Disaster Capitalism

Harpers.org has posted a fascinating piece by Naomi Klein called Disaster Capitalism that delves deep into the way disasters no longer bring the country together, but instead are simply appropriated by the ideologically extreme to advance their ever-more radical notions about privatization, driving the wedge between the haves and the have-nots deeper and deeper in the process.

There will be more Katrinas. The bones of our states—so frail and aging—will keep getting buffeted by storms both climatic and political. And as key pieces of the infrastructure are knocked out [bridges collapse, subways flood], there is no guarantee that they will be repaired or rebuilt, at least not as they were before. More likely, they will be left to rot, with the well-off withdrawing into gated communities, their needs met by private suppliers.

Not so long ago, disasters were periods of social leveling, rare moments when atomized communities put divisions aside and pulled together. Today they are moments when we are hurled further apart, when we lurch into a radically segregated future where some of us will fall off the map and others ascend to a parallel privatized state, one equipped with well-paved highways and skyways, safe bridges, boutique charter schools, fast-lane airport terminals, and deluxe subways.

To read it in its entirety, you’ll need to subscribe. But it’s worth it, not only for thoughtful and informative articles like this one that continue to get published every month, but also for access to Harper’s over 150 years of archived stories from world-class authors all available online on a world-class site that makes cross-indexing authors and subjects a breeze. Harpers.org is truly an American literary institution.

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