Klein-Disaster Capitalism-Harpers 2007

The same week as the bridge collapse hysteria erupted

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Unformatted text preview: ins serving the South Bronx wouldn't just continue their long decay-they would simply drown. The same week as the bridge collapse, hysteria erupted over canceled flights and delays at London's Heathrow airport, prompting The Economist to demand "radical reform" of the "grubby, cramped" facility. London's airports are already privatized, but now, according to the magazine, they should be deregulated, allowing terminals to compete against one another: "different firms could provide different forms of security checks, some faster and dearer than others." Meanwhile, in New Orleans, schools were getting ready to reopen for fall. More than half the city's students would be attending newly minted charter schools, where they would enjoy small classes, well-trained teachers, and refurbished libraries, thanks to special state and foundation funding pouring into what the New York Times has described as "the nation's preeminent laboratory for the widespread use of charter schools." But charters are only for the students who are admitted to the system-an educational Green Zone. The rest of New Orleans's public-school students-many of them with special emotional and physical needs, almost all of them African American-are dumped into the pre-Katrina system: no extra money, overcrowded classrooms, more guards than teachers. An educational Red Zone. Other institutions that had attempted to bridge the gap between New Orleans's super-rich and ultra-poor were also under attack: thousands of units of subsidized housing were slotted for demolition, and Charity Hospital, the city's largest public-health facility, remained shuttered. The original disaster was created and deepened by public infrastructure that was on its last legs; in the years since, the disaster itself has been used as an excuse to finish the job. There will be more Katrinas, The bones of our states-so frail and agingwill keep getting buffeted by storms both climatic and political. And as key pieces of the infrastructure are knocked out, there is no guarantee that they 1 If these solutions seemed to present themselves with uncanny speed, it is largely because Washington's think tanks have been on such an aggressivecampaign to privatize the essential functions of the state. As a May 2007 cover story in Business Week explained, "In the past year, banks and private investment firms have fallen in love with public infrastructure. They're smitten by the rich cashflows that roads, bridges, airports, parking garagesand shipping ports generate-and the monopolistic advantages that keep those cash flows as steady as a beating heart .... Investors can't get in fast enough." EVERY TIME A NEW CRISIS HITS, THE FEAR AND DISORIENTATION THAT FOLLOW LEAD TO RADICAL ECONOMIC RE-ENGINEERING Illustrations by John Ritter ESSAY 49 THE DISASTER-CAPITALISM COMPLEX AIMS, ULTIMATELY, TO REPLACE THE STATE WITH ITS OWN PROFITABLE ENTERPRISES will be repaired or rebuilt, at least not as they were bef...
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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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