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28 August 2008

Empire of Poverty (Hinkon-taikoku), America!

That is the title of a book written by Mika Tsutsumi, who wrote this book, which I wrote the review of.

She has lived in New York as college student and office worker but since she experienced 911 turmoil, she started to learn what went wrong in the U.S.

In this book, she paid attention to poverty issue. Some of the things mentioned overlap in her previous book.

The book became best-selling non-fiction book in Japan. It was sold at the price of 700 yen (US$7).

At first she talked about subprime loan crisis. The real estate business took mean advantage of poor people who have dreams of having their own houses, which they could never afford by their cheap salaries. They ended up losing  houses and dreams and then being poorer than before.

50 million people don't have medical insurance. 60 million live by the wage under $7 per day. 35 million people are in hunger. That was a result of free economy. The poor gets poorer, the rich gets richer.

Although so many are in hunger, but at the same time so many of them are suffering from obesity. The poverty and the obesity are linked. Poor people cannot afford healthy food. They had to buy cheap junk food which is filled with oil and contain less nutrition. They get fat but lack nutrition that result in sickness but they have no medical insurance to cure. The medical insurance issue she mentioned is similar to Micheal Moore's "Sicko."

Americans favour free competition, smaller government, and privatization. Hurricane Katrina was a catastrophie caused by privatization. FEMA was privatized and disaster prevention budget was cut-off.

In the last chapter, she described working poor became new type of military drafting system. A truck driver was offered high-paying job in Iraq by a military contractor. After months of labor in Iraq, he got leukemia because he drunk highly radioactive water. He had no insurance coverage to take care of his illness. Even though he got a big money for that job, he had to use all of it to cure the illness and ended up being poorer and getting heavy illness.

The poor people had no choice but to work for the military which offers only very hard and dangerous tasks.

That is the true figure of America, now. The popularity of Obama seems to be supported by those who experience such hard situations.

Today the U.S. marked very historical moment, Afro-American was nominated for presidential candidate of major political party. Some might hope because he is Black, he should know how the oppressed feel.

Can Ob(s)ama-Bi(nla)den change things better for the U.S. rather than fighting against terrorists outside their country? No more war and poverty, please! 



Greetings, I just discovered your blog while reading about Tsutsumi Mika in English. I saw her great event last night at Aoyama book center. Keep up the great work, and I hope you can translate her books in English someday!

Posted by: Nina | 27 May 2009

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