Whitaker’s review of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Brad (new)

Brad Nicely said, Whitaker.


message 2: by Rosana (new)

Rosana I too enjoyed your review very much.


message 3: by Buck (new)

Buck For some reason, I always had this impression that you were some kind of wild-eyed radical, but this review is remarkably sane. I'll be voting for it--tomorrow (damn quota).

I'm curious: what does Klein have to say about Canada? The last time I looked out my window, things were pretty good here. When exactly were the Friedmanites presumed to have brought our economy to its knees?


message 4: by Whitaker (new)

Whitaker Buck wrote: "I'm curious: what does Klein have to say about Canada? The last time I looked out my window, things were pretty good here. When exactly were the Friedmanites presumed to have brought our economy to its knees? "

Well, she says that sometime in 1993, Canada was apparently touted as facing a debt crisis which would soon lead to a ratings downgrade. The solution proposed was to cut welfare programs like unemployment insurance and health care.

She reports that it turns out the debt crisis was faked. A handful of think tanks funded by the largest banks and corporations in Canada, particularly the CD Howe Institute and the Fraser Institute, kept issuing reports that Canada was facing a debt wall caused by too much social welfare, and hence it was therefore critical to cut such programs. Faced with this, the Liberal Party acted to cut the programs.

She reports that Moody's analysts disagreed strongly with these false reports and, though facing immense pressure from these corporates to downgrade, issued a special report stating that there was in fact no debt wall saying that the reports "grossly exaggerated Canada's fiscal debt position. Some of them have double counted numbers, while others have made inappropriate international comprisons". Apparently immediately after that, "one Canadian...from a very large financial institution in Canada called [him:] up on the telephone screaming at [him:], literally screaming at [him:]."

Not true?

Buck wrote: "I always had this impression that you were some kind of wild-eyed radical"

Moi? (He exclaimed, with one hand posed theatrically yet fetchingly on his chest.) LOL!


message 5: by Buck (new)

Buck True, there was a debt crisis in the early 90s, whether manufactured or not I don't know. But let's give Klein the benefit of the doubt and assume it was cooked up by a nefarious right-wing cabal. Here's where the pesky "nuance" comes in: within a few years of imposing austerity measures, the Liberal government was posting huge budgetary surpluses, at which point they started funnelling money BACK into social programs, while setting up a contingency fund to meet future shortfalls. So by the time the economic shitstorm hit in 2008, Canada was well-positioned to ride it out and avoid going belly up like so many other economies. (Ironically, the current Conservative government, which includes a number of neo-con fellow travellers, has been spending like a bunch of frat boys at Mardi Gras.)

So whatever those evil, cigar-chomping capitalists were up to, the net result was: a robust economy, a decade of balanced budgets and, by the by, a banking system that hardly turned a hair at a time when U.S. banks were crashing and burning on a daily basis. Would that we had a few more such evil capitalists.

No doubt my little narrative is a tad triumphalist, and I suspect we've been lucky more often than we've been good. And believe it or not, I'm no more sympathetic to neo-conservatism than you are. But I'm even less sympathetic to the conspiracy-mongering of Klein and her ilk. I'm not convinced that the best antidote to right-wing nuttiness is left-wing lunacy.


message 6: by Whitaker (new)

Whitaker Hah! This is what I love about GR - the exchange of information and ideas. And, yes, I'm completely in agreement with you on your last sentence.


message 7: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Good review Whitaker.


message 8: by Whitaker (new)

Whitaker Stephen wrote: "Good review Whitaker."

Thanks, Stephen.


message 9: by Reagan (new)

Reagan Fantastic review.


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