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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalismby Naomi Klein
Synopses & Reviews
In her groundbreaking reporting from Iraq, Naomi Klein exposed how the trauma of the invasion was being exploited to remake the country in the interest of foreign corporations. She called it “disaster capitalism.” Covering Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami, and New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed something remarkably similar. People still reeling from disaster were being hit again, this time with economic “shock therapy,” losing their land and homes to rapid-fire corporate makeovers.
In Disaster Capitalism, Klein explores the deeply-rooted impulse to erase what is inconvenient and start over from scratch. This journey takes her back to two formative experiments in the 1950s, both funded by the U.S. government. One was a covert university research project in Montreal that blanked the minds of psychiatric patients through sensory deprivation and electroshock—and became the foundation of torture techniques from Pinochet’s Chile to Guantánamo Bay. The other was a program at the University of Chicago that turned its economics department into a factory for developing world politicians. Under the tutelage of Milton Friedman, students learned that their countries could be remade as laissez-faire utopias—but first what was there needed to be wiped clean. Tracing the imposition of these ideas in the decades since, Klein explodes the myth that the global “free market” triumphed peacefully and democratically. Instead, she argues, it has consistently relied on violence and shock, resulting in the rise of disaster capitalism.
The bestselling author of No Logo shows how the global "free market" has exploited crises and shock for three decades from Chile to Iraq
The bestselling author of No Logo shows how the global free market” has exploited crises and shock for three decades from Chile to Iraq
In her ground-breaking reporting Naomi Klein introduced the term "disaster capitalism." Whether covering Baghdad after the U.S. occupation, Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami, or New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed something remarkably similar. People still reeling from catastrophe were being hit again, this time with economic "shock treatment", losing their land and homes to rapid-fire corporate makeovers.
The Shock Doctrine retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman's free market economic revolution. In contrast to the popular myth of this movement's peaceful global victory, Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies in so many parts of the world from Latin America and Eastern Europe to South Africa, Russia and Iraq.
At the core of disaster capitalism is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization combined with the privatization of the disaster response itself. Klein argues that by capitalizing on crises, created by nature or war, the disaster capitalism complex now exists as a booming new economy, and is the violent culmination of a radical economic project that has been incubating for fifty years.
About the Author
Naomi Klein is the award-winning author of the acclaimed international bestseller No Logo and the essay collection Fences and Windows. An internationally syndicated columnist, with Avi Lewis she co-created the documentary film The Take.
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