Modern American Slave Labor and The Dark Side of the New Global Economy by John Bowe


This is a reaction paper of the book “Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor And the Dark Side of the New Global Economy” by John Bowe. The book clearly shows the readers that slavery remains one of the most critical problems in America in the present as well. The author of the book happens to be a journalist as well that increases the credibility of the book. The written piece is a work of the author that was written after visiting different parts of America including Florida and Oklahoma etc.

The initial chapters of the book clearly mark that the author discovers that many workers are very less paid or not paid at all. One of the examples can be taken from Florida where the tomato and orange pickers were not paid. They are kept in the worst conditions and are intimated. Bowe has explored the culture and American ties to figure out how it became so favorable to exploit the workers(Bowe 15).

Later, the chapters also talk about illegal immigrants and enslaved and exploited workers and illegal manufacturing policies. It is almost shocking for most of the readers to know that most of the goods they purchase are made by financially poor, labor-people. At the top of this corruption are the stakeholders and politicians that are the part of this chain of illegal manufacturing of goods (Smith 75).

The book reveals the names and identities of the people indulged in such cruelty and corruption. One of the names involved in the trade of children who suffered from leukemia is the contractor known as ‘El Diablo’. Bowe has tried his best to convey the message of the enslaved labor and give voice to the voiceless. While reading the book a reader can understand the level of the eagerness the writer felt while writing the book as he would have felt the personal transformation he experienced.


All the chapters of the book are very well written with the much heavier but balanced information related to the illegal immigrants who work as labor in Florida, Oklahoma, and Saipan. The author, Bowe takes us to Florida where we are able to see through his eyes how the underpaid or unpaid illegal immigrants work in production for the companies including Tropicana and PepsiCo.
We visit Oklahoma and get to know about the import of Indian workers who get paid $3 an hour, by the association of the John Pickle Company with the Indian and Kuwait partners. As we move further we experience a visit to Saipan, a U.S territory in the Western Pacific. There the imported 17,000 workers in factory produce garments for bigger companies such as Gap and Target. They are even able to place the labels “Made in America” on those garments.

Overall this is a high profile book with vivid and powerful work by the author. It consists of the investigative reports also calls out for the internal voice and responsibility of each reader towards the issue. Bowe has highlighted the need to overcome the struggle, labor abuse, outright slavery and injustice of poor workers while we all enjoy the advancements of the American landscape of the outlet stores, shopping malls and happy meals, etc.


Works Cited
Bowe, John. Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy. U.S.A: Random House Publishing Group, 2008.
Smith, Hedrick. Who Stole the American Dream? New York: Random House, 2012.

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