Klein-Disaster Capitalism-Harpers 2007

security will become a function of where you live

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Unformatted text preview: lta Force turned management consultant. In a widely circulated manifesto for Fast Company magazine, he describes the "end result" of the war on terror as "a new, more resilient approach to national security, one built not around the state but around private citizens and companies .... Security will become a function of where you live and whom you work for, much as health care is allocated already." Robb writes, "Wealthy individuals and multinational corporations will be the first to bail out of our collective system, opting instead to hire private military companies, such as Blackwater and Triple Canopy, to protect their homes and facilities and establish a protective perimeter around daily life. Parallel transportation networks--evolving out of the time-share aircraft companies such as Warren Buffett's NetJets-will cater to this group, leapfrogging its members from one secure, well-appointed lily pad to the next." That elite world is already largely in place, but Robb predicts that the middle class will soon follow suit, "forming suburban collectives to share the costs of security." These "'armored suburbs' will deploy and maintain backup generators and communications links" and be patrolled by private militias "that have received corporate training and boast their own state-of-the-art emergency response systems." In other words, a world of suburban Green Zones. As for those outside the A x- 54 HARPER'S MAGAZINE / OCTOBER 2007 secured perimeter, "they will have to make do with the remains of the national system. They will gravitate to America's cities, where they will be subject to ubiquitous surveillance and marginal or nonexistent services. For the poor, there will be no other refuge." The future Robb describes sounds very much like the present in New Orleans, where two very different kinds of gated communities emerged from the rubble. On the one hand were the so-called FEMA-villes: desolate, out-of-the-way trailer camps for low-income evacuees, built by Bechtel or Fluor subcontractors and administered by private security companies that patrolled the gravel lots, restricted visitors, kept journalists out, and treated survivors like criminals. On the other hand were the gated communities built in the wealthy areas of the city like Audubon and the Garden District, bubbles of functionality that seemed to have seceded from the state altogether. Within weeks of the storm, residents there had water and powerful emergency generators. Their sick were treated in private hospitals, and their children went to private or charter schools. And they had no need for public transit. In St. Bernard Parish, a New Orleans suburb, DynCorp had taken over much of the policing; other neighborhoods hired security companies directly. Between the two kinds of privatized city-states was the New Orleans version of the Red Zone, where the murder rate soared and neighborhoods like the storied Lower Ninth Ward descended into a postapocalyptic no-man's-land. nother glimpse of a disaster-apartheid future can be found in a wealthy Republican suburb outside Atlanta. Its residents decided that the...
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course AMST 150 taught by Professor Perkinson during the Fall '10 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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