14 Jul 2008

Naomi Klein, disaster capitalism and GM

Naomi Klein is the author of the book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, in which she argues that today's preferred method of reshaping the world in the interests of multinational corporations is to systematically exploit the state of fear and disorientation that accompanies moments of great shock and crisis.

The book came out some 10 months ago and in an excellent article for Rabble, Naomi Klein updates with comments on the move by the US to use the food crisis. As discussed on this blog already this was caused in large measure by the boom in agrofuels blurring the line between food and fuel and encouraging rampant speculation, as an excuse to force other countries to open their markets to its GM crops - in the case of poor countries with the added threat that they'll otherwise risk having their aid cut off. Klein calls the move a "stickup". She adds that despite the attempts to paint GM crops as a solution to the food crisis, there is no evidence that they increase yields, and some evidence they decrease them.

Klein also notes that as the US administration is pushing to open up the Arctic wildlife refuge for oil drilling and "amid all the talk of exciting new genetic and drilling technologies, the Bush Administration announced a moratorium of up to two years on new solar energy projects on federal lands - due, apparently, to environmental concerns. This is the final frontier for disaster capitalism. It does seem extraordinary but our leaders are failing to invest in technology that will actually prevent a future of climate chaos, choosing instead to work hand in hand with those plotting innovative schemes to profit from the mayhem. Privatizing Iraq's oil, ensuring global dominance for genetically modified crops, lowering the last of the trade barriers and opening the last of the wildlife refuges... Not so long ago, those goals were pursued through polite trade agreements, under the benign pseudonym 'globalization.' Now this discredited agenda is forced to ride on the backs of serial crises, selling itself as lifesaving medicine for a world in pain."

Not cheery stuff for a Monday morning but insightful - see the link here to local Green party letter re GM food and how our Government is using the oil price rises and food crisis to sell GM.

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