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Naomi Klein quotes (showing 1-30 of 121)

“You actually cannot sell the idea of freedom, democracy, diversity, as if it were a brand attribute and not reality -- not at the same time as you're bombing people, you can't.”
Naomi Klein
“Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“Democracy is not just the right to vote, it is the right to live in dignity.”
Naomi Klein
“A term like capitalism is incredibly slippery, because there's such a range of different kinds of market economies. Essentially, what we've been debating over—certainly since the Great Depression—is what percentage of a society should be left in the hands of a deregulated market system. And absolutely there are people that are at the far other end of the spectrum that want to communalize all property and abolish private property, but in general the debate is not between capitalism and not capitalism, it's between what parts of the economy are not suitable to being decided by the profit motive. And I guess that comes from being Canadian, in a way, because we have more parts of our society that we've made a social contract to say, 'That's not a good place to have the profit motive govern.' Whereas in the United States, that idea is kind of absent from the discussion. So even something like firefighting—it seems hard for people make an argument that maybe the profit motive isn't something we want in the firefighting sector, because you don't want a market for fire. ”
Naomi Klein
“The widespread abuse of prisoners is a virtually foolproof indication that politicians are trying to impose a system--whether political, religious or economic--that is rejected by large numbers of the people they are ruling. Just as ecologists define ecosystems by the presence of certain "indicator species" of plants and birds, torture is an indicator species of a regime that is engaged in a deeply anti-democratic project, even if that regime happens to have come to power through elections.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“People without memory are putty.”
Naomi Klein
“The parties with the most gain never show up on the battlefield.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“In Venezuela Chavez has made the co-ops a top political priority, giving them first refusal on government contracts and offering them economic incentives to trade with one another. By 2006, there were roughly 100,000 co-operatives in the country, employing more than 700,000 workers. Many are pieces of state infrastructure – toll booths, highway maintenance, health clinics – handed over to the communities to run. It’s a reverse of the logic of government outsourcing – rather than auctioning off pieces of the state to large corporations and losing democratic control, the people who use the resources are given the power to manage them, creating, at least in theory, both jobs and more responsive public services. Chavez’s many critics have derided these initiatives as handouts and unfair subsidies, of course. Yet in an era when Halliburton treats the U.S. government as its personal ATM for six years, withdraws upward of $20 billion in Iraq contracts alone, refuses to hire local workers either on the Gulf coast or in Iraq, then expresses its gratitude to U.S. taxpayers by moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai (with all the attendant tax and legal benefits), Chavez’s direct subsidies to regular people look significantly less radical.”
Naomi Klein
“When it comes to paying contractors, the sky is the limit; when it comes to financing the basic functions of the state, the coffers are empty.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“What we have been living for three decades is frontier capitalism, with the frontier constantly shifting location from crisis to crisis, moving on as soon as the law catches up. ”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“The American Society of Civil Engineers said in 2007 that the U.S. had fallen so far behind in maintaining its public infrastructure -- roads, bridges, schools, dams -- that it would take more than a trillion and half dollars over five years to bring it back up to standard. Instead, these types of expenditures are being cut back. At the same time, public infrastructure around the world is facing unprecedented stress, with hurricanes, cyclones, floods and forest fires all increasing in frequency and intensity. It's easy to imagine a future in which growing numbers of cities have their frail and long-neglected infrastructures knocked out by disasters and then are left to rot, their core services never repaired or rehabilitated. The well-off, meanwhile, will withdraw into gated communities, their needs met by privatized providers. ”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“Either greed belongs in a war zone, or it doesn't. You can't unleash it in the name of sparking an economic boom and then be shocked when Halliburton overcharges for everything from towels to gas, when Parsons' sub, sub, sub-contractor builds a police academy where the pipes drip raw sewage on the heads of army cadets and where Blackwater investigates itself and finds it acted honorably. That's just corporations doing what they do and Iraq is a privatized war zone so that's what you get. Build a frontier, you get cowboys and robber barons.”
Naomi Klein
“Like Russia's gangsterism and Bush's cronyism, contemporary Iraq is a creation of the fifty-year crusade to privatize the world. Rather than being disowned by its creators, it deserves to be seen as the purest incarnation yet of the ideology that gave it birth.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“Drilling without thinking has of course been Republican party policy since May 2008. With gas prices soaring to unprecedented heights, that's when the conservative leader Newt Gingrich unveiled the slogan 'Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less'—with an emphasis on the now. The wildly popular campaign was a cry against caution, against study, against measured action. In Gingrich's telling, drilling at home wherever the oil and gas might be—locked in Rocky Mountain shale, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and deep offshore—was a surefire way to lower the price at the pump, create jobs, and kick Arab ass all at once. In the face of this triple win, caring about the environment was for sissies: as senator Mitch McConnell put it, 'in Alabama and Mississippi and Louisiana and Texas, they think oil rigs are pretty'. By the time the infamous 'Drill Baby Drill' Republican national convention rolled around, the party base was in such a frenzy for US-made fossil fuels, they would have bored under the convention floor if someone had brought a big enough drill.”
Naomi Klein
“Regardless of the overall state of the economy, there is now a large enough elite made up of new multi-millionaires and billionaires for Wall Street to see the group as "superconsumers," able to carry consumer demand all on their own.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“What haunts me is not exactly the absence of literal space so much as a deep craving for metaphorical space: release, escape, some kind of open-ended freedom.”
Naomi Klein, No Logo
“Despite different cultures, middle-class youth all over the world seem to live their lives as if in a parallel universe. They get up in the morning, put on their Levi's and Nikes, grab their caps and backpacks, and Sony personal CD players and head for school.”
Naomi Klein, No Logo
“protected businesses never, never become competitive ... Halliburton, Bechtel, Parsons, KPMG, RTI, Blackwater and all other U.S. corporations that were in Iraq to take advantage of the reconstruction were part of a vast protectionist racket whereby the U.S. government had created their markets with war, barred their competitors from even entering the race, then paid them to do the work, while guaranteeing them a profit to boot - all at taxpayer expense.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“The theory of economic shock therapy relies in part on the roleof expectations on feeding an inflationary process. Reining in inflation requires not only changing monetary policy but also changing the behavior of consumers, employers and workers. The role of a sudden, jarring policy shift is that it quickly alters expectations, signaling to the public that the rules of the game have changed dramatically - prices will not keep rising, nor will wages. ”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“Culture jamming is enjoying a resurgence, in part because of technological advancements but also more pertinently, because of the good old rules of supply and demand. Something not far from the surfaces of the public psyche is delighted to see the icons of corporate power subverted and mocked. There is, in short, a market for it. With commercialism able to overpower the traditional authority of religion, politics and schools, corporations have emerged a the natural targets for all sorts of free-floating rage and rebellion. The new ethos that culture jamming taps into is go-for-the-corporate-jugular.”
Naomi Klein, No Logo
“It is eminently possible to have a market-based economy that requires no such brutality and demands no such ideological purity. A free market in consumer products can coexist with free public health care, with public schools, with a large segment of the economy -- like a national oil company -- held in state hands. It's equally possible to require corporations to pay decent wages, to respect the right of workers to form unions, and for governments to tax and redistribute wealth so that the sharp inequalities that mark the corporatist state are reduced. Markets need not be fundamentalist.”
Naomi Klein
“Reconciliation means that those who have been on the underside of history must see that there is a qualitative difference between repression and freedom. And for them, freedom translates into having a supply of clean water, having electricity on tap; being able to live in a decent home and have a good job; to be able to send your children to school and to have accessible health care. I mean, what's the point of having made this transition if the quality of life of these people is not enhanced and improved? If not, the vote is useless.'
-archbishop Desmond Tutu, chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Committee, 2001”
Naomi Klein
“It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“This points to a nagging and important question about free-market ideologues: Are they ‘true believers’, driven by ideology and faith that free markets will cure underdevelopment, as is often asserted, or do the ideas and theories frequently serve as an elaborate rationale to allow people to act on unfettered greed while still invoking an altruistic motive?”
Naomi Klein
“So, if consumers are like roaches, then marketers must forever be dreaming up new concoctions for industrial-strength Raid.”
Naomi Klein, No Logo
“During the Cold War, widespread alcoholism was always seen in the West as evidence that life under Communism was so dismal that Russians needed large quantities of vodka to get through the day. Under capitalism, however, Russians drinks more than twice as much alcohol as they used to - and they are reaching for harder painkillers as well.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“It (the Chinese move to embrace capitalism in 1989) is a mirror of the corporatist state first pioneered in Chile under Pinochet: a revolving door between corporate and political elites who combine their power to eliminate workers as an organized political force. The creation of today's market society was not the result of a sequence of spontaneous events but rather of state interference and violence.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
“More fundamentally than any of this, though, is their deep fear that if the free market system really has set in motion physical and chemical processes that, if allowed to continue unchecked, threaten large parts of humanity at an existential level, then their entire crusade to morally redeem capitalism has been for naught. With stakes like these, clearly greed is not so very good after all. And that is what is behind the abrupt rise in climate change denial among hardcore conservatives: they have come to understand that as soon as they admit that climate change is real, they will lose the central ideological battle of our time—whether we need to plan and manage our societies to reflect our goals and values, or whether that task can be left to the magic of the market.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“By the time the think-tank lifers arrived in Baghdad, the crucial roles in the reconstruction had already been outsourced to Halliburton and KPMG. THeir job as the public servants was simply to administer the petty cash, which in Iraq took the form of handling shrink-wrapped bricks of hundred-dollar bills to contractors. It was a graphic glimpse into the acceptable role of government in a corporatist state - to act as a conveyor belt for getting public money into private hands, a job for which ideological commitment is far more relevant than elaborate field experience.”
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

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