Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Disaster Capitalism

My friend Elise blogged this over at After School Snack, but it's worth stealing for Xferen: Naomi Klein's recent piece in the Nation about the rise of "disaster capitalism."
It certainly seems that ever-larger portions of the globe are under active reconstruction: being rebuilt by a parallel government made up of a familiar cast of for-profit consulting firms, engineering companies, mega-NGOs, government and UN aid agencies and international financial institutions. And from the people living in these reconstruction sites--Iraq to Aceh, Afghanistan to Haiti--a similar chorus of complaints can be heard. The work is far too slow, if it is happening at all. Foreign consultants live high on cost-plus expense accounts and thousand- dollar-a-day salaries, while locals are shut out of much-needed jobs, training and decision-making. Expert "democracy builders" lecture governments on the importance of transparency and "good governance," yet most contractors and NGOs refuse to open their books to those same governments, let alone give them control over how their aid money is spent.
Scrutinizing "reconstruction" in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, East Timor, and Aceh, Klein writes a sickening picture of postmodern socialism in which the bloated American warfare state reinventing itself as a latter-day colonialist. Read it and weep - and maybe consider a tax strike.


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