A Dossier on Disaster Capitalism and Haiti

Just three days after the January 10, 2010 earthquake activist and journalist Naomi Klein alerted her readers to the impending ways in which capital would use Haiti’s crisis as a means for exploitation and accumulation. “Readers of the The Shock Doctrine know that the Heritage Foundation has been one of the leading advocates of exploiting disasters to push through their unpopular pro-corporate policies,” Klein wrote on her blog. “From this document, they’re at it again, not even waiting one day to use the devastating earthquake in Haiti to push for their so-called reforms. The following quote was hastily yanked by the Heritage Foundation and replaced with a more diplomatic quote, but their first instinct is revealing:

“In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region.”

Klein’s warning was prescient. With the aftershocks came the shock doctrine and, as outlined in the dossier of articles below, crisis and neoliberalism have found a miserable unity in post-earthquake Haiti.

•   •   •

Benjamin Dangl, “Profiting from Haiti’s Crisis: Disaster Capitalism in Washington’s Backyard,” Toward Freedom (January 18, 2010).

Alec Dupuy, “Disaster Capitalism to the Rescue: The International Community and Haiti after the Earthquake,” NACLA: Report on the Americas (July-August 2010), 14-19, 42.

Mark Schüler, “Haiti’s Disaster after the Disaster: The IDP Camps and Cholera,” The Journal of Humanitarian Assistance (13 December 2010).

Matt Kennard, “Haiti and the shock doctrine,” Open Democracy (14 August 2012).

Anthony Lowenstein, “Foreign Powers Hollow Out Haiti,” New Matilda (28 September 2012).

Ama Biney, “Haiti: Capitalist Plunder and Empty Promises,” Black Agenda Report, (16 Jan 2013). 

Jesse Hagopian, “Seismic Imperialism: Haiti’s Buried Cry for Help on the Third Anniversary of the Earthquake,Black Agenda Report (16 January 2013).

Keir Forgie, “US Imperialism and Diaster Capitalism in Haiti,” Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism, Maximilian C. Forte, Ed., (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), 57-75. 

Mark Schüller and Julie K. Maldonado, “Disaster Capitalism,” Annals of Anthropological Practice (6 October 2016) [$$$]

Image: Marriott Hotel, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Ciara Ferrie architects in collaboration with Hugh Murray Architects.

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