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.

Hand outs

David Marr is one of Australia’s finest journalists. He delivered the 2005 Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture yesterday on the subject, “Theatre Under [John] Howard:”

“Expensive as they are, the arts need more money – not for the sake of the companies, certainly not for the bureaucrats, and not only for the sake of the artists. For our sake. To release this country’s imagination by mining the creativity that’s there, waiting to be discovered. In its private soul searching late last year, the Australia Council gave a figure that would transform the arts in this country: another $40 million a year. It’s peanuts. It’s a few miles of freeway. But there’s no limit to where it could take us all.”

Marr catalogues the curse of both Liberal and Labor governments wanting art that often reinforces, rather than challenges, the status quo. The problem with government funding is that, by definition, it will be affected by the political winds of the day. Personally, I believe in the concept of taxpayer fund work to shape, mould and provoke the wider community. True market fundamentalists argue that if the private sector can’t fund something, it’s clearly not worth doing. Wrong. We pay taxes because we want – or certainly I do – governments to support work that both confirms and challenges our own beliefs. That’s why we live in a community with people, rather than simply individuals desperate to find the next dollar.

21 comments ↪
  • boredinHK

    Antony , do you choose subjects to write about based on the subject's ability to stir up responses?You wrote "Personally, I believe in the concept of taxpayer(s) fund (ing)work to shape, mould and provoke the wider community. True market fundamentalists argue that if the private sector can't fund something, it's clearly not worth doing."The private sector can fund whatever willing investors will put their money into. This is the role of theatre "angels"- I'm sure the various theatrical agencies in Sydney can let you have access to any number of projects just waiting for the money.Is it the role of government to decide where to invest ? A sure recipe for mediocrity and poor results, artistic decisions by committee and PC limitations which by their nature stop any radical theatre developing.The theatre is sadly looking like an outmoded form of entertainment these days – persons of Mr Marr's vintage harking back to the halcyon days of their youth have a sympathetic view of the role of the theatre when in fact it should fade away gracefully ( something boomers have yet to try !)like vaudeville and music hall.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I just write about what interests, not really too fussed about the response from readers.You disagree. Fair enough. Marr is certainly from a different generation to me, but believes in that the state should play an important role in society, not just re interest rates. It's imperfect, though, to be sure.

  • James Waterton

    And here we see the statist at work.We pay taxes because we want – or certainly I do – governments to support work that both confirms and challenges our own beliefs.So you think it's okay for you to enforce your prejudices and priorities onto everyone else? I suppose so – after all, it's what being a leftist is all about. Tell me about how you're an individualist, too – I'd love to see you walk that micrometre-thick tightrope.Antony, how deeply have you thought about this? Why do you need government to challenge you? And before you cry "that's not what I said!" – think about it. The government doesn't have infinite resources; it can't support everything, thus it has to be selective in what it is to support. So the government is choosing what it's supporting based on the priorities of its constituent parts. What a fabulous outcome! You're being challenged by the government's choice of art, sport, literature, the works. Sounds like serfdom to me. Can't you seek out your own challenges independently? Get up off your knees and have some faith in the independent choice of individuals.

  • paul

    Why are lefties so keen on spending other people's money? Mainly because it subsidised things that you're interested in. A little selfish, don't you think? Why should a Blacktown boilermaker who couldn't give a fuck about the yartz subsidise you own asthetic sensibilities? Jeffrey Smart nailed it- only bad art needs public funding.

  • paul

    BTW- who the hell voluntarily pays tax? If we weren't taxed so highly, you and your fellow travellers would have more disposable cash to spend on disabled lesbian puppet theatre, and the rest of us could blow it on poker machines, beer and ciggies.

  • James Waterton

    You said it, Paul. Public funding of the arts is one of the most disgraceful boondoggles around. The Blacktown boilermaker you mentioned, and a whole manner of people in other professions of varying complexity and sophistication, are also likely to be insulated from their "beliefs being challenged" by some over-mighty publicly-funded arts programme. It's just a wet dream of the elitist left-wing – people like Marr. They are so clueless and out of touch, it's laughable.And the greatest irony is that it's often those whinging about the arts needing greater funding who are least likely to put their hands in their own pockets to support the industry.

  • Ian Westmore

    So why aren't private enterprise funding schools, after all they are the primary beneficiaries of an educated workforce?Or roads as they are mostly used to transport goods and workers to/from work? Trucks cause most of the damage to them, too. And any number of things that aid PE more than it does the general public.Think how low taxes would be if the corporate sector paid the full amount for all the infrastructure and services we subsidise. While we're at it lets get rid of the laws decreeing Australian content on TV and import everything from America or Britain, even the ads. Lets face it you can never get too many variations of CSI, can you? I'm sure Packer would be delighted – $20,000 for an hour of American pap is a lot less than a million or more for the local stuff. We might even save half a cent on every packet of washing powder when he cuts advertising costs, especially if he stops paying millions to the AFL/NFL/Cricket Australia and gives us a steady diet of gridiron and baseball.And while the boilermakers of Blackstown may not give a damn about the arts I bet they wouldn't be very pleased if governments stopped subsidising sports including racing and football (all codes). Governments, both federal, state and local give much more to sport than they spend on the arts – over 2 billion a year. Or why not abolish sport altogether – it only wastes time that could be better spent slaving for the boss. Lets bring in the 112 hour week.BTW, I don't drink or smoke, exercise regularly and eat sensibly, so why should I subsidise the health costs of that Blackstown bloke who stereotypically smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, eats nothing but hamburgers, fish and chips or pies and whose only recreational exercise is hitting the buttons on the remote?

  • boredinHK

    Ian Westmore,You shouldn't have to fund others for their diseases, choice of sports,schooling or infrastructure -that's the point.When did private eneterprise stop paying tax by the way ?I've never heard of any government having to subsidise gambling.

  • James Waterton

    So why aren't private enterprise funding schoolsThey do. They pay 30% of their profit to the tax man. And they collect a shitload of consumption tax, too.Trucks cause most of the damage to them, too.Ever had to pay registration for a truck? I can assure you it's considerably more than your family car. Also, transporting an oversized load requires further (expensive) licencing.they are the primary beneficiaries of an educated workforceNo they're not, the educated individual who gets a better job is the primary beneficiary.While we're at it lets get rid of the laws decreeing Australian content on TVGood idea. Let the market decide.Lets bring in the 112 hour week.Nice to see the sane out in action.BTW, I don't drink or smoke, exercise regularly and eat sensibly, so why should I subsidise the health costs of that Blackstown bloke who stereotypically smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, eats nothing but hamburgers, fish and chips or pies and whose only recreational exercise is hitting the buttons on the remote?I'm glad to see you support user-pays, despite the initial sentiments in your post. I don't like subsidising (or being a burden on) others, either. I'd much rather pay my own way and take responsibility for myself, rather than delegating it to the government. You've arrived at classical liberalism. Congratulations.

  • James Waterton

    Also, Ian, I'm finding it difficult to see how anything you've said in your comment relates to Antony's or Marr's befuddled opinions on arts funding. I'm sorry to inform you, but the publicly-funded arts industry is not analagous to private enterprise.

  • James Waterton

    Oh. And private enterprise also generates a crapload of PAYE income tax through employment of individuals. Oh, and it also collects that tax and pays it to the government. So, Ian Westmore, how is private enterprise shaping up as a financial supporter of schools, roads, hospitals etc?

  • leftvegdrunk

    Steady on, Waterton.Was the 112 hour week any more ridiculous than the disabled lesbian puppet theatre?

  • James Waterton

    No. But I never said anything about a disabled lesbian puppet theatre, nor was the person who mentioned it directing their comment at me, so I felt no need to address that issue. And, DBO, is that all you've got? What about the important points – as opposed to the tangential ones – that I and others have raised?

  • paul

    Private enterprise also puts a lot of its own money into the yartz, through sponsorships and purchase of works. It always amuses me that those most keen on userous taxation generally don't pay any themselves.As to the ridiculous nature of disabled lesbian puppet theatre, I agree- most subsidised and publicly-funded art is ridiculous; if you mean the concept is silly, you haven't been to many fringe festivals (or the Brisbane Powerhouse). Any of these facilities and functions feature more bollocks than a testicle warehouse.

  • James Waterton

    Paul – if you mean the concept is silly, you haven't been to many fringe festivals (or the Brisbane Powerhouse)I don't doubt it. This doesn't, however, justify the case against the existence of such art simply because you or I think it's silly – as I'm sure you agree. I'm also sure you agree that it is those who demand that the state support art (that most think is silly) are also most reluctant to personally support the art they appreciate and promote. For if they did, it wouldn't need government support.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Sorry, Waterton. I can't play right now. I am time poor. You'll have to play by yourself.

  • James Waterton

    Um. Perhaps you should update your definition of irony, Ian. Remember, Alanis Morissette isn’t the best source if you’re wanting to improve your vocabulary!

    if you believe that business pays anywhere near the real cost of the infrastructure and services governments provide then you are greatly mistaken.

    Prove it. You can’t. You’re just speculating, based on a gut instinct borne out of distrust and lack of understanding of markets. That statement of yours betrays such a deep ignorance that I can barely be bothered. If it weren’t for private enterprise we wouldn’t have a government to provide infrastructure. How do you think governments get income? Private enterprise is the greatest social force for good we possess.

    Anyway, we should re-focus on arts funding. What do you have to counter the arguments made against government arts funding given by boredinhk, Paul, myself etc above?

  • Ian Westmore

    James Waterton said… Also, Ian, I'm finding it difficult to see how anything you've said in your comment relates to Antony's or Marr's befuddled opinions on arts funding.I'm sorry you didn't appreciate the irony.As for your other comments, if you believe that business pays anywhere near the real cost of the infrastructure and services governments provide then you are greatly mistaken.

  • leftvegdrunk

    What percentage of the federal budget is spent on the arts?

  • James Waterton

    If it's above 0 it's too high.

  • leftvegdrunk

    I see.