Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Fairfax boss dines on Blair spin

Mark Scott is editor-in-chief of Metropolitan, Regional and Community Newspapers for the Fairfax publishing group. An occasional public speaker, Scott today excels himself with an article on why the Sydney Morning Herald rarely examines the plight of Africa.

He writes: “A serious newspaper like the Herald tries not to shy away from presenting difficult but newsworthy stories that may confront and challenge. And we attempt to reveal the issues behind the horrifying statistics of world poverty and disease.”

Scott argues that “serious” newspapers essentially ignore world poverty because the issues are unlikely to engage readers. However, now that people like Bono, Bob Geldof and Tony Blair are “pushing poverty back into the headlines”, “editors will find it easier to put a big story about world poverty in their papers that people will read.”

Scott’s understanding of the issues is predictably Western-centric and shallow. The unspoken truth about the current round of “saving Africa” – clearly articulated by Webdiary’s Brian Bahnisch – is the fraud being pushed onto the general public. As George Monbiot argues, “the G8’s debt reduction plan is little better than an extortion racket.” Why?

The key to Blair’s supposed generosity towards Africa is the requirement of developing nations to accept massive amounts of foreign investment. In other words, the privatisation of essential services, such as water, gas and electricity. This Western “generosity” took place across Latin America in the 1990s and mass movements reacted angrily to “our” multinationals buying a country’s independence.

Monbiot explains:

“The G8 governments claim they want to help poor countries to develop and compete successfully. But they have a powerful commercial incentive to ensure that they compete unsuccessfully, and that our companies can grab their public services and obtain their commodities at rock bottom prices. The conditionalities we impose on the poor nations keep them on a short leash.

“That’s not the only conflict. The G8 finance ministers’ statement insists that the World Bank and IMF will monitor the indebted countries’ progress, and decide whether or not they are fit to be relieved of their burden. The World Bank and IMF, of course, are the agencies which have the most to lose from this redemption. They have a vested interest in ensuring that debt relief takes place as slowly as possible.”

Scott’s aims may be noble but his excuses for a major Australian newspaper are hollow. If he really wanted to engage the major issues related to debt and Africa, he’d invest in a full time journalist on the continent itself. Only the ABC has a full time reporter there, and she’s supposed to cover every country!

5 comments ↪
  • Iqbal Khaldun

    Oh but of course, Africa is just this homogenous whole. They're all black aren't they?I think even Scott's article is just a skillful spin on old propaganda. His thesis seems to run like this"The world is just a dreadful place. It's a real shame, but what can you do? Hell, if we wallowed in the misery of that fact all the time, we'd actually increase mass apathy. So we better not openly advertise the fact that our fellow humans are dying needlessly on a daily basis. Best to donate to Amnesty and buy music produced by Sir Bob and Bono."Social change is an incremental process built on generations of rigorous struggle. Yes, it's not just enough to tell people how horrible the world is. But knowing about the ways of the world is the first step towards changing it. But when even that first step is omitted how can we expect anything other than empathy in the general population? Mark Scott's commentary is totally disingenuous.

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    Sorry apathy NOT empathy. Freudian slip.

  • michael

    The media had covered famine in Africa repeatedly since the catastrophe of Biafra in 1968 and the hunger story had become a separate news genre. TV broadcasts aimed to stimulate moral outrage and claimed that individual viewers in the rich world didn't have to remain mere spectators. News went out hand in hand with charity appeals that told people they could 'do something' to save the children pictured on their screens. After the media circus of the 1984 Ethiopian famine, it got harder to shock people into responding. We were told that Europe and America had come down with 'donor fatigue'.In this state of affairs there was no way to sell the story unless you could expose suffering on a scale rarely or never witnessed before. I once travelled with a British cameraman to a village in Sudan where the crops had failed. Our guides ordered the kids to parade in front of us and display their swollen bellies and thin limbs.'I'm sorry,' said the cameraman. 'They're not thin enough.'The Africans looked at him astonished.'I can see they're hungry. But to the viewers they just don't look that far gone.' The journalist had to get thin ones. If he didn't, he would not be doing his job. He had been sent to find thin ones. He turned to the Africans and enunciated in a voice both loud and slow, 'NOT. THIN. ENOUGH!'The Zanzibar Chest by Aidan Hartley.

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    A very interesting excerpt there, cheers. Sickening in its banality. As atomized individuals (as opposed to individual members of a socially active community), watching something on the tube, it's not surprising if people don't respond much. The response of those in positions of influence (government, business, NGOs) to a humanitarian crisis is to maintain the status quo. It's not just enough to donate to charities or vote for the Greens. People need to be involved. If people remain spectators their level of interest will reflect that. Much like most spectators at the footy. I doubt most would have a clue about how to play.How do people get involved? Well the seeds of this already exist. For instance those eccentric Parliamentary committees. Did you see the recent news story noting that the Government rarely, if ever, acted on committee recommendations despite several people taking the trouble to make submissions and travel to Parliament at public expense? Has any major party ever considered creating laws that compel government to follow recommendations based on public consultation? I don’t know but am skeptical. There's plenty of other instances, as indicated by sociological and marketing research that get published from time to time. Plus, if you just speak to them, you find many people have an interest in getting involved in a range of social issues.Because we live in relatively free societies, there's a presumption that the mere exposure of the truth, even if it is just the tip of the iceberg, is sufficient to galvanise major social change. That is almost never the case when it comes to bottom down social change. So don’t get me wrong. It’s not like there’s a revolution around the corner. But we should avoid just blaming public apathy for the ills of the world.

  • paul walter

    Just caught the link to the site from web diary site. Looks a promising blogsite. Am provoked to comment upon above, having just watched "Dateline" covering African poverty this evening, involving Malawi specifically, followed by a discussion involving George Monbiot and local think-tanker Alan Oxley. Oxley is an (extreme) example of the point concerning Scott, while the sort of ugly and uncompromising (rare) broadsheet picture of the consequences of a ruined African economy, that ought to be shown prime time to viewers instead of the claptrap that is "A Current affair" or "Sixty adverts", etc. Hope your readers get a chance to watch the Dateline repeat. This reader can not BELIEVE what he witnessed and heard, with Oxley.