Excellent op-ed in the L.A. Times today by Naomi Klein who you may recognize as the author of "The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism", note the link to the article above.
The book was published in September of last year and now resides high on my must read list.
Her op-ed piece starts as a critique of some of the wackier rightwing ideas about "economic stimulus" that are floating around in the wake of the recognition (shock!) that the U.S. is deep in a recession. In describing these schemes she just happens to to present the thesis of her book.
A crisis hits, panic spreads and the ideologues fill the breach, rapidly reengineering societies in the interests of large corporate players. It's a maneuver I call "disaster capitalism."
That's the gist of it, a kind of opportunism that brings about changes which would otherwise be enormously unpopular. She cites several disasters that made such changes possible; 9-11, Iraq, Katrina.
Every crisis is an opportunity; someone will exploit it. The question we face is this: Will the current turmoil become an excuse to transfer yet more public wealth into private hands, to wipe out the last vestiges of the welfare state, all in the name of economic growth? Or will this latest failure of unfettered markets be the catalyst that is needed to revive a spirit of public interest, to get serious about the pressing crises of our time, from gaping inequality to global warming to failing infrastructure?
A good question, I recommend this article and if that proves interesting check out this video.