The shock doctrine The rise of disaster capitalism

Naomi Klein, 1970-

Book - 2007

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New York : Metropolitan Books 2007.
1st ed
Physical Description
558 p. ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Naomi Klein, 1970- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Both admirers and detractors agree that the late Nobel Prize laureate Milton Friedman was an extraordinarily influential economist. Canadian Klein assails Friedman's free-market precepts 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. Klein's entirely negative interpretation of the results of "shock therapy" only lays the foundation for her book's thesis: that Friedman's 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 the 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, Klein's report bears an ideological perspective that won't leave readers neutral about her economic interpretations. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Klein, an award-winning investigative reporter, contends that war, famine, pestilence, and death--although unfortunate for many--have been transformed to enable unparalleled opportunities for unbridled laissez-faire capitalism and profits for a few. Natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and floods) shock societies and make them susceptible to enduring, fundamental changes in their institutions. Supplementing natural disasters are human-made disruptions from genocide, hyperinflation, credit crises, and bursting speculative bubbles. Klein cites numerous examples of such societal transformation, beginning with General Augusto Pinochet's 1973 takeover of the Allende government in Chile and including events as recent as the Asian financial crisis, the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the tsunami that ravaged the beaches of Southeast Asia. Klein contends that in those instances, while society was in a state of shock, a concerted effort was made to diminish the role for government and the public sector, and to introduce market reforms that privatized state-owned enterprises and public services and also imposed free market capitalism. The author attributes the philosophy behind reprehensible reactions to these misfortunes to Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, among others. A thought-provoking addition to the ongoing debate on capitalism. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty collections. Copyright 2008 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Klein argues that from Russia to Iraq to post-Katrina New Orleans, people reeling from tragedy have been further assaulted by free-market "shock-treatment" aimed at helping big corporations only. With a national tour. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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.) [Page 51]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In an introduction to the concept of "disaster capitalism," the award-winning author of No Logo offers a revealing exposé of how the global "free market" has exploited crises, violence, and shock over the past three decades to promote radical privatization that benefits large corporations and powerful interest groups. 100,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An introduction to the concept of "disaster capitalism" offers an exposGe of how the global "free market" has exploited crises, violence, and shock over the past three decades to promote radical privatization that benefits large corporations and powerful interest groups.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

An introduction to the concept of "disaster capitalism" offers an exposâe of how the global "free market" has exploited crises, violence, and shock over the past three decades to promote radical privatization that benefits large corporations and powerfulinterest groups.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The bestselling author of No Logo shows how the global "free market" has exploited crises and shock for three decades, from Chile to IraqIn 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 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.