How Disaster Capitalism Thrives on Tragedy | Link TV
How Disaster Capitalism Thrives on Tragedy
Crisis? What crisis? Governments and corporations long ago figured out how to profit from disasters.
From privatizing water in a drought, to selling high-priced security in a war zone, where the rest of us see molehills, capitalists tend to see mountains of money just waiting to be made.
That’s what reporter Antony Loewenstein found, as he traveled the world for his latest book "Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Off Catastrophe."
From Australia, across the United States and Europe to Afghanistan, Loewenstein’s examples include the mining corporation Rio Tinto Zinc, which blackmailed poverty-stricken Papua New Guinea into accepting massive mines as its only route to development. He reports on the USAID programs in Haiti that do more to keep U.S. sweatshop-operators alive than feed starving earthquake victims.
Building on author Naomi Klein’s thesis in her 2007 book, "The Shock Doctrine," (which popularized the term “disaster capitalism”), Loewenstein suggests, that it doesn’t take a right wing ideologue to harness disaster for private purposes.
In fact, disaster capitalism’s not so different from every-day sort, he told the "Laura Flanders Show" recently, except that radical change can go so far, so fast.
After the city of New Orleans flooded, for example, public schools were not reopened; they were converted to charter schools. Public hospitals and public housing units were boarded up.
Could anti-capitalists harness catastrophes too? If it’s true that societies traumatized by disaster tend to accept things they’d reject under normal circumstances, socially-minded solutions could go down as well as private-profit driven ones.
Richmond Mayor Gael McLaughlin’s proposal to seize defaulted properties from big banks using the power of eminent domain won support during the mortgage crisis that’s hard to imagine at other times. “Resistance is never futile,” says Loewenstein, pointing to how cities like Hamburg (or Boulder, Co), have reversed privatization in the face of soaring environmental and financial costs, and transferred energy utilities back into public hands.
Still, it tends to be true, as Naomi Klein quipped about neo-conservatives: “some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas.”
The genius of the disaster capitalists, Loewenstein and Klein agree, is to present their approach as the only one possible. Is it? What alternatives would you like to see pushed forward the next time a crisis erupts?
Gospel music is a form of music born out of intertwining events in religion, politics, history and culture in the African American experience. See a few of its milestones.
Along with cities such as Chicago and Detroit, Los Angeles has influenced gospel music for decades, but its contributions to gospel are frequently overlooked. Now, that appears to be changing.
Legal cannibis is here and, if you're a parent, that means it's more important than ever to get the facts and talk honestly with your children about marijuana. Here's why opening this can of worms is good and how to talk about it with your children.
Marijuana. Pot. Weed. Ganja. Mary Jane. The cannabis plant has many names. Here are four things you should know about its history, use and criminalization over the years.
Maurice Mitchell, the new National Director of the Working Families Party, discusses the party's national and international vision.
This week on the "Laura Flanders Show" we talk about what's happening in the U.K., where one of the two main parties is picking up many of the radical demands coming out of movement groups seeking to transform the economy and society.
This week, the Laura Flanders Show discusses how families are torn apart at the border and through our prison system.
The formerly industrial city of Preston, Lancashire, England is experimenting with a new model of community wealth building that has inspired Cleveland, another formerly industrial city across the pond.