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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

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ISBN13: 9780312427993
ISBN10: 0312427999
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I met Jamar Perry in September 2005, at the big Red Cross shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dinner was being doled out by grinning young Scientologists, and he was standing in line. I had just been busted for talking to evacuees without a media escort and was now doing my best to blend in, a white Canadian in a sea of African- American southerners. I dodged into the food line behind Perry and asked him to talk to me as if we were old friends, which he kindly did.

Born and raised in New Orleans, he'd been out of the flooded city for a week. He and his family had waited forever for the evacuation buses; when they didn't arrive, they had walked out in the baking sun. Finally they ended up here, a sprawling convention centre now jammed with 2,000 cots and a mess of angry, exhausted people being patrolled by edgy National Guard soldiers just back from Iraq.

The news racing around the shelter that day was that the Republican Congressman Richard Baker had told a group of lobbyists, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." Joseph Canizaro, one of New Orleans' wealthiest developers, had just expressed a similar sentiment: "I think we have a clean sheet to start again. And with that clean sheet we have some very big opportunities." All that week Baton Rouge had been crawling with corporate lobbyists helping to lock in those big opportunities: lower taxes, fewer regulations, cheaper workers and a "smaller, safer city" - which in practice meant plans to level the public housing projects. Hearing all the talk of "fresh starts" and "clean sheets", you could almost forget the toxic stew of rubble, chemical outflows and human remains just a few miles down the highway.

Over at the shelter, Jamar could think of nothing else. "I really don't see it as cleaning up the city. What I see is that a lot of people got killed uptown. People who shouldn't have died."

He was speaking quietly, but an older man in line in front of us overheard and whipped around. "What is wrong with these people in Baton Rouge? This isn't an opportunity. It's a goddamned tragedy. Are they blind?" A mother with two kids chimed in. "No, they're not blind, they're evil. They see just fine."

One of those who saw opportunity in the floodwaters of New Orleans was the late Milton Friedman, grand guru of unfettered capitalism and credited with writing the rulebook for the contemporary, hyper-mobile global economy. Ninety-three years old and in failing health, "Uncle Miltie", as he was known to his followers, found the strength to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal three months after the levees broke. "Most New Orleans schools are in ruins," Friedman observed, "as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity."

Friedman's radical idea was that instead of spending a portion of the billions of dollars in reconstruction money on rebuilding and improving New Orleans' existing public school system, the government should provide families with vouchers, which they could spend at private institutions.

In sharp contrast to the glacial pace with which the levees were repaired and the electricity grid brought back online, the auctioning-off of New Orleans' school system took place with military speed and precision. Within 19 months, with most of the city's poor residents still in exile, New Orleans' public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools.

The Friedmanite American Enterprise Institute enthused that "Katrina accomplished in a day ... what Louisiana school reformers couldn't do after years of trying". Public school teachers, meanwhile, were calling Friedman's plan "an educational land grab". I call these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, "disaster capitalism".

Privatising the school system of a mid-size American city may seem a modest preoccupation for the man hailed as the most influential economist of the past half century. Yet his determination to exploit the crisis in New Orleans to advance a fundamentalist version of capitalism was also an oddly fitting farewell. For more than three decades, Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock.

In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism's core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as "the shock doctrine". He observed that "only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change". When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the "tyranny of the status quo". A variation on Machiavelli's advice that "injuries" should be inflicted "all at once", this is one of Friedman's most lasting legacies.

Friedman first learned how to exploit a shock or crisis in the mid-70s, when he advised the dictator General Augusto Pinochet. Not only were Chileans in a state of shock after Pinochet's violent coup, but the country was also traumatised by hyperinflation. Friedman advised Pinochet to impose a rapid-fire transformation of the economy - tax cuts, free trade, privatised services, cuts to social spending and deregulation.

It was the most extreme capitalist makeover ever attempted anywhere, and it became known as a "Chicago School" revolution, as so many of Pinochet's economists had studied under Friedman there. Friedman coined a phrase for this painful tactic: economic "shock treatment". In the decades since, whenever governments have imposed sweeping free-market programs, the all-at-once shock treatment, or "shock therapy", has been the method of choice.

I started researching the free market's dependence on the power of shock four years ago, during the early days of the occupation of Iraq. I reported from Baghdad on Washington's failed attempts to follow "shock and awe" with shock therapy - mass privatisation, complete free trade, a 15% flat tax, a dramatically downsized government. Afterwards I travelled to Sri Lanka, several months after the devastating 2004 tsunami, and witnessed another version of the same manoeuvre: foreign investors and international lenders had teamed up to use the atmosphere of panic to hand the entire beautiful coastline over to entrepreneurs who quickly built large resorts, blocking hundreds of thousands of fishing people from rebuilding their villages. By the time Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was clear that this was now the preferred method of advancing corporate goals: using moments of collective trauma to engage in radical social and economic engineering.

Most people who survive a disaster want the opposite of a clean slate: they want to salvage whatever they can and begin repairing what was not destroyed. "When I rebuild the city I feel like I'm rebuilding myself," said Cassandra Andrews, a resident of New Orleans' heavily damaged Lower Ninth Ward, as she cleared away debris after the storm. But disaster capitalists have no interest in repairing what once was. In Iraq, Sri Lanka and New Orleans, the process deceptively called "reconstruction" began with finishing the job of the original disaster by erasing what was left of the public sphere.

When I began this research into the intersection between super-profits and mega-disasters, I thought I was witnessing a fundamental change in the way the drive to "liberate" markets was advancing around the world. Having been part of the movement against ballooning corporate power that made its global debut in Seattle in 1999, I was accustomed to seeing business-friendly policies imposed through arm-twisting at WTO summits, or as the conditions attached to loans from the IMF.

As I dug deeper into the history of how this market model had swept the globe, I discovered that the idea of exploiting crisis and disaster has been the modus operandi of Friedman's movement from the very beginning - this fundamentalist form of capitalism has always needed disasters to advance. What was happening in Iraq and New Orleans was not a post-September 11 invention. Rather, these bold experiments in crisis exploitation were the culmination of three decades of strict adherence to the shock doctrine.

Seen through the lens of this doctrine, the past 35 years look very different. Some of the most infamous human rights violations of this era, which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by anti-democratic regimes, were in fact either committed with the intent of terrorising the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for radical free-market "reforms". In China in 1989, it was the shock of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the arrests of tens of thousands that freed the Communist party to convert much of the country into a sprawling export zone, staffed with workers too terrified to demand their rights. The Falklands war in 1982 served a similar purpose for Margaret Thatcher: the disorder resulting from the war allowed her to crush the striking miners and to launch the first privatisation frenzy in a western democracy.

The bottom line is that, for economic shock therapy to be applied without restraint, some sort of additional collective trauma has always been required. Friedman's economic model is capable of being partially imposed under democracy - the US under Reagan being the best example - but for the vision to be implemented in its complete form, authoritarian or quasi-authoritarian conditions are required.

Until recently, these conditions did not exist in the US. What happened on September 11 2001 is that an ideology hatched in American universities and fortified in Washington institutions finally had its chance to come home. The Bush administration, packed with Friedman's disciples, including his close friend Donald Rumsfeld, seized upon the fear generated to launch the "war on terror" and to ensure that it is an almost completely for-profit venture, a booming new industry that has breathed new life into the faltering US economy. Best understood as a "disaster capitalism complex", it is a global war fought on every level by private companies whose involvement is paid for with public money, with the unending mandate of protecting the US homeland in perpetuity while eliminating all "evil" abroad.

In a few short years, the complex has already expanded its market reach from fighting terrorism to international peacekeeping, to municipal policing, to responding to increasingly frequent natural disasters. The ultimate goal for the corporations at the centre of the complex is to bring the model of for-profit government, which advances so rapidly in extraordinary circumstances, into the ordinary functioning of the state - in effect, to privatise the government.

In scale, the disaster capitalism complex is on a par with the "emerging market" and IT booms of the 90s. It is dominated by US firms, but is global, with British companies bringing their experience in security cameras, Israeli firms their expertise in building hi-tech fences and walls. Combined with soaring insurance industry profits as well as super profits for the oil industry, the disaster economy may well have saved the world market from the full-blown recession it was facing on the eve of 9/11.

In the torrent of words written in eulogy to Milton Friedman, the role of shocks and crises to advance his world view received barely a mention. Instead, the economist's passing, in November 2006, provided an occasion for a retelling of the official story of how his brand of radical capitalism became government orthodoxy in almost every corner of the globe. It is a fairytale history, scrubbed clean of the violence so intimately entwined with this crusade.

It is time for this to change. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a powerful reckoning with the crimes committed in the name of communism. But what of the crusade to liberate world markets?

I am not arguing that all forms of market systems require large-scale violence. It is eminently possible to have a market-based economy that demands no such brutality or ideological purity. A free market in consumer products can coexist with free public health care, with public schools, with a large segment of the economy - such as a national oil company - held in state hands. It's equally possible to require corporations to pay decent wages, to respect the right of workers to form unions, and for governments to tax and redistribute wealth so that the sharp inequalities that mark the corporatist state are reduced. Markets need not be fundamentalist.

John Maynard Keynes proposed just that kind of mixed, regulated economy after the Great Depression. It was that system of compromises, checks and balances that Friedman's counter-revolution was launched to dismantle in country after country. Seen in that light, Chicago School capitalism has something in common with other fundamentalist ideologies: the signature desire for unattainable purity.

This desire for godlike powers of creation is precisely why free-market ideologues are so drawn to crises and disasters. Non-apocalyptic reality is simply not hospitable to their ambitions. For 35 years, what has animated Friedman's counter-revolution is an attraction to a kind of freedom available only in times of cataclysmic change - when people, with their stubborn habits and insistent demands, are blasted out of the way - moments when democracy seems a practical impossibility. Believers in the shock doctrine are convinced that only a great rupture - a flood, a war, a terrorist attack - can generate the kind of vast, clean canvases they crave. It is in these malleable moments, when we are psychologically unmoored and physically uprooted, that these artists of the real plunge in their hands and begin their work of remaking the world.

Torture: the other shock treatment

From Chile to China to Iraq, torture has been a silent partner in the global free-market crusade. Chile's coup featured three distinct forms of shock, a recipe that would re-emerge three decades later in Iraq. The shock of the coup prepared the ground for economic shock therapy; the shock of the torture chamber terrorized anyone thinking of standing in the way of the economic shocks.

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 parlance, "coercive interrogation", is a set of techniques developed by scientists and designed to put prisoners into a state of deep disorientation.

Declassified CIA manuals explain how to break "resistant sources": create violent ruptures between prisoners and their ability to make sense of the world around them. First, the senses are starved (with hoods, earplugs, shackles), then the body is bombarded with overwhelming stimulation (strobe lights, blaring music, beatings). The goal of this "softening-up" stage is to provoke a kind of hurricane in the mind, and it is in that state of shock that most prisoners give their interrogators whatever they want.

The shock doctrine mimics this process precisely. The original disaster - the coup, the terrorist attack, the market meltdown - 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. Like the terrorised prisoner who gives up the names of comrades and renounces his faith, shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect.

Copyright © 2007 by Naomi Klein

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jeffrey kahle, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by jeffrey kahle)
This book will open your eyes to the neoliberal corporate agenda of both political parties.
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This book will open your eyes to the neoliberal corporate agenda of both political parties.
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Wonderful book. Eye opening.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312427993
Author:
Klein, Naomi
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
POL033000
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Free Enterprise
Subject:
Economic History
Subject:
Government & Business
Subject:
Capitalism
Subject:
Financial crises
Subject:
Middle East - General
Subject:
Modern - 21st Century
Subject:
Globalization
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Reprint ed.
Publication Date:
20080631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
720
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Product details 720 pages Picador - English 9780312427993 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

You wouldn't expect the author of the searing bestseller No Logo to pull any punches

"Staff Pick" by ,

To be honest, I could not finish this book. It made me too angry. These are the stories about our country you don't want to know. Naomi Klein has cast a spotlight on the dark secrets lurking beneath the surface of the American dream. The Shock Doctrine makes it hard to ignore the tragedy that results from the ruthless logic of maximizing profit at the expense of the people.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'The neo-liberal economic policies — privatization, free trade, slashed social spending — that the 'Chicago School' and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous — depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author's accounting — their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market 'reforms' the public would normally reject. Journalist Klein (No Logo) chronicles decades of such disasters, including the Chicago School makeovers launched by South American coups; the corrupt sale of Russia's state economy to oligarchs following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the privatization of New Orleans's public schools after Katrina; and the seizure of wrecked fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami. Klein's economic and political analyses are not always meticulous. Likening free-market 'shock therapies' to electroshock torture, she conflates every misdeed of right-wing dictatorships with their economic programs and paints a too simplistic picture of the Iraq conflict as a struggle over American-imposed neo-liberalism. Still, much of her critique hits home, as she demonstrates how free-market ideologues welcome, and provoke, the collapse of other people's economies. The result is a powerful populist indictment of economic orthodoxy. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "While Naomi Klein's new book may paint a cartoonish portrait of Milton Friedman and his impact on American foreign and economic policy, this nonetheless is a deeply researched, profoundly passionate and highly readable left-wing screed that everyone would benefit from reading." Chauncey Mabe, the National Book Critics Circle's Most Recommended list
"Review" by , "Impassioned, hugely informative, wonderfully controversial, and scary as hell."
"Review" by , "[S]uperbly constructed and written....It deserves to be widely read."
"Review" by , "[A] book that has the potential to become a lightning rod of controversy and debate."
"Review" by , "Klein's book incorporates an amount of due diligence, logical structure and statistical evidence that others lack. As a result, she is persuasive when she links past and present events, including the war in Iraq and trashing of its economy, to the systematic march of laissez-faire capitalism and the downsizing of the public sector as both a worldview and a political methodology."
"Review" by , "Klein gives a freshness to examples that feel familiar — US oil companies in Iraq, tourist resorts in tsunami-destroyed beaches, privatisation after hurricane Katrina — by placing them in a wider context that includes Pinochet's coup in Chile in 1973 and the Falklands conflict in 1982."
"Synopsis" by ,

In this groundbreaking alternative history of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman's free-market economic revolution, Naomi Klein challenges the popular myth of this movement's peaceful global victory. From Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, Klein shows how Friedman and his followers have repeatedly harnessed terrible shocks and violence to implement their radical policies. As John Gray wrote in The Guardian, "There are very few books that really help us understand the present. The Shock Doctrine is one of those books."

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, she co-created with Avi Lewis, The Take, a documentary film.
Winner of the Warwick Prize for Writing
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

Finalist for the New York Public Library Bernstein Award for Journalism

A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of the Year

A Chicago Sun-Times Favorite Book of the Year

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

Winner of the Libris Award for Best Non-fiction Book of the Year (Canada)

Finalist for the National Business Book Award (Canada)

A Guardian and Observer Favorite Book of the Year (U.K.)

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 groundbreaking reporting over the past few years, 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 movements 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.

 
Also available on CD as an abridged audiobook.  Please email academic@macmillan.com for more information.
The Shock Doctrine is Kleins ambitious look at the economic history of the last 50 years and the rise of free-market fundamentalism around the world . . . Klein provides a rich description of the political machinations required to force unsavory economic policies on resisting countries, and the human toll. She paints a disturbing portrait of hubris, not only on the part of Friedman but also of those who adopted his doctrines, sometimes to pursue more corporatist objectives. It is striking to be reminded how many of the people involved in the Iraq war were involved earlier in other shameless episodes in United States foreign policy history.”—Joseph E. Stiglitz, The New York Times Book Review
The Shock Doctrine is Kleins ambitious look at the economic history of the last 50 years and the rise of free-market fundamentalism around the world . . . Klein provides a rich description of the political machinations required to force unsavory economic policies on resisting countries, and of the human toll. She paints a disturbing portrait of hubris, not only on the part of Friedman but also of those who adopted his doctrines, sometimes to pursue more corporatist objectives. It is striking to be reminded how many of the people involved in the Iraq war were involved earlier in other shameless episodes in United States foreign policy history. She draws a clear line from the torture in Latin America in the 1970s to that at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay . . . Klein ends on a hopeful note, describing nongovernmental organizations and activists around the world who are trying to make a difference. After 500 pages of The Shock Doctrine, its clear they have their work cut out for them.”—Joseph E. Stiglitz, The New York Times Book Review

"With the publication seven years ago of No Logo, in the wake of the anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, Klein demonstrated that the 'just do it' triumphalism of Nike and other global brands masked serious inequities and injustices. Her new book, The Shock Doctrine, takes the argument an important step further. Neoliberal capitalism, she argues, thrives on catastrophe: Not only are fortunes made from the misfortunes of the masses, but the global dominance of free-market capitalism is built on the infliction of disasters on the world's less fortunate. Klein developed her position over 460-some closely argued pages of text, plus meticulous endnotes . . . The Shock Doctrine is a valuable addition to the corpus of popular books that have attempted to rethink the big ideas of our post-Cold War age."—Shashi Tharoor, The Washington Post

"The connections are daring in journalist Naomi Klein's new book, The Shock Doctrine, but the result is convincing. With a bold and brilliantly conceived thesis, skillfully and cogently threaded through more than 500 pages of trenchant writing, Klein may well have revealed the master narrative of our time. And because the pattern she exposes could govern our future as well, The Shock Doctrine could turn out to be among the most important books of the decade . . . Klein's book is well researched and reported, with a mixture of sharp first-person observations, compelling narrative based on sources and absorbing writing . . . The story she tells so very well is very dark, however—darker than we'd like to believe. In the Harry Potter books, creatures called dementors steal souls and suck all the hope out of the air. Therapy for a dementor encounter is eating chocolate. Though this book is superbly constructed and written, and in that sense is easy to read, the content is relentlessly harrowing. It deserves to be widely read, but readers may want frequent access to a handy supply of chocolate."—William S. Kowinski, San Francisco Chronicle

“Those of us who imagine economists to be mild souls preoccupied with tedious abstractions are in for a shock from The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Kleins stunning, polemic re-examination of the last 30-plus years in the history of free-market capitalism. If we bought the myth of corporate globalization as a benign and bloodless process, Klein has more jolts in store . . . Her research is massive, meticulously documented and laid out in fluid, accessible and intriguing stories . . . The Shock Doctrine is serious and exhilarating with buzz of inside information and revealed connections. The book is ultimately hopeful because, as Klein points out, the shock wears out.”—Katherine Dunn, The Oregonian (Portland)

“A work of extraordinary synthesis, The Shock Doctrine is required reading for anyone who wants to know the roots of our current political and economic landscape and prepare for the shocks that await us.”—Ronnie Steinberg, Ms.

“In her explosive counterhistory of global capitalism, against the glib accounts offered by mainstream economists and celebrity journalists, Naomi Klein argues that the answer lies in a simple two-step strategy, honed over three decades by an international cabal of freemarket fundamentalists . . . Her new book is a broad survey of its rise as a mode of development imposed on unwilling populations throughout the world. It is also a searing indictment of its practitioners, from the ‘Chicago School juntas of Friedman acolytes who collaborated with murderous dictators so long as they professed enthusiasm, for free markets, to the international-development organizations that demanded ‘shock therapy and showed little regard for the welfare of those who absorbed it, to the corrupt officials who profited from what they benignly labeled ‘structural adjustment . . . The heart of Kleins is her arresting claim that the shock doctrine not only operates according to the logic of torture but also leads to the enactment of brutal repression—including detention, disappearances, torture, and murder—against its critics . . . The Shock Doctrine is a massive, courageous undertaking, and Kleins impassioned critique of the violence that accompanies American economic imperialism is not merely necessary but urgent.”—Eric Klinenberg, Bookforum

"Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America's 'free market' policies have come to dominate the world—through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries."—AlterNet: Best Progressive Books of 2007

"The neo-liberal economic policies—privatization, free trade, slashed social spending—that the Chicago School and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous—depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author's accounting—their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market reforms the public would normally reject. Journalist Klein (No Logo) chronicles decades of such disasters, including the Chicago School makeovers launched by South American coups; the corrupt sale of Russia's state economy to oligarchs following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the privatization of New Orleans's public schools after Katrina; and the seizure of wrecked fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami. Klein's economic and political analyses are not always meticulous. Likening free-market shock therapies to electroshock torture, she conflates every misdeed of right-wing dictatorships with their economic programs and paints a too simplistic picture of the Iraq conflict as a struggle over American-imposed neo-liberalism. Still, much of her critique hits home, as she demonstrates how free-market ideologues welcome, and provoke, the collapse of other people's economies. The result is a powerful populist indictment of economic orthodoxy."—Publishers Weekly

“Both admires and detractors agree that the late Nobel Prize laureate Milton Friedman was an extraordinary influential economist. Canadian Klein assails Friedmans free-market percepts as their exponents have applied them to a series of formerly state-dominated economies since 1975, when Friedman persuaded Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to adopt his program. Kleins entirely negative interpretation of the results of ‘shock therapy only lays the foundation for her books thesis: that Friedmans prescriptions require a crisis and are ineluctably bound with the application of violence. This perspective informs her criticism—condemnation, in fact—of reform programs in the last three decades that have aimed to separate that state from the economy in Bolivia, Poland, Russia, China, the UK, and elsewhere. The process of market liberalization, Klein maintains, has created a ‘disaster capitalism complex, consisting of corporations that thrive on catastrophe; the author particularly arraigns security and logistics firms in the U.S. and Israel. Assiduously researched, energetically expressed, Kleins report bears an ideological perspective that wont leave readers neutral about her economic interpretations.”—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

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