Trump Using Blueprint For ‘Disaster Capitalism’, Warns Expert Who Literally Wrote The Book (VIDEO)
When Canadian author Naomi Klein wrote The Shock Doctrine, she argued that politicians — like Donald Trump, for instance — take advantage of natural disasters in order to impose predatory free-market tactics that benefit the interests of the elite.
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Writing for The Intercept, Klein reflects on Hurricane Katrina, one of the 21st century’s biggest catastrophes and warns us about what the Trump administration may be up to in the next four years.
“We already know that the Trump administration plans to deregulate markets, wage all-out war on ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ trash climate science and unleash a fossil fuel frenzy,” she writes. “It’s a vision that can be counted on to generate a tsunami of crises and shocks: economic shocks as market bubbles burst; security shocks as blowback from foreign belligerence comes home; weather shocks, as our climate is further destabilized; and industrial shocks, as oil pipelines spill and rigs collapse, which they tend to do, especially when enjoying light-touch regulation.”
“All this is dangerous enough. What’s even worse is the way the Trump administration can be counted on to exploit these shocks politically and economically.”
When Katrina struck New Orleans, Vice President Mike Pence was chair of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), Klein writes. Pence and his cronies cooked up a document titled “Pro-Free-Market Ideas For Responding To Hurricane Katrina And High Gas Prices.” It consisted of “32 policies in all, each one straight out of the disaster capitalism playbook,” Klein writes. Paul Ryan’s name is also found in this document. Pence’s name, she adds, is right at the bottom.
The proposals within seemingly aimed to jettison labor rights and further erode the public sector, “which,” Klein notes, “is ironic because the failure of public infrastructure is what turned Katrina into a human catastrophe.” Large industries and contractors were the main winners in this human tragedy.
The proposals recommended the suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, a law that requires federal contractors to pay a living wage. Also recommended: “Make the entire area a flat-tax free-enterprise zone,” and “make the entire region an economic competitiveness zone (comprehensive tax incentives and waving of regulations).”
Other proposals aimed to were meant to make operations easier for the oil and gas industry and included the suggestion to “streamline the environmental hurdles to building new oil refineries.”
Another proposal, which seems oddly out of place here, had to do with giving parents vouchers to use at charter schools, something near and dear to Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.
And of course, many of these policies were, in fact, adopted, Klein writes. Some of the biggest contractors that benefited from this are ones we’d recognize from the Iraq war, such as Halliburton/KBR.
Within a week, then-President George W. Bush announced the measures. Under pressure, Bush reinstated the labor standards, but contractors ignored this for the most part, Trump has multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments in his sights, and Klein believes this is the model he’ll use to attract the labor movement and invite predatory policies. And repealing the Davis-Bacon act once again is already being floated for these projects at a meeting Monday with leaders from construction and building trade unions.
The RSC meeting in 2005 produced other ideas that were also supported by the president, Klein writes. Climate scientists have directly linked increasingly intense hurricanes to warming ocean temperatures.
“This connection, however, didn’t stop Pence and the RSC from calling on Congress to repeal environmental regulations on the Gulf Coast, give permission for new oil refineries in the United States, and to green-light ‘drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.'”
“All these measures are a sure-fire way to drive up greenhouse gas emissions, the major human contributor to climate change, yet they were immediately championed by by the president under the guise of responding to a devastating storm.”
And Trump has just signed executive orders to give the go-ahead to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline construction projects, LiveScience reports.
Klein ends her piece with a warning: We will have to keep an eye on Trump and Pence, to keep them from worsening the effects of looming environmental catastrophes.
“What Katrina tells us is that this administration will attempt to exploit each disaster for maximum gain,” she writes. “We’d better get ready.”
The next four years are going to be a nightmare for people and all other living things on this planet.
In the video below, Naomi Klein discusses what “disaster capitalism” really is.
[brid video=”108686″ player=”5260″ title=”Naomi Klein Disaster Capitalism”]
Photo by Cole Bennetts/Getty Images
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Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.
Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.