The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
a book by Naomi Klein
(our site's book review)
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. (In fact, the "popular myth" is the result of CIA pressures on our mainstream media—the balance of the world sees the U.S. version of the free-market economic revolution as exploitation of the have-nots by the haves.) 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." Another such book is Chomsky's Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.
Disaster capitalism is exploitation of the have-nots by the haves, including rigging of the ladder of class mobility
Naomi Klein, in this New York Times bestseller, paints a picture of how the corporate world, neoliberal economists, and polticians worked to take advantage of communities and countries in shock because of some calamity—political, economic, and natural. They move in and inact free-trade, drastric cuts in government, reduced taxes (for the rich), dump price controls, and deregulation. These changes benefit no one except the rich, the poltical leaders, and foreign corporations, who are often one and the same. The poor in these places get royally screwed in the process.
The corporate world, neoliberal economists, and polticians exploit people experiencing disasters (sometimes purposely created), and the people get royally screwed in the process
Once the Disaster Capitalism exploiters get their claws into the people, the people are so far beyond screwed they couldn't catch a bus back to screwed
She discusses the shameful Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness that involved illegally torturing citizens to see if they could rebuild their minds, interrogate the truth out of them with shock therapies and drug-based brainwashing and mind control, sometimes ruining people for life if not killing them outright. Tavistock began as a propaganda creating and disseminating organization—what Toynbee called "that black hole of disinformation, a lie factory." Social Science scientists at Tavistock used massive propaganda campaigns to get the United States into WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Serbia and both wars against Iraq.
Tavistock began as a propaganda creating and disseminating organization but then got really ugly
Society is being dumbing down, sold a false reality of things via propaganda, and told what to think, not how to think
The result of this dumbing down is that the citizens are walking around with their heads up their butts, knowing nothing, learning nothing, thinking nothing
The CIA's well-documented horror factory, Project MKUltra, is an illegal program of horrendous, illegal, vicious experiments on human subjects, designed and undertaken by the CIA. The ugly program (1953 to 1973) was a response to paranoia about our enemies. Its aim was to develop mind-controlling drugs for use against the Soviet bloc. It's extremely disturbing that we live in a society that can not only carry out such torture and abuse experiments, but, after being caught doing so, continues its attempt to sweep its misdeeds under the rug.
It's extremely disturbing that we live in a society that can not only carry out such torture and abuse experiments, but, after being caught doing so, continues its attempt to sweep its misdeeds under the rug
The inner strength of non-conformists, or individualistic people who do not follow the herd, has always been considered dangerous to the establishment. Happily for the powers-that-be, however, the only thing needed to "silence and contain" non-conformists, true journalists with integrity, questioners, thinkers, skepics, seekers of truth, and autonomous people in general, is to marginalize them into relatively tiny blogs and ebooks at the same time those in charge of the mass media (the CIA, which gets directed by the shadow government) keep up the constant propaganda and brainwashing and keep referring to any information or websites or books or ebooks that don't tow the party line and collude with the propaganda as conspiracy theorist gibberish, wackos, nut cases, or—more recently—FAKE NEWS.
The CIA-filtered mass media constantly refer to websites or books or ebooks that don't tow the party line as conspiracy theorist gibberish, wackos, nut cases, or—more recently—FAKE NEWS
The sad thing is that most people let the media pundits do their thinking for them, so they believe the mainstream media propaganda, NOT the true journalists with integrity, questioners, thinkers, skepics, seekers of truth
The sad thing is that most people let the media pundits do their thinking for them, so they believe the mainstream media propaganda, NOT the non-conformists, true journalists with integrity, questioners, thinkers, skepics, seekers of truth, and autonomous people in general, who actually have something valuable to say. But if you are on this website, there is hope for you. We have The Big Answer! But see for yourself. The Big Answer and The Forest Through The Trees and MC articles.
Klein discusses the infamous Chicago School Economics led by Milton Freedman at the University of Chicago which developed neoliberalism and for some it morphed into the even more infamous ideology: neoconservatism, wherein it is fine for the U.S. to go around attacking countries as long as we rationalize it with "there's a chance they might have been a danger to us someday."
U.S. neocons' imperialism and warmongering is out of control yet the Congress tasked with stopping such abuses is mute—something smells rotten in Washington! The game is rigged.
Letting neocons run the decisions in Washington is like letting a fox guard a henhouse
U.S. neoconservatives are attempting to build an American Empire. The Neocon plan is to pretend good intentions, speak doublespeak (e.g., Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Patriot Act), keep everyone confused, pretend to give while taking, create an empire of dependent "colonies" while having our leaders prattle on about empowering independence, freedom, and democracy. Basically, SHAKE THEIR HAND WHILE PICKING THEIR POCKET. The end result is to be world hegemony. If not, attack and rob more countries, rinse, repeat, and see if world hegemony has been attained yet. If not, attack and rob more countries, rinse, repeat, and see if world hegemony has been attained yet . . . ad infinitum.
The Neocon plan is to pretend good intentions, speak doublespeak (e.g., Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Patriot Act), and SHAKE THEIR HAND WHILE PICKING THEIR POCKET
Wouldn't it be great if our nation's citizens were allowed to have a say in their country's policies, ambitions, and military adventures (pretending we live in a democracy rather than an oligarchy—the real truth)? If this happened, we wouldn't be at war, wasting lives and wealth to pursue a corrupt ambition of a corrupt shadow government. So the shadow government ass clowns make damn sure we never get a say about anything. And yet here we are, forced to pay taxes to support their corrupt wet dreams of endless power and wealth. See The Neoconserative Threat to World Order: America's Perilous War for Hegemony.
So the shadow government ass clowns make damn sure we never get a say about anything—yet here we are, forced to pay taxes to support their corrupt wet dreams of endless power and wealth
Klein discusses Empire building secrets about the crimes our leaders committed in Latin America. John Perkins says that "Latin America had become a symbol of U.S. domination. Guatemala under Arbenz, Ikazil under Goulart, Bolivia under Estenssoro, Chile under Allende, Ecuador under Roldos, Panama under Torrijos, and every other country in the hemisphere that was blessed with resources that our corporations coveted, and that had enjoyed leaders who were determined to use national resources for the benefit of their own people . . . had seen those leaders thrown out in coups or assassinated and replaced by governments that were puppets of Washington".
The U.S. propaganda machine at the time dutifully did as they were told and stated that these countries were "going commie" so it had to step in in the spirit of democracy "to keep the hemisphere free." The exact opposite is what really happened. All these countries tried to become free and democratic and get led by people who were for the people, but the U.S. came along, murdered their leaders and installed evil dictators who were willing to cooperate with our country's exploitation of their resources, even though it wrecked their people's lives and wrecked their country's environment. Happily, the U.S. puppets and evil U.S.-installed Latin American tyrants have been overthrown. Our southern neighbors saw our true "ugly American" colors and wisely wanted no part of us.
Klein holds out some hopefulness, as she describes people's efforts in recent years to counter the neoliberals and corporatists to take over of many countries' economies. She's right—it is possible to go against these fanatics. Our biggest problem is how to counter them at home in the U.S. See Mayer's brave, insightful Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right and Chomsky's brilliant, incomparable Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.
She covers the United States' shocks. One is the Iraq war after 9/11 and the privatization of war. Privatization is also shown to be at work in the hurricane Katrina disaster to the detriment of the New Orleans poor. Our neocons never saw a disaster they couldn't exploit. Read this book to understand the distorted, ugly, dystopian world view of Milton Friedman and his buddies. Free market capitalist fundamentalism is presented as a cynical war by the rich against the middle class and poor that inevitably leads to extreme concentration of riches in the hands of the few who can then capture government to perpetuate their dominance. Klein has gotten one of the highest honors imaginable: The National Post called her the “New Noam Chomsky." She was ranked eleventh on a list of the hundred most influential public intellectuals in the world in 2005. Chomsky, as you probably realize, is about as good as it gets.
Klein sees the cynical war by the rich against the middle class and poor that inevitably leads to extreme concentration of riches in the hands of the few who can then capture government to perpetuate their dominance
Extreme concentration of riches in the hands of the few is contrasted, in the U.S., with that average Joe's relatively low income level and his struggling to keep his head above water
Milton Friedman from the Chicago School defined the neocon agenda: governments must remove all rules and regulations standing in the way of the accumulation of profits, sell off any assets they own that corporations could be running at a profit, and dramatically cut back funding of social programs. This became the well-known formula of deregulation, privatization, and cutbacks. The many specifics included low taxes for the rich, no worker protections like unions and minimum wage laws, no regulation of business, and elimination of government support for health care, pensions, and education. Apparently both the Kochs and Trump read this playbook. (Just kidding—we all know Trump doesn't [can't?] read!)
Friedman loved 'shock treatment' neocon policies—as long as his policies were the shock giver, not the getter; apparently he was unfamiliar with Do Unto Others As Ye Would Have Them Do Unto You
Friedman said it is vital to keep the neocon agenda alive and ready for rapid and irreversible implementation after political or natural disasters when populations were still too stunned to resist the “bitter medicine” that was to follow. He coined the phrase economic “shock treatment” for this ugly tactic. There are three distinct phases of that shock treatment that follow in rapid succession: (1) the shock of the coup itself, (2) the shock of severe recessions with massive unemployment, falling wages, lost savings, and lost social insurance, and (3) the shock of imprisonment, torture (often featuring electric shock), and death for many tens of thousands who resisted. What an ugly mind the neocons that follow this guy have—willing to murder and torture to yank big profits from shocked citizens. Ugh!
If the Queen during the 18th century French Revolution said: "Let them eat cake," then in the last half of the 20th century an analogous expression from rich U.S. bankers to Latin Americans would be "Let them eat loans!"
Pushing unwanted loans on ignorant countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank were co-conspirators in administering shock treatment when opportunities arose in Latin America and Poland, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia. See The Concise Untold History of the United States and A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption.
The worst countries resorted to widespread torture and targeted extrajudicial killing, such as with the 300 torture camps and 30,000 “disappeared” individuals in Argentina. These brutal measures were always presented to international outsiders as part of the fight against communism. In reality, the majority of the people swept up were not terrorists, but rather those identified as posing the most serious barriers to the juntas’ economic programs.
Free market capitalism was as popular as herpes so they were shocked into compliance
What it got down to is the brainwashing and torture methods the CIA learned in their Project MKUltra mind control experiments were applied to people resistant to the forced implementation of Friedman's free market capitalism in their countries to break their minds down and install new beliefs friendly to the U.S. corporatocracy. The countries tried to democratically elect leftists. But the U.S. created coups and installed ruthless dictators with authoritarian governments that would put together the needed torture camps to "re-educate" citizens resistant to our corporatocracy and our brand of disaster capitalism. The shocks literally applied to the bodies of resisters was supplemented with shocks to the economy, politics, etc., and the dictators applied free-trade, drastric cuts in government, reduced taxes (for the rich), dumped price controls, and deregulation. The country and its people were now "in shock" so our corporatocracy could easily exploit the hell out of it and make wonderous profits.
"First, a shock to the country, which would confuse the population into a state where it would be incapable of preventing change. Economic reform like cutting state spending and selling off public goods was immediately taken into effect, as well as the second shock: torture. Any segments of the population that would not fit into the new order of individualistic, free-market capitalism would be disappeared, tortured, killed. This included trade union leaders, priests, nuns, activists, artists, musicians, writers, workers and peasants. . . . As Americans have largely been implicated in the book, it should be of utmost concern to Americans. It is our government, our foundations, our academics who have propelled such horror into existence. . . . Klein’s The Shock Doctrine should be required reading. It shows a side of capitalism that we like to ignore" (Source: Book Review: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein (2007), Delia M. Harrington, Inquiries Journal)
Rooted in biblical fantasies of great floods and great fires, neo-liberal policies possess a logic that leads ineluctably toward violence
Rooted in biblical fantasies of great floods and great fires, neo-liberal policies possess a logic that leads ineluctably toward violence
[Book reviewer Gray says that] "Lenin believed that it was in conditions of catastrophic upheaval that humanity advances most rapidly, and the idea that economic progress can be achieved through the devastation of entire societies has been a key part of the neo-liberal cult of the free market. Soviet-style economies left an inheritance of human and ecological devastation, while neo-liberal policies have had results that are not radically dissimilar in many countries. 'Rooted in biblical fantasies of great floods and great fires, it is a logic that leads ineluctably towards violence,'" says Klein.
It is interesting that the giants of capitalism are the dwarves of morals and ethics. It is amazing that such an anti-human, zero-sum ideology could come out of such a reputable university and equally amazing how comparitively little outrage was generated, even though they were saying in order for rich countries to prosper, they needed to adopt a vile win-lose strategy of destroying lives, countries, economies, and ecologies, complete with lies, trickery, torture, coups, assassinations, and robbery. Klein says it is possible they didn't know how their theories would be abused in service to greed. We remain skeptical. Every theorist is dying to learn how their theories fare empirically.
[Book reviewer Gray denied that] the neo-liberal ideologues who helped create it foresaw where it would lead. [with the caveat that] Rightly, Klein insists that free market ideology must bear responsibility for the crimes committed on its behalf . . . [but they didn't do it purposely]." We find Gray's review well written but somewhat naive. He recognizes it is Klein's "most important book to date." Perhaps, in order to see just who was doing what "purposely," he should read accounts from those who carried out some of the treachery such as The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption.
Or the CIA's role or A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption, a collection of essays by investigative journalists, economic hit men (EMH)s, academics, practicing lawyers, scientists and writers exposing the extent of corruption in the exploitation of developing countries. (The theorists may not have blood on their hands, but those that carried out these devastating exploitations surely do.) Or the historical truth—not what we've been told! Gray closes with "disaster capitalism is now creating disasters larger than it can handle." Amen, Gray. (Source: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, John Gray, The Guardian)
Disaster capitalism is not necessarily Milton Friedman's fault, admits Klein; much more important is the way in which the Friedman's University of Chicago theories were used as a tool of U.S. foreign policy and the nefarious ambitions of the corporatocracy. There's enough blame to go around for all and sundry. In spite of Klein's brave expose of disaster capitalism, all possibilities about disasters need exploring. ". . . we should remember that neoliberals are not the only ones who can capitalize on a crisis. Throughout the world, social movements are learning that political upheaval and economic downturn can create opportunities for popular movements to demand, and construct, a more just and equitable society." (Source: The shock doctrine, Mark Engler, Beautiful Trouble)
"Accessibly written for a popular audience, and certainly appropriate for use in development education settings (including schools), Klein’s book succeeds at almost every level as a means of engaging the public with critical development issues and politics. For the weight of compelling detail it assembles on how the world works, and for the invaluable guide it offers to informed activism, the book is hugely important and highly recommended for all those who want to understand and change the world." (Source: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Andy Storey, Development Education Review)
"In the Middle East these states, usually with large oil reserves, did not have loans to pay off and were mistrustful of foreign influence. To the superpowers, the only solution was invasion and occupation by an outside force. What better outside force than America, which spends more on its military than anyone else? There was only one problem—the American people did not want to start a war. In short, a “shock” to the system in the United States [9/11] was necessary and the bourgeoisie was more than willing to allow the plans of Osama Bin Laden to go through, since it would open up opportunities for the military-industrial complex and the creation of a new market – “Homeland Security Solutions.” Needless to say, Bin Laden was more than willing to oblige, and the outsourcing of everything from cooking and military construction to companies like Halliburton went through unabated." (Source: Review of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, The Red Phoenix)
A 'shock' to the system in the United States (9/11) was necessary and the oligarchs were more than willing to allow the plans of Osama Bin Laden to go through
A 'shock' to the system in the United States (9/11) was necessary and the oligarchs were more than willing to allow the plans of Osama Bin Laden to go through, since it would open up opportunities for the military-industrial complex
" . . . in the pursuit of enormous profits, those running the global economy intentionally exploit terrible catastrophes, or even create them, to take things for themselves that only shocked and traumatized populations would give up. This ambulance-chasing strategy of those in power is defined as the “shock doctrine,” and “disaster capitalism”, alternatively known as 'neoliberalism' . . . [Klein dismantles] the myth that capitalism’s global dominance is a function of democracy or destiny. . . . the exact opposite is true—the temporary triumph of global capitalism has been fertilized by the victims of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, wars, campaigns of torture, and economic calamity. In short, alternatives to capitalism have been shocked into submission wherever they’ve appeared." (Source: Review of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, Alex Knight, endofcapitalism.com
The happy note discussed in the last chapter of the book is that disaster capitalism is being defeated by the efforts of regular people, most dramatically in Latin America. They wanted no more ugly American oppression and trauma so they dumped as much U.S. influence as they could and dumped their scumbag dictators. The result is not perfect, but it gives them a chance for happy lives that are free or mostly free, depending on the country. Since what’s past is prologue, the neocons are surely getting ready to develop fresh forms of exploitation. Since our government knew 9/11 attacks were coming but let it happen and then used it as a pretense to attack Iraq and grab oil, one winces at what the next shock might be.
Prediction: North Korea or Iran will be involved and there's a chance a nuclear bomb or two will also be part of the scheme. We've already been shocked into agreeing to let the Patriot Act kill half our rights and the Citizen's United case's decision transform our democracy into a cynical oligarchy. The next step of the shocking of the U.S. society will require a police state ushered in by the marshall law, which goading one of these countries into nuclear terrorism can easily accomplish. What comes next is tyranny by the "friendly" oligarchs who wish to come out from behind the curtain and take their rightful place on thrones. Koch? Cheney? Which extremist neocon fanatic will they be asking us to bow down to? Our Founders are turning over in their graves.
Which extremist neocon fanatic will they be asking us to bow down to? Our Founders are turning over in their graves
Which extremist neocon fanatic will they be asking us to bow down to after he assumes the throne?
In the new Feudalism, we wil be serfs carrying extremist neocon fanatic royalty, so keep yourself in shape—King/Queen carrying is hard work!
This book will make you angry. You should be angry about how disaster capitalism has taken advantage of the world. It is an excellent book for those who want to know the darker side of globalization. For those like Gray who are ashamed of what was done in our country's name but not willing to believe that neo-liberal ideologues knew what their ideas would lead to (similar to Marx and the communist disaster created in his infamous name), all we can say is: the truth will set us free, and the above suggested books should take us a long way toward that goal. And for those who believe nothing but apple pie cliches about our country—even the delusion we are still in a democracy where everyone gets a fair shake, we remind you that with one's head in the sand, one's backside is singularly vulnerable. See Democracy—an American Delusion.
With one's head in the sand, one's backside is singularly vulnerable