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.

Dollar continues to fall from grace

The day is fast approaching when the US dollar will no longer carry any significance internationally.

Argentina and Brazil, South America’s two largest economies, will drop the U.S. dollar in favor of a regional currency in their bilateral trade starting in October 2007, Argentine Economics Minister Felisa Miceli said.

The countries’ transition to a new currency, as yet unnamed, is part of a pilot project by the South American continent’s major trade alliance, Mercosur, to replace the U.S. currency in internal transactions with money of its own, Miceli said.

There are regular reports of countries divesting themselves from the dollar and now it appears even US investors are noticing the trend.

The combination of a weakened dollar and foreign stock markets that consistently have outperformed the American market has given American investors the push to put record amounts of money into overseas securities.

The trend is an alarming one. There is every likelihood this could lead to a financial meltdown that would have serious implications for the world economy.

5 comments ↪
  • While I agree with your fears about the threat to the US (and by association, the Oz) economy, I have a couple of quibbles, and also a couple of points that supports the thrust of your argument.

    1. Support for the US dollar has been maintained (in significant part) by the Chinese investment in US bonds, which in turn keep US consumers spending, and increasing the US deficits. The Chinese ("wisely" in the view of The Economist) have started to diversify investment in the US to include equity. If the Chinese (and Japanese) stopped buying US bonds, the US (and Australian) dollars would drop in value significantly.

    2. I disagree with your statement "There is every likelihood this could lead to a financial meltdown that woudl have serious implicating for the world economy", as asian consumption (of things like mobile phones and other non-subsistence items) is rising dramatically, and as The Economist noted, within a few years a collapse of the US economy would dent, but not damage, the world economy. Already, even Europe is considered "resilient" to a US downturn.

    3. If you are talking about "financial meltdown" in currency markets and derivatives (including the noxious and ever-more-popular credit-default instruments), that is probably no bad thing, given the up-side down pyramid of money by notional value. (I think the notional money in derivatives on any day exceeds world GDP by nearly 10:1). I think that if more attention was given to investing in real equities rather than derivative gambling, businesses in the real world that provide goods and services might be managed better – to everyone's benefit.

  • Ajay

    Sorry Andre, the trend is not alarming, only the fact that the correction is so long delayed. By dint of the US$ status as a reserve currency, the US has been able to just running the printing presses at full steam for the last 35 years, so they are thoroughly addicted to this anti-market manipulation.
    From US$35/oz Gold in 1975 to now ~US$650/oz, thats a 95% loss of value or roughly 20%/annum inflation. Now that's really sound fiscal management.
    Yes everyone else is playing the game, once they got over the shock of the new rules, in the late 1970's, but the rest of the world was trading real goods and services while the US was running a global protection racket.

    The price for this service is really high – how long do we all go on paying up to this bankrupt Mafiosi?

    Can you see anything positive in these numbers? http://mwhodges.home.att.net/summary.htm

    And this is our Great Leaders Shining Light on the Hill?

  • Andre

    Ajay,

    By alarming, I was referring to the shock we are in for. Mist Americans believe what they are being told about the US economy, which is being propped up by massively inflated Ponzy schemes called hedge funds. As you know, these are incredibly massive. Add to that Greenspan's delirious mismanagement and the treasury printing money at such a rate that they are no longer even reporting it, and it all begins to look like one huge train wreck waiting to happen.

    They say that when the US sneezes, the rest of the world gets a cold. Why would this be any different?

  • Ajay

    Absolutely true Andre. We can only hope that the Greater Asia economies have sufficient depth to keep the world ticking over, while the USA does a USSR style reconstruction or liquidation.
    Ten years ago, it would have been total global disaster – now, it would actually mean that capital that is being tied up, to prop up this basket case, could instead to diverted to creating or satisfying real demand within Asia. The EU is capable of trading with and investing in Russia and Asia as a sound longer term investment, along with the emerging South American Market.

    It may be rough – but it will prove that ther can be a world without the Hyperpower to dictate and destabilise. It may well be a better and more equitable world, because of that reality – certainly it could not be worse for the great bulk of people.

  • Andre

    Let's hope you're right Ajay,

    It sounds good in theory, but the thing about stock, equity and financial markets is that they are run on 20% reality and 80% sentiment. The US has always served as some kind of security blanket for speculators.

    In the case of Asia's vast US dollar reserves (particularly China), we have a case or 2 interests with a vice like grip on each other's balls. Neither can afford to apply too much of a squeeze on the other, nor can they afford to let the other fall.

    Apart from Europe, there are some powerful trading blocks developing that exclude the US, such as the Shanghai Trading Corporation Organisation (STCO), not to mention the developments in Latin America. We can only hope that these will be sufficiently robust to withstand the fallout of a US economic collapse.

    What is truly remarkable however, is that so few investors are adjusting their interests to protect themselves against the fall. As has been demonstrated so many times (e.g. the dot.com crash), if and when it does happen, there will be a huge number that will be caught unaware.