Friday, August 14, 2015

Human Misery = Great Profit Opportunities!

A conservative columnist for the Chicago Tribune says Hurricane Katrina was a blessing in disguise. I’ll let that sink in. What does she mean?

Conservatives are pleased when bad things happen to other people. Hurricanes create investment bargains! Human misery = profit opportunity!

Which explains why Rick Santorum drew applause from the conservative base when he said rape could be a blessing in disguise. Bad things happening to other people can be translated into good things happening for you if you are paying attention, if you're right-thinking and sufficiently heartless.

It’s happening in Greece too. Crisis and misery tends to draw vulture capitalists eager for quick profits and easy bargains. If you discover someone is down for the count. Why help them? Why not use them as a stepladder to a better life?

This is the core idea behind Disaster Capitalism. Disaster = Profits

Republicans, conservatives, the 1%, venture capitalists. They all view terrible events happening to other people as great business opportunities for themselves. The Guardian wrote about this bizarre investment class cheerfulness while New Orleans was still underwater.

Because the ups and downs of fortune are just the natural course of events. The downturns may seem awful to those nobodies experiencing it firsthand, but they are too shortsighted to see the bounty being reaped by the blessed few God has put in a safer position. The investment class is wiser and more able to view these ups and downs philosophically. “Let things unfold as nature intended. Let the weak fail. It makes America stronger to weed out the less deserving and the unlucky." That’s a common view among the 1%. Disaster for others represents a windfall for them.

But their opinion changes when the disaster happens to them. (Through no fault of their own, of course.) When they face difficulties help must be sent immediately. Because they hold hostages. We are all hostage to the fortunes of the rich. If they fall they fall on us. Here's a list of the huge corporate bailouts working Americans have paid for, and corporate CEOs have put in their own pockets. Still, it had to be done. The alternative would have been worse.

Timely help in New Orleans might have been a good thing too, but it would only have helped regular people. Most of whom had negligible net worth.

The important thing is to rescue property. And in New Orleans what the money people discovered was letting the poor drown made it possible to scoop up bargains. Property on the cheap. Blocks of soggy historic downmarket houses ready to be cleared out and replaced with warehouses for Walmart and other corporations, or with more attractive apartment blocks suitable for new, more prosperous citizens more likely to be Republicans.

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