Disaster capitalism describes the process of private industries springing up to profit from large-scale crises, according to Naomi Klein, who popularized the term in her influential 2007 book The Shock Doctrine. Is this what we’re seeing now with the coronavirus pandemic?
To explore this question, Ali spends the hour with Vincanne Adams, professor of medical anthropology, who has written extensively about disaster capitalism in post-Katrina New Orleans. They discuss how moments of crisis both reveal and exacerbate pre-existing cracks in our political and economic systems—and the problem with letting free-market logic and for-profit solutions guide recovery.
Vincanne Adams is professor and vice-chair of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of many books, including Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina (Duke University Press, 2013).