Monday, December 14, 2009

The Economics of Disaster Capitalism

A new economic theory is making it's rounds in some circles. It is based on the observation that the capitalist foundation of our system has learned to profit from disaster and strife. Not only have corporate interests learned to profit by selling things, it is said they also use the "Shock and Awe" period after disasters, catastrophes, and wars to push through unpopular laws and legislation that puts their interests ahead of the populations of those areas affected. Examples of which, as has happened in many South American countries, are complete deregulation of the economic system so that the existing system lay in ruins and they hold all the money-making cards. The public is left in the poorhouse, with a huge gap between rich and poor, and no social services to speak of. Sound familiar?

The Communist dictator Stalin (not really anyone we should listen to, mind you) seems to have been a very astute observer in this case. He once remarked about this when discussing Capitalism during the war years, though no one really understood what he meant, at least until now.

He said "The development of world capitalism does not follow a steady and even course forward, but proceeds through crisis and catastrophes."

Ten years ago, this would not have been given much thought. After having been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan for nearly this long, with no seeming end in sight, these theories are being looked at much harder.

Writer Naomi Klein has a book out about it, called interestingly enough, The Shock Doctrine.

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