Disaster Capitalism
Making a killing out of catastrophe
Anthony loewenstein
Verso Books

I remember that Dead Kennedys lyric from Holiday in Cambodia so well. “Kiss ass while you bitch So you can get rich While your boss gets richer off you”.

That last line in particular resonated as I entered the workforce and looked to join my union. Since those days the wealth of 0.01% of Americans has quadrupled whilst 16.5% of New York’s population now require emergency food assistance. Inequality is huge but capitalism still reigns supreme as it’s not the movement of capital that is getting blamed but the movement of people.

Disaster capitalism is split into 2 sections. The first dealing with the “war on terror” which has seen 4 trillion dollars pumped into it. Specially here Pakistan and Afghanistan. Greece and the austerity war on its people. Haiti and the impact from its earthquake in 2010 and finally Papua New Guinea’s mining boom.

The second section looks at 3 wealthy western states. Britain. The US and Australia. It looks at privatization – prisons the first 2 and detention centers in Australia for refugees. Prison contractors operate on tenders from the state based on a minimum of 90% occupancy. These prisons require criminals not those who can rehabilitate and return a positive citizens. Their business model is based on crime happening not crime prevention.

Loewenstein aims to, not only, “shock, provoke and reveal a world that has developed by stealth” but also “insist that alternatives are possible”


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