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the Week, 15 September, 2017. That is, it is inherently disastrous and in crisis, not exceptionally. This second option requires a fundamental rethinking of priorities, according to activist and author George Monbiot in Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis (2017). The Intercept is co-hosting an event focused on how the forces of disaster capitalism are seeking to undermine the Puerto Rican people’s vision for a just and renewable future. The other possibility, as the activist Naomi Klein writes in her new book, The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists (2018), is to look for positive, real change in the island’s future after decades of oppression. “Disaster” can serve as a modifier concerning the very nature of capitalism and its development within a broad framework of neoliberalism. A disaster often serves to foreground these ever-present traits. Disaster or not, it now seems that capitalism seeks to get into unexplored cracks and expand whether or not we like or even recognize it. For now, it seems not. In fact, the disaster seems to have been seen as more of an opportunity to steer profits to Trump cronies and others and to reshape Puerto Rico, whose economy has been structured to make profits for U.S. companies since the early 20th century, to meet corporate needs in the 21st century. Puerto Rico Coffee Roasters, fully owned by Coca-Cola, is founded in 2008 and purchases the 11 largest local brands, effectively monopolizing the market for green and roasted coffee. However, many of the traditional crops on the island, which are now mostly grown on organic farms, survived, partly because they’re adapted to the climate and partly because many are root vegetables that weren’t seriously hurt by the high winds. And yet one solution is to reinforce and extend similar neoliberal structures that have so adeptly harmed the island. As Klein describes one of these developments, “Visiting Casa Pueblo was ... a bit like stepping through a portal into another world — a parallel Puerto Rico where everything worked and the mood brimmed with optimism.” Community-based solar developments were among the few places on the island that still had power after the hurricane. 5.0 out of 5 stars Disaster Capitalism in Puerto Rico. By Martin Guzman. Puerto Rico suffers amid disaster capitalism. Klein’s punchy recent book covers the island’s post-1898 history as a subjugated, dominated, exploited, neglected, and colonial outpost of the United States. Or is the broader ideology of capitalism so indoctrinated and accepted in the West that we will just carry on, repressed by a system guided by inherent injustice and inequality, one defined by faceless entities, multifaceted crises, and purposefully exploitative practices? Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2018. Puerto Rico-Whitefish scandal ‘disaster capitalism’ in action By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan / Syndicated Columnists Monday, November 6th, 2017 at 12:02am Once you pry open the terminology a little bit, as Loewenstein implies, one finds that the leverage of “disaster capitalism” now stretches far beyond that which Klein identified. This notion is the overarching theme of Klein’s 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, which traces exploitative neoliberal economic history substantiated by examples from Chile, Iraq, and New Orleans. Disaster capitalism comes to Puerto Rico. Klein, Monbiot, and Loewenstein chime with the positive possibility of resolution and change, often by citing cases in which the greedy reach of capitalism has been at least limited: the ongoing fight for Puerto Rico is testament to that. Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rosello has been visiting the US mainland, looking for financial support for the island battered by hurricanes last year. He also cites many other examples of exploitative economic practices—those that aim to make money for corporations or purposefully impoverish citizens—in Greece, the UK, the US, and Australia. Writer Naomi Klein discusses the latest attempts at privatizing the electric grid in Puerto Rico following the damage from Hurricane Maria. This fight began immediately after the hurricane. Then, when the hurricane hit, it became a disaster zone that received an inadequate government response. Through the incompetent crisis response, the cycle of dependence continued. The electrical grid is one such opening: In January, the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, announced that it would be privatized. Puerto Rico, which suffered a disastrous, catastrophic event just a year ago, lives in hope for meaningful, positive change that reaches the whole population. The Puertopians dream of a radical withdrawal from society into their privatized enclaves.” On the other side, community groups “dream of a society with far deeper commitments and engagement — with each other, within communities and with the natural systems, whose health is a prerequisite for any kind of safe future.”. Is another future possible? So naturally its government, prodded by the wealthy, wants to privatize its electrical grid and its public schools, among other things. Increasingly, Puerto Rico has become a place for companies and employees not tied to specific workplaces to relocate, particularly ones who do most of their business on the Web. Reading it first, puts this book into a greater perspective in understanding the basic blueprint of the actions.taken in Puerto Rico. By Joseph E. Stiglitz. FURTHER READING: Naomi Klein tells us how to resist 'the Trump show', As Klein puts it, Puerto Rico is experiencing the “Shock-After-Shock-After-Shock Doctrine,” including selling off public assets and turning over public schools to private corporations as charter schools. “Who Inherits?”: A Conversation between Tao Leigh... Preexisting Conditions: What 2020 Reveals about Our Urban Future. Slow Violence and Disaster Capitalism: Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria May 5, 2019 Rachel Salcedo In September 2017, the category five Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a small Caribbean island just east of the Dominican Republic and a territory … Public finances in the island are a mess—the island is overwhelmed by $120 billion in debt and pension liabilities. Now is an opportune time to stop the exploitative colonial relationship that Puerto Rico has long suffered as a result of its constructed dependence on the US for food, energy, finance, and other resources. But the playing field is uneven: Puerto Rico’s future is currently being decided elsewhere, in Washington, DC and corporate boardrooms. One alternative involves exploiting Puerto Rico’s existing status as a domestic U.S. corporate tax haven; corporations there pay only 4 percent on profits. They became centers for self-recovery projects, as well as places where people could go to recharge cell phones or plug in medical equipment. And, of course, there’s Puerto Rico, just one of countless examples. Seen in this way, this moment constitutes a humanitarian crisis and a case of the abuse of citizens’ rights. Thanks to Obama, Puerto Rico might never recover from Irma. Disaster capitalism sees the implementation of an economic system in the shadow of a disaster. Moving people to the mainland both acts as a political safety valve for the government and “conveniently helps create the ‘blank canvas’ that the governor has bragged about to would-be investors.”. On the other hand, there is the push for a “Puerto Rico that is equitable, democratic, and sustainable for all” through local, inclusive grassroots initiatives centered on public education, renewable energy, and agro-ecology. The fault, as Klein sees it, lies not with the island or its lack of resources but with the vicious cycle of dependence imposed by the federal government, which has kept the island in seemingly perpetual crisis. If everything is sold off to profiteering companies and it becomes a crypto tax haven and tourist resort, most Puerto Ricans will again be forced back into an exploitative colonial dynamic, this time according to a tweaked neoliberal model. AMY GOODMAN: The governor is also pushing for privately run charter schools and private school vouchers. As Klein puts it, “Puerto Rico finds itself locked in a battle of utopias. It has been a year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, leaving a trail of destruction: ruined infrastructure, destroyed homes, and thousands ... a magazine of ideas, arts, and scholarship, congratulated the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” details the ways that corporations and governments take advantage of disasters to implement neoliberal economic structuring around the globe. The island was bankrupt and left with a $73 billion debt to the federal government. Be it detention centers in the US, relief aid in Haiti, military contractors in Afghanistan, economic sanctions on Greece, complicit corporate-sponsored NGOs in the developing world, or prison systems across much of the Western world, “predatory behavior” does vary “from country to country, but the strategy is the same: exaggerate a threat, man-made or natural, and let loose unaccountable private-sector contractors to exploit it.” Loewenstein frequently uses the term “disaster” seemingly interchangeably with terms like “exploitative,” “crisis,” and “predatory” as descriptors of capitalism. But Puerto Ricans are organizing, on the island and the mainland, to fight back. In these comprehensive and unsettling works, he covers war (in Afghanistan), aid (in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake), and environmental exploitation (in Papua New Guinea). Subsequently, in March, while thousands were still without lighting or reliable water and having their insurance claims rejected, a hedge fund manager hosted the Puerto Crypto conference to promote the island as the center of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries and as a tax and corporate haven. Stiglitz – Disaster Capitalism Comes to Puerto Rico Disaster Capitalism Comes to Puerto Rico by Joseph E. Stiglitz, November 15, 2018 In the year since Hurricane Maria laid waste to Puerto Rico, the island’s already dire economic situation has gotten even worse. Portland, Oregon's award-winning weekly street newspaper, BOOK REVIEW | “The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes On the Disaster Capitalists” by Naomi Klein, “The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes On the Disaster Capitalists” by Naomi Klein, Naomi Klein tells us how to resist 'the Trump show', Answering the call in Puerto Rico: 'The need was immense, Breaking down Measure 103: Fact vs. fiction, Answering the call in Puerto Rico: 'The need was immense', Jon Langford: Making music in these ‘Trumpy’ times, A refugee family’s struggle to navigate the bureaucracy of survival, A podcast by a Street Roots vendor, about fellow vendors. Puerto Rico is located between 2 tectonic plates both moving toward the island from opposite sides, squeezing the island. Postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Economics and Finance at Columbia University Business School. “The Battle for Paradise” presents a choice the whole world will eventually face; will we reorient our industry and our economy to allow for local adaptation to the worsening climate? Puerto Rico is at a crossroads. Puerto Ricans Battle Disaster Capitalism to Achieve Self-Determination Mother Isamar holds her baby Saniel, 9 months, as husband Samuel mixes cement at their makeshift home, under reconstruction, after being mostly destroyed by Hurricane Maria, on December 23, 2017, in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. To request permission to reuse content, email editor@streetroots.org. Klein reports on a convention on the island at which entrepreneurs schemed to make Puerto Rico a center for blockchain and cryptocurrency generation and the associated server farms. Since that particular hurricane has largely faded from the news, the slow rebuild continues and defining questions loom over the process: Who is Puerto Rico for? Share on twitter. Or will we further centralize our infrastructure to make it easier for corporations to profit, even as that makes disruption from disasters, natural or man-made, more likely? The unending state of emergency and the systematic use of executive orders have facilitated corruption, disinformation, chaotic crisis management, and enabled disaster capitalism. 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