Disaster Capitalism – Making a killing out of catastrophe (Antony Loenwenstein)

Disaster CapitalismSo two words to kick the door in with – VITAL & MANDATORY!!! Capitalism & calamity, profit & crisis – are becoming like conjoined twins. War-pollution-incarceration… inflict, sustain, clean-up/eradicate, reaping revenues at every stage. You notice how many of today’s greatest problems/threats/fiascos crawled out of yesterday’s solutions or technological advancements (ISIS/Terrorism, Climate Extermination, Food Insecurity etc’ etc’ etc). Under the masquerade of convenience, defence/security, development & possibly the greatest offender of them all – “economic growth”, forces of such devastational gravity that they quite literally threaten our own species, co-species & the very planets survival continue to proliferate at an alarmingly unacceptable frequency into an “ever-expanding” “market”. This truly incredible book shines a giant search-light into the heinous murk of Disaster Capitalisms biggest beneficiaries & fomenters with priceless reportage from various front-line paragons of this insanely destructive & unfathomably abhorrent malpractice, all with exceptional clarity & attention to detail. Antony Loewenstein was unfamiliar to me before purchasing this book, but he has excelled to the top bracket, not just from the factual quality of his investigations but also by the remarkably candid & coherent style of his reportage & commentary. Not to dissimilar from another heavy-weight in the field Matt Taibi, Loewenstein brings a refreshing offense, disdain & moral-outrage to his pieces whilst also delivering the facts & assiduously compiled data. This kind of indignation & disapprobation to such grotesque wrongdoing  is to me an extremely necessary addendum when dealing with such exponential iniquity, as opposed to the dryer, greyer, safer & more academically rigid analysis that i think not only pales in comparison but also fails to hold such obscene abuse & corporate criminality to account in full. in some ways, I feel this angle of the argument (the condemnation of depravity & immorality) are possibly even more important than the detailed documentation of disaster capitalism (& other such horrors) themselves & that the mendacity, hypocrisy that is manipulated to legitimize or conceal such profound cruelty & abomination needs more concerted confrontation, deconstruction & priority than the factual trail of destruction that it leaves. The juries out! what comes next?

The book has seven chapters as well as a blinding 16 page introduction (The Mad Max Economy) & an 8 page conclusion (Breaking The Spell). The chapters expound on conflict-commerce in Pakistan & Afghanistan, private prisons for refugees – displaced peoples & extreme Austerity in Greece, off-shore asylum prisons in Australia, NGO’s, The UN & opportunistic Philanthrocapitalist scavengers salting wounds in Haiti, Rio Tinto’s horrific Panguna mine mutilation in Papua New Guinea & the incredible resistance war that eventually repelled them (for now) as well as private security & detention “services” in the US & UK. Central to all these bilious accounts of abhorrent ruination is two words/actions… privatization & deregulation! With little exception, most of the destruction is being wrought by private conglomerates & companies, who of course are therefore much less accountable & much’ much more opaque. From mercenaries & private security firms to private prisons, a profit driven monster, or series of monsters has emerged, many so lucrative, influential & imbedded in the political apparatus now that they effectively run their own barely existent regulation (the “Revolving Door” almost busting off it’s axis from over capacity). Hundreds of companies are mentioned, but Serco & G4S are probably the most prolific offenders of them all. Incidences of Errortocracy, where contractors are rewarded for failure or where major debacles go ignored without penalty are abundant. There are rarely it seems consequences for severe error or gigantic subsequent fallout, hugely helped by corporate law which is practically a suit of invulnerability for perpetrators. Profit has been so prioritised with such little restraint that it becomes almost the singular function. To be honest, in almost any degree of activism, conservation-defense-protection, legality, reason, morality & decency or politics, this book is for you/us! Disaster Capitalism is responsible for pretty much every crisis & it’s being extrapolated everywhere under the new global privatization epidemic. The extent of it’s destruction, incomparable vileness & utter’ utter insanity are demonstrated here with immense expertise & cogency. I don’t think anybody should be without this information on the predatory forces encircling us all. It’s a matter of survival. A remarkable book!

Publisher: Verso (2015)

Author: Antony Loewenstein