The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

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Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2007 - Capitalism - 662 pages
Winner of the 2009 Warwick Prize for Writing
"Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around."
--Milton Friedman
The shock doctrine is the unofficial story of how the "free market" came to dominate the world, from Chile to Russia, China to Iraq, South Africa to Canada. But it is a story radically different from the one usually told. It is a story about violence and shock perpetrated on people, on countries, on economies. About a program of social and economic engineering that is driving our world, that Naomi Klein calls "disaster capitalism."
Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically, and that unfettered capitalism goes hand-in-hand with democracy. Instead, she argues it has consistently relied on violence and shock, and reveals the puppet strings behind the critical events of the last four decades.
"The shock doctrine" is the influential but little understood theory that in order to push through profoundly unpopular policies that enrich the few and impoverish the many, there needs to be some kind of collective crisis or disaster - either real or manufactured. A crisis that opens up a "window of opportunity" - when people and societies are too disoriented to protect their own interests - for radically remaking countries using the trademark tactic of rapid-fire economic shock therapy and, all too often, less metaphorical forms of shock: the shock of the police truncheon, the Taser gun or the electric prod in the prison cell.
Klein vividly traces the origins of modern shock tactics back to the economic lab of the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman in the 60s, and beyond to the CIA-funded electroshock experiments at McGill University in the 50s which helped write the torture manuals used today at Guantanamo Bay. She details, in this riveting - indeed shocking - story, the well-known events of the recent past that have been deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine: among them, Pinochet's coup in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991; and, more recently, the September 11 attacks, the "Shock and Awe" invasion of Iraq, the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. And she shows how - in the hands of the Bush Administration - the "war on terror" is a thin cover for a thriving destruction/ reconstruction complex, with disasters, wars and homeland security fuelling a booming new economy. Naomi Klein has once again written a book that will change the way we see the world.
"The world is a messy place, and someone has to clean it up."
--Condoleezza Rice, September 2002, on the need to invade Iraq
"George's answer to any problem at the ranch is to cut it down with a chainsaw. Which I think is why he and Cheney and Rumsfeld get along so well."
--Laura Bush"
From Chile to China to Iraq, torture has been a silent partner in the global free market crusade. But torture is more than a tool used to enforce unwanted policies on rebellious peoples; it is also a metaphor of the shock doctrine's underlying logic. Torture, or in CIA language "coercive interrogation," is a set of techniques designed to put prisoners into a state of deep disorientation and shock in order to force them to make concessions against their will. ...The shock doctrine mimics this process precisely, attempting to achieve on a mass scale what torture does one on one in the interrogation cell. ...The original disaster - the coup, the terrorist attack, the market meltdown, the war, the tsunami, the hurricane - puts the entire population into a state of collective shock. The falling bombs, the bursts of terror, the pounding winds serve to soften up whole societies much as the blaring music and blows in the torture cells soften up prisoners. Like the terrorized prisoner who gives up the names of comrades and renounces his faith, shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect."
--from Shock Doctrine
 

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User Review  - dypaloh - LibraryThing

A public policy book belonging to the horror genre, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is an impassioned chronicle of greedy, violent misbehavior. Her purpose is to publicize and dissect the “Chicago ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - joannajuki - LibraryThing

My brother was given acid and then bullied and then given about 30 shock treatments for depression while in the US army. I guess I won't send him this book wrapped in gold at Christmas. Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
3
PART
25
Milton Friedman and the Search for
56
PAR T
85
Terror Does Its Work
116
How an Ideology Was Cleansed
138
PART THREE
153
Thatcherism and Its Useful Enemies 155
169
PART FIVE
337
Removing the Revolving Door Putting in
370
PART
389
A Very Capitalist Disaster 410
10
From Blank Slate to Scorched Earth 433
34
PART SEVEN
61
A World of Green Zones and Red Zones
488
Israel as Warning
509

The Packaging of Shock Therapy
185
PART FOUR
203
South Africas Constricted
233
Russia Chooses the Pinochet
262
Russia and the New Era of the Boor Market
295
The Looting of Asia and the Fall of Second Berlin
316
The Rise of Peoples Reconstruction
533
Notes
562
Massacre in China 205
586
Acknowledgments
630
Index
638
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Naomi Klein was born in Montreal, Canada on May 8, 1970. She attended the University of Toronto and began writing there for the student newspaper, The Varsity. Klein was offered a series of editorial jobs in newspapers and magazines and this prevented her from getting a final degree from the university. She worked for The Toronto Globe and Mail and This Magazine. She is an author and social activist, who is known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization. Her books include No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate, and The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. She received the 2014 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction for This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

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