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

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
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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.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
October 8, 2007 – Shelved

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message 1: by Phillip (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:00PM) (new)

Phillip Oh my. I knew Milton Friedman and you're no.....actually I did meet him a time or two. Nice guy. I am not a fan of Bush (too wishy washy) and certainly not Wall Street (too many rotten bastards who would sell their mother's teeth) but this 'an important book'? I vehemently think not. Sure Iraq was invaded to boost Haliburton's earnings, everybody knows that, but Katrina--wasn't that an act of Allah? (We're supposed to say Allah now and not 'God' all the time, so the Muslims don't get their feelings hurt). "Actually deliberate measures.....radical free-market agenda." Wow. I think only Superman can save us. Would that he would hit Ms. Klein on the noggin and knock some sense into her. Bill, for a conspriacy to exist in Washington that was (1) not leaked to the press by the Democrats and (2) carefully thought through and implemented by Republicans, there would have to be folks with an IQ over 75 in the District. There isn't.


message 2: by Bill (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:00PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill  Kerwin The fact that you say you have met Milton Friedman does not impress me.

You have misunderstood my review. I said nothing about hurricanes being caused by the Bush administration. I referred to the apparent stupidities with which they pretended to address this "act of God." They caused the stupidities. No doubt about that. "A heckuva job!"

I also said nothing about a conspiracy. Friedman's conception of an ideal free market state--and his influence on prominent Republican think tanks like the Heritage foundation and the Hoover Institution--is well-known. No conspiracy here. Klein just connects the well-known agenda with the civil rights violations and economic dislocations to the system that are present whenever this agenda is superimposed on a culture. This is the insight that makes her book original and valuable.

I will concede this much: in order to write a concise, forceful review, I simplified Klein's argument by using the word "deliberate." Sometimes the dislocations are deliberate; at other times they are merely unplanned welcome bits of chaos that the free market architects can use either to remake the society or--failing that--to steal a heckuva lot of money for themselves.

So . . .read Klein. Be sure to pay close attention. Then, if you don't distort her argument as you have distorted mine, perhaps we will have a basis for discussing her ideas.


message 3: by J (new)

J When interests naturally converge, no outright conspiracy is needed.


Bill  Kerwin Jason wrote: "When interests naturally converge, no outright conspiracy is needed."

Precisely.


message 5: by A.R. (new)

A.R. Simmons I'm not a fan of raw anything-goes capitalism, but the premise of this book seems ridiculous to me. The last time I saw something like this was when I read of the complicated formula by which history was manipulated in an early Isaac Asimov story, perhaps it was in the Foundation series.


Bill  Kerwin A.R. wrote: "I'm not a fan of raw anything-goes capitalism, but the premise of this book seems ridiculous to me. The last time I saw something like this was when I read of the complicated formula by which histo..."

If this seems ridiculous, the fault is mine, not Klein's. I fear my review sacrificed clarity for brevity. Give the book a try. It is much more nuanced and less conspiratorial than my too brief review.


message 7: by A.R. (new)

A.R. Simmons Bill, No offense intended. I'm no fan of President Bush (the younger), but I cannot believe he would do anything to deliberately cause harm to his own people in order to make them malleable.


message 8: by Bill (last edited Aug 09, 2016 04:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill  Kerwin A.R. wrote: "Bill, No offense intended. I'm no fan of President Bush (the younger), but I cannot believe he would do anything to deliberately cause harm to his own people in order to make them malleable."

I agree. Klein is talking not primarily about the disaster relief itself--although she does suggest that sometimes chaos is courted to produce desperation and soften up the public for "free market" solutions--but about decisions made afterward. For example, they tore down public housing units, only slightly damaged by the hurricane, so that the land could be sold to private developers who built high priced condos on it instead. Probably believed the profits would eventually "trickle down."

And Klein shows how this happens throughout the world--not just America--again and again.


aPriL does feral sometimes Don't forget the recorded off-the-record speeches and emails of Wall street types that were made public after the 2008 crash. The arrogance and scorn revealed in emails shows an incredible attitude of superiority and entitlement among rich educated people. I was shocked by their complete lack of empathy. This book demonstrates the results of that kind of feeling and thinking.


message 10: by Doreen (new)

Doreen I lived pre and post Katrina and her concept of sister politics is extremely relevant. Both corporations and Bobby Jindals ruthless austerity measures have contributed to growing poverty and tax cuts for the rich. Charity hospital the only public hospital in New Orleans had no reason to close and 90% of schools in the city are private or charter, none of this was decided by Nee Orleanians. Gains in social services have only been won by the good people who have resisted. Same is happening in Puerto Rico and other so called natural disasters and bye Katrina was a human made disaster, federal neglect of infrastructure led to 30 levee breaches yet the land, the Gulf and its sea life and fauna are exploited for the nation’s increasing dependence on domestic oil and there is little given back


message 11: by Doreen (new)

Doreen Sorry for typos. Writing this while getting my hair done :) Disaster politics could be sister politics.


message 12: by Rossdavidh (new)

Rossdavidh "Never ascribe to conspiracy, that which is adequately explained by incompetence."


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