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.

Handy definition of vulture capitalism right here in Australia

Good piece in today’s Sydney Daily Telegraph that tackles head-on the reality of private corporations that make a fortune by allegedly assisting the most vulnerable in the world and yet:

Just seven corporations have raked in a staggering $1.81 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts under the booming foreign aid program.

But the lack of scrutiny of their achievements and the huge sums being provided to agencies like the World Bank, which receives $450 million last year, is under challenge.

Aid experts and the opposition are demanding greater accountability of the money spent to tackle global poverty.

GRM International, which recently hooked up with the global Futures Group, had $500 million in AusAID contracts listed during the past 18 months, including $92 million to encourage Africans to study in Australia.

Cardno, which lists former defence chief Peter Cosgrove on its board of directors and which reported a record $59 million profit last year, holds $442 million in contracts, including two Indonesian deals worth nearly $100 million.

And Coffey International, which boasts to shareholders how the Gillard government is “spending more” on foreign aid, booked $353.4 million in contracts, including $31 million to try to weed out corruption in Papua New Guinea.

The dividends for shareholders and executives will grow even fatter with Australia’s aid budget forecast to soar to about $8.5 billion by 2015/16.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has pledged to spend record sums trying to tackle poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries. But the hefty rise in spending is causing resentment among some of his ministerial colleagues, who question how wisely the money is being spent.

According to analysis of contract information listed on the government’s AusTender site, SMEC International, which grew out of the Snowy Mountains scheme, had $202.9 million in contracts listed since July 2010, including a $55 million contract for public transport evaluation in Papua New Guinea.

Huge amounts of foreign aid money are encouraging global firms to establish Australian arms – including the US-based URS which had $170 million listed in contracts. This includes the $110 million Strongim Pipol Strongim Nesen scheme – a five-year partnership with PNG to deliver programs in health, education and gender equality.

Overall, the money being paid to private sector corporations, known as “managing contractors”, has dropped to about 20 per cent of AusAID’s overall budget. But aid experts are questioning the checks and balances in a program growing faster than any other area of the commonwealth budget.

2 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    Much of the money being paid to Indonesia is to build more refugee prisons and pay IOM.

  • examinator

    Sorry Antony,
    I am disappointed with this offering . IMO it's neither a good story or good journalism
    If we de-construct the article there is:
    – a pile of BIG numbers (ya someone's got a hand out from the government). One thing I've noticed about governments is that they tend to deal in BIG numbers. Have you seen the number of old aged pensioners? It means nothing without a context.
    – no perspective, nothing to prove if its good or bad. i.e. what were the outcomes?
    – What are the side benefits to Australia, the benefit to local industries?
    -What we have is an exceedingly oily final sentence [“But some aid experts (who ? Competence to comment ) …..are questioning (Based on what? Facts?) …..the monitoring”]. In short its innuendo ( the aid expert a right wing think tank gnome perhaps? I'm sure they're going give the govt a tick on anything …remember Tony NO! )

    At best the 'story is under cooked', sloppy journalism, at worst it the type of sensationalism over “big numbers” (boogie man) to scare the great unwashed implying there' may (or may not) be something wrong.

    Big numbers for (non Australian) aid oogie boogie …now that will upset the conservative ill informed rump.
    Then throw in some corporations and their in 'buzz' word title that'll (emotionally alienate) send the loony left into a tizz .
    It's the short of article that makes me not read Australian papers.
    Let's be clear You and anyone who reads my posts should know That I don't trust corporate mindset or their predilection for feasting at the teet of and at the cost of the unfortunate either, but let's not descend to Judge Roy Bean justice just yet.