• Golden Gulag

  • Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California
  • By: Ruth Wilson Gilmore
  • Narrated by: Machelle Williams
  • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Since 1980, the number of people in US prisons has increased more than 450 percent. Despite a crime rate that has been falling steadily for decades, California has led the way in this explosion, with what a state analyst called "the biggest prison building project in the history of the world". Golden Gulag provides the first detailed explanation for that buildup by looking at how political and economic forces conjoined to produce the prison boom.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore examines this issue through statewide, rural, and urban perspectives to explain how the expansion developed from surpluses of finance capital, labor, land, and state capacity. Detailing crises that hit California's economy with particular ferocity, she argues that defeats of radical struggles, weakening of labor, and shifting patterns of capital investment have been key conditions for prison growth. The results - a vast and expensive prison system, a huge number of incarcerated young people of color, and the increase in punitive justice such as the "three strikes" law - pose profound and troubling questions for the future of California, the United States, and the world. Golden Gulag provides a rich context for this complex dilemma and at the same time challenges many cherished assumptions about who benefits and who suffers from the state's commitment to prison expansion. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2007 The Regents of the University of California. (P)2021 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Started off great but devolved into case study

The first couple chapters of this book were awesome but then it progressed into a case study about Mom activists that didn't seem super relevant to the larger points being made. Felt like the book ran out of steam and then just ended without making much in the way of advocacy.

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Thank you for breaking it down! I will listen again’

Thank you Ruth Wilson Gilmore for breaking down the build up of California’s prison nation thru policy, economics, segregation, and more. I enjoyed the last chapters as well. I will be listening to the book at x2! I am a Criminology doctoral student.