The wonders of the internet. I was informed this week that a leading daily media outlet in Asuncion, Paraguay, Ultima Hora, published a great article about my new book, Profits of Doom. The journalist, Guido Rodriguez, emailed me to explain that the message of the book resonated with many people in his country.
The following is a Google Translate version of the article so read with that in mind:
I would translate the title of the book and Profits of Doom, the brilliant journalist, photographer and documentary filmmaker Antony Loewenstein.
His reading is very timely, because [President] Horacio Cartes has asked to end the antagonism between politicians and businessmen at the top of Panama.
Antagonism What is it?
The problem of the moment is the collusion between businessmen and politicians, forgetting others.
Cartes proposes a public-private partnership as a solution to our problems. Well, this alliance exists in Haiti (Loewenstein tells us) and has allowed the construction of an industrial complex.
Is not it very similar to the industrial complex that our government proposed to build on the Parana to Rio Tinto?
Comparisons aside, the fact is that in the industrial complex of Haiti are paid wages below the legal minimum wage (five dollars per day), and the happy resort aims to become a center for recruiting cheap labor for multinationals.
Needless to say that Haiti is a very poor country with huge problems: it has a 60% unemployment and need to import at least 75% of its rice.
What it shows is that Loewenstein overcoming those problems should not expect the entry of speculative capital.
After the devastating earthquake of 2010, the country received a good amount of dollars in international aid, the results were not as expected.
It was not only because of the inefficiency and corruption that was, but the error in judgment: speculative capital have no interest in developing any poor country.
By the way neoliberal little Haiti’s future, moreover with vast natural resources (gold, copper, zinc), now tempt multinationals.
This author calls the curse of natural resources, thinking about what happened in Papua New Guinea with the arrival of multinational corporations.
The most famous case is that of the Panguna Mine on the island of Bougainvillea, whose inhabitants took up arms against the exploitation of gold and copper which caused tremendous ecological destruction.
Rebels won, but at a high price: thousands of deaths, destruction, poverty. The culprit was the BCL company, formed by the public-private partnership of local government and Rio Tinto.
Iraq and Afghanistan are other cases studied in Profits of Doom. Iraq’s oil wealth is obvious, what is less known are the mineral deposits in Afghanistan, which attract the attention of companies not necessarily charitable.
Another common feature of these two countries was the privatization of war.
For reasons of supposed efficiency, was entrusted to private companies, the food, the intelligence services and security, say the privatization of war.
In late 2012 (says Loewenstein), had 109,000 private contractors in Afghanistan, nearly twice the number of soldiers.
It has the private sector efficiency, but that the mercenaries earn much more than the soldiers of the occupying armies.
Decidedly, this little privatizing model can promise to Paraguay.