Where the Sunbelt Casts Its Global Shadow
The chapter considers privatization, private prisons, and prison services outsourcing within a Sun Belt to Global South framework. Eschewing the inclination to frame the Sunbelt as a region that merely modernized the South, the chapter reveals instead a series of contradictions—chief among them neoliberal rhetoric and anti-statist politics alongside the seemingly contrasting policies that were dependent on New Deal–era public infrastructure and government planning. By analyzing such service industries as health care, telecommunications, food catering, and construction within a public–private partnership, this chapter reveals how privatization masks neoliberal anti-statism even when growing the state through mass incarceration. The model for this fusion of public services and private industries was the Cold War’s defense industries, where contractors played a pivotal role in decision making within a symbiotic partnership. The chapter concludes that the modern-day prison industrial complex is more a product of the New Deal state than of a neoliberal conservative ascendency. When the Sunbelt’s private–public partnership partnered with corporate globalization, contemporary prison labor occurs within a “Global South” marketplace more than a framework of “neo-slavery.”
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