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In her ground breaking reporting from Ira Naomi Klein exposed how the trauma of invasion was being exploited to remake the country in the interest of foreign corporations She called it disaster capitalism Covering Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami and New Orleans post Katrina she witnessed something remarkably similar People still reeling from catastrophe were being hit again this time with economic shock treatment losing their land and homes to rapid fire corporate makeovers The Shock Doctrine retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time Milton Friedman's free market economic revolution In contrast to the popular myth of this movement's peaceful global victory Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies in so many parts of the world from Latin America and Eastern Europe to South Africa Russia and Ira At the core of disaster capitalism is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization combined with the privatization of the disaster response itself By capitalizing on crises created by nature or war Klein argues that the disaster capitalism complex now exists as a booming new economy and is the violent culmination of a radical economic project that has been incubating for fifty years

10 thoughts on “The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

  1. says:

    There is a part of me that would like to make this review a bit funny This is a deeply disturbing book I’ve a preference for humour as a means of confronting the deeply disturbing But I can’t bring myself to say anything remotely funny about this bookKlein compares some psychological experiments torture by any reasonable definition of the word carried out in the 1950s in Canada funded by the CIA off US soil so they could plausibly deny they were researching torture in which patients were blasted back to virtually a blank slate by sensory depravation and electric shock treatment to US foreign policy in countries such as Chile in the 1970s and Ira todayIf you had forgotten just how evil unconstrained capitalism is – it is time to read this book If you are concerned that the world seems to believe democracy free markets – it is time to read this bookFor two decades it has been abundantly clear that the greatest danger facing the world is the ideology that likes to call itself Economic Rationalism but is better described as Radical Free Market Economics This is the view that any restraint placed on the free operation of the market – from fixing minimum wages to environmental standards to health and safety controls in the workplace – are by definition wrong and counterproductive This view states that governments are by definition wasteful and unnecessary This view is an attempt at justifying unmitigated greed as if it was a universal good It is about destroying all vestiges of democracy and God knows those vestiges are today meagre indeed in our society and handing over all power to corporations If you are not troubled by the shift in power in the world away from governments elected by the people for the people to corporations created out of greed for greed – then you really need to turn off American Idol and start looking around yourselfKlein takes a series of increasingly distressing ‘case studies’ in which ever purer forms of radical free market economics are applied in times of crisis across the world – invariably with devastatingly negative results invariably the opposite of what is predicted by the neo liberals She points out that without a crisis such as 911 or Katrina or the War in Ira – such policies would never be allowed to be implemented But come a crisis people are so shocked by what has just happened to them that they are prepared to forgo their democratic rights so things can be ‘fixed’ The problem is that these bastards don’t want anything fixed They want to apply shocks because that is the only way they can get rid of democratic structures that stand in the way of them handing over the wealth of our nations to themselves The Corporate raping of Ira as depicted in this book is only slightly less shocking than the Corporate raping of New Orleans Perhaps I found the stuff about New Orleans shocking because it was Americans doing this sort of thing to their own people I know I’m naïveThe descriptions of torture in the book are too much to take I’ve never been able to distance myself enough from the victims of torture to be objective about it I believe it is the core of the democratic spirit – the notion that the sufferers of torture are our brothers and sisters and the perpetrators of torture reuire justice to be enacted against them – that immediately has me siding with the tortured We have a moral responsibility to stop our government from using our tax dollars to torture people If morality means anything at all – this is the minimum it can meanKlein documents that the torture used throughout the world by US client states has a long history going back to experiments done in the 1950s in Canada and have clearly become part of US foreign policy If we are to be on the side of democracy then we must force our governments to stop using torture against the citizens of other countries Particularly when these citizens are asking for what should be granted to them immediately – the right to reclaim the benefit of their own natural resources from foreign owned corporationsThere are so many lessons in this book but the major one is that if people stand up against these greedy lunatics then we can stop them We can reclaim our dignity and redistribute some of what has plundered from us The criminal waste of tax dollars by these corporations in both Ira and New Orleans is almost beyond description In the book Ira is at one point referred to as the Free Fraud ZoneThe world we live in today is increasingly becoming divided between those who have and are kept secure behind walled suburbs and those who have not and are forced to live without the basic necessities of life We need to understand that my security is enhanced by making the world safer for you That life isn’t about who ends up with the most stuff they don’t need or the biggest bank account or the fastest car but that we are social animals and so what is good for all is also what is good for usAs I said this is a deeply disturbing book – but also an incredibly important one

  2. says:

    Using shock treatment as a metaphor Klein analyzes the importance of economic dislocations and disasters to the success of Milton Friedman's free market philosophy This is an important book and shows why the apparent stupidities of the Bush administration in Ira and Katrina are actually deliberate measures designed to daze and demoralize people into accepting a radical free market agenda

  3. says:

    This was a very illuminating work about how chaotic situations are used and sometimes created as cover for the imposition of drastic economic and political reorganization in vulnerable economies The end product of these actions is a so called free market model as advocated by the Chicago School of Milton Friedman and his acolytes Examples used include Chile China Argentina Bolivia South Africa Russia among others The techniue is for western financial powers to swoop in during a time of financial crisis and refuse to lend a struggling nation any money until that nation agrees to a radical reworking of its economy This reworking is done in a shock with many changes instituted all at once with little or no warning These changes as they are draconian toward the lower classes usually need to be accompanied by severe political repression in order to enforce the transition What we see here is the mechanism of a growing form of corporatist colonialismKlein parallels her examination of the stresses endured by many national economies with a look at actual literal personal shock treatment In the 1950s a researcher named Ewan Cameron did research on his theory that instead of Freudian therapy a effective method of treating mental illness was to erase the patient’s personality using electric shocks Then the blank page would be receptive to reconstruction by the good doctor The shocks caused amnesia and extreme regression Cameron devised a new tool one that applied six shocks at once and even used a wide range of drugs to disorient and wipe clean as much of the patient’s personality as possible Once the subject was reduced to a vegetative state Cameron played them tapes dozens maybe hundreds of times over The CIA took note and launched a program of its ownShe posits a parallel between treatments that serve to erase personality with the economic and political shocks that struggling nations are forced to endure shocks that are part and parcel of the move from a developmentalist economy one that seeks local control and self sufficiency to a globalist economy one in which foreign investment in and ownership of local enterprise is encouraged While I found that at times Klein extended her discourse beyond the reach of her material her analysis of the subject matter is compelling her linkage of different forms of shock personal political economic illuminating and the applicability of her work to the current economic disruptions frightening Despite its subject matter this a compelling and relatively fast read It should be mandatory reading for anyone concerned with politics economics world affairs or current eventsEXTRA STUFFAugust 4 2011 the following article has particular relevance not only for the international implementation of TSD but to its application within the USA It is an interview with Dr Michael Hudson a guy who has been ahead of the curve for a long time on the roots of current economic atrocities June 18 2012 Joe Nocera's NY Times column on how ALEC based programs are gutting democracy in Rhode Island

  4. says:

    I only got about ¼ into this I don't like the shifty way Klein argues her points I felt like I was being propagandized rather than educatedMuch of her main “shock doctrine” argument seems to be just sort of a tightly woven set of linguistic parallels that are meant to suggest causation Something like Hitler had the autobahn built The autobahn allowed drivers to finally race where they wanted to go Hitler crafted what he thought of as the final solution to a race problem So you see highway systems are part and parcel of genocideYou see electroshock is a mostly discredited method of treating mental illness that results in profound disorientation and amnesia Electric shocks are also used to torture people in despotic regimes People recommending against gradual economic reforms have used the metaphor of “shock treatment” to describe rapid all at once changes Ergo these sorts of economists are like torturers trying to mess with our mindsShe also uses the term “free market” — the bête noire of her book — to cover just about any economic circumstance she doesn’t like whether there’s anything free about it or notOn the one hand the free market villains swoop in after disasters to inflict their “three trademark demands — privatization government deregulation and deep cuts in social spending” and on the other hand this often than not gets illustrated with examples like the US paying huge sums of money to such corporations as those who provide various contracting services in Ira You can call that bad but don’t call it “privatization government deregulation and deep cuts in social spending” And certainly don’t call it “free market” anything

  5. says:

    “The lucky get Kevlar the rest get prayer beads”This is a chilling writhing outrage of a book A hideous suealing beast of a book that cannot and should not be ignoredKlein has dropped the curtain on an ugly malevolent Wizard When these kind of curtains drop we never like what we see Like so many of these kinds of leftist exposes on conservatives the Bush Administration the neocons and their rabble this book needn’t have been written Orwell wrote it already But better than any other book of its kind Klein makes it so painfully obvious that these necons who have grabbed control of the reins of this wild mustang of a country and who disdain the government so much have absolutely no business governing Something is indeed rotten when Destruction and Doom is this profitable It’s Cowardly it’s Un American it’s Weak and it is Lazy If Reading is Sexy this book is a tour through a decrepit brothel with Klein as your guide to point out the perverse fetishes and hemorrhaging syphilitic tumors rupturing on the sides of our society Klein’s story is an epic and sprawling Indictment providing exhaustive analysis and criticism of the disastrous economic policies pursued in Latin America Poland China South Africa Ira New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and in Asia after the tsunamiThe Shock Doctrine is the story of Milton Friedman and his “Chicago School” of economic policies Led by the US and its incestuous inbred offspring the IMF the World Bank and the WTO Friedman touted an economic policy that came to be termed The Washington Consensus It was resoundingly embraced by neocons under the ideal of spreading “freedom” to countries at their most dire by installing the triumvirate of Friedmansism 1 privatization outsourcing 2 free tradederegulation and 3 a cut in government spending What Klein does a very good job of illuminating throughout her book is that what these neocons refer to as economic freedom does not euate to nor provide for human rights and civil liberties Economic freedom free trade is not a panacea for the world’s ills A blind faith in capitalism is not enough A dictatorship of communism or fascism is revealed to be the same as a dictatorship of Business As Klein’s gruesome story unfolds across the world the main tenets of this “shock doctrine” cease to be privatization deregulation and pay cuts but instead Exploitation Opportunism Manipulation and Corruption Such economic polices only survived when democracy was suppressed As Klein explains“Once you accept that profit and greed as practiced on a mass scale create the greatest possible benefits for any society pretty much any act of personal enrichment can be justified as a contribution to the great creative cauldron of capitalism generating wealth and spurring economic growth – even if it’s only for yourself and your colleagues”No The Average Joe does not benefit from such disaster capitalism People like you and I do not get anything out of such tactics and the citizens of countries where such horrendous laws are put into place certainly do not benefit No The benefits go to firms like Halliburton Bechtel and Blackwater who swarm around the government salivating for no bid contracts like junkies pacing the sidewalks outside a methadone clinic Never have Disparity and Hypocrisy sung so depressing a duet We have Socialism in America but not for the poor that would be Socialism No our handouts go to Rich Friends The poor are getting poorer The rich are getting richer Private firms greedily gobble up no bid government contracts from their fat cat robber baron puppet leader friends straight out of corporate America now sitting in big chairs in corner offices for the U S of A The outsourcing and branding that was successful in the private sector was introduced to the public sector Big Business and Big Government are in a Big Bed fucking to their dirty pig heart’s contentSo Irai Freedom was really about opening up a new market for private multi national corporations to reap absurd profits It is a crude obnoxious tactic and a new level for war profiteers And once those tactics had failed in Ira they were used in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck Like the pathetic drunk at the Roulette Wheel Bush and his cronies are nothing than stupid kids who don’t learn foolishly insisting that “they’re due”War profiteers should be treated like the drunk driving child molesting pervert Losers they areWe all know that the Emperor Has No Clothes But now it doesn’t matter Our Leaders are Blind Deaf and Dumb anyway They are dressed fed entertained and put to bed by Outsourced Contractors“When it came time to update the Army Manual on the rules for dealing with contractors the army contracted out the job to one of its major contractors MPRI – it no longer had the know how in house” Most disheartening is that these people seem to have lost their sense of humor Irony is clearly lost on them All hope is lost Send them back to a small liberal arts college and have them suffer through an anthropology major or somethingKlein again and again asks the right uestions from a different perspective A good critic Klein consistently analyzes events and actions to determine the cause for which they are indicative of Torture? What is that symptomatic of? What is torture serving? That is the ill what is the disease the cause that needs to be cured?Klein’s prose is dense and exacting exerting the thorough confidence of a straightforward journalist asking the right uestions about the right topics from a refreshingly different perspective Given her subject matter you actually wish she’d allow herself a little personal rage some occasional vitriol and human madness But no Klein is a cool character calmly exposing the atrocities and mistakes of our Modern Era She even uotes Rilke Brecht and the rapper JuvenileThis book belongs on your shelf next to The People’s History of the United States of America but Klein is hardly the storyteller that Zinn is But like Zinn’s magnificent and important work The Shock Doctrine is about the Little Man the Worker the Poor the Forgotten The Shock Doctrine continues on in that great and noble canon that is for The RestDespite such a sprawling probing work that can at times wander and leap across themes and arguments Klein can be uite poignant when she drops the complex and well constructed debate in favor of keen observations Observing the “reconstruction” following the Asian Tsunami disaster Klein observes “What it looked like was hundreds of thousands of poor brown skinned people the fishing people deemed “unproductive” by the World Bank being moved against their wishes to make room for ultrarich mostly light skinned people the “high yield” tourists“One thing was certain though if peace was to take root in Sri Lanka it needed to outweigh the benefits of war including the tangible economic benefits flowing from a war economy in which the army takes care of the families of its soldiers and the Tamil Tigers look after the families of its fighter and suicide bombers”We are fighting the same exact problem in Ira That’s the West for you we figured out a way to get Peace But it’s War CheersSome day Historians will find the non fiction books written about this era and probably mistake them for the plays of some raving mad lunatic genius the next Shakespeare But no unfortunately our Humiliation and our Embarrassment are Real Klein is haunting making you realize that we live in a world where“Survival is determined by who can afford to pay for escape”

  6. says:

    This is an ambitious book It tries to tie the economic politics of Chile Argentina Bolivia in the 1970s Russia Poland China South Africa in the 1980s and early nineties the war in Ira the tsunami and hurricane Katrina into a unified theory Obviously certain investigative and interpretive biases are reuired to make this work Third world nationalism and developmentalism in general get off pretty easy in Klein's analysis As a specialist in Indonesia I found her portrayal of the Suharto regime as a betrayal of the somehow viable Sukarno regime a bit evasive let us not foget that Sukarno was also an ideologue who ran the nation's economy into the ground in the name of fighting neo colonialism Making me wonder just how she'd cooked the books in analyzing numerous other countries whose histories I don't know so wellThat said it offers a very provocative perspective tying together some of the most significant events of the past uarter century The thesis simply put is that the economic theory championed by Milton Friedman and his Chicago School first play tested in the third world in the 1970s has increasingly come home to roost in the West and Bush's America The gist of the theory according to Klein is a total rejection of Keynesian economics ie the New Deal approach to combatting recession through government spending In contrast the three guiding principles of the Chicago School are deregulation privatization and cutbacks Sound familiar yet? Transferriing as much of the public sector as possible to the private sector eliminating government regulations of business cutting back on services protections and other economic benefits to the workforce The problem as Friedman and his disciples realized early on is that voting citizens don't actually want any of this and will not vote for neoliberal policies through any normal free democratic process The solution? Make democracy abnormal Through shock and awe Wait for or instigate a state of crisis and emergency ie war natural disaster mass torture revolution and then implement neoliberal policies outside or in many cases in direct contradiction to democratic will However as we have discovered most recently in Ira such tactics don't tend to settle down into widespread prosperity for ordinary people Rather neoliberal governments find that if they let democracy operate normally again they lose power Which is why the United States ended up supporting so many dictators In the name of spreading free market democracyThere are some sharp notions in this book I'm particularly taken with Klein's generalization of Red ZoneGreen Zone to talk about zones of normalcy and nightmare created by neoliberal policies from Ira to post tsunami Sri Lanka to New Orleans She also offers a persuasive refutation of the claim that we the US did the Marshall Plan in Europe but when we tried it in Ira Arab Muslims just couldn't handle it Rather while the Marshall Plan was rooted in Keynesian economics we rebuilt Europe's governments and public infrastructure reconstruction in Ira has been an anti Marshall plan dismantling the Irai state and contracting all its functions to US corporationsThe REAL problem of this book is how to present arguments like these to anyone who doesn't already concsider themselves anti globalization liberals I think that any intelligent person who has read Thomas Friedman and found his arguments somewhat persuasive should read this book too and decide what sounds most persuasive for themselves Unfortunately I think most people will look at the jacket cover endorsements from Howard Zinn Studs Terkel et al and make a snap call for the usual ideological reasonsTHAT is not good for America

  7. says:

    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent MaoI read it once and I couldn't believe itI tried reading it again and I believe it even lessI want to honestly And I feel as strongly as the author that The Shock Doctrine is changing the world But it runs in the face of all economics I have been taught and I find myself scorning and muttering 'alarmist' to some of the provocative paragraphs Thesis The history of the contemporary free market was written in shocks Some of the most infamous human rights violations of the past thirty­ five years which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by anti democratic regimes were in fact either committed with the deliberate intent of terrorizing the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for the introduction of radical free market reformsŽižek's take The imposition of a full market economy is thus rendered much easier if the way to it is paved by some kind of trauma natural military economic which as it were forces people into shaking off their old habits;' turning them into an ideological tabula rasa survivors of their own symbolic death ready to accept the new order now that all obstacles have been swept away And one can be sure that Klein's shock doctrine holds also for ecological issues far from endangering capitalism a widespread envi­ronmental catastrophe may well reinvigorate it opening up new and hitherto unheard of spaces for capitalist investmentI will now read Seth Godin to recover

  8. says:

    It's 2007 and Naomi Klein builds a rather convincing argument about modern governmentalcorporational trendsI've personally never seen it laid out so baldly but after having read several dozen of political books perhaps an euivalent number of documentaries and a lot of otherwise independent research into the topics herein I'm willing to concede that she has a very valid pointWhat is the point?Modern economics theories are used to lay out a rather obvious plan of mass looting They're constructed as laissez faire Chicago School of Economics which looks great on paper letting the invisible hand of Adam Smith regulate all markets In practice putting it into effect under the heading of Democracy or Liberation or whatever they want the big heads of the Chicago school are backed with the CIA big corporation interests and a single additional theory that makes the whole thing gel togetherWhat's this extra theory? It's simple They believe as they have learned from their lessons in briefly earlier psychology research that the best way to heal a patient is to first break their minds and bodies starting them out on a tabula rasa and then rebuilding from the rubble So many have uoted the belief that the only way to get real change is after a disasterNever mind that the original torture victims in McGill college that underwent sensory deprivation LSD PCP punctuated with ECT and blaring noise did not come out of the experience uite sane Most of them never recovered But THIS was the original study that they based their first great experiment on Export the school of thought to Chile and when it didn't uite take destabilize the government assassinate Allende and install Pinochet On Sept 11 1973 They used shock and awe destroyed infrastructure and people went hungry and were terrorizedGuess who got a Nobel Prize in economics?It's worse The dictatorship was atrocious but the big corporations were given leave to move in and rape the economy loot anything of value while allowing Pinochet to take the lion's share turning him into an Oligarch overnight A decade later Chile once sporting one of the most impressive resumes of a growing and happy populace could barely stand on its own But the corporations got RICHJump ahead to Russia right as Communism is going defunct The same Chicago school economics of Free Market offers them a deal Businesses will loan expertise and open market doctrines and massive loans but be sure to destabilize everything first When enough blood is on the ground and people are terrified starving and giving up everything they ever owned then offer them a deal they can't refuse Capitalism on a plate that promises everything that the European nations and America has to offer since Communism is dead When democracy is offered but capitalism is competing capitalism beats anything Enter a capitalism backed coup corporate sponsorships everywhere and a promise that our new leader will be able to make himself and a handful others into some of the top 30 ranked richest people in the world opening up Russia to free trade on a scale never seen before the only way to keep it going is by looting the population And it did What was the number? 14 million homeless children? Think about that At least under communism there WAS something like a middle class Now it's only the super rich and the survivorsCLEARLY this is an AMAZING outcome for the Chicago School Companies got rich The stock market had a field day supporting the victors Everyone was shaking everyone else's hands Except for the rest of the 99% of course They went hungry A reported 50000 AIDS victims exploded into 15 million over the space of a couple of years Clearly everyone was having a partyBut the rich got richer Remember what happened during the Ira War part 2? Privatized war with every single aspect of the war delegated to private companies except for the troops themselves 90% of every contract went into overhead contractors subcontracting up to four times until there was no longer any money left for doing the work And easily if you look back on the actual work for the reconstruction either it was not completed in 85% of the cases or what did get finished was at half capacity after a year ALL work and workers were brought in from the outside Corporations tried to set up McD and Walmart unloaded big screen TVs on the streets that were lined with rubbleShock and Awe Come on The purpose is to drive them all into a permanent state of helplessness or create an environment of terrorism Against them But heck as long as we can brew terrorists this way each one wanting to get revenge or at the very least JUSTICE for this travesty 650000 dead For Oil For the free market For the freedom of a hoard of corporations to come swooping in and install a Free Trade Zone where profits just kept comingLet's ignore for a moment that every cabinet member in the presidency at that time had vested and current interests in the very same corporations that made the most money on Ira Or that America inflated its debt many times over to pay for the graft looting and amazing incompetence while leaving the door open to keep ALL of the contractors out of the legal crosshairs of ANY country while walking away with astounding paychecksIgnore the fact that most invasions if they're NOT there to loot will actually set aside troops to protect national heritage There is a lot of proof that the national museum holding artifacts thousands of years old was specifically excluded from that protection list which is why troops sat by and watched as so many truckloads of priceless artifacts were spirited away Later even now only 20% have ever been recoveredWe can add Hurricane Katrina to the list The same contractors for Ira came in to help out taking government money pulling the same exact crap and then leaving the job almost completely undone We're talking BIG money too But look on the bright side All that land can now be cleared out to build new condos Tons of companies swooped in to reclaim the land And they did And a lot of them were linked intricately to the SAME people who were supposed to REBUILD for the original inhabitantsSorry folks couldn't do the job You're gonna have to find a new place to live My brother here wants the land for his new McDYep first you need to have a disaster If you don't have a disaster make one If you can build compounds and Green zones and make sure you give enough fodder to create a simmering cauldron of hate that you can regularly call on to rise up and smash down with your brand new war machine And make sure it keeps on simmering too right ISIS? We need a reason to keep getting the latest euipment to protect our super rich bunkersIt's great economics as long as your real intention is to get extremely rich It's not good economics if you want long lasting sustained prosperity It's the looter's creed Make situations you can profit from Make sure you always negotiate from the ultimate position If that means making sure the rest of the world has a foot on its neck then that's all for the best That's GOOD NEGOTIATION TACTICSLaissez faire to these guys means taking away all the safety nets They're the same ones gutting social security social protections and basic food and health for the poorest people in our first world nations They want no government or to turn all governments into shells with no power to do anything They've stated this creed a million times They want social darwinism at its worst Keep everyone so shock and awed that they can take everything Absolutely everything Let's judge an idea not on its stated ideal Let's judge an idea based on its actual practice If this wonderful ideal says it works best after a disaster flawlessly re establishing the free hand of the market then by their own writings we should have seen a flowering of cooperation self interest coinciding with everyone else's self interest and a natural growth of blanket prosperity that effects everyone involved It's pretty I've read many great books on the Chicago Style of Economics and loved them But let's look at the ACTUAL FACTS of its implementation There has never been a free hand of the market The big banana corporation pressured America to secure its economic freedom America got it's most famous laissez faire economists to embark on a campaign assisted with a ton of money integral CIA support and a bunch of extra vultures hanging in the wings smelling blood in the water When the blood splashed and buildings with the elected government were murdered all the looters moved in Of course back in the day it was all ideological garbage Sticking it to the communists bringing in democracy Ignore the fact that they just bombed a democracy and Pinochet the dictator came in got rich and entered a very profitable loot cycle with the outside vultures It begs the uestion If each and every time they bring in the Chicago School of Economics they always bring the same result then maybe we ought to uestion their motives MaybeI'm just waiting for other enemies of this paradigm to get their own shock and awe Left leaning college campuses? Gay bars? All they need is a disaster They can wait for it and exploit it like with Katrina but they're perfectly willing to orchestrate them too And give you wonderfully idealistic reasons why you should let them murder you too Dark right? But real You've seen these looters in the housing bubble The banking crisis It's big Very very big You can complain about transgenders in bathrooms all you like but the really scary bits are right here And they can take us all down Eually

  9. says:

    spoilers ahead but it's not fiction so don't worry about itWhere do I begin? This is a failed Noam Chomsky bookFirstly Klein is working with a strange definition of capitalism When the free market economists who Klein refers to like Friedman and Hayek talk about capitalism they are referring to an economic system free of government intervention Klein however uses the word capitalist to refer to the current economic model– one in which governments and corporations work in tandem to exploit the general population Edit I realize that capitalism has multiple definitions but the problem is that Klein uses a different definition from the economists she is criticizing which makes her entire criticism seem like an assault upon a strawman Klein has essentially built a book around conflating capitalism with corporatism This is fairly subtle in the first chapter but reaches a point of real absurdity towards the end of the book There is a clear distinction between the policies advocated by HayekFriedman and George W Bush Klein purposefully obfuscates thisThe Shock Docterine starts out criticizing Milton Friedman for his activities in Chile This is at least understandable because Friedman did in fact visit Chile and advise Piñochet However this is or less where the facts begin and end She soon moves on to dubious claims for instance blaming Friedman and his acolytes for the Ira war in particular a war he expressly opposed and the military industrial complex in general It should be obvious to any reader that this sort of alliance between business and government has little to do with free markets private property rights or capitalism as defined by Chicago or Austrian school economistsBy the end of the book she really goes bonkers She details the plight of several Sri Lankan fishing communities Here is the story as she presents it A hurricane hits Sri Lanka destroying many coastal settlements Hotel companies see an opportunity decide to take possession of the coastal property which has been conveniently cleared of all those pesky villages The hotel companies move in and take possession of the beaches When the villagers protest the government police force defends the newly acuired beaches on behalf of the hotels using violence The villagers are reduced to living in poverty and sualor because their land was stolen from them by the alliance of hotel companies and governmentIn summary The hotel companies used the government to steal the private property of the fishing communities And this is supposed to be an example of free market practices that Hayek and Friedman would approve of See the issue I'm having?A modified version of this book would actually make for an apt criticism of corporatism which is why I was tempted to give this book two stars However the problem here is far deeper than a confusion of terms She actually ascribes neo Conservative ideas to Libertarian or Classical Liberal thinkers The Shock Doctrine is essentially the strawman from hellAnd for that it earns 1 star

  10. says:

    I just finished The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein It came out months ago and I would’ve read it sooner had it not cost 45 dollars in Canada Much of the information meticulously detailed in the book was already available in Harper’s Magazine and DemocracyNow though never put together so throroughly She begins her book with a discussion of a canadian woman who endured several years of experimental psychiatric work under the authority of David Cameron working in a Canadian Hospital under contract with both the American CIA and the Canadian Defense Department to discover the ways in which the human mind breaks down under electro shock regression and general mind fucking lightless cells limited outside contact meals served at odd times oatmeal for dinner soup for breakfast all announced as appropriate to the time of day to disorient the patient She checked in for anxiety discharged with memory loss incontinence and regression to a toddler mind setMost of these experiments were part of MKUltra most well known for the use of LSD less well known as the foundation for all present interrogation tactics in the War onof Terror The tactics show up again in every country where the US has in some manner been involved in training police or military people to combat first communism than leftism See Chile Argentina El Salvador Columbia Mexico She ties this both metaphorically and literally to the Chicago School the group of economists and theorists taught by Milton Friedman who believe in the free market as the only scientificnatural system for human traderelations Friedman believed that the free er a market is no government regulations no consumer protections no corporate taxes the free the people in that market will be Democracy and Self Rule are synonymous then with limitless profit taking no minimum wage no state services etc But there was a problem one that he himself admitted Time after time people kept demanding from their governments or forming their own that there be a minimum wage there be an 8 hour work day that water be cheap or free that electricity and infrastructure be state or people run Democracy kept tending towards mixed economies state or community controlled electricity oil water schools etc as well as worker protections and land re distribution and numerous small businesses rather than corporate conglomerates So then what to do?Milton found an effective answer Shock the fuck out of them Already we knew that pain applied correctly will disorient people Disoriented people don’t fight back nor can they even uite understand what’s happening around them until they regain their footing At least 45ths of the book are devoted to the history of shocking local and national movements into disorientation Some of the shocks were manufactured violent coups international currency manipulation some were hijacked revolutions South Africa Russia Poland and some were natural disasters the Tsunami a few years back New Orleans but with always the same result foreign companies buy up everything in sight plunging already impoverished and disoriented people into further pain and poverty? Chile Salvador Allende democratically elected to be President of Chile was assassinated by a US supported coup by Augusto Pinochet on Sept 11 1973 Pinochet’s economic advisors were all from the Chicago School and when he came to power he began selling off national resources the mines the banks the infrastructure to foreign companies To take care of the pesky problem of people fighting back he with CIA trained soldiers arrested and tortured thousands of enemies of the state stealing children from prisoners and adopting them out to supporters of the coup ? Argentina and Uruguay Similar situation Some highlights included burning universities and killing professors destroying copies of books by Marx and Neruda Ford Motor Company took out adverts in Argentinian newspapers to support the coup Ford commits itself to the struggle to bring about the great destiny of the Fatherland they were uite happy with the end of unions in their factories many union leaders were actually tortured in the factories themselves? Poland I’m old enough to remember the strikes in Poland by Solidarity a workers’ union led by Lech Walesa but it isn’t surprising I didn’t actually know what they stood for I assumed just as the media suggested that all those polish workers were striking for democracy and capitalism Wrong Their platform was Socialism yes; Corruptions of Socialism no they wanted worker control of the state run factories and businesses not a free market economy But when they won no government would forgive the former communist state’s debts and they had no money Enter Jeffrey Sachs Bono calls him my professor who offered a massive infusion of international cash with a slight catch a do or die proposition actually take the money and privatise everything or don’t take the money and have your new people’s government topple Lech Walesa took the first and faced massive revolt from the supporters of Solidarity losing the next election to a proto fascist party who promised to kick out Jeffery Sach’s and the IMFWorld Bank but instead started expelling immigrants arresting gays etc? South Africa The African National Congress Mandela etc ended Apartheid with promises to re distribute land give ownership of the gold mines and other resources to workers But just as they were negotiating their relatively bloodless coup the white south african government negotiated economic policies with the IMF and World Bank ensuring that such a thing would never happen When the ANC came to power they suddenly found that there was no money to even turn on the electricity in the black ghettos because almost all of their budget had to go towards paying down international loans the white government had taken out and taken with them when they lost power? Sri Lanka Images of the tsunami that destroyed thousands of shanties on the beaches led millions of people to give money to the relief effort But much of that money was channeled into the tourism industry If you gave money there’s a damn good possibility you helped re build a surfer hotel Indigenous fishers aren’t allowed on the beaches any for safety while hotels got a lot beachfront to build on they’re exempt from the 200 meter buffer zone? Ira Another created shock it was called Shock and Awe remember? Paul Bremer the viceroy of Ira’s provisional government sold off every Saddam era industry he could find barring Irais from buying them The de baathification barring Baath party members from jobs didn’t affect many of the high level party leaders former generals were appointed to mayorships by Bremer but did keep thousands of teachers doctors professors and soldiers from working The opposition to the oil law is depicted in the media as an ethnic suabble though every group agrees they want no foreign companies owning their oil That however is not an option the US will tolerate Oh and remember the purple fingers? Ira had already held elections spurred on by Bush’s declaration that he was bringing democracy to Ira Those elections were annuled sometimes violently because the US wanted to pick the candidates Wonder why there wasn’t sectarian violence until Paul Bremer started passing laws? Look at the laws he passed? New Orleans A natural shock turned into the perfect laboratory for free market ideals Schools were privatised hospitals closed permanently Neighbourhoods that had already begun rebuilding were bulldozed to make room for private developments Reconstruction companies including Bechtel and Halliburton refused to hire locals can’t account for most of the money we gave them and in many cases brought in immigrants from Mexico and didn’t pay them after they did the work This is all of course a very short summary 466 pages of indictments over one of the most absurd games that has ever been played and one that we didn’t get dealt any cards for and we’re not even certain why we’re sitting in the casino Capitalism is not a natural system is not the same thing as Democracy and doesn’t make everyone’s life better Why the think tanks and the Freidmanites why Jeffery Sachs and Bono and Ayn Rand and all their ilk are given prominate discussion places within newpapers radio and television without once having to answer for the immense suffering their policies have caused while a bunch of black folk watching their jobs and homes destroyed are just being lazy why Morales and Chavez and Correa in South America are all dangerous dictators to be overthrown and the people who vote from them who know intimately the history of the American Alternative torture poverty drug wars are dangerously misled all of this is to keep us complicit in Capitalism’s war against people’s movements everywhere