Although I’m loath to use tragedy to score political points, I always have to wonder what those who rail against “neo-liberal global capitalism” think when they see billions of dollars in humanitarian aid flow from around the globe into disaster areas, such as what is happening now in Haiti.*
Naturally, I sated my curiosity by seeing what Naomi Klein, author of the thoroughly debunked anti-capitalism polemic The Shock Doctrine had to say. Naturally, it was something stupid.
Klein warns of her dreaded bogeyman, “disaster capitalism,” taking root in Haiti and takes the Heritage Foundation to task for having the temerity to suggest that the situation might actually present an opportunity to reform the poorest country in the western hemisphere:
Readers of the The Shock Doctrine know that the Heritage Foundation has been one of the leading advocates of exploiting disasters to push through their unpopular pro-corporate policies. From this document, they’re at it again, not even waiting one day to use the devastating earthquake in Haiti to push for their so-called reforms. The following quote was hastily yanked by the Heritage Foundation and replaced with a more diplomatic quote, but their first instinct is revealing:
“In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region.”
Yes, how dare we try and foist the horrors of corporatism on the Haitian people. How dare we interfere in an economy where 225,000 children have been forced into slavery and where 80 percent of the population lives in poverty. The nerve.
Certainly some of the Heritage Foundation’s points, such as using U.S. military presence for drug interdiction (oh-so predictably Heritage) are worth criticizing, but is it really out of line to suggest that “the U.S. must be prepared to insist that the Haiti government work closely with the U.S. to insure that corruption does not infect the humanitarian assistance flowing to Haiti?”
*Just Papa Friedman spreading some more global misery, I presume?