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.

Who knew? Keeping roads in public hands works best

Behold a rarity. Some questioning in the mainstream media about privatising everything:

TONY EASTLEY: For years now, toll roads and tunnels have been all the rage in many Australian states. Under the preferred model, the private sector takes the risk, finances the project and earns the profit but critics say the toll road model takes motorists for a ride.

New research suggests governments could do a lot better if they borrowed the money, built the roads and kept the assets in taxpayers’ hands.

AM’s Simon Santow spoke to the study author, economist Dr Nicholas Gruen.

NICOLAS GRUEN: The fundamentals are that if you have got a strong balance sheet and you have got infrastructure needs then you use that balance sheet to borrow the money and build the infrastructure. That is the cheapest way, the most effective way, fairest way to do it.

SIMON SANTOW: Why does it bring benefits to taxpayers that the public/private partnership model doesn’t?

NICOLAS GRUEN: Essentially because the public/private partnership model will be trying to make a return on its investment of 10 per cent, 12 per cent something like that and the state government, even at the beginning of this spree of public/private partnerships was facing long-term cost of debt of about 8 per cent and it is now down to a little over 5 so that is a much lower cost of capital and what a freeway is, is mostly capital.

SIMON SANTOW: Voters are consistently told that the public/private partnership model is more efficient.

NICOLAS GRUEN: Er, yes they are. Well, we are told that by a combination of governments who like the sound of saying that we have got a AAA rating and by banks who are making literally billions of dollars out of public/private partnerships.

SIMON SANTOW: So if in the case of New South Wales, the state government had decided to borrow and do the project itself or finance the project itself, would there have been any danger to the state’s AAA credit rating?

NICOLAS GRUEN: Very early on when this was possible, the state government after the 1990/1991 recession had more pressure on its balance sheet so yes it is possible there would have been a downgrade.

By now we would have been laughing because by now it would be adding over $350 million every year to the New South Wales budget. If we’d built a toll road in Sydney using borrowed money at the sorts of rates of return that you get from a public/private partnership, I think it would be outlandish to suggest that that would do any harm to New South Wales credit rating and over 15 years it would actually strengthen its credit rating because it would return money to the budget.

SIMON SANTOW: How do you then assess more recent toll-road projects like the ones in Brisbane, the Clem7 comes to mind?

NICOLAS GRUEN: Well, look I haven’t look at these things closely so obviously caveats would apply but generally speaking, I mean I am a fan of the private sector. I am in the private sector but building roads is not really a very sensible thing to do for the private sector generally speaking. That is because the asset is mostly capital and because one ends up having to write contracts which cost millions of dollars to write and then constrain the government in making planning decisions for the next 20 or 30 years.

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