Disaster Capitalism & Sandy

Thanks to R. for drawing my attention to Andrew Martin’s article, “Hurricane Sandy and the Disaster Preparedness Economy,” in Saturday’s New York Times that details yet another example of what Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism” (though this is admittedly a bit different than, say, Iraq or Chile . . .) in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine. An excerpt:

It’s all part of what you might call the Mad Max Economy, a multibillion-dollar-a-year collection of industries that thrive when things get really, really bad. Weather radios, kerosene heaters, D batteries, candles, industrial fans for drying soggy homes — all are scarce and coveted in the gloomy aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and her ilk.

It didn’t start with the last few hurricanes, either. Modern Mad Max capitalism has been around a while, decades even, growing out of something like old-fashioned self-reliance, political beliefs and post-Apocalyptic visions. The cold war may have been the start, when schoolchildren dove under desks and ordinary citizens dug bomb shelters out back. But economic fears, as well as worries about climate change and an unreliable electronic grid have all fed it.