Nov 15 2012

Hurricane Sandy Disaster: Disaster Capitalism v. Progressive Reform

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Sandy’s Devastation Opens Space for Action on Climate Change and Progressive Reform

At a speaking event in New York City this week, award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein discussed why the reconstruction from Superstorm Sandy is actually a great place to usher in progressive change. Klein’s latest article for The Nation magazine is called, “Superstorm Sandy – a People’s Shock?” She is the author of the best-selling book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” and is now working on a book about climate change

Transcript can be read here

Superstorm Sandy-a People’s Shock?

Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers’ resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on Forbes.com, he explained that the city’s refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: “Mom-and-pop stores simply can’t do what big stores can in these circumstances,” he wrote. [..]

The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn’t be public at all. Instead, cash-strapped governments should turn to “public private partnerships,” known as “P3s.” That means roads, bridges and tunnels being rebuilt by private companies, which, for instance, could install tolls and keep the profits. [..]

Ray Lehmann, co-founder of the R Street Institute, a mouthpiece for the insurance lobby (formerly a division of the climate-denying Heartland Institute), had another public prize in his sights. In a Wall Street Journal article about Sandy, he was quoted arguing for the eventual “full privatization” of the National Flood Insurance Program, the federal initiative that provides affordable protection from some natural disasters-and which private insurers see as unfair competition.

But the prize for shameless disaster capitalism surely goes to right-wing economist Russell S. Sobel, writing in a New York Times online forum. Sobel suggested that, in hard-hit areas, FEMA should create “free trade zones-in which all normal regulations, licensing and taxes [are] suspended.” This corporate free-for-all would, apparently, “better provide the goods and services victims need.”

Ms. Klein is speaking on Friday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City as part of 350.org’s “Do the Math” tour with Bill McKibben.


  1. TMC
  2. ek hornbeck

    if you will wave at Barack as he visits today?

  3. TMC

    with a couple of other crises.  

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