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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  17,971 ratings  ·  1,601 reviews
In her ground-breaking reporting from Iraq, 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 ...more
Hardcover, 558 pages
Published September 18th 2007 by Metropolitan Books (first published September 18th 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Trevor
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 book.

Klein 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
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James
“The lucky get Kevlar, the rest get prayer beads.”

This is a chilling, writhing outrage of a book. A hideous, squealing beast of a book that cannot and should not be ignored.

Klein 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 oth
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Evan
Nov 07, 2007 Evan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any intelligent person who has read Thomas Friedman
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 Iraq, the tsunami, and hurricane Katrina into a unified theory. Obviously, certain investigative and interpretive biases are required 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 t ...more
Riku Sayuj

"Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent."
~ Mao

I read it once, and I couldn't believe it.

I tried reading it again and I believe it even less.

I 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 more provocative paragraphs.

Thesis: The history of the contemporary free market was written in
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Rhyd Wildermuth
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, worki
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David Gross
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 educated.

Much 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, highw
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Szplug
One of the problems with Klein's bestselling jeremiad against the progressive global implementation of so-called free market policies over the past four decades is her attempts to link them, as a calculated stratagem, to the unsavory experimentation conducted in the fifties and sixties, by the CIA and their associated medical personnel, with personality modification and torture techniques designed to harvest information from subjects after rendering them vulnerable through administering disorien ...more
Joseph
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein is the story of where and how capitalism is evolving in our society. I first heard Klein last week as a guest on Bill Mahr’s Real Time and I was pretty intrigued. I followed that up with watching her TED Talk and a trip to my local library. Klein is a writer, journalist, and film maker. She writes a syndicated column for The Nation and The Guardian, and covered the Iraq war for Harper’s. Her first book No Logo: Taking Aim at the ...more
Chloe
Feb 28, 2009 Chloe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone curious as to why they are now unemployed
As someone who used to consume nonfiction with the voracious appetite of a trucker at an Old Country Buffet, I find it odd and not a little unsettling that, since joining Goodreads, a solid 95% of my reading material has come from the fiction side of the bookstore. While this has definitely helped fill some dramatic gaps in my knowledge, it was with much relief that I tucked myself into Klein's The Shock Doctrine earlier this week. I'd attempted reading this in the heady afterglow of the electio ...more
Amr Hassan


يعتبر هذا الكتاب من اهم الكتب الى ممكن تقراءها فى حياتك .. كتاب به كمية معلومات سياسية وتاريخية واقتصادية مبذول فيه جهد خرافى ..الكاتبة نقلتك من تشيلى وبوليفيا والارجنتين والبرازيل لانجلترا وبولندا لروسيا للصين لتايلاند وسيريلانكا وكوريا وجزرالمالديف الى امريكا وصولا الى العراق ولبنان لتشرح وتفند فكر ميلتون فريدمان والنيو ليبرالية او فكر السوق الحر فكر صبيان شيكاغو الذى يعتمد على اهم ثلاث افكار وهى الخصخصة والغاء تدخل الحكومة تحديد الاسعار او التحكم بالسوق والحد من الاعانات والرعاية الاجتماعية
...more
Will Byrnes

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 technique is for western financial powers to swoop in during a time
...more
Grant
Dec 01, 2007 Grant rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every human on the planet
Shelves: issues, thinking, activism
I would seriously like to see every human on this planet read this book. I can’t think of any other book I would more highly recommend today.

The whole text was rich in the exposing of history and deep analysis. I strongly encourage anyone reading it to stick through to the end. The bulk of the book covers quite terrible things in the world, but the last chapter actually made me very hopeful and inspired.

Utterly brilliant!
Manny
A very disturbing book indeed. I can't decide whether I feel that her paranoia got out of control, or whether it is indeed a fair representation of US foreign policy over the last 30-40 years. A lot of it rings true. Though I hope that the links between torture and economic theory are not as clear as she paints them... that was the part I had the hardest time swallowing. Maybe we will learn more now that the Neo-Cons are going to lose control of the US.

___________________________________


I can't
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Riya
Feb 11, 2013 Riya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody
Shelves: politics
There are many detailed and eloquent reviews of this book already; however, I still feel like I have to write a review about this important book.

I've wondered for years why the world is the way it is. Why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Why countries in Latin America and Africa are so poor and undeveloped. "Geez, South Africa, why can't you just get your s**t together and be like America? In fact, why can't all these countries be like us, what's wrong with them?" Well, ladies and g
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Whitaker
Three recent articles in The Guardian are particularly interesting in the light of Naomi Klein’s conclusions in this book. On the one hand, "'Day of Wrath' brings Russians on to the streets against Vladimir Putin" bears out her thesis of citizen blowback against unrestrained capitalism. So apparently does "How China's internet generation broke the silence". That article, however, goes on to note:

Many in the west see it as self-evident that an increased flow of information will make officials mo
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Maura
Wow. This and Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America, which Klein cited frequently, are the two best books I've read in years.

What's amazing is that none of the historical or current events she covered were really new to me--I read the papers, I'm up on my Latin American history, and I'd had a basic understanding of Chicago School ideology... but she pointed out connections between them all that I hadn't seen before. I felt her analogizes between economic shock therapy and torture practic
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Mark
Dear Naomi Klein,
I recently finished reading your latest book, The Shock Doctrine. Your detailed account of the connections between neoliberal economic policy and the use of violent repression, the decline of welfare states, and the rise of corporatized war and disaster capitalism is compelling. You thread together the recent histories of military brutality in the Southern Cone of South America, union busting in Margaret Thatcher’s England, and the Tiananmen Square massacre in China. Through th
...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Sep 28, 2009 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone - it's a must read!
There is a kind of history that gets overlooked, that doesn't get taught in schools or universities aside from a fourth-year optional course that no one bothers to take. It's a history that is fundamental to understanding our world, both past and present and where the hell we're going. It's a history that touches everyone, regardless of class, gender, race or age, but that slips out the back door before anyone thinks to call it to account, put it on trial and expose its heinous crimes. I'm talki ...more
Mosca
Nov 07, 2012 Mosca rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any who cares about tomorrow
Recommended to Mosca by: Naomi Klein
Shelves: favorites
-----------------------------

Of the books that I have read, there are a small number that are so superb that I hesitate to pontificate my own views, because I realize how limited are my own communication resources in the light of the work's merit.

This book is a good example of that hesitation. I have left this book un-reviewed for almost 4 years now because I have been so moved by the power of Naomi Klein's work.

This book changed my already pretty skeptical view of current capitalism to a much
...more
Becky
Apr 22, 2010 Becky rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE. (I'm not just saying that this time.)
I'm going to begin this review with the most important part: Read this book.

I've wanted to read this book for quite a while, being that I like to think I'm not a complete political dumbass. I know that George "Dubya" Bush's administration was corrupt and a disease-ridden greed breeding-ground. I knew that Dick Cheney isn't to be trusted as far as a paraplegic could throw him, that Dubya himself is far from being the no-brain borderline illiterate that he liked to play on TV, and is beyond devio
...more
Naeem
Jan 10, 2008 Naeem rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like Chomsky, Parenti, and Polanyi
Recommended to Naeem by: paul puhr
The mid-book review (see below) holds up. I have finished the book and it is not a good book. It is a great book. Klein has really achieved something here. Politics, economics, international relations, culture, ideology, and the human capacity to resist domination -- all come together here.

Klein's global range and tremendous detail are really heartening to me.

Below is the mid-book review written a few days ago:

I am up to chapter 11 (out of 22). So this is a mid-book review.

There is much more
...more
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
Because I'm about 3 pages away from returning it to the library, I've all but stopped reading this (and a buddy has told me that there are only specific passages that are worth reading, so I'll go find them, instead). It is so full of ad hominem, straw man, "just-because-it-was-done-by-the-GOP,-free-marketists,-or-people-who-liked-Milton-Friedman,-so-it-MUST-be-bad" arguments that I am wondering what it I am supposed to get out of what feels a lot like a left-wing rant? Klien hasn't actually arg ...more
Bill  Kerwin

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 Iraq and Katrina are actually deliberate measures designed to daze and demoralize people into accepting a radical free-market agenda.
Justin Evans
Klein combines as many as half a dozen good books in this 'book' that's ultimately dragged down by two extremely awful books.

Good: long essays/short books on the history of 'the Chicago School' of economics, particularly as it relates to the World Bank/IMF/WTO; on outsourcing by, and hollowing out of, government between Clinton and the present; on the revolutions of the 'nineties in Poland, South Africa and Russia. And nice short essays on New Orleans and Israel.

Bad: mind bendingly stupid anal
...more
Fahd Alhazmi
على الرغم من النبرة المؤامراتية في الكتاب والجهد الكبير في جمع قرائن كثيرة بما يبدو أنها ادلة على مؤامرة تحدث ، إلا أن النظرية تظل صامدة وقوية امام كل عمليات التشكيك التي تعرضت له. نظرية "الصدم" التي تفسر سلوك المنظمات المالية الدولية مثل البنك الدولي ومنظمة التجارة العالمية تجاه أبرز الأحداث والكوارث الطبيعية بحيث تستغل الكارثة لاقتحام اسواق جديدة للشركات متعددة الجنسيات.

الكتاب يعتمد على (دراسات الحالة) بحيث افردت لكل حالة عشرات الصفحات من دول امريكا اللاتينية الارجنتين والتشيلي والبرازيل وكوبا
...more
Hank Horse
Dec 16, 2007 Hank Horse rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who think capital=god=evolution
Shelves: leftylucy
Klein provides trenchant analysis of the human costs of fundamentalist free-market privatization policies. She gives case after outrageous case.

This book is a valuable tool for understanding the politics and history of the last 50 years.

One aspect of the book I think especially timely is her analysis of torture as a state policy designed to intimidate populations resistant to neoliberal economic schemes. It makes anyone who uses that old "But what if you had a terrorist who knew where a bomb wa
...more
Holly
I started this book half-expecting socialist propaganda. While reading it, I felt compelled to actually look up and research its incredible claims. By the time I finished this book, I found myself changed not only by the history lesson, but by the in-your-face current events reporting and grim foreshadowing of the potential future of every nation--as well as the role of the United States in all of these.

For the first time I have a clearer understanding of the phrase, "If you're not outraged, you
...more
Katie
I can't emphasize enough how important the subject matter of this book is. It took me years of reading and doing my own research to discover what Naomi Klein is able to convey in one very well-researched book. As a young economics student, I was taught (and believed for a time) that an unrestrained market would benefit everybody and that it was circling the globe because it was a popular idea that people in other countries were catching on to. An idealistic picture was painted for me and no oppo ...more
Peggy
An eye opener about Disaster Capitalism as the driving economic export of American economic doctrine first implemented by Ronald Reagan in Latin America. Milton Freedman is it's founder and started the Chicago School of Economics. We have exported this form of economic torture and destruction of the underclasses for the great enrichment of the upper-classes world wide. The book is well documented and a gripping, terrifying thrill ride into our darkest impulses. It is at the heart of the NeoCon m ...more
Gordon
Authored by Canadian journalist and anti-globalization crusader Naomi Klein, this book quickly became an international bestseller in 2007. The global financial crisis that started the following year didn't hurt its sales either, given its title and subject matter.

The thesis of the book is that right-wing elites take advantage of political, economic and military crises in order to enact wholesale, rapid makeovers of a country's political and economic system. She believes that the underlying phil
...more
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Naomi Klein is a Canadian journalist, author and activist well known for her political analyses of corporate globalization.

The Shock Doctrine has been translated into more than twenty languages. It was a hardback bestseller in Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, nominated for multiple awards including the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the New York Public Library Bernste
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More about Naomi Klein...
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“Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves.” 63 likes
“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.” 27 likes
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