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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster…
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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Naomi Klein

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4,0661041,851 (4.19)121
Member:dsato
Title:The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Authors:Naomi Klein
Info:Metropolitan Books (2007), Hardcover, 576 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading
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Work details

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein (2007)

  1. 30
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    M_Clark: Ramp Hollow looks at the way Appalachia was developed and exploited with the original settlers being progressively marginalized. It shows another side of capitalism long before Milton Friedmann was born.
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English (95)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (105)
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A public policy book belonging to the horror genre, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is an impassioned chronicle of greedy, violent misbehavior. Her purpose is to publicize and dissect the “Chicago School experiment,” by which she means the economic “shock” therapy promulgated and supported by the school of economic thought that she associates most with 1976 Nobel laureate Milton Friedman. She sums up her thesis by writing that “the entire thirty-year history of the Chicago School experiment has been one of mass corruption and corporatist collusion between security states and large corporations.” No pulling punches there.

I read Friedman’s Free to Choose long ago. It was an easy introduction to his notions and influenced my thinking. That title, Free to Choose, represents a colossal irony if we accept Klein’s accusations of the way freedom and citizen welfare are sacrificed to achieve national economic and political transformation through the principles and prescriptions she attributes to the Chicago School. But, should we accept her accusations?

Four prominent demands of the Chicago School are as follows:
(1) Privatization of public enterprises and resources;
(2) Economic deregulation;
(3) Tax cuts;
(4) Deep cuts in government spending.
While people should debate the merits of these demands, I do not see anything inherently immoral about them if the efforts to implement them are done peaceably with consent.

However, as implemented in nations such as Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, South Africa, China, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere, Klein’s version of the Chicago School’s Friedmanomics takes on the garb of some kind of ghoulish Freakishnomics. Her intent is to show that in these countries it meant all or some of the following:
(1) Overthrow of the ruling government, often by violence, even when that government was legally elected by voters in accord with their country’s constitution;
(2) Capture and torture of opponents or presumed opponents;
(3) Terrorist acts against the citizenry, including murder;
(4) Enrichment of the richest classes of the nation, with some high bureaucrats also becoming plutocrats themselves;
(5) Foreign takeover of profitable businesses and gaining of the right to exploit the nation’s natural resources;
(6) Impoverishment of workers;
(7) Discontinuation or diminishment of many social services;
(8) “Debt bomb” detonation to conquer the willfulness of governments resisting Chicago School policies.
All these actions, among other lapses of polite behavior, to be carried out in the interest of multinational corporations.

How about that for an eight-fold path? Feeling the Zen?

This isn’t a program citizens of conscience normally ask their leaders to pursue, so there’s one other crucial element: Sell it as an absolute necessity to the preserving of freedom, peace, prosperity, and security. But also, if doable, skimp on the selling and establish the package by coercive force brought with such speed and rude brutality that it will seem a reckoning brought forth by the gods. SHOCK, baby!

Why, one might as well revert to Aristotle’s contention in the Politics that “hunting ought to be practiced—not only against animals, but also against human beings who are intended by nature to be ruled by others and refuse to obey that intention—because war of this order is naturally just.” Klein might say that’s exactly what has happened.

The question becomes how fair and correct her account is. For example, her reports of better economic outcomes in some countries with “managed” economies come across as supported by cherry-picked data, a common fault of those engaged in political persuasion. Suppose she has done this? Is it enough to justify rejecting her outrage and accepting the shocking eight-fold path she describes? Do her misjudgments about leaders such as Hugo Chavez wholly invalidate the critique?

Prior political inclinations will do much to color how one responds to this book. It’s not perfect. Ambitious books, passionately argued, aren’t. To some readers it will feel like a defamation, which reaches its height in Klein’s account of the war in Iraq. It attempts to revolutionize some of our most confidently (complacently?) held ideas about U.S. and corporate behavior throughout the world. If you are ill-disposed to accepting Klein’s biases or theses, focusing on the acts she describes and asking, “IS THIS WHAT I’D WANT ANOTHER NATION TO DO TO MY OWN COUNTRY?” can still make The Shock Doctrine an informative, dynamic, even necessary reading experience. ( )
  dypaloh | Jul 7, 2019 |
"Instability is the new Stability" - Shock doctrine unravels the neo-conservatism nightmare of deregulated free market policies whose sole purpose is to profiteer from catastrophic calamity ranging from the 70's of breaking down South American countries like Chile , Argentina to Katrina New Orleans to the Gulf war all funded though tax payers . The creation of a new form of rabid capitalism which feeds on the most vulnerable be it privatisation of schools to outsourcing critical defense functions .
Klein goes on to point that this form of virulent economic policies stems from Milton Friedman ideology of total de-regulation in which the market will find its equilibrium thought the cost born would be nothing short of a cataclysmic disaster , currently being played out in the US where an average American family is saddled with massive debts and income in-equality . "Brexit" is another illustration where miss-informed decision by Britain is now being used to de-fund their National Health would fit Klein's Shock doctrine I presume .
Klien's book is replete with examples ranging cross continents over decades but with the same result , very disturbing yet revealing set events - a must read . ( )
  Vik.Ram | May 5, 2019 |
So I'm late to the party. This book, which caught my eye on a second-hand book stall on Blackpool market while I was killing time, doesn't tell me anything of substance about the way the world is run these days that I didn't already suspect, but lordy, did it fill those suspicions with well-researched (a fifth of the considerable bulk of the book is attributions) material to give them solid substance. And to read it even as the missiles came raining down on Libya gave it extra potency.

This is the story of how an economic nostrum, hatched by Milton Friedman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago in the 1950s, came to dominate the world and inflict the tyranny of the big multi-national corporations on it. From an academic theory it gained a toehold in the world through the Pinochet coup in Chile and grew like a deadly virus leaving in its wake millions of dispossessed peasants and the broken, tortured bodies of those who dared to stand up against it. It became international orthodoxy, never missing a chance to ooze into the cracks made by warfare and disaster, sweeping away ancient cultures, snatching land and resources, giving votes in the name of 'freedom' but taking away those things worth voting for, because poor people can't be allowed to vote away the interests of the rich. It's the story of the broken hands of Chilean folk-singer Victor Jara; of farmers decanted into shanty towns around shiny cities with shops full of bling. It's about Sri Lankan fishermen, doubly dispossessed first by a devastating tsumami and then by the subsequent redevelopment of their villages for the international tourist trade, and the poor black people of New Orleans huddled in trailer parks while their old public housing is demolished to make way for post-Katrina condominiums for the rich. It's the heads of Yorkshire miners broken by a politicised police at Orgreave and it's Iraqis freed from Saddam only to face a new tyranny. And it's a whole new global industry growing up to capitalise on disaster and misery. All the while promising the spread of freedom, the new orthodoxy enforced by the IMF and the World Bank cannot tolerate opposition and has need to suppress dissent ruthlessly wherever it's been planted.

I found this an absolutely compelling read. Depressing, yes. I had to put it down for long stretches. There's little hope in it; only at the end is a glimmer of hope becoming evident, with the succession of quiet, democratic counter-revolutions in Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador. One wants these counter-revolutions to succeed, seizing power from the plutocrats on behalf of the people, but one suspects that Hugo Chavez's oil-rich Venezuela is even now in the sights of the restructurers. And in Libya - will there be Tesco in Tripoli, Burgers in Benghazi by the time this year's out?
( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
So I'm late to the party. This book, which caught my eye on a second-hand book stall on Blackpool market while I was killing time, doesn't tell me anything of substance about the way the world is run these days that I didn't already suspect, but lordy, did it fill those suspicions with well-researched (a fifth of the considerable bulk of the book is attributions) material to give them solid substance. And to read it even as the missiles came raining down on Libya gave it extra potency.

This is the story of how an economic nostrum, hatched by Milton Friedman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago in the 1950s, came to dominate the world and inflict the tyranny of the big multi-national corporations on it. From an academic theory it gained a toehold in the world through the Pinochet coup in Chile and grew like a deadly virus leaving in its wake millions of dispossessed peasants and the broken, tortured bodies of those who dared to stand up against it. It became international orthodoxy, never missing a chance to ooze into the cracks made by warfare and disaster, sweeping away ancient cultures, snatching land and resources, giving votes in the name of 'freedom' but taking away those things worth voting for, because poor people can't be allowed to vote away the interests of the rich. It's the story of the broken hands of Chilean folk-singer Victor Jara; of farmers decanted into shanty towns around shiny cities with shops full of bling. It's about Sri Lankan fishermen, doubly dispossessed first by a devastating tsumami and then by the subsequent redevelopment of their villages for the international tourist trade, and the poor black people of New Orleans huddled in trailer parks while their old public housing is demolished to make way for post-Katrina condominiums for the rich. It's the heads of Yorkshire miners broken by a politicised police at Orgreave and it's Iraqis freed from Saddam only to face a new tyranny. And it's a whole new global industry growing up to capitalise on disaster and misery. All the while promising the spread of freedom, the new orthodoxy enforced by the IMF and the World Bank cannot tolerate opposition and has need to suppress dissent ruthlessly wherever it's been planted.

I found this an absolutely compelling read. Depressing, yes. I had to put it down for long stretches. There's little hope in it; only at the end is a glimmer of hope becoming evident, with the succession of quiet, democratic counter-revolutions in Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador. One wants these counter-revolutions to succeed, seizing power from the plutocrats on behalf of the people, but one suspects that Hugo Chavez's oil-rich Venezuela is even now in the sights of the restructurers. And in Libya - will there be Tesco in Tripoli, Burgers in Benghazi by the time this year's out?
( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
a true classic that people refer to routinely. Brilliant discussion of some of the biggest problems our world faces. ( )
  robkall | Jan 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
The Shock Doctrine shows in chilling detail how the free market has been backed up with violence over the last 30 years. I suspect it has stirred up a debate already.

 

» Add other authors (21 possible)

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Naomi Kleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiltsie, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I met Jamar Perry in September 2005, at the big Red Cross shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312427999, Paperback)

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.

"At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq'' civil war, a new law is unveiled that will allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves… Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly outsources the running of the 'War on Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater… After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts… New Orleans residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be re-opened." Klein not only kicks butt, she names names, notably economist Milton Friedman and his radical Chicago School of the 1950s and 60s which she notes "produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today." Stand up and take a bow, Donald Rumsfeld.

There's little doubt Klein's book--which arrived to enormous attention and fanfare thanks to her previous missive, the best-selling No Logo, will stir the ire of the right and corporate America. It's also true that Klein's assertions are coherent, comprehensively researched and footnoted, and she makes a very credible case. Even if the world isn't going to hell in a hand-basket just yet, it's nice to know a sharp customer like Klein is bearing witness to the backroom machinations of government and industry in times of turmoil. --Kim Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:03 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Journalist Klein introduced the term "disaster capitalism." Whether covering Baghdad after the U.S. occupation, Sri Lanka after the tsunami, or New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed remarkably similar events: people still reeling were hit again, this time with economic "shock treatment," losing their land and homes to corporate makeovers. This book retells the story of Milton Friedman's free-market economic revolution. In contrast to the 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. At its the core is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization combined with the privatization of the disaster response itself. Klein argues that by capitalizing on crises, created by nature or war, the disaster capitalism complex now exists as a booming new economy, the violent culmination of a radical economic project that has been incubating for fifty years.--From publisher description.… (more)

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