be condemned by a culture in which 70% of girls become sexually active before graduating from high school, compared to 62% of the boys, with continuing experimentation bordering on promiscuity through college (80%), young adulthood, then unmarried cohabitation, before entering into marriages 50% of which end in divorce.
The level of fidelity owed one-another by parties to a marriage, perhaps preceded by a series of one-night-stands, grows out of the “pre-history” of that, relationship and often involves some additional historical dishonesty between the two of them. If a woman or a man engages in extramarital sexual activity, it does indeed affect the abstract institution of marriage. But what is the current state of the institution of marriage? Mme. Sarkozy, Princess Diana, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Gerald Ford, and many other public figures all had extramarital affairs and so did Prince Charles. So what?
Remember Pretty Woman, the Oscar-nominated Pygmalion movie, starring Julia Roberts in which a street walker was sentimentalized and romanticized? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeKsV6tohiE. The movie is now the subject of ongoing discourses in women’s studies.
Wikipedia reports “As attorney general, Spitzer took cases relating to corporate white collar crime, securities fraud, internet fraud and environmental protection. He most notably pursued cases against companies involved in computer chip price fixing, investment bank stock price inflation, and the 2003 mutual fund scandal. He also sued Richard Grasso, the then-chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, who he claimed had violated his position after receiving an upwards of $140 million as a deferred compensation pay package.”
Because they lack all understanding of such serious business, the American people continue to be obsessed with hanky-panky.
Yesterday the Dow gained 400 points, the biggest one-day gain in five years, after the Federal Reserve Banks “loaned” the Fat Cats a big chunk of Treasury money. Today’s Wall Street Journal reports “The Fed will lend dealers $200 billion in a move aimed at taking difficult-to-trade securities temporarily off their books. The offer is an attempt to counter the recent selling of mortgage-linked securities, but it won’t reverse falling home prices or mounting mortgage defaults.”
The Fat Cats who cheered on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange, on hearing of Spitzer’s misfortune, are enlisting the rage of naive feminists to persecute the whistle blower, and urging the government to send him to jail for 20 years, purely out of spite.
As for the little people in mid-America, they won’t worry their pretty little heads about the pimps of Wall street, with their interest-only loans, flexible rate mortgages, inflated real estate values, that wash away the life-savings of senior citizens by creating a deluge of devalued dollars.
I don’t know if any of our presidential candidates see the connection between any of the above with the Spitzer affair, but I certainly do.
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“We’ve got people charged with cleaning up the corrupt broken system going out with an $80,000 hooker bill and being replaced by a blind man.” Craig Harris Mar 14, 2008
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Bear Stearns on brink of break-upJoe Lewis, the secretive British billionaire, has lost an estimated $800m in the collapse of the American investment bank Bear Stearns. The 71-year-old currency trading tycoon, who runs his empire from the Bahamas, holds almost 10% of the bank’s shares. Bears shares fell 40% on Friday to $27, after it secured a 28-day credit lifeline to stave off collapse. Lewis began building a stake in Bear last September, when the shares were changing hands for more than $100. The huge paper losses could force Lewis to sell out of some of his other positions, according to traders, in order to meet margin calls from his lending banks. . . . The Bear Stearns crisis has reinforced the view that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this week by 0.75 percentage points, rather than 0.5, which would take the Fed Funds rate down to 2.25% three points below last years peak. Some analysts even think that the Federal Reserve may try to calm the markets by cutting rates by a full percentage point at its Tuesday meeting. GOLDMAN SACHS is this week expected to reveal write-downs of more than $3 billion, as Wall Street begins another turbulent quarterly reporting season.
Huge loans for private-equity deals, coupled with a loss on its holding in the Chinese bank ICBC, are behind the write-downs. Goldman is also expected to unveil a 60% drop in earnings. Lehman Brothers, which secured a new $2 billion credit line on Friday, is expected to reveal write-downs of more than $1 billion. Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, is poised to reveal a further $500m in write-downs. Business Times
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The Feds and Investment BanksTuesday Mar 11, The Fed “loaned” $200 billion in the form of Treasury Bills to bail out Wall Street, and the Dow recovered to about where it was when Bush was elected . . . with the run on Bear Stearns on Friday. So the Fed gave an undisclosed amount to Morgan Chase, to bail out Bear Stearns to the tune of another $200 Billion. . . . They are talking about another rate cut of at least a half point next week, which will affect the interest rates paid by banks on your savings and the rate retirees collect on their T-Bills. With every rate cut at the Fed, you will see a corresponding rise in the price of oil and the price of gold. The fat-cats of Wall Street define inflation as a rise in wages. That is why they always oppose raising the minimum wage. They say a living wage is inflationary.
The fat cats do not define inflation in terms of how much it costs you to fill your gas tank or to buy a quart of milk. By this reckoning they maintain the myth that there is no inflation. And the fat cats definitely do not define inflation in terms of pumping up the stock market. They own the business schools and the economics departments and they will always define inflation exactly as it suits their needs and interests.
Last week Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson disingenuously called for new laws and regulations. What good are these unless you have attorneys general like Eliot Spitzer, who are willing to enforce them?
I am sorry to see Eliot Spitzer go. Most Americans had never heard of until last week. They interpret him as a moral cop, hoisted by his own petard, but moral policing was never his function. Spitzer’s function as New York DA was to regulate financial institutions, and stave off a depression. It is too bad he can no longer play that role. And I regret that he provided the ammunition to disable himself.
Gold is now over $1000 per ounce, oil at $110 a barrel, the Euro at $1.60, and the copper in a penny is worth 1.07 cents. Yesterday, I paid $2.70 for a cookie and a cup of tea.Wilson
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The Fed, for example, this week set up a special $200-billion, 28-day lending arrangement, under a provision created in the 1930s to counteract runs on banks. Bear Stearns is its first beneficiary. The plan was announced as part of a joint effort by central banks in Canada, Europe and elsewhere to boost liquidity in the banking sector. Under the Bear Stearns deal, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York agreed to provide an unspecified amount of secured funds to JPMorgan Chase, which in turn would make loans to Bear Stearns. JPMorgan Chase said it is “working closely with Bear Stearns on securing permanent financing or other alternatives for the company.” The bailout didn’t sit well with many analysts, who complained that it creates a moral hazard to a company that took undue risks in the mortgage market.Barrie McKenna, Toronto Globe and Mail
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Famed institution hit by run on liquidityThe Fed, for example, this week set up a special $200-billion, 28-day lending arrangement, under a provision created in the 1930s to counteract runs on banks. Bear Stearns is its first beneficiary. The plan was announced as part of a joint effort by central banks in Canada, Europe and elsewhere to boost liquidity in the banking sector. Under the Bear Stearns deal, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York agreed to provide an unspecified amount of secured funds to JPMorgan Chase, which in turn would make loans to Bear Stearns. JPMorgan Chase said it is “working closely with Bear Stearns on securing permanent financing or other alternatives for the company.” The bailout didn’t sit well with many analysts, who complained that it creates a moral hazard to a company that took undue risks in the mortgage market. “Instead of letting Bears Stearns get crushed, and then see the assets and talent pool get scooped up by someone else, we keep a wounded Bear on life support hanging around,” remarked Barry Ritholtz, director of equity research at Fusion IQ. “My preference is creative destruction.”The Globe and Mail
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The B WordConsider what happened last Friday, when the Federal Reserve rushed to the aid of Bear Stearns. Nobody expects an investment bank to be a charitable institution, but Bear has a particularly nasty reputation. As Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times reminds us, Bear has often operated in the gray areas of Wall Street and with an aggressive, brass-knuckles approach.
Bear was a major promoter of the most questionable subprime lenders. It lured customers into two of its own hedge funds that were among the first to go bust in the current crisis. And its a bad financial citizen: the last time the Fed tried to contain a financial crisis, after the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998, Bear refused to participate in the rescue operation. Bear, in other words, deserved to be allowed to fail both on the merits and to teach Wall Street not to expect someone else to clean up its messes. But the Fed rode to Bears rescue anyway, fearing that the collapse of a major investment bank would cause panic in the markets and wreak havoc with the wider economy. Fed officials knew that they were doing a bad thing, but believed that the alternative would be even worse. As Bear goes, so will go the rest of the financial system. And if history is any guide, the coming taxpayer-financed bailout will end up costing a lot of money. . . .
According to late reports on Sunday, JPMorgan Chase will buy Bear for a pittance. Thats an O.K. resolution for this case but not a model for the much bigger bailout to come. Looking ahead, we probably need something similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation, which took over bankrupt savings and loan institutions and sold off their assets to reimburse taxpayers. And we need it quickly: things are falling apart as you read this. NYTimes
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JP Morgan Pays $2 a Share for Bear StearnsIn a shocking deal reached on Sunday to save Bear Stearns, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay a mere $2 a share to buy all of Bear less than one-tenth the firms market price on Friday. As part of the watershed deal, JPMorgan and the Federal Reserve will guarantee the huge trading obligations of the troubled firm, which was driven to the brink of bankruptcy by what amounted to a run on the bank. Reflecting Bears dire straits, JPMorgan agreed to pay only about $270 million in stock for the firm, which had run up big losses on investments linked to mortgages. JPMorgan is buying Bear, which has 14,000 employees, for a third the price at which the smaller firm went public in 1985. Only a year ago, Bears shares sold for $170. The sale price includes Bear Stearnss soaring Madison Avenue headquarters. . . .
There are, of course, some drawbacks to a deal, even at a bargain-basement price. Mr. Dimon has long expressed doubts that combining two big investment banks is a good idea. Bears prime brokerage business would require a big technology investment. And there are often severe cultural issues and significant management overlap. It is unclear how many of Bear Stearnss employees, who together own a third of the company, will remain after the combination. People involved in the talks suggested that as much as a third of the staff could lose their jobs. The deal also raises the prospect that some employees at JPMorgan, which was already considering cutbacks, may face the prospect of additional layoffs as the two firms merge their operations. With Bear, JPMorgan also inherits a balance sheet that is packed with financial land mines, though the Fed has agreed to protect the firm from a certain amount of liability. Even though JPMorgan has performed well through this recent turbulence, it is unclear if it would want that additional risk. . . .
James E. Cayne, Bear Stearnss former chief executive and one of its largest individual shareholder, will likely walk away with a little more than $13.4 million, the value of his Bear stock holdings, according to James F. Redda & Associates. Those would have been worth $1.2 billion in January 2007, when Bears stock was trading at a $171.51. Mr. Cayne has taken home more than $232 million in salary, bonus and other pay between 1993 and 2006, the time period for which there is publicly available data, according to Equilar, an as an executive compensation research firm. NYTimes
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Dershowitz: Spitzer’s Sexual Peccadilloes Are Not the Feds’ BusinessHarvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz contends that federal money laundering and sex-crime laws have been unfairly used to trap Eliot Spitzer in an unfortunate episode that shows the danger of these open-ended statutes. These laws “lie around like loaded guns waiting to be used against the enemies of politically motivated investigators, prosecutors and politicians,” Dershowitz writes in an op-ed column for the Wall Street Journal. If the federal government wanted to shut down Emperors Club VIP, all it had to do was send an undercover agent to pose as a customer, Dershowitz writes. Instead the feds “wiretapped 5,000 phone conversations, intercepted 6,000 emails, used surveillance and undercover tactics that are more appropriate for trapping terrorists than entrapping johns,” he writes. Apparently the aim was “to catch and embarrass Mr. Spitzer with his own recorded words, which could be, and were, leaked to the media.” “It’s simply none of the federal government’s business that a man may have been moving his own money around in order to keep his wife in the dark about his private sexual peccadilloes,” Dershowitz concludes. In a separate op-ed published yesterday in the Jewish Daily Forward, Dershowitz takes aim at prostitution statutes. “The laws criminalizing adult consensual prostitution-especially with $5,000-an-hour call girls-are as anachronistic as the old laws that used to criminalize adultery, fornication, homosexuality and even masturbation. These may be sins, but there are no real victims, except for family members,” he writes.American Bar Association Journal
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Partying Like Its 1929The financial crisis currently under way is basically an updated version of the wave of bank runs that swept the nation three generations ago. People arent pulling cash out of banks to put it in their mattresses but theyre doing the modern equivalent, pulling their money out of the shadow banking system and putting it into Treasury bills. And the result, now as then, is a vicious circle of financial contraction. Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues at the Fed are doing all they can to end that vicious circle. We can only hope that they succeed. Otherwise, the next few years will be very unpleasant not another Great Depression, hopefully, but surely the worst slump weve seen in decades. Even if Mr. Bernanke pulls it off, however, this is no way to run an economy. Its time to relearn the lessons of the 1930s, and get the financial system back under control. NYTimes
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Fed up with Wall StreetThe politicians will try to do their best to obscure the first point. They say “we aren’t giving them money – we’re lending money and we’re getting interest, so the government can make a profit.” . . . . No private bank would have lent money to JP Morgan Chase or Bear Stearns at the same interest rate and under the same terms as the Fed. . . . When the government makes a loan at below market interest rates, it is giving away money. . . . If they can’t get away with the “no bailout” nonsense, the Wall Street welfare boys will then try the route of claiming that we have to bail them out in order to prevent the whole financial system from collapsing. Such a collapse could turn the recession into a depression, leaving millions unemployed for years. This is also nonsense. We know how to keep banks operating even as they go into bankruptcy. The UK just did this with Northern Rock, a major bank that managed to get itself into huge trouble because of its holding of bad mortgage debt. After it was clear that the bank was insolvent, the Bank of England stepped in and essentially took over the bank. It replaced the incompetent managers who had ruined the bank and brought in a new team to straighten out the books. The plan is to resell the bank to the private sector once the books are in order. In the mean time, the bank keeps operating. The depositors can continue to make deposits and withdrawals just as before. This prevents any chain reaction from bringing down the financial system. The difference between the Northern Rock route and what happened with Bears Stearns last week is that in the Northern Rock, the highly paid managers that ruined the bank are sent packing. Guardian.
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Ten Days That Changed CapitalismOfficials Improvised To Rescue Markets; Will It Be Enough?The past 10 days will be remembered as the time the U.S. government discarded a half-century of rules to save American financial capitalism from collapse. On the Richter scale of government activism, the government’s recent actions don’t (yet) register at FDR levels. They are shrouded in technicalities and buried in a pile of new acronyms. But something big just happened. It happened without an explicit vote by Congress. And, though the Treasury hasn’t cut any checks for housing or Wall Street rescues, billions of dollars of taxpayer money were put at risk. A Republican administration, not eager to be viewed as the second coming of the Hoover administration, showed it no longer believes the market can sort out the mess. “The Government of Last Resort is working with the Lender of Last Resort to shore up the housing and credit markets to avoid Great Depression II,” economist Ed Yardeni wrote to clients. First, over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the Fed (aka the Lender of Last Resort) and the Treasury forced the sale of Bear Stearns, the fifth-largest U.S. investment bank, to J.P. Morgan Chase at a price so low that a shareholder rebellion prompted J.P. Morgan to raise the price. To induce J.P. Morgan to do the deal, the Fed agreed to take losses or gains, if any, on up to $29 billion of securities in Bear Stearns’s portfolio. The outcome will influence the sum the Fed turns over to the Treasury, so this is taxpayer money; that’s why the Fed sought Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s OK. . . .
Then the Fed lent directly to Wall Street securities firms for the first time. Until now, the Fed has lent directly only to Main Street banks, those that take deposits from ordinary folks. That’s because banks were viewed as playing a unique economic role and, supposedly, were more closely regulated than other types of lenders. In the first three days of this new era, securities firms borrowed an average of $31.3 billion a day from the Fed. That’s not small change, and it’s why Mr. Paulson, after the fact, is endorsing changes to give the Fed more access to these firms’ books. Wall Street Journal
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Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream
Edited by Don Belton
Through the voices of some of today’s most prominent African-American writers, including August Wilson, John Edgar Wideman, Derrick Bell, and Walter Mosley, Speak My Name explores the intimate territory behind the myths about black masculinity. These intensely personal essays and stories reveal contemporary black men from the vantage point of their own lives – as men with proper names, distinctive faces, and strong family ties.
By Hazel V. Carby
Carby compares Toussaint L’Ouverture, the ex-slave who liberated Haiti from the French in the 19th century, to Trinidadian writer C.L.R. James, whose Marxist interpretation of the Haitian Revolution, the Black Jacobins, unveiled the complexities of colonialism, class, and the sexist aspects of radical black leadership. She discusses jazz icon Miles Davis‘s quest for freedom and his misogynistic persona articulated in his autobiography, then praises science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany’s Motion of Light in Water as “an effective counterpoint to Miles … a magnificent attempt to reject the socially created obstacles separating desire from its material achievement, and in the process demolishing and transcending the limitations of heterosexual norms.” Indeed, for Carby the major flaw of race men is that their upholding of “the race” does not prominently address the concerns of African American women as well.Eugene Holley Jr.
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For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By H. W. Brands
In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar’s astonishing rise to become the world’s principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar’s changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America’s economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan’s bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt’s handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar’s dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power–and the enormous risks–of the dollar’s worldwide reign. The Economy
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 14 March 2008