Sunday, March 24, 2013

Disaster Capitalism, Chicago-style | Jacobin

Disaster Capitalism, Chicago-style | Jacobin:

Disaster Capitalism, Chicago-style

(seantmcgill / flickr)
(seantmcgill / flickr)
In public policy circles, crises are called “focusing events” — bringing to light a particular failing in government policy.  They require government agencies to switch rapidly into crisis mode to implement solutions. Creating the crisis itself is more novel.
The right-wing, free market vision of University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman informed the blueprint for the rapid privatization of municipal services throughout the world due in no small part to what author Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism.” Friedman wrote in his 1982 treatiseCapitalism and Freedom, “When [a] crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around”
In Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine, she explains how immediately after Hurricane Katrina, Friedman used the decimation of New Orleans’ infrastructure to push for charter schools, a market-based policy preference of Friedman acolytes. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools at the time, and later described Hurricane Katrina as “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans.” Duncan is of the liberal wing of the free market project and a major