Late in the narrative Klein takes us to the immaculate gated community of Sandy Springs, Georgia. This republican suburb north of Atlanta incorporated itself to (Klein says) avoid paying taxes that would support the mostly African-American poor in Atlanta. CH2M Hill was hired to administer the town’s accounting, reports, and planning, as Sandy Springs stepped as far as possible out of wider community participation and government control. And so emerged a wealthy, prosperous, closed – literally gated and protected by a security company – community amongst nearby pockets of great poverty.
Klein reports a similar ‘green zone’ community near New Orleans, seemingly untouched by the outside world, more shocking for the nearby devastation and decline of social funding caused by Hurricane Katrina. She points out that the giant firm CH2M Hill has been in charge of building and operating similar enclave communities in Georgia, New Orleans, Iraq, and Sri Lanka as well - with all the comforts money can by, safe from unwelcome neighbours, behind security fences.
Klein sees these green zones as the final destination of disaster capitalism and the ideology of free market privatisation. The wealthy behind the walls are better equipped to deal with disasters, ride out economic fluctuation, and have the skills to continue pulling money into their circle. As money begets money and power begets power, such a community prospers even as neighbours may decline. So “beautiful, perfectly functioning, up-scale communities can exist in the midst of poverty and destruction” because they divorce themselves from government interference and taxation, and take advantage of others with less resources. This thanks to a market that can’t regulate for equality because that would be ‘interference.’
Witnessing the savings and gentrification experienced by Sandy Springs, neighbouring cliques began to consider following that example. To an extent, Israel can be viewed in light of this phenomenon, both in relation to internal poverty, its relation to Palestine, and the turmoil in surrounding countries. “This discarding of 25 to 60 percent of the population has been the hallmark of the Chicago School crusade since the “misery villages” began mushrooming throughout the Southern Cone in the seventies.” The “rich just get better at building walls.”
One to remember: The green zone phenomenon “may partially explain why so many Bush supporters are Christian end-timers. It’s not just that they need to believe there is an escape hatch from the world they are creating. It’s that the Rapture is a parable for what they are building down here – a system that invites destruction and disaster, then swoops in with private helicopters and airlifts them and their friends to the divine safety of the green zone.”