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Corporations Profiting Big From "Reconstruction Projects" in Poor Countries: Naomi Klein

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Issue: 28 Section: International News Topics: development

April 18, 2005

Corporations Profiting Big From "Reconstruction Projects" in Poor Countries: Naomi Klein

by Sandy Hager

From Iraq to Haiti, and Afghanistan to Aceh, Canadian journalist Naomi Klein has castigated disaster and post-conflict reconstruction projects as a way for "a familiar cast of consulting firms, engineering companies, mega-NGOs, government and UN aid agencies and financial institutions" to reap huge profits at the expense of reconstruction efforts.

According to Klein, the reconstruction industry is not only profiting from this form of "disaster capitalism," but it is "stunningly inept" at rebuilding as well.

Klein says that a contributing factor to the rise of "disaster capitalism" is the increasingly dominant role played by the World Bank in disaster and post-conflict reconstruction, an area which Klein notes "has traditionally been the domain of UN agencies."

Twenty to 25 per cent of World Bank funding now goes to post-conflict nations, and the loans are often used by the Bank to "lock in" government commitments to neo-liberal policies.

In one example cited by Klein, Haiti was required to let private companies run schools and hospitals in order to secure a $61 million (US) post-conflict loan.

Klein claims that similar approaches are being taken by the World Bank to nations recovering from last December's tsunami. Loans given to these countries are to be spent on the "expansion of tourism and industrial fish farms, rather than rebuilding small-boat fisheries," while privatization is encouraged in the realm of public services.

The Guardian (Naomi Klein): Allure of the Blank State

The Nation (Naomi Klein): The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Kashar News: NGOs baking cake, eating it

The World Bank: Homepage

The Whirled Bank: Homepage

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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