"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, October 15, 2007

Education Policy and Disaster Capitalism

From Raw Story:

Author Naomi Klein sits down with Bill Maher to discuss her new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

The Shock Doctrine shares a sentiment that, while corporations are engineered to profit off of situations, planned or otherwise, the United States under President Bush has corporations opportunistically poised to collect taxpayer-funded payouts from disasters such as 9/11, Katrina and the Iraq occupation.

Calling it the "mission statement of the Bush administration," Klein says that politicians are seeing themselves as facilitators between disasters and their friends in the private sector. Each time there's a disaster, says Klein, politicians use the "shock" felt by the citizenry to "push through a further privatization agenda" with little opposition.

"In New Orleans," continues Klein, "it's the privatization of the school system, the public housing. After September 11th, it was the launching of a new economy in privatized homeland security, and in Iraq it's the Blackwater economy--The worse things get in Iraq, the more privatized--and profitable--this war becomes.

So it's not about the corporations taking advantage; we expect corporations to do that. It's about the politicians who think the government should be an ATM machine and just transfer wealth to their friends in exchange for a deposit in the form of campaign contributions."

"But you're talking about our government and corporations as if they're two different things," quips Maher. "Now, we all know that communism is when the government takes over private business. But, when corporations take over the government, that is what has been defined as fascism.

Do you think that's where we're at?"

Klein agrees, adding: "You could call it crony capitalism, you could call it corporatism; but it certainly not the free market."

"And, the irony is," she continues, "it's the free market ideology that gets used to propel this vision forward which has absolutely nothing to do with--it's not free for anybody but the contractors..."

Governments have historically colluded with business to manipulate the public after traumatic events, says Klein; The Shock Doctrine, she says, aims to prepare the public for the next disaster, as to not remain vulnerable to big business and big government.

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