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.

Mongolia

Mongolia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I was there in 2000 and discovered a partly nomadic people who had suffered the wrath of both Russian and Chinese oppression and yet remained stoic and determined to forge an independent identity. I’ve always taken an interest in the country because it’s routinely ignored in the world press and retains an enigmatic allure for travellers.

Mongolian Matters is a blog that uncovers news and views and is written by a resident of the capital, Ulaanbaatar. New Mongols is another fascinating space with a more political edge.

Mongolia faces many of the problems in developing nations including environmental degradation, corruption and rampant poverty. I never thought I’d be suggesting travel destinations here, but Mongolia is one such example. Its beauty should be discovered.

9 comments ↪
  • Guy

    How long were you there for? Must have been an experience and a half…

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I was there for just over 2 weeks, in the capital and around the Gobi desert. Truly magical place.I was travelling overland from Poland to Thailand. Check a map; it was a mad 6 months.Go now!

  • Danny Yee

    I just got back from Mongolia – check out my travelogue for the details (lots of photos, but also a full narrative, though it's not finished yet).

  • Danny Yee

    Ooops. Here's the working link tomy Mongolia travelogue.

  • James Waterton

    Antony, nice to find a fellow Mongolia enthusiast. I was there for over a month – didn't manage to see as much of the place as I would have liked, thanks to the average speed of 35km/h along their "national highways". Although I did battle my way up north to check out the mindblowingly beautiful and pristine Lake Khovskol. Anyway, I wrote this piece recently. Thoughts?

  • leftvegdrunk

    Interesting piece, James. Many would agree with your assessment of Stalinism's legacy in Mongolia and elsewhere. Oh, and good self-promotion – I hope you get your hits up!Have you visited Chile?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    My thoughts, James?Well, this kind of comment really helps instill warmth in your observations: "Mongolian men struck me as particularly useless and lethargic." Mmm…Communism was a disaster for Mongolia, but as a free market fundamentalist, perhaps you should look a little more closely at the effects of IMF policy on this beautiful country. Not as beguiling as you think.

  • Danny Yee

    James, your piece doesn't seem very balanced to me.Sure, Ulaanbaatar is shabby. But compare it with similar sized cities in Indonesia or India and it doesn't come off badly.High unemployment rates and unrealistic dreams about moving to America? That's pretty much world-wide, and certainly no specialty of Mongolia.I don't know about "spiritual pollution", but then I don't presume to tell Buddhists what is or is not "real Buddhism".

  • James Waterton

    I don't know, Antony, its politicians are particularly adept at singing the free market tune, and in return receive how much foreign aid? I think it makes up about a third of the annual government tax take – one of the highest rates in the world. I'd be interested to hear about these evil IMF policies that seem to have served Mongolia rather well of late. As for your huffing over what I said about Mongolian men, the full quote included the word "generally". I don't know how many Mongolians you spoke to during your fortnight there – I was lucky enough to sit in on a few English classes at the uni in UB, so I was able to chat and socialise with several. Apparently the laziness of Mongolian men is a bit of a national joke. That's obviously not to say that *all* Mongolian men are lazy. It's just quite a common local theme, and there is plenty of physical evidence around the place (which I went into on my blog piece) that would seem to suggest a lack of motivation is indeed a trait affecting workers in Mongolia. The common perception of America, and how wild riches are easily available, is evidence of this malaise. I discuss this a bit more below.Danny Yee, "compare it with similar sized cities in Indonesia or India "You're not comparing apples with apples. We're talking about the *capital city*. You don't find enormous great holes in the road that runs by the seat of federal power in Delhi, do you? Nor piles of concrete in the footpaths around Connaught Place. Anyway, I don't recall saying in the piece that UB was any more shabby than any other third world city. It was more the glaring lack of maintainence of new infrastructure and property, and the general shoddiness of repair work that stood out. And I have travelled India quite extensively, so I was able to compare the two. I think you're expecting too much from my post. Like the title clearly noted, the piece was based around personal observations and I am going on what Mongolians have told me. I found their perceptions of America particularly naive, relative to other developing countries I've visited. Many Mongolians see a ticket to the USA is a guarantee of huge wealth. From what I could discern, bloody hard work and sacrifice didn't enter the equation for most. Re. your sniffy remarks about Buddhism. You only need to have an elementary understanding of Mahayana Buddhism to realise that Mongolian Buddhism is in a degenerate state. Like I said in the piece, this was also reiterated by a number of Buddhist practitioners there. So, off your high horse, bucko.