How disasters can lead to a rise in authoritarianism


Puerto Rican City Reels From Natural Disasters, Loss of Tourism Image: Orange tape surrounds the Museo de la Masacre de Ponce, which highlights the massacre of Puerto Rican nationalists before a march in 1937. It’s one of several museums closed as a result of damage from this year’s quakes and aftershocks. Coraly M. Cruz Mejías, GPJ Puerto Rico Full story:

Why California’s wildfire year could be the worst in decades

California may experience its worst year for wildfires in decades, climate experts say, pointing out that it has already battled two of the three largest blazes in its recorded history during an intense heatwave this month – even before the peak season begins.  Record temperatures have exacerbated the state’s ongoing drought and triggered dry-lightning that started more than 700 fires, some in redwood rainforests and Joshua trees that do not normally burn.

Firefighters had a grip on the three largest blazes on Friday in the San Francisco Bay Area but warned residents to prepare for fall winds that typically drive the state’s largest fires.

With more than 1.6 million acres blackened this year, climatologist Zach Zobel said California was on track to overtake the nearly 2 million acres burned in 2018, when the state suffered its deadliest wildfire and the most acreage burned in records going back to at least 1987…


How disasters can lead to a rise in authoritarianism

In her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine, Canadian author Naomi Klein introduced the theory of ‘disaster capitalism’, in which neoliberal policies are pushed forward through the exploitation of disasters. A disaster, certainly, is an opportunity to exploit.

A more dangerous kind of exploitation often triggers ‘disaster authoritarianism’, especially in countries where democracy is weak or fragile.

The anti-liberal Russian philosopher and political operative Alexandr Dugin, who is a leading promoter of Eurasianism, believes that the coronavirus is creating a post-globalist, illiberal and anti-democratic world of sloshed societies, and we have entered a multi-polar world where authoritarianism will set the tone.

Normally, natural disasters are usually characterised as local-level events without major political consequences. However, one year ago, researchers from Durham University Business School, Deakin Business School and Monash School of Business, Malaysia, observed a link between natural disasters and oppressive governments…


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