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.

The problem behind the problem

As Australia sends troops into “chaotic” East Timor, what are the sources of Timorese grievances? It’s worth remembering that neo-liberal economic policies, set by the world’s supposed superpowers, are at least partly to blame for the country’s economic woes. “Rebel” soldiers are not the main problem. This 2004 article partly explains the predicament of the new nation:

Unlike nearly any other nation in the underdeveloped world, Timor-Leste has refused to borrow money from the international community. At this year’s donors meeting in May, the Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, spelled out his Government’s position: “We are not ideologically opposed to borrowing money. But we are opposed to unsustainable borrowing”. These are wise words.

Despite the nations of the South having abundant natural and human resources, the burden of debt for larger developing nations has restricted their development, for smaller nations, it has suffocated it altogether. In 2000, the UNDP and UNICEF calculated that $80 billion a year for ten years would be enough to ensure that the entire population of the world had basic services such as decent food, access to drinking-water, primary education and access to basic health care. Yet in 2001 alone, developing countries spent $382 billion on debt repayments.

In general, indebtedness remains one of the biggest barriers to developing countries’ effort to build strong domestic economies and improve the living standards of their citizens. For every $1 owed in 1980, developing countries have since repaid $7.50 but still owe $4. This is a massive transfer of resources from the South to the North that renders international institutions’ talk about “poverty reduction” and achieving “Millennium Development Goals” meaningless. 

4 comments ↪
  • Australia's most recent intervention says a lot about the way we treat neighbouring developing nations. We don't blink twice about fighting them over oil revnues. Yet we are quite happy to send a military force when order breaks down. Similar comparisons can be made with the Solomons and PNG. Dominant, western nations aren't very good in investing in poor communities (as opposed to the resources that poor communities might reside over).

    The fact is Australia did the bare minimum to assist East Timor. This is particularly true if you consider the important role Australia played in facilitating Indonesia's genocide for a quarter of a century.

    The greatest of ironies is that while the Australian Government claimed that those who did not support the invasion of Iraq risked appeasing a tyrant, one of the key attributes of Australia's involvement with East Timor has been to ensure that Jakarta does not feel threatened. For example, Australia has not supported a UN push to indict senior Indonesia army officers for crimes committed in East Timor.

  • GreginOz

    “We are not ideologically opposed to borrowing money. But we are opposed to unsustainable borrowing" !!! OH MY GOD! A POLLIE SAID THIS? The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank ARE NOT designed to lift the 3rd world from poverty. They are SPECIFICALLY and EXPLICITELY designed to buy off the 'ruling classes' of poor nations, so that 1st world corporations can operate unencumbranced by local law. I would recommend a book called "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins (see http://www.economichitman.com/ ) as a starting point. Interestingly, aid from the first world gets funnelled primarily through 1st world companies as well. EG build a stadium in a desert, using Aussie/UK/USA conractors, pay off the local politicians and take the money home!

  • orang

    "…build a stadium in a desert, using Aussie/UK/USA conractors, pay off the local politicians and take the money home! "

    Hey, at least you get to keep the stadium. The latest twist is invade, bomb everything to fuck, build nothing using Aussie/UK/USA contractors and take the money home.

  • bah Humbug

    Australia must be providing aid/assistance to PNG, Solomons and East Timor amounting to more than half their national budgets. If they cannot spend the money with good grace they should recognise where their help is coming from.

    Pete