The War economy of the world


In 2016 the world's nations spent more on military preparedness, weapons, and war than on any other expenditures. Nearly two trillion dollars per year are consumed for purposes of military deployment by all nations around the world.

An examination by Naomi Klein.

"Then there are the . . . fortunes of the oil sector–a $40 billion profit in 2006 for ExxonMobil™ alone, the largest profit ever recorded, and its colleagues at rival companies like Chevron were not far behind. Like those corporations linked to defense, heavy construction, and homeland security, the oil sector's fortunes improve with every war, terrorist attack and Category 5 hurricane."

"...the oil industry has consistently managed to turn disasters into long-term advantage, whether by ensuring that a large portion of the reconstruction funds in Afghanistan went into the expensive road infrastructure for a new pipeline. . . to plan the first new oil refineries in the United States since the seventies."

p. 538.

Deriving profits from the "disaster capitalism-complex."

"An economic system that requires constant growth, while bucking almost all serious attempts at environmental regulation, generates a steady stream of disasters all on its own, whether military, ecological or financial. The appetite for easy, short-term profits offered by purely speculative investment has turned the stock, currency, and real-estate markets into crisis-creation machines, as the Asian financial crisis, and the Mexican peso crisis and the dot com collapse demonstrate."

"Our common addiction to dirty, nonrenewable energy sources keeps other kinds of emergencies coming...."

p. 539.

"I call these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, 'disaster capitalism '."

p. 6.

"For more than three decades, [Milton] Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock, then quickly making 'reforms' permanent."

"He observed that 'only a crisis–actual or perceived–produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.' Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas."

p. 7.


Chile 1970s–Pinochet coup d'etat, New Orleans in 2005–hurricane, Sri Lanka in 2004–tsunami are all examples of "shocks" and opportunities.

Why shock?

"He [Milton Friedman] coined a phrase for this painful tactic: economic 'shock treatment.' In the decades since, when governments have imposed sweeping free-market programs, the all-at-once shock treatment, or 'shock therapy,' has been the method of choice."

the term is after Eduardo Galeano
"How can this inequality be maintained if not through jolts of electric shock?"

p. 8.

"Exactly thirty years after these three distinct forms of shock descended on Chile, the formula reemerged, with far greater violence, in Iraq. First came the war, designed, according to the authors of the Shock and Awe military doctrine to 'control the adversary's will, perception, and understanding and literally make an adversary impotent to act or react.' Next came radical economic shock therapy, imposed while the country was still in flames...."

pp. 8-9.

"When Iraqis resisted, they were rounded up and taken to jails where bodies and minds were met with more shocks, these ones distinctly less metaphorical."

" was clear that this was now the preferred method of advancing corporate goals: using moments of collective trauma to engage in radical social and economic engineering."

p. 9.

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, NY: Picador, 2007.



Dewey | Greider | Come Home America | Kennedy | Dean | economy | labor | current education