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“Disaster capitalism”

(For today, a voice quite different than what’s come before.)

You don't have to plot a disaster (although sometimes that comes in handy, too). You just have to be prepared to exploit it. When the moment comes of that glazed, traumatized look in the victim's eyes, your focus isn't on how to provide some compassionate relief – but rather what you see is the exact moment for pushing through your whole agenda.

At the heart of the problem is the fiction/idol of a "free market." My God, how successful that brainwashing has been. I can't think of one more successfully virulent. I suspect most people "believe" in it without even asking themselves what they're believing in. They think it's just another law of nature.

And since it's a law of nature -- not arrangements worked out by hardscrabble boys on a playground, not humanly composed at all -- there is no ethical dimension to it. And since it's not humanly composed, entities within it, like corporations, are just bounding billiard balls following laws of nature. And the one central law is profit, or greed. This isn't a humanly decided value; it's not something composed and inculcated into an institution -- and thus no one is responsible. Of course, your company profits (as much as possible) from a disaster. This isn't anyone's personal decision. It's a law of nature.

Step 1 is to assume that a company has no moral responsibility towards the commonwealth within which it is embedded and dependent.

Step 2 is to assume that the government doesn't either. That in fact it twins the corpocracy.

"Disaster capitalism" becomes more than piecemeal corporate greed when the government becomes its unifying focal engine. That is, when instead of protecting the commonwealth, it makes the most penetrating assaults upon the commonwealth itself, opening the body so that the smaller predators can have more intimate access to the flesh, organs, and marrow.

Reader Comments (2)

I'm pleased that you posted this. It's a very clear philosophical explanation of Naomi Klein's book, in 500 words or less. Congratulations!! There oughta be a prize!!
Knowing that you understand and appreciate this powerful meme (which colors our first years of the 21st century) makes you, as pilgrims,richer, deeper, and more sympathetic. You've added yet another dimension---and it has made you much more than just another pretty face.

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDianne

Thanks, Di, for your feedback -- and for challenging and encouraging us and keeping us honest. Our relationship feels like both friendship and solidarity. May we all take this spirit out into the troubled world. Love you.

September 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

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