Weblog Archives

  Monday  December 31  2007    08: 05 PM

book recommendation

The Shock Doctrine:
The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

by Naomi Klein

I've recommended a lot of books that explore the shitstorms coming at us. If you are going to only read one (You are going to read at least one, aren't you?!), this is the one.

The Shock Doctrine

On this website, you can receive the latest news about Naomi Klein's latest book, The Shock Doctrine, read reviews, and see where you can purchase a copy. ShockDoctrine.com is designed to serve as a living companion to the book for readers who want to delve deeper into the book's material and themes, and who want to see the evidence for themselves.


The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Naomi Klein takes us on a lengthy journey from the shock doctrine to disaster capitalism. By the time the journey is completed, you might well feel that you have been given the map of Alice's Wonderland and with an audience with the Queen thrown in for good measure. You might even think the Queen is kind of terrifyingly sane in her own way—sane, but very dangerous.

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, is nothing less than a re-reading of American foreign and economic affairs for the last 50 years. As a journalist, Klein has traveled the world doing on site research in Iraq, post-tsunami Sri Lanka, Argentina, and post-Katrina New Orleans to add to her years of research. She has delivered an amazing and important book, which begins with the economic theory of Milton Friedman, an obscure and marginalized academic in the '50's and early '60's.

I divide this journey into four historical phases with a narrowed focus on the development of the shock doctrine and its transformation into disaster capitalism. First, Klein describes the incubation and maturation of Friedman's economic ideas at the University of Chicago beginning in 1946 up to the Chilean coup of 1973. The regime of Augusto Pinochet would proved the first laboratory setting for the implementation of Friedman's program. This phase includes the violent revolutions in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. The third phase commences in the '80's with the onset of Thatcherism and the work of Jeffrey Sachs in Bolivia. This period marks the full maturation of the shock doctrine and it's implementation worldwide through the International Monetary Fund up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. From 2003 forward, the invasion of Iraq, the ultimate expression of the shock doctrine so far, is transforming the world economy. It was economic shock therapy delivered by military intervention. What Klein terms the disaster capitalism complex, although developing quietly for years, has now emerged as a rapidly growing economy. I will comment on each phase.


HuffPost Video: John Cusack Interviews Naomi Klein

Klein's writings on Iraq helped inspire John Cusack to create a stinging new satiric film called War, Inc. The pair recently sat down for a HuffPost exclusive - a lively and insightful conversation about The Shock Doctrine, Iraq, the burgeoning new economy that has sprung up around the war on terror, and Baghdad's Green Zone, which Klein calls "a heavily armed Carnival Cruise ship parked in a sea of despair."


Book Review: Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine"

The world would be a far, far better place if what had happened in Chicago 50 years ago had stayed in Chicago, as Naomi Klein’s riveting The Shock Doctrine makes abundantly clear. In this mind-bending masterwork, the lauded Canadian journalist has reached the apex of her analytical and explanatory powers, creating a bone-chilling narrative tracing superficially unrelated events—Katrina, Iraq, Chile’s Pinochet regime, Poland’s remaking, Russia’s lurch toward capitalism, brutal Indonesian crackdowns, China’s human rights violations, South Africa’s failure to enact its Freedom Charter—back to the fountainhead of right-wing economist Milton Friedman’s slash-and-burn corporatist ideology promulgated at the center of the laissez-faire universe, the University of Chicago.