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September 22, 2008

Disaster Capitalism Economy

This whole trillion dollar "bailout" plan reeks of disaster capitalism. Remember Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine? In an earlier post I described it this way:

The thesis, in a nutshell, is that recent history has seen a series of conscious, highly-organized efforts to exploit shocks — economic catastrophes, natural disasters, wars, 9/11, Katrina — to jam through "reforms" that people would never tolerate otherwise. Economic shock therapy, suspension of civil liberties, the Patriot Act and Gitmo, etc., etc. But above all, disaster capitalism — privatization of all kinds of formerly public functions, extending now even to privatized war-fighting. Enormous fortunes are being made by companies that now have a vested interested in more and bigger catastrophes. And it's not only about dollars. Each shock drives us further to the right politically. In the event of another shock of national scope — another 9/11, or worse — the groundwork has been laid to fundamentally alter just about everything about how the US government functions and the rights of US citizens.

The draft legislation they're trying to jam down our throats includes provisions like this:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

This, in a democracy.

And everybody says it’s a $700 billion plan, but the language reads:

The Secretary's authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.

Note that phrase "at any one time." So Paulson can buy $700 billion worth of securities, sell them, and buy some more. They're trying to hand Paulson the keys to the Treasury, with no oversight of any kind, and his actions "may not be reviewed by any court or any administrative agency."

But, you see, it's a crisis. It has to be dealt with today. No time to read the fine print. Just sign here. Otherwise, it's going to be a catastrophe. Never mind that we're handing the Treasury over to the same Masters of the Universe that created the whole mess in the first place. Let's not forget that Henry Paulson used to run Goldman Sachs.

One is even tempted to wonder if they've manipulated the whole thing to exaggerate the suddenness of the crisis and stampede us into believing desperate measures are called for. It's all been years in the making, but now all of a sudden we're told the end of the world is at hand. Could it be they saw they were in the process of eating a trillion dollar shit sandwich and thought how can we pawn this off on the taxpayers and maybe even make some money while we're at it. All it would take is the creation of a sort of financial 9/11 — or at least the appearance of one. Then the "bailout" could be rushed through a Congress stampeded by fear, Patriot Act-style.

Paranoid? Probably. But a trillion dollars is a lot of dough. People will do a lot to get their hands on a trillion dollars.

Even if the crisis hasn't been manipulated, it is certainly being exploited. The whole idea of handing a blank check to one man whose decisions will be "non-reviewable...by any court of law or any administrative agency" is insane. That it's even being entertained is a measure of how supine we've become. A free people would never consider it. Not for a moment.

Posted by Jonathan at September 22, 2008 10:40 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb


I just want to say it's great to be reading Past Peak again. I also want to mention that everyone should CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE to say NO! to an unrestricted bailout. I have a model letter at Maine Owl (which is the reincarnation of Deep Blade Journal).

Posted by: Maine Owl at September 23, 2008 04:19 PM

Thanks, Eric!

Posted by: Jonathan at September 23, 2008 10:10 PM