War, terror, catastrophe: Profiting from 'Disaster Capitalism'
By PAUL B. FARRELL
Hot tip: Invest in “Disaster Capitalism.” This new investment
sector is the core of the emerging “new economy” that generates
profits by feeding off other peoples’ misery: Wars, terror
attacks, natural catastrophes, poverty, trade sanctions, market
crashes and all kinds of economic, financial and political
In this Orwellian future, everything must be seen with new eyes:
“Disasters” are “IPOs,” opportunities to buy into a new “company.”
Corporations like Lockheed-Martin are the real “emerging nations”
of the world, not some dinky countries. They generate huge
profits, grow earnings. And seen through the new rose-colored
glasses of “Disaster Capitalism” they are hot investment
To more fully grasp this new economy, you must read what may be
the most important book on economics in the 21st century, Naomi
Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,whose
roots trace back the ideas of three 20th century giants:
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who warned us against the self-
perpetuating and ever-expanding economic power of our “military-
Nobel economist Milton Friedman, who said economic change never
occurs without a crisis shocking the system; whether the crisis is
natural, induced or merely perceived, as with enflaming public
fears of war and terror threats.
Economist Joseph Schumpeter, whose saw “creative destruction” as a
healthy process by which new technologies and new products made
old ones obsolete.
“Disaster Capitalism” is financing a new world economic order says
Klein, not just in “the divide between Baghdad’s Green and Red
zones” but in other disaster zones, from post-tsunami Sri Lanka to
post-Katrina New Orleans.
Disasters come in many forms: Weapons destroying power plants and
hospitals, nature weakening bridges, hurricanes wiping out towns,
ideological conflicts turning Africa’s farmlands into deserts,
global banking systems favoring investors over public works,
shopping malls over schools, sewage treatment and power plants,
and so on.
Yes, this is a hot-button political issue. But for the moment,
let’s put aside partisan politics, which many will find disturbing
for the future of America. Let’s look at this strictly as
investors and briefly consider what may also be a guide for
aggressive investors searching for investment opportunities in
“Disaster Capitalism.” In a brilliant Harper’s excerpt from The
Shock Doctrine, Klein makes clear how this new economy is the wave
of the future for certain investors:
“Today, global instability does not just benefit a small group of
arms dealers; it generates huge profits for the high-tech-
homeland-security sector, for heavy construction, for private
health-care companies, for the oil and gas sectors — and, of
course, for defense contractors.”
A longer version of this piece was first published by Paul B.
Farrell in the Dow Jones Business News, October 16, 2007.