Shock Doctrine and Fire Sales
Monday, 08/23/2010 - 12:06 pm by Joe Costello
How the banks are reaping profits off the misery they created.
Foreman was a panic about to go in the insane
Trying to get the workers out the way of the train
Engineer blowing the whistle long and long
Can’t stop the train had to let it roll on
– Let It Rock, Professor Chuck Berry of St. Louis, Mo
A couple years ago, Naomi Klein wrote a book called The Shock Doctrine. She documented the global pattern of the last few decades where a nation hit with a crisis — natural, financial, political — would become open game for Randian, Friedmanite, University of Chicago sociopaths. They would insist on fire sales for public assets, placing society further under the control of mega-corporations and the local looting class. Asia, Russia, South America, and Africa: the paradigm and documentation was distressing. Today’s Wall Street Journal article on the fire sale of local government assets across the US demonstrates that the Shock Doctrine remains alive and well, while the dominant economic doctrine of the past three decades, the worship of sociopaths, remains firmly entrenched.
The Journal’s story begins:
Cities and states across the nation are selling and leasing everything from airports to zoos — a fire sale that could help plug budget holes now but worsen their financial woes over the long run.
California is looking to shed state office buildings. Milwaukee has proposed selling its water supply; in Chicago and New Haven, Conn., it’s parking meters. In Louisiana and Georgia, airports are up for grabs.
About 35 deals now are in the pipeline in the U.S., according to research by Royal Bank of Scotland’s RBS Global Banking & Markets. Those assets have a market value of about $45 billion — more than ten times the $4 billion or so two years ago, estimates Dana Levenson, head of infrastructure banking at RBS. Hundreds more deals are being considered, analysts say.
Let’s not forget who is in the middle of all these deals — Wall Street. Here you have a list drawn up by the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the biggest pigs in the pen, recipient of one of the largest bailouts in history, now listing US public assets on the block for cheap. Follow the whole storyline. Wall Street, with a great deal of criminal fraud, tanks the US and global economy, gets bailed out by your tax dollars, and continues to survive largely through cheap Fed money and other public subsidies. Instead of anyone going to jail, they go on a shopping spree with your money, buying your public assets made cheap by the economic collapse they engineered. There you go folks, that is the US economy in 2010. If you can tell me how its any different than mob activity, aside from the fact that no one goes to jail and it’s much, much more lucrative, let me know. Don’t forget, all this is aided and abetted by YOUR elected officials. more