Tag Archive: Disaster Capitalism

Nov 22 2016

The Insanity Will Continue

The majority who didn’t vote for the psychopathic narcissist are going to have to sit through another round of voodoo economics, also known as trickle down economics. From one of my favorite reality based news sites, The F@#*king News. GOP Readies Sweeping Jobs Plan To Create Millions of New, Angry Trump Voters By Sweeping Away …

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Jul 26 2013

Detroit a Capitalist Failure

Detroit’s decline is a distinctively capitalist failure

by Richard Wolff, The Guardian

The auto industry Big Three were loyal only to shareholders, not the people of Detroit. The city was gutted by that social choice

Capitalism as a system ought to be judged by its failures as well as its successes.

The automobile-driven economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s made Detroit a globally recognized symbol of successful capitalist renewal after the great depression and the war (1929-1945). High-wage auto industry jobs with real security and exemplary benefits were said to prove capitalism’s ability to generate and sustain a large “middle class”, one that could include African Americans, too. Auto-industry jobs became inspirations and models for what workers across America might seek and acquire – those middle-class components of a modern “American Dream”.

True, quality jobs in Detroit were forced from the automobile capitalists by long and hard union struggles, especially across the 1930s. Once defeated in those struggles, auto capitalists quickly arranged to rewrite the history so that good wages and working conditions became something they “gave” to their workers. In any case, Detroit became a vibrant, world-class city in the 1950s and 1960s; its distinctive culture and sound shaped the world’s music much as its cars shaped the world’s industries.

Over the past 40 years, capitalism turned that success into the abject failure culminating now in the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.

Richard Wolff: Detroit a “Spectacular Failure” of System that Redistributes Pay from Bottom to Top

Kicking off a series of speeches about the economy, President Obama told a crowd in Illinois on Wednesday that reversing growing inequality and rejuvenating the middle class “has to be Washington’s highest priority.” During his remarks, Obama failed to mention the bankruptcy filing by Detroit, where thousands of public workers are now fighting to protect their pensions and medical benefits as the city threatens massive cuts to overcome an estimated $18 billion in debt. Detroit’s bankruptcy “is an example of a failed economic system,” says economist Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at University of Massachusetts



Transcript can be read here.

Don’t buy the right-wing myth about Detroit

by David Sirota, Salon

Conservatives want you to think high taxes drove people away. The real truth is much worse for their radical agenda

In the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy, you may be wondering: How could anyone be surprised that a city so tied to manufacturing faces crippling problems in an era that has seen such an intense public policy assault on domestic American manufacturing? You may also be wondering: How could Michigan officials possibly talk about cutting the average $19,000-a-year pension benefit for municipal workers while reaffirming their pledge of $283 million in taxpayer money to a professional hockey stadium?

These are fair questions – and the answers to them can be found in the political mythology that distorts America’s economic policymaking.

As mythology goes, the specific story being crafted about Detroit’s bankruptcy is truly biblical – more specifically, just like the fact-free mythology around the Greek financial collapse, it is copied right from the chapter in the conservative movement’s bible about how to distort crises for maximum political effect.

 

Nov 20 2012

Disaster Capitalism and Climate Change

Naomi Klein, author of Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,, joined Bill Moyers to discuss how the the destructive force of Hurricane Sandy and climate change can alter politics and the economy.

The full transcript can be read here.

Lambert Strether, posting at naked capitalism, thought this part of the interview particularly interesting.

   NAOMI KLEIN: So one of the things that you find out in a disaster is you really do need a public sector. It really important. And coming back to what we were talking about earlier, why is climate change so threatening to people on the conservative end of the political spectrum? One of the things it makes an argument for is the public sphere. You need public transit to prevent climate change. But you also need a public health care system to respond to it. It can’t just be ad hoc. It can’t just be charity and goodwill.

   BILL MOYERS: When you use terms like “collective action,” “central planning,” you scare corporate executive and the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation because they say you want to do away with capitalism.

   NAOMI KLEIN: Well, first of all, I don’t use a phrase like “central planning.” I talk about planning, but I don’t think it should be central. And one of the things that one must admit when looking at climate change is that the only thing just as bad or maybe even worse for the climate than capitalism was communism. And when we look at the carbon emissions for the eastern bloc countries, they were actually, in some cases, worse than countries like Australia or Canada. So, let’s just call it a tie. So we need to look for other models. And I think there needs to be much more decentralization and a much deeper definition of democracy than we have right now.

   BILL MOYERS: Decentralization of what, Naomi?

   NAOMI KLEIN: Well, for instance, you know, if we think about renewable energy, well, one of the things that’s happened is that when you try to get wind farms set up, really big wind farms, there’s usually a lot of community resistance that’s happened in the United States. It’s happened in Britain. Where it hasn’t happened is Germany and Denmark. And the reason for that is that in those places you have movements that have demanded that the renewable energy be community controlled, not centrally planned, but community controlled. So that there’s a sense of ownership, not by some big, faceless state, but by the people who actually live in the community that is impacted.

What Yves said: “These pesky issues of governance, the nature of the state, and legitimacy seem to popping up all over these days.”

Nov 15 2012

Hurricane Sandy Disaster: Disaster Capitalism v. Progressive Reform

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.

Aug 28 2011

Libya: I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock & Roll

This was written by Ellen Brown back on April 14. We shall see a few years from now whether Libyans will still be cheering and throwing flowers like Iraqis and Afghanis and Bahraini’s are now…

Several writers have noted the odd fact that the Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank – this before they even had a government. Robert Wenzel wrote in the Economic Policy Journal:

I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising. This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences.

Alex Newman wrote in the New American:

In a statement released last week, the rebels reported on the results of a meeting held on March 19. Among other things, the supposed rag-tag revolutionaries announced the “[d]esignation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.”