In her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, journalist Naomi Klein traces a pattern in which economic “shock therapy” is used to gain control for large-scale corporate enterprises when the public is disoriented by wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters. Klein’s book reads like a catalog of situations in which corporate interests have waited in the wings and set the stage to take advantage of some kind of disaster.
For the past five years, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has been setting the stage that way for southern Central Valley agribusiness to profit from a predicted disaster in the Delta. Nothing would serve their purposes as well as a flood or seismic event that gave them a clean slate in the Delta. And if they can’t have the disaster itself, threatening the public with disaster can work almost as well.
Now the PPIC is at it again, cherry-picking data and misrepresenting facts to support a major transformation of the Delta benefitting people who want water somewhere else.
As usual, their latest report, “Transitions for the Delta Economy,” is presented as an academic project, funded by The Watershed Science Center at UC Davis. But there’s some laundering going on here. Page 62 of the report explains that the study was paid for by the Delta Solutions program funders, which once again includes the Stephen Bechtel Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
So it seems this time rather than checks going directly to PPIC from these pro-peripheral canal foundations, checks floated through the University and then to PPIC. Restore the Delta believes this is a worsening scenario because the average person will simply believe that the study was financed by an unbiased educational institution without a hidden agenda. And if there is nothing to hide, then why aren’t the funders on the cover?