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Profits of Doom (Antony Loewenstein, MUP)

Inspired by Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, Antony Loewenstein’s new book seeks to expand on Klein’s thesis that powerful business and economic interests exploit disasters to implement their own agenda. Where Klein’s book offered a substantial economic thesis, Loewenstein’s Profits of Doom is rather a series of journalistic pieces investigating the unsavoury places that the unscrupulous do business, and the misery they bring. Loewenstein chooses five areas to investigate, seeking examples of ‘vulture capitalism’. We are taken inside Australia’s notorious detention centres, run by private contractors. At James Price Point in the Kimberley, the locals fight big business interests keen on exploiting the area for its liquefied natural gas. In Papua New Guinea, the Panguna mine’s terrible history is revealed. Reports from Afghanistan and Haiti show how business has taken over security and rebuilding efforts, with the people left out in the cold. Loewenstein is a committed journalist whose work shows sensitivity and balance. He mixes research with on-the-ground reporting, seeking out the truth as experienced first-hand. His writing is absorbing and informative. Profits of Doom is a welcome investigation into the relationship between power and economic exploitation.

Chris Saliba is the co-owner of North Melbourne Books and a freelance reviewer


Category: Reviews