Franz's Reviews > The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
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's review
Jul 17, 11

Read in June, 2011

Criticisms of Klein’s book seem to fall into two categories. One is that she is unfair to Milton Friedman, that he did not support or condone the economic policies undertaken in Chile after Pinochet took over after the coup or the alleged cheerleading of repressive regimes in Latin America and other regions where free market economists transformed the national economies and consequently led to the torture, murder, or disappearance of tens of thousands. Friedman may have been innocent, but his disciples were not. The other criticism is that she got some of the facts wrong.

Let’s grant that these criticisms are justified. But that does not undermine what I believe is the main thesis of the book: that economists and autocratic leaders used free market rhetoric (the key word here is “rhetoric”), often sincerely but too often cynically, to change their countries economic system for the worse. The beneficiaries were not the people, but the elites in the countries involved and large corporations who exploited the free market rhetoric to their own advantage. Some of the most damaging effects of this rhetoric occurred in Iraq under the American occupation where tens of billions of American taxpayer dollars were paid to mostly American corporations for infrastructure construction that either was not built or was so poorly constructed as to be worthless. No one credible, as far as I know, has argued to the contrary.

It’s worth noting that other writers, such as Joseph Stiglitz, make similar arguments as Klein, although from a more economically sophisticated perspective.

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