Culture and Globalization

Oct 25

This week’s readings help us think about the economics of prison expansion. In your own words but referencing the readings, explain how the contemporary prison is related to our globalized world economy.

With that political economic analysis in mind, how can we connect the modern prison system to the factory system depicted in the documentary China Blue?

61 comments so far

  1. ksalvucc
    3:06 pm - 10-29-2012

    The readings this week discuss the prison system. This prison system is related to the globalized economy that we live in. In the article titled “The Prison Industrial Complex” by Eric Schlosser, this concept is very evident. In this piece the author talks about new “public works” that are happening in prisons in the U.S. These prison supply companies are calling these project managers to make bids. This example has plenty to do with the globalized economy. This is because the companies’ communication between the project managers shows that there is building in the economy, which can help the global economy. This will make this action of buying prison supplies more globalized.
    The article that discusses Arizona’s immigration law has something to do with the prison system and the globalized economy. The article says that with all these immigrants being put in jail it can bring profits to private prison companies that are holding them. This has plenty to do with the globalized world economy. This is because the boosting of the economy in Arizona, by this immigration law, in putting these immigrants in prison, can help the U.S. economy as a whole; the U.S. economy helps the world economy. By other countries seeing this world economy boost, this business in the prison system will become globalized.
    In the final piece for this week, there was the discussion of how companies use the immigration “crackdown” to make a profit. The article discusses that these “multinational security companies” are making these immigration “crackdowns” into a type of global industry. This is has plenty to do with the globalized economy. These companies are making profits off of this “crackdown” which they use their money to help boost the global industry, which boosts the global economy; which makes this action more globalized, and well known.
    We can compare the modern prison system to the documentary that we saw in class, titled China Blue. In the movie these clothing factories had harsh conditions for the labor workers, and all the factory owners wanted was to make the products to sell to make money for themselves. They did not care about the labor workers themselves. This is related to the prison system in the United States. The immigration law, in Arizona, is putting immigrants in prison. This is purely for profit purposes only. These companies who work with the prison system want to make money, to help the global economy, and their companies as well. They do not care about those who are being put in these prisons, by this law.

    • grivas3
      10:46 am - 10-31-2012

      I enjoyed reading you response because it allowed me to reflect on important points i might have missed. You explained the concept on how building economy through the construction of prisons is related to global economy.

    • rafae309
      12:16 am - 11-3-2012

      I like your example of immigration law to increase the number of crackdowns and therefore in turn, increase the number of prisoners to fill the prisons. It’s very scary and concerning what businessmen and profiteers are willing to do to make money.

  2. msirico
    6:21 pm - 10-30-2012

    The modern prison system can most definitely be connected to the globalized world economy. the “prison-industrial complex” is what connects the two, as it is defined in the Schlosser article as a “set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need.” Politicians and businessmen capitalize on the prison system of the united states, using the fear of crime to gain votes, or using prisons in order to make a profit. the new prison system is an ingrained part of the global economy. corporations and businesses see prisons as just another market, for telephone service, construction, food service industries, and more.
    The Gilmore article tells us that instead of changing laws in order to decrease prison overcrowding, states instead simply build more cells, more prisons, to throw inmates into. prisoners have little rights and slim chances to succeed in life outside of prison. States simply pour money into the prison system in order to profit off of it through elections, law passing, prison staffing, and corporate funding and use.
    Private companies also profit off of the prison system. Private companies are used in multiple countries, not only the U.S., o guard and sustain prison camps that are used to indefinitely detain illegal immigrants. These prison companies are often accused of human rights violations, but continue to control thousands of prisons. These companies are another part of the global economy, operating internationally, creating paying jobs to guards and staff, whose money goes back into the local economy when spent.
    These corporations support harsh immigrant laws in order to profit off of their incarceration. And their business even helps create harsh law, such as in Arizona, where a law was recently passed forcing police to detain anyone who cannot show proof of legality. Private prison companies make millions off of this law, as it means to detaining of hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
    The modern prison system can also be connected to the factory system we saw in the documentary we watched last week in class, China Blue. This can be seen in the deplorable conditions in both prisons and factories, but also in the companies’ use of humans as capital, whether for horrifically long hours of manual labor, or in detainment. The companies want to compete in the global economy, and make huge profits, which can only be done through low wages and long hours, in the case of the factories, or harsh laws and high prison populations in the prison-industrial system.

    • btaborga
      10:21 pm - 10-31-2012

      Its crazy to see how people are driven by greed in these cases. The prison system took another path into profit maximization instead of its original goal to reduce crime. I would have never thought that like factories, prisons could take this path

  3. btaborga
    7:19 pm - 10-30-2012

    This week’s readings were very informative because I did not know too well about the prison systems in the USA and how they worked. I never really realized that prisons could have such an economic purpose. I knew there were private penitentiaries and also government owned prisons, but I never thought they had such an economic background. In Nina Bernstein’s article she talks about how companies use immigration crackdown to make profits out of putting people in jail. Serco, a very big company that specializes in cracking down on illegal immigrants has made mass amount of profits on capturing immigrants, the problem is that this company has ignored several human rights and has even held people for many days and treating them badly placing them in crowded and unsanitary places. For example Mr. Fadhels case where he was detained for three years. His hair was long and he did not look healthy. He also states that he became a little mentally unstable while being in this facility since all he could do was talk to “the wall”. These companies are making a lot of money since governments and people want illegal people in their territory out of their country, however these companies have ignored basic human rights and have treated immigrants in horrible and poor conditions. In the article by Eric Schlosser “The Prison Industrial Complex” we can see how the global economy takes place by states (in this case California) developing “Public works” where there is more investment in prison systems. In this article we can also see how the prison system “has become a big business as well as a form of government service because of the emergence of a trade newspaper devoted to the latest trends in the prison and jail marketplace. Even though there is a decline in crime rates, it is estimated that there will be an increase (5-10 percent) on prisons. The problem with all these new prisons being built is also that prisoners are simply being put in mass amounts and in poor quality living conditions. In the article by Laura Sullivan on prison economics and Arizona immigration laws we can see that the new law Arizona passed recently has made it easy for many illegal or even legal Hispanics (mostly) to be incarcerated. Millions would be put in jail and private prison systems would benefit from this. In Gilmore’s article we can see many of the reasons prison and jail systems started to be created (people being left jobless and tend to get involved in illegal activities, race and drugs). People want investment in these prison systems to feel safe. In this article, we can relate to “China Blue” since we can see that Gilmore talks about “The Prison Fix” prisoners have been fighting for reform, going to court to get these reforms and massive amount of prisoners have been “involuntary moved” to different prisons where the State has invested more land, space and money. Prisoners are just thrown in these jails, overcrowded them and they don’t really care of the life of the prisoners after getting out. It’s like the prisoners’ have no say just like the Chinese factory workers. We can relate all these other articles on the economics of prisons to the documentary we were watching on China, “China Blue” by seeing first of all that everyone is in it for the business and making money. Factory owners and prison owners want one thing: MONEY, MONEY and more MONEY. To do this they have acted immorally by simply overcrowding prisons, passing laws to put more people in prison and in the case of “China Blue” making workers work for several hours, no sleep, and lie to inspectors on their job quality. It’s sad to see how profit motivates people to lower the standard of living of others.

    • saehwan72
      11:06 pm - 11-1-2012

      I completely agree with you on the fact that I never knew the economic standpoint when it came to the American prison system. It really was alarming to also see how many private companies are gaining profit off the existence of so many prisons.

    • sarahariri
      12:15 pm - 11-2-2012

      I was also shocked to learn about how prisons can be a business opportunity. It makes me wonder if this could be connected with the needless spending some prisons carry out (it’s actually MORE expensive to execute someone than to put them in prison for life). It’s sad to read about, but I’m very glad to be more informed on the subject.

  4. scamp3
    8:48 pm - 10-30-2012

    From this week’s readings I was able to understand that the prison system here in the United States helps and hinders our economy. The method of detaining prisoners has been spread globally. Privatized prisons have started to become increasingly popular. Work within prisons and jobs for those working as correctional employees have risen in some places while lowering in others. The first two articles I read “The Prison Industrial Complex” by Eric Schlosser and “Globalization and US Prison Growth: from military Keynesianism to Post-Keynesianism militarism” both talked a lot about the history of prison growth, and the differing ways of handling it politically speaking. With the crack down on criminals comes a need for a place to put them. An example of this in Schlosser’s article had me questioning people’s sanity. They request for criminals to be arrested, but vote to not spend any money to put them somewhere. This reasoning made no sense to me. Privatized prisons have made for easy costs on the state, and also provide a profit. I see no harm in this until reading the other two articles: “Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law” and “Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit”. These mostly discuss the issues concerning illegal immigrants. Both took the route of using privatized prisons. The problems they were having though were those of abuse, both physical and emotional. The companies that are paying for these prisons are abusing the power they have and making conditions worse for prisoners. Most companies don’t need to worry about this, because they know that there will always be someone looking to buy. These articles reminding me a lot of the video we watched concerning Chinese workers working in a factory making jeans, and this appalls me. The fact that you can compare a normal, average citizen’s job to that of a prisoner is not okay. The articles discussed prisoners being in small cells with barely any room, and little windows to look out. This is not much different from the workers in the video. They are required to work a certain length of time or else they are penalized for it. To me, what the Chinese workers are doing, how they are working, is not worth what they are paid, nor how they are treated. The economy in both a prison and a factory looks alarmingly similar. While I do not think a prison should be warm and cozy, a factory workers space should be comfortable and fair. Prison is not a place I would consider “fair”, and the fact that it is so identical to that of those working their hands to the bone in the video we are watching is horrendous.

    • btaborga
      10:31 pm - 10-31-2012

      I agree with what you say and the articles say on the conditions of prisoners in the US and how they live (in bad conditions just like factory workers. What I would like to see is how prisoners live abroad and if there are private prisons there too who make huge profits out of prisons in the third world. Prisoners in the third world live in ten times worst conditions than in the US so I assume the owners of these prisons are making huge amount of profits.

      • vorozhko
        5:09 pm - 11-1-2012

        Interesting thought about the private prisons in the developing world. I think that this kind of entrepreneurship does not exist there. Private prisons is a phenomenon of liberal democracies, where corruption levels are lower, political and decision making transparency is high, where the the rule of law and not the authoritarian leader governs the state. In authoritarian regimes the government will utilize it’s right for legitimate violence to the maximum in order to maintain the regime, and will not contract private companies to do it for them.

  5. vorozhko
    11:10 pm - 10-30-2012

    Once upon a time “Rick Carter and Sue Smith, the husband and wife operators of R and S Prisoner Transport, were taking five murderers and a rapist from Iowa to New Mexico”, – that would be a beginning for a really strange, yet a very real fairy tale. The absurdity of this sentence perfectly illustrates my opinion of a phenomenon of a “prison-industrial complex”. This economic and social phenomenon arose in the American society alongside with the Nixon’s, Rockefeller’s “war on crime”, Regan’ s “war on drugs” that have successfully launched and enhanced social anxiety of crime, illegal drugs and deviant behavior (Schlosser,Gilmore). I believe that prison systems around the world are being exploited by various multinational corporations from telephone to transportation to security companies, as it was portrayed in most of the articles. I was surprised to learn that Australian immigration enforcement is mostly owned by the private security corporations that face little competition and exercise inhumane treatment with detainees. Divisive social issues like immigration, drug abuse and crime turn out to make billions of dollars in profit for large companies all around the world. I am convinced that globalization makes it possible to “privatize” even the very public sphere issues like prisons and correction facilities. And when everything in a society has a purpose to make profit (as Americans very well know by the example of their healthcare system) the purpose of social good will never be achieved or will not become close to being achieved, i.e the sick will remain sick, so they would continuously take pills and visit doctors and prisoners will remain in prison, because the corporation does not care about health or rehabilitation of people, they need that profit to be made.
    I think the biggest similarity between the labor methods used in the documentary “China Blue” and the way “prison – industrial complex” makes profit in America and around the world is the capitalist, business-driven approach to the vulnerable in the society. Need thousands of cheap jeans real fast? The answer is clear – exploit the poor teenagers in China. A multinational security company needs to find a new way to make a profit, why not to lobby a new immigration law in the border state to make millions on the detentions and prison centers for captured illegal immigrants. I strongly believe that certain social services (issues) could not be given away into the hands of the private sector. The free-rider problem is a common negative externality of any public good, there will always be members of society who will not pay the price (tax, fine etc.), but yet utilize the public good (rehab center, medical service, benefits, etc.). However, that free rider problem is much cheaper to society than human rights abuse, violence and millions of destroyed lives because of insignificant non-violent crimes and drug use that should be punished by community work and treated in the rehab.

    • ksalvucc
      7:53 am - 10-31-2012

      Great analysis of the readings, I could not agree more with you. This is because I also believe that this prison system is purely a profit system.

      • rgomez5
        7:49 pm - 10-31-2012

        It is very sad that the judicial system had become just another business to profit, this is not bad working conditions, these are people’s lives and the whole society has to deal with it (violence, more drugs, single parents)

    • grivas3
      10:54 am - 10-31-2012

      Great introduction to your response analysis. After reading it I realized I did not write about the important people mention in the article like Nixon, Rockefeller, and Regan and their different ways to fight crime.

    • ngibson3
      12:08 pm - 10-31-2012

      I really liked how you described it as “the enhanced social anxiety of crime”, I think that describes the general climate. Do you think that could also be a result of the mass media, and sensationalist stories, as well as more access to stories about crime in general?

      • vorozhko
        4:56 pm - 11-1-2012

        Good question. I think that media coverage of crime, like the reality TV shows about cops and chases and local papers like “crime times”, that show recently arrested people in your area (very popular in Front Royal) make crime a form a form of entertainment and contribute to the “isolationist” attitude to crimes and drugs, like “just lock those people up away from society, they are strange, weird, etc”.

  6. emyers
    12:35 am - 10-31-2012

    I knew our prison system was messed up, but this weeks readings backed up my understanding even more. It seems to me as if the prison system here was set up as a money maing scheme or economy booster, much like other places set up a tourist industry or something. The prison was looked at as something that would put away the uneducated criminal minds, and in place would employ those who really needed and deserved jobs by employing correction officers, patrollers, security guards, kitchen staff, cleaning crew, telephone companies, clothing companies, steel workers, etc.. Following that, the increased laws on drugs and immigrants kept these facilities filled to maximum capacity and created the need fore more facilities, creating more jobs for construction and architecture companies. The start of private prisons really sparked the competition and mass expansion of prisons making the industry be more about money than actually protecting our citizens and decreasing crime rates. That could have something to do with the decreasing numbers of violent crime cases ending up in prison and increase of drug-related crimes going into the system, but that may be besides the point. There is trading going on and multinational security and companies supplying and running the prisons and competition for the better facilities. Much like the global marketplace, this industry has been pried of its original purposes and been put into the hands of power hungry, rich minded corporations and individuals, fooling the rest of society into believing they are doing something legitimate and beneficial for them.

    In relation to the movie China Blues, and the other articles we read about Chinese companies, this case in similar in that the private corporations allow room for corruption. The workplaces and facilities are not where anyone wants to be, with shitty working conditions and workers/inmates on the virge of suicide. There is overcrowding and dormlike living spaces to hold the masses that the corporations are trying to control, both try to keep their employees/prisoners uneducated and away from the media so that they are not given away, fake inspections are carried out, all which is made possible by corrupt officials and government workers.

    • ksalvucc
      7:57 am - 10-31-2012

      I thought the way you analyzed the movie we watched in class was very good. I thought this because you are really stating the truth about these companies.

      • rgomez5
        7:46 pm - 10-31-2012

        I also think that another main problem that the video does not point, maybe it will sound politically incorrect, but another big problem I see in China is corruption, there like in most developing countries it is widely accepted. This would make policies very hard to implement

      • hakunanahtata
        6:31 pm - 12-10-2012

        I too had an idea that the prison system is a corporately corrupt system but did not realize the extent of it until this weeks readings. The reality of how much our economy relies on the prison system and the correlations with workers in China is scary. We look at workers in China and think how its horrible that they work for little profit, under inhumanely conditions and for months at a time with no choice (unless they want to be unemployed) and how the system parallels the US prison system in the sense that the prison system does the same thing and its strictly for profit. The articles really opened my eyes to the system that basically just pushes people through with out a care for their life for the sake of the jobs that are provided for others.

    • shill10
      12:33 pm - 10-31-2012

      I like you’re opening and it is good to see that some people did know about how our prison systems worked in America before reading these articles. I didn’t have much knowledge prior to the readings, but I do agree that there should be some type of reform instead of allowing for so much corruption in the prison system. I also thought the way you related the movie was well done and very true.

    • sarahariri
      12:19 pm - 11-2-2012

      I totally agree. After reading these articles, it’s very evident that there is a bigger concern for being money hungry than actually improving society. Prison is a place that not many people wish to be in. If it were more of a place for rehabilitation (not necessarily substance rehab, but particularly psychological rehab) I’d have more faith in the U.S. prison system.

  7. rgomez5
    2:12 am - 10-31-2012

    This week readings about Prisons system and its relation with the global economy, it is evident that prisons had just become another profitable business in which some expect to get economic and political profit. In economics we learn that supply and demand create an equilibrium point for prices, however in the prison system it seems that an artificial demand is been created by wrong policies and unfairly harsh laws that keep incarcerating people for crimes that don’t justify “years” in prison. How can be Violent crimes been in decline since 1991 and inmate populations increasing at the same time? Now just California holds more prisoners than France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands combined. I think this is an incredible waste of resources that are urgently needed in other social issues such as education and health. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands are incarcerated for minor crimes for average sentences of two years or less, exposing them to vicious gang and crime environment in jail, making them into even more dangerous criminals in the future when they are released. This tendency has earned jails the nick name of “Schools of crime”.
    Recent immigration laws passed in Arizona that allows police to stop people based on racial description with the possibility of throwing those people in jail, besides its solely racist propose, I don’t see any economic benefit on that. Yes industries involved with prisons will make money at the expenses of tax payers, but we don’t generate wealth by just building things we don’t even need in economics it is known as “the broken window theory” which describes a similar principle of braking things to rebuild them again. In order to generate real wealth resources must be invested in projects that will create real progress or social advance, not just creating fictitious demand for jails with innocent people to learn how to be real criminals.
    The relationship I can find between the readings and the China Blue movie is that as long there is demand for a good (jeans or jails) there will be other parties producing the good; producers don’t really care about workers or inmates, in the case of jails they will push for more people going to jails even if there are less crimes committed, especially if governmental rules are relaxed in favor of companies. But I think this is a complicated issue, companies also create employment and extreme regulations will stop them from happening; then it is when legislative officials need to find equilibrium point with economic freedom and human rights.

    • shill10
      12:36 pm - 10-31-2012

      I really like the way you incorporate economics into your response. It is helpful to look at a subject through a different lens sometimes.I agree with your idea that “jeans or jails” if there is a profit to be made, a company will be there to make that profit. After these readings I thought about when laws will be made to protect human rights for those in prisons.

      • rgomez5
        7:41 pm - 10-31-2012

        Yeah, if inmates could vote in general election, maybe that will be an interesting case!

    • ender91
      1:35 am - 11-2-2012

      I also think its also a waste of resources for the same reason that you wrote but your post also brought to my mind another reason. Another reason is that prison is not the only solution to preventing crimes. I mean if they invest more to other social issues then that also helps lessen crime.

  8. grivas3
    10:42 am - 10-31-2012

    This weeks reading were very interesting because I had never payed attention to the relation between prison to our globalized world economy. In article “The Prison Industrial Complex” we see the different tactics used by officials to create fear on crime and that way gain votes on building new prisons and gain a profit from them. The article is very clear on demonstrating that crime seems to be a growing problem and that due to this fact there is also an increase on jail and the prison marketplace. Eric Schlosser for example, talked about how phones services are creating “Big Business” and how these company’s rely on about two million inmates as their costumers. Pay phone at prisons are generating millions of dollars or more revenue each each. In Ruth Wilson Gilmore, “Globalization and U.S Prison Growth: From Military Keynesianism to Post-keynesian Militarian”, discussed the reasons why crime have increased and how this has also effected the need to create more prisons. We can relate this article to “China Blue” because we see people fighting for reforms to stop unfair treatment in prisons.

    In Laura Sullivan’s article “Prison Economics Help Drive Arizona Immigration Law” its another clear example how prisons are being used to create revenue in our world economy. The article discussed the Arizona SB 1070 law to crack down illegal immigrants in that state. This law pretty much allowed law officials to ask for identification to anyone that looked hispanic and if they were not able to provide legal papers they would be arrested. Millions legal and illegal people were incarcerated creating a benefit to private prisons systems. Finally, the article by Nina Bernstein, “Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to turn a Profit” also focused on the issue of illegal immigrants and how in order to control this growing problem they also focused on using privatized prisons. The problem is the abuse being committed to this “Prisoners” both mentally and physical. These companies are abusing their power because they know there is always someone willing to make business with them. I can relate this to the documentary “China Blue” because the people in these factories are also treated bad and their human rights are being violated. Prisoners are overcrowded, abusing them physically and mentally and even more laws are being passed to put people in jail. We can relate this to “China blue”, with the crowded, unsanitary, no sleep, and extra work without pay the workers in the “China Blue” have to go through. We can see that all this human rights violations happened so companies are able to acquire their profit.

    • ngibson3
      12:11 pm - 10-31-2012

      I like how you also included mental abuse as one of the injustice seen in the documentary “China Blue”, that’s a great point, and something that’s often left out in favor of mainly focusing on physical.

  9. jnewman4
    10:52 am - 10-31-2012

    The modern-day prison system has transformed from a system of reform to a system full of profit-seeking companies. At one time, the prison system was developed to control crime and to enforce punishment for offenders who contribute to the social and political “crises” that surfaced over the decades (Glimore). Ironically, as crime went down after peaking in the eighties, prison development increased (about 400%). The national panic for social order, the rise in illegal drug use, and the various recessions that resulted in unemployment all contributed to the mass “round-up” of “criminals during this period. Prison growth was expanding, and companies who backed these projects needed bodies to fill the cells.
    For-Profit contractors such as GEO Group and Serco are awarded millions of dollars to house, feed and care for detainees. It would only make sense that these companies will reduce cost as much as possible to maximize profits. The obvious solution would be to reduce the costs that contribute to the care of inmates, leaving them malnourished, depressed, and mentally unstable. There is also the issue of location. Cities where prisons are being developed are generally poor and desolate. They are being told it would generate local economies; a false promise.
    This is a reflection of the global economy. Profit-seeking contractors for industries all over the world wish to maximize profits. This will often result in workers paying for these costs through a wage reduction. Factory workers, like those in China Blue, are the witnesses to this kind of greed. Like the newly developed, beautified prisons, factories may look legit on the outside, but the inside tells a completely different story. In the documentary the factory owners constantly cut wages and missed scheduled pay-days. They made sure money was circulating within the company by charging for lunch and hot water.
    The global economy produces factories that are in fact prisons for its workers. They have no rights, no opinions, and no voice.

    • ender91
      1:42 am - 11-2-2012

      With the readings, it seems there are two ways prison-related companies profit; to take out on the prisoners and also to ensure that they get more prisoners. I guess another similarity prisons and factories have is in the governments’ failure to see past the outside of beatified prisons and factories into the inside that shows a completely different story.

    • shusain
      10:48 am - 11-2-2012

      I liked the intro of your post because you did a great job explaining how prisons went from helping people to making profit off of them. I think it’s often important to take a second and look into history to see where things went wrong and how much of an effect it had on the present.

  10. shanaz
    11:08 am - 10-31-2012

    In Gilmore’s article, “Globalisation and US prison growth: from military Keynesianism to post-Keynesianism,” Gilmore explains why prisons dominant. For one, the media, state officials and policy makers refer to the “moral panic over crime and connect prison growth to public desire for social order.” This implies that its not the states definition of crime, but rather society’s definition of deviant behavior leading to a moral panic. This was followed by the second explanation, that the prison population is the drug epidemic and the treat to public safety followed by the third explanation in which it blames structural changes in employment opportunities. I found this explanation to be the most interesting because when one cannot make a legal income, they can be easily tempted to make an illegal income. This goes hand in hand with the Chinese Gold Farmers, because they only became virtual gold farmers because they couldn’t make any other form of income.

    Unfortunately, these prisons do not care about rehabilitation. It seems to be the same with psychiatric hospitals. These are the people that need the most help, but they are just being used to make money.
    These articles are making me see that prison systems around the world are being exploited by corporations to make profit.

    I’ve read other articles where the writers show that the prison system can be seen as a factory where private companies or states can benefit from it. Furthermore, in past classes, we’ve discussed how corporations influence our lives and the laws made in the US. For one, is the marijuana versus cigarettes debate, why is one illegal and not the other? Is it because the major cigarette companies influence our laws?

    • acoreas12
      11:38 pm - 11-1-2012

      I really like how you connected this reading to last week’s regarding the Gold Farmers. It helps in understanding the various kinds of jobs people find themselves doing worldwide to try and sustain themselves in this kind of global economy. I completely agree with you that the people who need the most help are not receiving it, due to this push from governments and corporations to keep them isolated from the world instead of reintegrating them into society through rehabilitation programs.

      • shanaz
        10:44 am - 11-2-2012

        Thank you for your comment. It feels so odd reading and finding out about this and not being able to do anything. With globalization and technology, the information is available to everyone, but it feels like there is not much we can do even as a collective group to change this.

  11. sbannach
    11:24 am - 10-31-2012

    The prison system in the United States is a shining example of how our economy is becoming more globalized. Eric Schlosser outlines the booming private sector prison industry in his article, “The Prison-Industrial Complex.” Recently, prisons in places such as Texas have been “outsourced” to private companies that are attempting to make a profit. Huge, multinational corporations whose influence spreads far beyond the United States have invested in the development of these prisons and detention centers. These corporations’ bottom line rests on the amount of prisoners being detained; the more prisoners there are, the more profit they make. Thus, the private prison industry has resulted in what Schlosser deems the “prison-industrial complex”–a set of bureaucratic, economic, and industrial interests that encourage increased spending on prison systems regardless of actual need. His sentiment is echoed by Laura Sullivan in her article “Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law.” She reports that the drafting of Arizona Bill 1070, which increased state immigration controls, was largely driven by corporate interests. Many of the politicians present at the drafting of the bill had either worked for or received donations from private prison contractors or corporations that had invested in them. In this way, states have a vested interest in detaining as many people as possible due to economic interests as well as political ones. Furthermore, the American public has reinforced this policy shift with an incessant demand for tougher law enforcement policies. Globalization, then, is evident in how prisons are becoming a privatized industry controlled by multinational corporations.

    The situation is much the same around the world. Nina Bernstein analyzes the private prison industry in Britain, the United States, and Australia in the New York Times article, “Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit.” She explains that many countries have turned to privately-run detention centers in order to crack down on illegal immigrants. In Australia, the results have been disastrous and have resulted in riots, murders, and suicides. Unlike state-run facilities, the only accountability the private prison companies face is whether or not they’re able to keep their contract. Because private companies do not face scrutiny from the public eye, they are able to run the detention centers on a sub-par level. Bernstein reports that the corporations behind these prisons have gained a large amount of power worldwide. Once again, the private prison industry is in effect a hugely powerful global industry.

    Additionally, Ruth Wilson Gilmore argues that the recent growth in prisons, private or public, is indicative of larger social and economic issues. In “Globalisation and US prison growth: from military Keynesianism to post Keynesian militarism” she contends that underlying feelings of racism have fueled the public demand for more prisons and tougher sentences. This “moral panic” is an attempt to “restore social order,” and, as it were, minority populations are targeted most often. This “restructuring” is “a geographical solution to socio-economic problems” (174). The state is able to carry this out through an “accumulation of surpluses” which she claims are directly linked to globalization. In the US, for example, states such as California are accruing surpluses in income and labor which can in turn be used to fund and equip the prison system. Furthermore, California specifically has a large amount of land that can be utilized for the construction of prisons. This is very similar to what David Harvey argues in “Flexible Accumulation through Urbanization.” Globalization has caused changes in the market that have allowed states to produce goods on a “just in time” basis, leading to a rise in powerful multinational corporations. Thus, in Glimore’s article, social and economic changes have led to this rise in the prison system.

    The film “China Blue” illustrates much of what Gilmore and Harvey argue in their respective articles. The factory in which the protagonist works in is primarily focused on profit, just as the prison companies are. However, since each worker knows that they can be easily and quickly replaced, they stay at their jobs despite low pay and horribly long work hours. The workers are in effect a surplus for the factory–the owners need not worry about the flow of workers ending. This is similar to how the private prison system works; there will always be people to incarcerate and even if there’s not, new laws can be passed that can lead to more detainments. In both cases, the companies are multinational and, as such, have influence that stretches worldwide.

    • jnewman4
      8:54 am - 11-2-2012

      Your connection between prisons and factories in China is spot on. I hadnt thought about the idea of a “reserve army” for prisons. Youre absolutely right, there will always be someone to incarcerate. In one of the articles, or maybe in the Angela Davis reading, it says 1 in 4 black males expect to end up in prison, like it’s a way of life. The systemm has molded the minds of its targets, in a way that their offspring look forward to the same fate. It’s almost unavoidable because not many people imagine social order without the penial system.

      • sbannach
        10:46 am - 11-2-2012

        The statistics about our prison system are indeed pretty astounding. I think you’re absolutely right when you say entering into the system has become a sort of way of life. It’s hard for me to imagine growing up with the expectation that I may at some point end up in jail; the thought of being imprisoned scared me out of my mind. These readings have made me realize how lucky and privileged I actually am.

      • shanaz
        10:47 am - 11-2-2012

        I enjoyed reading your post. The lecture in our last class, reaffirms your last paragraph. Although caucasian citizens are more likely to take drugs, African Americans are more likely to be arrest for it. It seems like if things stay this way it will just be pushed under the rug and ignored.

  12. sarahariri
    11:47 am - 10-31-2012

    The modern prison system can be connected to our globalized world economy.

    In the Schlosser article, “The Prison Industrial Complex,” he explains the complex as a “set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need.” This is connected with our globalized economy because it is appealing to a public interest. By making people fear crime, therefore supporting the construction of prisons, more money can be made in the private prison “business.” It is the same as appealing to any public interest, or even exploiting it. The “side-effects” of this, like with many issues arising from our globalized economy, the underprivileged are exploited.

    Private prison owners, according to the Sullivan article, are now looking into profiting off of illegal immigrants. This connects with our globalized economy because those who are from the developing world are typically the ones who “pay the price” for the bigger profits that are made in a globalized economy.

    This relates to the documentary, “China Blue,” because people who are underprivileged to begin with are being exploited. Instead of rehabilitation for the many ill inmates in prisons, they are simply locked up. With the laborers in China Blue, they are also denied many basic needs such as adequate sleep or being paid on time. They work in an environment that is often hostile, and like many inmates, they essentially slave away for someone else’s profit.

    • sbannach
      10:51 am - 11-2-2012

      I definitely agree with you about how private prisons are trying to make a profit off illegal immigrants. I’m currently taking a class that’s all about illegal immigration and we’ve also discussed the private prison system. I think what we don’t realize a lot of the time is that our country’s immigration policy hasn’t always been this way. It’s only been in the past fifty years or so that interior enforcement has become such a part of the system as a whole. Detention centers are supposed to be for illegal immigrants that commit violent crimes. However, a lot of the time immigrants get picked up on minor charges such as traffic violations and spend months in these private detention centers. Families get split up and lives get completely ruined. Overall, I think that the current state of our prison system is really sad; it runs off of public fear rather than a need to sustain law and order.

  13. ngibson3
    12:02 pm - 10-31-2012

    The modern prison system is connected to the global economy. It also is a kind of small scale model/representation of some of the workings of the global economy. The “prison-industrial-complex” as Schlosser refers “The Prison Industrial Complex”, to it in his article is an intentional parallel to the “military-industrial-complex” is integrated into politics and the economy of the United States. Politicians heighten fear of a higher crime rate, and lawlessness to gain votes, while businessmen use the private prison system to turn a profit. With about 8% of the people living in the United States being incarcerated, we have become very good at producing prisoners. This is a recent development, a result of enforcement of a large quantity of laws, strict drug and immigration laws and long prison sentences. In Gilmores article we see a little bit about the history of how and why people have to turn to crime, and the increase in inmates as a result of that. In Bernstein’s article, she talks about how companies, like Serco, makes a profit off of capturing and imprisoning illegal immigrants. A parallel between them and the world economy is how this corporation ignores some human rights in order to turn a profit. This is also seen in the movie “Chine Blue”, where a girl migrates from the country to the city in order to make money to send back to her family. Even though she does make more money by working in the clothing factory (as opposed to if she was still on her family farm), the harsh way of life, low wages and carelessness the owners exhibit toward their workers, is a negative result of the hyper competiveness of the world economy. It’s not about running a good, reliable, caring company anymore; it’s about turning a profit and expanding. It’s somewhat the same with the prison system, it’s become less and less about the prisoners serving time for a crime, and being rehabilitated, instead it’s about exploiting this large group of idol workers, to make a profit. With some prisons being private and some be state run, this represent the dealings of the nations and corporations in the world economy. On a whole, private penitentiaries efficient economically wise, but are also much more likely to ignore human rights, in order to make a profit. State owned companies/ and state owned penitentiaries are more likely to be held accountable by that states citizens, while private companies and corporations, find loop holes, so they can be “above the law”.

    • shusain
      10:42 am - 11-2-2012

      I was also surprised at the number of inmates increasing in the US. It seems that people can get locked up for anything these days. Also, I like how you compared Serco to the film China Blue because both the film and the article helped depict why profit overruns human rights.

    • rafae309
      12:19 am - 11-3-2012

      8% of a population being incarcerated is mind blowing. Very good use of examples and your post overall helped me in understanding some of the things I would have missed.

  14. jhanse10
    12:13 pm - 10-31-2012

    Most prisons have a machine shop or other set ups that provide inmates on good behavior the options to work and get a little pay while in prison. Often these prisons produce metals and other goods that are needed on a global scale. Prisoners get paid the bare minimum, meaning the goods can be sold at below minimum value but still are profitable. Each of the articles briefly touch on how the governments of states instead of tweaking laws in order to get rid of overcrowding in prisons they keep investing money to build new cells to house more prisoners. This alone shows that what prisoners are producing aides the world economy because we do not throw money into something without seeing results. Private companies are also hired to run prison camps where illegal immigrants are detained. Of course this means that instead of working towards a solution that would eliminate great masses of people being incarcerated they make laws stricter which benefits the small private companies who are making huge profits off of the prison systems. However with these great economic surpluses that are created and put back into the global economy, human rights is neglected. Last week we watched the documentary of China Blue that was extremely shocking. It is easy to hear about something and never really look into it so that it is not fully understood, but that documentary showed exactly what was happening in those sweat shops. The first thing that came to mind last week was how the factories resembled prisons because of the awful conditions, low wages and the employees could never leave. The fact that these people are not incarcerated but are voluntarily doing this to make money to support themselves is awful. We are giving the same conditions to citizens of society who have done awful crimes to people who just want money to eat dinner at night, how can this be justified?
    I knew little about our prison system before this week’s readings and I feel that the assignment has really opened my eyes on how corrupt they are. I truly look forward to class discussion over the readings.

    • jnewman4
      9:03 am - 11-2-2012

      One would think that prisons should be a place for rehabilitation, but this important aspect of prisons has lost funding. Prisons are just another way to hold people back. I feel the same way about factories in China. Theres very little room to grow, unlike jobs here where promotions are expected after time served. You made a point that workers are not incarcerated, bnut in a sense they are. They are like prisoners to the global market.

  15. acoreas12
    12:17 pm - 10-31-2012

    It seems like today’s prison system especially the privatized, is more connected to the world economy than ever before. Prisons are seen as another form of business, where companies worldwide can invest and take advantage of the profits that are made while also taking part in exploiting prisoners. This was seen with the U.S. Corrections Corporation as they used “unpaid prison labor in Kentucky” for renovating, construction, painting, and maintenance (Schlosser). Unfortunately, these instances are very common and little action is done by law enforcement to prevent this and other types of exploitation and mistreatment from occurring worldwide. The prison-industrial complex that Schlosser mentions is major reason for this encouraged spending on imprisonment because it is seen as the only way to meet bureaucratic, political and economic interests (3).
    This is clearly seen in Arizona with its SB 1070, where the capturing of illegal immigrants was seen as “the next big market,” where companies like “ExxonMobil, NRA and the billion dollar Correction Corporation of America” were more than eager to join (Sullivan). This situation really bothers me. Especially because in order for these corporations to make profit, people have to be treated as commodities and in some cases they have to endure “inhumane treatment” like we saw in Australia (Bernstein). Australia’s outsourced immigration enforcement is another form of how connected prisons and the world economy have become. Prisons are seen as the best solution to overcome increasing crime rates, so countries are willing to invest thousands even up to billions of dollars in order to keep their citizens safe from these “deviant” people.
    Similar to the mistreatment and exploitation of the prisoners’ labor, is that of the workers in the jean factory from the film China Blue. Another similarity between the prisons and the factory is the way both systems target groups for their institutions. In the documentary, young, healthy Chinese girls were hired because they were easier to exploit and provided cheap labor. In the prisons we see the working, workless poor most of who are African Americans and Latinos as the majority who are incarcerated (Gilmore). The justification for so many criminals being behind bars is because it’s part of the way to satisfy the “public’s desire for social order” and safety (172). In the documentary, because the labor laws in place were not actually protecting the laborers in the factories they were under the owner’s rule, just like the prisoners were under their superiors in the private-prison system.

    • emyers
      11:39 am - 11-2-2012

      I like how you pointed out that prisons are societies way of achieving “social order”, I think it is just societies way of ignoring the real issues at hand like we pointed out in class, the number of people unemployed (2.3 million) do not include the number of people in prisons, how would we handle things if we didn’t have so many people in prison? Well we could, we would just have to try. The influx of immigrants and the use of drugs are both inevitable so why not create programs to better deal with those things in our daily life rather than shove all of our problems into huge containment boxes?

  16. shill10
    12:28 pm - 10-31-2012

    After reading this week’s articles about the prison industry, I realized that this is a subject I’ve never heard of or thought about before. I had always thought that prisons were owned by the state and never by private companies. I’m struggling with whether I believe privatizing prisons is a good thing or not. On one hand, with everyone in America needing jobs, prisons do create lots of jobs. On the other hand, the articles make it seem like America is putting people into prison do smaller crimes and longer terms than has been the case in the past. I disagree with that. I think that there should be more reform programs in the prison system. I can see that not having these programs causes lots of previous prisoners to return to their life of crime and they end up back in prison, which is good for the companies that make money off of full prisons.
    The idea of the prison-industrial complex has “given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum” according to the Schlosser article. This article states that even though since 1991 the rate of violent crime has fallen, the numbers of people in prison has jumped 50%. That seems to me to show that the prison system in America is being twisted into a profit-maker, rather than its original use of reforming citizens. The Gilmore article supports the idea that prison expansions are more “racial, economic, and political” than moral.
    The system of privatizing prisons has allowed for the mistreatment of many immigrants as well. The Bernstein article about Immigration Crackdown is about immigrants being sent to prison and then they are held there for years sometimes. The prisons are dangerous and abuse is common, but there is profit being made. The Arizona immigration laws are another way that prisons are profiting. By seeing immigration detention as “the next big market”, the prison companies are using the law to make money.
    These prisons are part of globalization, because they are part of the global economy. Prison companies all over the world are profiting from private prisons. The staff gets paid less than in state prisons, which relates to the movie China Blue. Big companies are taking advantage of cheap labor to do work for them. In China Blue, the workers were living in small rooms where they had to pay for their water and meals, and worked very long hours. In the prisons, guards work long hours and the living conditions of the prisoners are much like those of the Chinese laborers.

    • jhanse10
      2:13 pm - 11-2-2012

      I am glad to see that I was not the only one who knew minimal stuff about the prison system. I do find in so interesting now though. I believe that prisons should have rehabilitation programs as well as something that makes criminals not want to commit more crimes and come back.

  17. shusain
    12:49 pm - 10-31-2012

    The readings from this week showed me numerous perspectives to the corrupt world of detention centers. Beginning with Laura Sullivan’s article, “Prison Economics…” it explains that the Arizona Senate Bill 1070 is that police are required to arrest anyone who fails to show proof they entered the country legally. According to the article the law could not only send a number of illegal immigrants to prisons, it can also bring in millions of dollars in profits to the private prison companies that would be responsible for taking those people in. Moving on to the next article by Nina Bernstein titled, “Companies Use Immigrants…” the article describes that there are numerous amounts of multinational security companies that have had success on turning immigration into a growing global industry. These companies are looking to not only expand detention, but to show voters they are enforcing tougher immigration laws. However, these privatized companies are being exposed by inspection rights, claiming that there is widespread abuse and neglect. The author explains that a detention center in Sydney had dangerous overcrowding as well as inadequate and ill-trained staff. Numerous riots and suicidal protests took place as a result. We also see an increase in taking in convicts and crowded detention centers in the article titled, “The Prison-Industrial Complex.” A quote from this article that blew my mind stated that, “The American inmate population has grown so large that it is difficult to comprehend: imagine the combined populations of Atlanta, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, and Miami behind bars.” The article claims that politicians put strict emphasis on laws in order to gain votes, whereas private companies make profit off of the laws. As the prison industry continues to grow, the line between the public interests and private interest has become faint. Lastly, in the article, “Globalisation and US Prison Growth,” the author, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, claims that communities and industrial sectors rely heavily on prisons for governmental, household, and corporate income. The effects of ‘globalisation’ have to do mainly with uneven development, and the expansion of prisons in the US is a logical outcome of dynamic unevenness (174). All of the readings help to explain how prisons correlate to the global economy. Companies are making huge amounts of income off of prisons by offering numerous amounts of employment as well as with the purchase of material goods which in turn is helping their economy flourish. Also, the readings from this week connect with the film Blue China, because in a way the sweatshop depicted is a prison for the workers. The owner of the sweatshop only cared about the profit being made off of the jeans, not the working conditions for his employees. This is seen in the detention centers, where companies are making large profits off of the inmates and yet those people are the ones suffering from crowded rooms and harsh living conditions as seen for the workers in the film.

  18. saehwan72
    12:56 pm - 10-31-2012

    In today’s world everything and anything can be turned into a profit. That includes prison systems in the world. Just like every other institution, a prison is still a business. The article about Arizona’s immigration laws shows the spike in punishment based off illegal immigration leading to incarceration. Private prison companies that provide the needed services to run a prison have the most to gain. All this emphasis is placed on the cost of incarcerating criminals, but not enough emphasis is placed on how much money prisons bring in for their respective states which overall benefits the U.S. economy. It’s a copycat economy. When something is profitable, other similar companies/corporations will jump on board as well. This is very apparent in the film China Blue. In the film itself many people from rural areas will move into the city to live and work at these factories. The factories will enforce long work hours at very little pay, and the factory workers are almost treated like prisoners. They are docked pay if they break factory rules, their living conditions are very poor, and they rarely are given time outside the factory and the dorms. The workers are under constant pressure by factory mangers and owners to finish their shipment on time, even if it means working twenty hour days for a week straight. The workers also rarely get paid on time. These factories are always competing with nearby factories. The pressure to maximize profit will lead the employer (prison companies) to cut any costs which will hurt the employees the most. The factory system is very similar to the prison system in the sense that the factory owner and prison companies have ultimate control over the welfare of the inhabitants. Also the success of the format will lead to many new competitors entering the market.

  19. rafae309
    12:56 pm - 10-31-2012

    This week’s readings talk about the prison system and how it is related to the globalized world. In Schlosser’s article, The Prison Industrial Complex, I found out that nearly 2 million Americans, majority of them being non-violent offenders, were behind bars. Around 8% of the American population had been incarcerated. The inmate population continues to increase by 50,000-80,000 inmates a year. He also talks about the economics of a prison system being similar to that of a hotel lodging. “A hotel has a strong economic incentive to book every available room and encourage every guest to stay as long as possible. A private prison has exactly the same incentive. The higher the occupancy rate, the higher the profit margin.” We can also see how the global economy is attached to the prison system, with businessmen investing in private prison systems and states developing public works. Even when there is a decrease in crime, it has been estimated that prison facilities will continue to be built.
    In Laura Sullivan’s and Nina Berstein’s articles, we can see that prison abuse is rampant, where inmates, usually illegal immigrants, were victims of physical and emotional abuse. The state and politicians want criminals to be arrested, but don’t have the means to pay for their necessities, which is where investors and private prison systems come into place. They’re not interested in care, welfare, or rehab. Investment returns, and profit is what truly matters. The “prison-industrial complex” has become globalized. With more and more businessmen and investors looking into these types of businesses to turn a profit, the lawmakers, authorities, and investors have all learned how to make the system profitable and beneficial for their few, at the cost of many.
    We can see many similarities between China Blues and the “prison-system complex”. Factory owners everywhere have the exact same incentive as the businessmen of prison facilities: profit. We can see similarities in that both of these systems have poor living standards, the inmates and workers don’t really have much of an option, both of these groups are exploited. Just like the workers in factories are instructed to lie to inspectors and officers, prison inmates often go through the same. Factory workers work long hours, without being paid for weeks, while a single mistake, or even talking to their friend next to them incurs wage cuts and punishment. We can also see a lot of overcrowding in this facilities, where the private owners are pushing in more and more employees are pushed into constricted spaces to get more done, not taking any consideration for their breathing and working space. This reminds me of the life of prison inmates, who’re stuck behind theirs walls, over-crowded, killing each other off for space or survival, virtually disabled from doing anything productive. The entire system behind the increase in prison facilities, introduction of new laws which enable authorities to arrest more people and the factory-labor/slave system is entirely business driven. This almost always occurs at the expense of the more vulnerable in society. Honestly speaking: the entire system, the collaboration of these few in charge, the vulnerability of the less privileged and the helplessness of the exploited, the greed and disregard for another human’s health, are all sad, unfortunate and sickening.

    • jhanse10
      2:16 pm - 11-2-2012

      I found the statistics that you quoted so high and very scary to believe. Can you believe that the U.S has the most prisoners? Great Response to the readings!

  20. hakunanahtata
    12:59 pm - 10-31-2012

    The contemporary prison system is related to our globalized world economy because shifts in capitol concentrations. The outsourcing of jobs to other countries because of lower labor costs has caused a foundational shift in states income. Because of the loss of jobs towns and cities were decimated and people who didn’t move to find new jobs were stuck with no incomes. These aspects of globalization along with other domestic events shifted states financial structure to be dependent on the prison system. The prison system or “industrialized punishment system” that has come about over the last 30 years in the US is being spread across the world in the form of immigration control. Tougher immigration laws governments are imposing are creating a “detention-industrial complex” around the world. Transnational companies bigger than some of the governments they are working for are bidding to build these prisons for a profit. The movie China Blue depicts the opportunities that Chinese workers have working at factories in the country, which are their only opportunities. The factory system in China can be related to the modern prison system because the people have no choice but to work for these factories for minimal pay which in turn is creating huge profit margins for the owners of the factories and the companies they work for. The prison system makes profits for the private companies that own them, and creates jobs for the community by the system of incarceration. The factories create jobs for people but they live in sub par over crowded conditions, nearly working themselves to death for minimal profit.

    • saehwan72
      11:09 pm - 11-1-2012

      I liked how you pointed out the blatant abuse prisoners go through while their imprisoned, but more so I really think it’s important to see just how much abuse these illegal immigrants go through during their stay at these detention centers and prisons.

  21. tmarchan
    1:00 pm - 10-31-2012

    This week’s readings provided a lot of insight on how the prison system works and how it is a big business. The contemporary prison is related to our globalized world economy in many different ways. In the article written by Ruth Wilson Gilmore, she states that “The disorderly effects of globalization are part and parcel of uneven development and the expansion of prison in the U.S. is a logical although by no means necessary outcome of dynamic unevenness”. The economic aspect lies at the base of the prison system; its growth is a function of politics not mechanics. The development of the prison system is uneven just like the development of globalization. Globalization and the prison system are seen as outcomes of political economic policies. Politicians try to gain votes by building more prisons in jails and claiming that it is to control crime, when in reality they are trying to bring revenue to their state. Detaining illegal immigrants has become a growing GLOBAL industry with international businesses investing in these detention centers. These companies do not even look into the cruel and inhumane treatments of the illegal detainees; some of them are just looking for ways to make profit. Australia has almost completely outsourced immigration enforcement.
    The modern prison system has a very similar political economic system to the factory system depicted in the documentary China Blue. The factory system in the documentary does not look for the wellbeing of its workers; the owner of the factory is just looking for ways to make money. The international companies that invest in the Chinese factory do not look for the harsh treatment of the workers; they look for the cheapest price. This is the same with modern prison system, the companies that invest and put money into these correctional facilities only think about increasing their profit without thinking about the inhumane treatments that go on in the prisons.

  22. ender91
    1:47 pm - 10-31-2012

    This week�s readings are about the prison systems that operates today and how its related to the globalized world economy. In the Atlantic article, The Prison-Industrial Complex, it talks about the dangers of prison overcrowding and how politicians and businesses have influenced this boom. Politicians adapt a strong anti-crime stance and plays into people�s fears of crimes by passing strong crime-related legislations that emphasize prisons to be the ultimate punishment for a wide range of crimes. Prisons have also evolved in the same way the world economy has in which it has fostered new business opportunities. Another aspect that its related to the world economy today is that it has taken or diminished the nation-state�s role of providing prisons by allowing private prison systems. In Gilmore�s article, from military Keynesianism to post-Keynesian militarism, the author points to a moral and economic panic among the public as the causes for the increase in prisons. This reminds of the reading on Chinese gold farmers from last week where they exist actually because there are players who do look to buy these coins from them. Another point the author makes is that not only is there a demand for prisons but also because there is actually a supply that makes more prison-building possible. California is used as an example saying that it had the money, the land, and labor that was available for use in prison-building. The last two articles about illegal immigrants detention facilities reminds me of the global natural resource businesses that grew out of the world economy. It reminded me of how transnational corporations work closely with a developing country�s government in order to profit from the natural resources available in that country. Laura Sullivan�s article showed how private businesses worked closely with the making of Arizona�s immigration law which made way for more business opportunities. Similar to the film China Blue, the laws seem to help businesses profit even more with the prison system. In the film, labor unions were illegal in China which works better for companies since they can get cheaper labor from the chinese workers. Another similarity between the prison system and the factories is that they both have this glossy surface hiding the bad working conditions in the factories and the dangerous detention facilities� conditions.

  23. navery
    2:47 pm - 10-31-2012

    I found each of these articles pointed towards the idea of globalization. Prior to reading these pieces, I wouldn’t have thought that prisons or any other concept similar to it, could be used in an economic way. In Eric Schlosser’s article he pointed out that America’s prisons were becoming majorly over-crowded. He noted that the reason for this was not because there was a sudden rise in crime, but instead there were more ‘non-violent’ crimes to be convicted of. Gilmore’s article adds to this when he writes that many of the prisons were being filled to satisfy “geographical solutions(s) to socio-economical problems.” There had been plenty of crime scares induced in the nation to convince people there were reason to convict and incarcerate more people. The article that described the Arizona Immigration law gave even more reason behind the overpopulation. The more people were imprisoned in the, the more money prison companies made. For this reason, they decided to pass laws to ‘act tough’ on illegal immigration in order to have better reason to imprison more people. I found they were treating prisoners like businesses treat products or farms to their cattle. This was an entirely new concept for me because, I would never have imagined that prisons could be used as a means for lucrative flow and that social laws and crime-fears could be used to influence the amount of prisoners/money they make.

    I feel this relates to the movie “China Blue” because it recreates an almost similar situation to the prisons in the articles. In the Chinese sweatshops, employees are not treated like people, instead they are taken advantage of with every kind of regulation, threat of job-less in order to keep them working and more money flowing in. Both of these examples show organizations taking advantage of powerless people’s situations in order to gain more profit.

    • acoreas12
      12:01 am - 11-2-2012

      This idea that the prisoners were treated as cattle, was exactly what I pictured as well. This idea of targeting a specific group, detaining them and holding them prisoners in overcrowded facilities and “shipping”(deporting) them back to their countries after months or even years is ridiculous. Corporations’ greed for money is dangerous, especially for the powerless as you mentioned, because they are the ones who are easily taken advantage of as we saw in the documentary and this week’s readings.

  24. hsingh4
    5:10 pm - 11-1-2012

    After reading through the articles this week, it is evident that prisons are also a business, and are connected to the world economy. Prisons used to be about enforcing punishment and reducing crime, but now are systems of profit-seeking companies. Companies such as Serco are given money to house these criminals. To put in perspective the importance of these companies the Bernstein article gives a good quote: “Some of the companies are huge — one is among the largest private employers in the world — and they say they are meeting demand faster and less expensively than the public sector could.” These companies are obviously looking to make a profit so they reduce the costs that contribute to the care of inmates. It appears that globalization allows almost anything to be privatized, including the care of inmates in a prison. In the United States, private companies control half of the detention beds, compared to only 8 percent in state and federal prisons.
    We can also connect these prison articles to the movie, “China Blue”. The articles discuss prisoners being in small cells with barely any room. This is similar to the Chinese factory workers in the video. There were 12 girls to a room, with almost no freedom. You could say that the workers in the factory are working in a “prison” environment. They are not fairly paid whatsoever, live in cramped conditions, forced to work overtime with no pay, and get very short lunch breaks. Of course this is still not as bad as being in an actual prison, but a lot of the workers have no other options. Both factory owners and prison owners are just looking for a profit, and they both do that in similar ways. Both types of owners cut costs at the lowest possible level; the detainees and the workers.

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