Book of Mormonisms

Did they really say THAT?

The Shock Doctrine

Posted by coventryrm on Friday, May 23, 2008

http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/short-film

I just finished reading “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein, I felt the Author did a great job of presenting a very interesting view of the USA’s role in world economics and the “shocking” techniques that have been used to implement so called “Free Markets” globally. After reading this book you could certainly understand why certain countries or groups of people have such feelings of hostility towards the USA.  Sheds a different light on why we have soldiers being killed in Iraq and our reasons for being there (I would also suggest watching the movie – “Iraq for sale”)

 

While I was searching the Web to verify and research the information presented and discussed in the book I found the above link and found that a short film had been produced, a little teaser that may compel someone to pick up this book and read it. 

 

Perhaps we can change the pace here and get off of religion for a bit and see what people have to say that have read this book or perhaps you might want to take the time and pick it up and give it a read yourself. 

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43 Responses to “The Shock Doctrine”

  1. blazeheliski said

    I haven’t read the book, but from watching the video, I would need a lot more evidence to figure out why you would link torture, disasters, capitalism, free markets, etc. From the video it looks like a person taking the negatives from all those things (everything has a negative side) and lumping them all together.

    Do you really want me to defend capitalism and free markets? I could go on for hours and post a lot of evidence that shows the positives of those two things. Heck – if I had to – I could even drag my dad into this discussion. 😉

    The video sounded like a lot of old 60s propaganda shouting about the evils of America, corporations, capitalism, free markets and “The Man.”

    Let me just show you a quick visual of the differences between free markets and oppressive governments. Go to the link below that shows a satellite image of the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has free trade zones and encourages tourism. Haiti is listed as one of the most corrupt governments in the world with no free markets or trade. Look at the devastation to the environment in Haiti vs DR. The poor starving people in Haiti strip the land to survive.

    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a002600/a002640/

  2. blazeheliski said

    I have not read the book, but from watching the video, the book would have to provide an awful lot of evidence to link torture, disasters, free markets, capitalism, etc. The video sounded like the tired old propaganda from the 60s about the evils of America, capitalism, corporations, etc. You might be spending a little too much time gathering all your information from “black helicopter” books and websites.

    Are you really going to argue against capitalism and free markets? What would you propose as the alternative? If you really want to go down that road – I could talk for hours and hours about the benefits of capitalism and free markets supported with facts. Heck – I could even drag my dad into the conversation if you needed a little more convincing.

    A quick visual illustration of free markets vs closed markets is found on the island with Haiti and the Dominican Republic. DR has free markets and supports tourism and does pretty well for itself. Haiti is very repressive and is very closed economically and is the poorest nation in this hemisphere. Look at a satellite map of the border between Haiti and DR. The Haiti side is stripped of all its resources and the DR side is a lush jungle. I will try to post the link to the map but lately anytime I try to attach a link – it blocks my post.

  3. coventryrm said

    It should allow the posting of links, unless there are several it limits it to 3 I think but I will check into it and fix if I can.

    You should read the book if you want to judge it. I agree the video is more of a teaser. I have looked into some of the information, however the most telling thing was that most of the attacks on the book reminded me largely of the LDS apologetic style – take something way out of context and call the Author stupid.

    I still have not formed an opinion – It was given to me, I read all sorts of books if they look interesting regardless of the position the author is promoting so don’t make assumptions

    “You might be spending a little too much time gathering all your information from “black helicopter” books and websites.”

    “Free Markets” were in quotes for a reason I don’t think it is as black and white as Free or Closed.

  4. skiutah said

    I haven’t read the book. Does the book discuss China at all? It seems like China is slowly adopting a market economy. Would the book predict that China’s government would be able to use more drastic measures to implement free market features right after that big earthquake?

  5. blazeheliski said

    Maybe I will have to add it to my reading list in Mexico. 😉

  6. coventryrm said

    You shoud be able to put up to 5 links that is what my settings say anyway hmmmmm.

  7. coventryrm said

    “the book would have to provide an awful lot of evidence to link torture, disasters, free markets, capitalism, etc.”

    Actually everything other than perhaps the torture is openly talked about and discussed by the leading US economist Naomi Klein did not make up the term or the tactic, the debate is more is this strategy moral and ethical and who benefits and why, does it help or hurt the overall economic health of a country or society . I was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking with Jeffrey Sach’s one of the worlds leading economists and I think in a 10 minute period he used the term “Shock” at least a dozen times. The link with torture was more the point that concept used is similar that your best time to implement change or reprogram someone is immediately after “Shock therapy” this same principle could be applied to whole societies or countries that after a “Shock” it was best to act fast and push through your agenda before people had time to recover and think about what was actually happening a strategy once again that is openly admitted and talk about among the leading economic advisors. Once again the question or debate is on the benefits, morals and ethics and who is hurt and who gains etc.

    I would also have to wonder what your definition of “Free Market” is I doubt even your father the great economist would defend or call government funded corporatism “Free Market”

    I am glad you picked Latin America for your example. I am out of time now but will come back to this later.

  8. coventryrm said

    Latin America – Lesson One

    Pinochet – The US backed implementation of “Free Markets” in Chile.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusto_Pinochet
    (A few Key excerpts from the link)
    By mid 1975, Pinochet set forth an economic policy of free-market reform. He declared that he wanted “to make Chile not a nation of proletarians, but a nation of proprietors.”[16] To formulate his economic policy, Pinochet relied on the so-called Chicago Boys, who were economists trained at the University of Chicago and heavily influenced by the monetarist ideas of Milton Friedman, Arnold Harberger, and Friedrich Hayek.
    Supporters of these policies (most notably the late nobel laureate from the University of Chicago School of Economics, Milton Friedman himself), have dubbed them “The Miracle of Chile,” due to the country’s sustained economic growth since the late 1980s.
    Pinochet’s neoliberal economic policies’ benefits have been sharply contested. In 1973, unemployment was only 4.3%. Following ten years of junta rule in 1983, unemployment skyrocketed to 22%. Real wages declined by more than 40%. In 1970, 20% of Chile’s population lived in poverty, but by 1990, the last year of Pinochet’s dictatorship, poverty had doubled to 40%.[17] Between 1982 and 1983, the GDP dropped 19%. In 1970, the daily diet of the poorest 40 percent of the population contained 2,019 calories. By 1980 this had fallen to 1,751, and by 1990 it was down to 1,629. Furthermore, the percentage of Chileans without adequate housing increased from 27 to 40 percent between 1972 and 1988, despite the government’s boast that the new economy would solve homelessness.[17] Meanwhile, inequality of wealth increased. In 1970, the richest one-fifth of the population controlled 45% of the wealth compared to 7.6% for the poorest one-fifth. In 1989, the richest one-fifth controlled 55% of the wealth while the poorest one-fifth controlled only 4.4%.[18].

    Another Interesting article on Latin America
    http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2496

  9. coventryrm said

    PS – The Torture link to implementing “Free Market” Pinochet is one good argument that can be used as an example – you might want to read the list of people that his junta is responsible for killing or having disappeared.

  10. coventryrm said

    Next Argentina and Ford “)

    Sample Article –

    http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:dfz2eduAOD4J:www.mediaaccuracy.org/files/pdfs/SCone_Falcon.pdf+Torture+Cells+found+in+Ford+plant+Latin+America&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

  11. coventryrm said

    Some more interesting reading

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_War

  12. blazeheliski said

    Using American attempts at installed democracies does not illustrate the true power free markets or capitalism. If you have a democracy with a ton of corruption, you then have a “gangster” controlled democracy.

    A great example of this is in Russia. They supposedly have a democracy now with free elections etc., but the corruption level is so high – the democracy is broken. Unless you know the “right people,” you will not prosper. Thus, many in Russia are struggling to survive, while the people who are “connected” are reaping the rewards. Mexico is another good example of the corruption factor outweighing the benifits of the democracy.

    For free markets and capitalism to work, the majority of the people need to play by the rules. In this country, most people play by the rules most of the time. As with anything dealing with humans – it is not perfect. There are people that break the rules, and I would say that many get caught. There have been many rich and powerful people in this country brought down by the law when they broke the rules too much. Whereas, if the same people were in Russia or Mexico – the law wouldn’t even look at them because the law would be in their pocket.

    In this country, most people pay their taxes and follow the rules most of the time. There needs to be a culture of following the rules. The examples you listed above are attempts to install artificial capitalism and free markets. History has proven that it does not work too well, because the people of the country do not adopt the culture of following the rules. It is not because they are bad people, it is just that they have been oppressed for so long, they do not trust the government. And for good reason – a CIA installed government would be hard to trust.

    It all comes down to trust. Why is Iraq and Afghanistan proving to be a problem? The population needs to trust the leaders, and the leaders need to be trustworthy for the most part. The corruption amongest the current leaders of Iraq is well documented. So why should the population play by the rules if their leaders aren’t. Thus, you get a culture of bribes, payoffs, kickbacks, etc. Free markets and capitalism don’t work in this senario. Instead you have roving bands of thugs, assasinations, kidnappings, etc. It starts looking like 1930s Chicago.

    Free market concepts and capitalism are complex organisms and they need to be installed proplerly and cared for properly. When done right – they can be a powerful force to lift up a whole population. I will list examples in posts to come.

  13. coventryrm said

    I don’t disagree with that at all and neither does the premise of the book we are talking about. It deals more with the way in which the USA has tried to install a version of “Free Market” that doesn’t even exist in the USA. For many of the reasons you listed above.
    That is one of the main points of the book a strong non corrupt democracy would never allow the reforms to go through that have been implemented and that it takes a “Shock” and then by acting fast you can push through some very painful and unpopular economic reforms that otherwise would never stand a chance through a democratic process.

    I am not against free markets or capitalism obviously as a business owner I believe in “laiz-a-faire” more than controls but I also don’t think there is any perfect system that is 100% pure free market or capitalism.

    The book is about

    “American attempts at installed democracies does not illustrate the true power free markets or capitalism. If you have a democracy with a ton of corruption, you then have a “gangster” controlled democracy.”

    BUT the big question is were they installing “Democracies” or going with the group or person that had the power to implement their suggested economic reforms and or experiments. History I think shows, as in the Pinochet situation and there are many other examples, democracy wasn’t really the main concern.

    So in discussing the book those are the only examples relevant to use, the book is not attacking an “Ideal” free market but the “Free Market” the USA has so carelessly tried to install in other countries and the mess that has come as result and the tactics that were used to install these reforms. As I said in my original post

    “After reading this book you could certainly understand why certain countries or groups of people have such feelings of hostility towards the USA. Sheds a different light on why we have soldiers being killed in Iraq and our reasons for being there (I would also suggest watching the movie – “Iraq for sale”)

    True or Perceived it still explains much in the way of the “WHY” the USA is viewed negatively by much of the world.

    “If you have a democracy with a ton of corruption”

    What do you think of the way the Iraq war has been privatized and the contracts handed out to the Halliburton etc.. Does that constitute “corruption”?

  14. coventryrm said

    What happened in Haiti?

    Interesting Article
    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Haiti/WhatHappened_Farmer_GHRTT.html

  15. blazeheliski said

    The Dominican Rebublic has a similar history of Spanish rule, French rule, US rule, etc. Why the difference?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Republic

  16. blazeheliski said

    The Dominican Republic has a similar history of Sanish rule, French rule, US rule, US installed leaders, etc.. Why the current difference in prosperity?

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Republic

  17. coventryrm said

    I think your link problem must be on your end.

  18. coventryrm said

    I think we are in agreement that democracy and free markets are a good thing.

    The Debate is more the question of what has been taking place and why. I think your Haiti and Dominican Republic example perhaps gives more credence to what Naomi Klein is trying to point out in her book.

    Some points of interest pertaining to DR

    The US supported the Dictatorship of Trujillo who was in power from 1930 to 1961 and was responsible for much economic growth although a great deal of the wealth went to the dictator and other regime elements. He is also responsible for the massacre of up to 35,000 Haitians. Following that a Leftist, Bosch, was elected President (Democratic Process) but was then militarily over thrown the country was under military rule once again (democracy?) for 19 months when a pro – Bosch revolt was underway guess who came to save the day and oversee the “democratic” process “THE US MARINES” the outcome according to wikipedia

    “Joaquín Balaguer, who had been Trujillo’s (Dictator) last puppet president, over Bosch (originally elected through democratic process)”

    (Seeing any similarities of our overseeing the democratic process in Iraq? When they started voting in people the US didn’t like the elections were cancelled and the US made appointments)

    “Balaguer remained in power as president for 12 years. His tenure was a period of repression of civil liberties”

    After Balaguer it seems that DR has had some fraudulent elections but the people and democracy have had the ability to overcome and defeat and for the most part keep relative order to their democracy. It also appears that they have not come substantially involved with the IMF and US imposed economic sanctions or reforms. I think Klein would have no problem with using DR as a reasonable and good example. I did notice however that in 2005 DR did receive a sizable loan from IMF so it may be interesting to watch what happens from here forward in that regard. I know that the other Latin American Countries have moved away from the IMF and the loans in the region have dropped from 50 billion to 3 billion. IMF has also admitted that they need to change and adapt so DR may be the start of this change or adaptation and not face negative fallout that Chile, Argentina, Venezuela and others have gone through.

    Do you see the pattern? US has been backing and supporting the dictatorships not the democracies the dictators repress the poor and distribute the wealth to the wealthy the DR luckily has been able to resist and overcome and have not fallen victim to “Shock Doctrine” Thank you for the wonderful example. I will be back after I finish studying what has happened Haiti.

  19. coventryrm said

    Haiti

    I am not sure why you are calling it a closed market it seems one of the biggest problems is that from 1957 to 1986 the USA was backing loans to the Dictatorships of the Duvalier family. Unfortunately these loans seem to have gone into the pockets of the Duvalier’s. Unfortunately however Haiti is still on the hook for these loans. In summary the Duvalier’s victimized the Haitian people and now those victims are expected to repay this debt. Haiti has been very involved with the USA trade and IMF so I am not sure what your definition of closed verses Free trade with DR.

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/emersberger040108.html

    (There are many other sources for this information this was just the most concise)

  20. blazeheliski said

    Dominican Republic

    Just playing around with links – maybe this will work…….

  21. blazeheliski said

    Ok – I guess I have to use some html code to get it to work. I can’t just cut and paste.

    Now that you have explained the book more, I would probably would agree with many parts and I would have to read it to find out how much. Maybe bring it to Mexico? 😉

    I was just making sure that you have not traveled down the path of the “all capitalism is evil” crowd. 😉

  22. coventryrm said

    You should know me better than that!!! 😦

  23. coventryrm said

    SkiUtah

    In regards to China the book does spend some time talking about China, Milton Friedman economics have been the model. They have used the tactics for their economic reforms so it would make sense that if they could use this latest crisis to push through more reforms or developments that have been met with resistance they would, but on the other hand I don’t think much resistance is a big issue for them either.

  24. Suitcase said

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Suitcase!

  25. blazeheliski said

    As I mentioned – I am done with the book and have detailed comments coming soon. This article I posted below caught my eye today.

    In Naomi Klein’s book, the perfect country would be a country like Sweden. Socialized with big government social programs, and large labor unions with just a hint of capitalism. If you put any more capitalism into an economy than just a tiny bit – the people of that country will suffer according to her. If that is true, then most European countries and many Asian countries should be at the top of this list. Countries like the USA should be at the bottom according to her thesis. Sure -the list has some Scandanavian countries near the top but where are all the Asian countries with national healthcare and powerful labor unions? Notice the 2nd paragraph of the quote.

    Happiness index

    “Good health may be the key to happiness, but money helps open the door. Wealthier countries, such as Switzerland (2) and Luxembourg (10) scored high on the index. Not surprisingly, most African countries, which have little of either; scored poorly. Zimbabwe, which has an AIDS rate of 25%, an average life expectancy of 39, and an 80% poverty rate, ranked near the bottom at 177. Meanwhile, the conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis gave fellow Africans in Burundi, ranked 178, even less to smile about, despite their having a slightly lower poverty rate of 68%.

    Capitalism, meanwhile, fared quite well. Free-market systems are sometimes blamed for producing unhappiness due to insecurity and competition, but the U.S. was No. 23 and all the top-ranking European countries are firmly capitalist—albeit of a social-democratic flavor.

    White says the only real surprise in his findings was how low many Asian countries scored. China is 82, Japan 90, and India an unhappy 125. “These are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity, which other researchers have associated with well-being,” he says.”

  26. blazeheliski said

    In her book, Klein always speaks fondly of “collectives.” Labor unions, woker co-op factories, farmer co ops are all the way things should be run in her world. “Collectives” like these make the average man happy and keeps those evil owners from becoming too powerful. If this is the case – then why do countries like China, Japan and India with their strong sense of the “collective” score so low on this index?

  27. blazeheliski said

    Another more general comment – in the book, Klein paints Friedman style capitalism as being so “extreme” that it takes some sort of “shock” or disaster before people will accept it. Thus her term “disaster capitalism” used throughout the book.

    Instead of Friedman style capitalism being the “evil component” here – maybe she needs to look at the heart and intentions of the leaders of the country at the time? Maybe capitalism is more a tool than a culprit? I submit that capitalism has been a tool to create both good and bad situations depending on how it was implemented. Capitalism has been quite the “fad” the last 50 or 60 years. Socialism appeared to be very popular before that. Capitalism does not appear to be near as popular as it used to be. Do you hear either of the current candidates for president talking about shrinking government and opening markets? If capitalism is not the “in thing” anymore – what is?

    Environmentalism – green is where it is at! Just look at the shining example of Greensburg, Kansas. A small Kansas town wiped off the map by a tornado (the disaster) making the people willing to accept a totally “green” rebuild of their town at a much higher cost because they are still in “shock” from the class 5 tornado.

    Forget Friedman taught “Chicago boys” and “Berkly mafia” waiting in their black helicopters for the next disaster. That is soooooo last century. It is now Al Gore commandos preaching their global warming doctrine – playing up every natural disaster as another turn of the thumb screws getting the people to go green and make Al Gore and a few of his friends very, very rich. According to reports, Al Gore made over 100 million dollars last year from “saving” the planet.

    Bye, bye disaster capitalsim. Hello disaster environmentalism.

    Greensburg Kansas

  28. coventryrm said

    ““then why do countries like China, Japan and India with their strong sense of the “collective” score so low on this index?”

    Aren’t those countries more like the Poster children of Capitalism and Free Market and economic reform, and the some of the main suppliers of cheap products and labor to the US?

    I am just confused why you would use those as an example maybe I missed something I don’t think she used any of those as good examples. Any concept is only as good as its implementation. Poorly implemented Free Market, Capitalism, socialism, Co-ops, etc can be disastrous I am sure as well as I good mix and implementation may have some positive impacts, I think we as a society will always disagree on the what the correct balance of these things should be.

  29. coventryrm said

    Your last comment that ended with “Bye, bye disaster capitalsim. Hello disaster environmentalism.”

    Amen – great comment I agree with you 100%

    (I am trying to figure out how to format this blog so it will number the comments so they are easier to reference)

  30. blazeheliski said

    Japan, the 2nd largest economy in the world, is not a “poster child” for Friedman style capitalism. Japan is more socialized than many European countries. Most businesses are heavily subsidized by the government. Most industries are protected by huge tarriffs. Here is a nice little quote about Japan – “characteristics of the Japanese economy have included the cooperation of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and banks in closely-knit groups called keiretsu and the guarantee of lifetime employment in big corporations.” Guaranteed lifetime employment? That doesn’t sound very Friedman like? It sounds more like something Klein would really like. Japan has nationalized healthcare and schools. It is a very, very socialized economy.

    China? Come on. It is still a very communist country. They have used the “tool” of capitalism to privatize a FEW things. But the “tool” of capitalism is being used to benifit the dictators, and it is not set up properly to benifit the general population. Thus the suffering. It is a very collective mindset.

  31. coventryrm said

    Wasn’t Friedman involved with China seems like he made quite a few trips over there to offer advise?

    Anyway I think we actually agree on things, as you said

    ” I submit that capitalism has been a tool to create both good and bad situations depending on how it was implemented.”

    Amen!

  32. coventryrm said

    What I took from the book was that the US has gotten involved in these situations where as you said

    “But the “tool” of capitalism is being used to benefit the dictators, and it is not set up properly to benefit the general population.”

    This sheds some light as to why the US is not looked on as favorably around the world as we would hope it to be.

  33. blazeheliski said

    Yes – Friedman did lecture in China several times. He always stated that he would teach the principles of free market philosophies to anyone that would listen even if they were communists or dictators.

    “That idea followed from Capitalism and Freedom, in which he declared that economic freedom is not only desirable in itself but is also a necessary condition for political freedom. He stressed that the lectures he gave in Chile were the same lectures he later gave in China and other socialist states.”

    He felt that if he could get the ideas out there – it would plant the seeds for freedom eventually being realized by the general population.

    He taught the priciples, but did not condone the political systems. Klein would have you believe that capitalism by itself is evil. That if reigned in on a tight leash it can be a useful tool to help an economy. But her collectiveness nature can not stand the sight of it.

    When in reality – the tool is not evil. That is like saying handguns are evil. Used properly – both can be used for good or evil.

  34. blazeheliski said

    Now some specific counterpoints to the book. Throughout the book Klein talks about how Friedman style capitalism was always too harsh to be installed successfully via peaceful democratic means. She points that out in her discusion about Chile, Russia, Poland, etc. The only way for the population to accept this form of capitalism is the “shock” and disorient them first. I guess she “forgot” to include examples like Iceland and Estonia in her book. It would mess up her thesis. Here are a few Wiki quotes talking about some Friedman successes………..

    “Iceland
    Friedman visited Iceland in the autumn of 1984, met with prominent Icelanders and gave a lecture at the University of Iceland on the Tyranny of the Status Quo. He participated in a lively television debate on August 31, 1984 with leading socialist intellectuals, including President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.[40] When they complained that a fee was charged for attending his lecture at the University and that hitherto lectures by visiting scholars had been free-of-charge, Friedman replied that previous lectures had not been free-of-charge in a meaningful sense: Lectures always have related costs. What mattered was whether attendees covered those costs, or those who did not attend. Friedman thought that it was fairer that only those who attended, paid.

    Friedman made a great impact on a group of young intellectuals in the Independence Party, including Davíð Oddsson who became Prime Minister in 1991 and began a radical program of monetary and fiscal stabilization, privatization, tax rate reduction (e.g., lowering the corporate income tax rate from 45% to 18%), definition of exclusive use rights in fisheries, abolition of various government funds for aiding unprofitable enterprises and liberalization of currency transfers and capital markets. In 1975, Iceland had the 53rd freest economy in the world, while in 2004, it had the 9th freest economy, according to the Economic Freedom of the World index designed by Canada’s Fraser Institute. According to the index designed by the Heritage Foundation, Iceland as of 2008 has the 5th freest economy in the world. Davíð Oddsson was Prime Minister for thirteen and a half years, to 2004. The present Prime Minister, Geir H. Haarde supports similar policies.”

    “Estonia
    Although Friedman never visited Estonia, his book Free to Choose exercised a great influence on that nation’s then 32-year-old prime minister, Mart Laar, who has claimed that it was the only book on economics he had read before taking office. Laar’s reforms are often credited with responsibility for transforming Estonia from an impoverished Soviet Republic to the “Baltic Tiger”. A prime element of Laar’s program was introduction of the flat tax. Laar won the 2006 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, awarded by the Cato Institute.[42]

    As a result of Laar’s adherence to the principles in Free to Choose, Estonia now consistently ranks highly in the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Economic Freedom Index.”

  35. coventryrm said

    I think your points are somewhat consistent with what the book points out – when using “shock therapy” to push reform = bad allowing the natural process of democracy implement the free market = good. 🙂

  36. blazeheliski said

    You are being too easy on Klein. She specifically argues that Friedman style of capitalism can only be acheived via “shock” and “disaster.” Implying that any person in their right mind would never accept the principles of Friedman. Here is a quote from her in the first chapter………..

    “As I dug deeper into the history of how this market model had swept the globe, however, I discovered that the idea of exploiting crisis and disaster has been the modus operandi of Milton Friedman’s movement from the very begining – THIS FUNDAMENTALIST FORM OF CAPITALISM HAS ALWAYS NEEDED DISASTER TO ADVANCE.”

    This is the thesis of her entire book. I disagree with the thesis.

  37. coventryrm said

    Good point, I guess I read and listen to so much propaganda in either direction, I tend ignore the authors speculations or opinions and enjoy reading the information that they base those opinions on. I may have missed many of those statements as I speed read and tend to skim when the author is presenting things other than actual data or events.

    I was watching NGEO last night and they were doing a show about shock therapy, torture research etc…that went on during the Cold War year’s very interesting stuff a lot of which Klein talked about in her book as well.

    I have also come across some information that BYU was using electro shock therapy in an attempt to change the sexual orientation of gays in the 60’s, and 70’s.

  38. blazeheliski said

    The torture parts of the book are interesting. I learned some things that I did not know. Based on how it seems she likes to take quotes out of context to fit her “black helicopter” point of view, I think I need to search some other sources on the history of torture.

    Towards the end of the book – she likens the torture of Pinochet and other dictators to what America is doing in Iraq. Based on the sources I have seen and read – that is a very big stretch of the truth.

    When it comes to Iraq – the press has the freedom to report on bad things a FEW in our country have done in those prisons. Those people have been prosecuted. A few members of congress have oversight on all “interrogation.” Acording to reports – 3 people have been waterboarded in the 5 years of war. The rest have been made uncomfortable via loud noise, sleep deprivation, etc. Those things are components in the complete torture package, but by themselves don’t amount to “torture.” What constitutes torture is not an agreed upon subject. Personally, what she considers torture and what I consider torture are 2 different things at this point.

  39. blazeheliski said

    Klein introduces the reader to Milton Friedman in the first few pages talking about New Orleans and the Katrina disaster. His last op-ed piece before he died was about how the old, terrible public New Orleans school system should be replaced with charter schools. Klein “spins” it like this………

    “New Orleans’ public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools. Before Hurricane Katrina, the school board had run 123 public schools in the city; now it just ran 4. Before that storm, there had been 7 charter schools in the city; now there were 31. New Orleans teachers used to be represented by a strong union; now the union’s contract had been shredded, and its forty seven hundred members had all been fired. Some of the younger teachers were rehired by the charters, at reduced salaries; most were not.”

    This was blaspheme to someone whos grandfather was fired for trying to organize labor unions a Disney. She goes on to say……….

    “Public school teachers, meanwhile, watching money allocated for the victims of flood being diverted to erase a public system and replace it with a private one, 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.””

    She references this several times throughout the book and laments about what a horrible thing has happened. Everyone knows charter schools are evil and public schools are wonderful! The only reason a public school is ever found failing is that it never recieved enough money! 😉

    Lets look at the early results of the New Orleans schools today. I linked an article below – here is a short quote from the article…….

    “”There’s definitely a hope that the experience in New Orleans after the hurricane will show that public charter schools can work at scale, particularly for those students who have struggled historically,” says Todd Ziebarth, a policy analyst at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
    Last year, 91 percent of McDonogh fourth-graders passed their end-of-year tests, compared with 51 percent of students in the city’s public schools. To help students who have missed classes catch up, the school day runs until 4:30 in the afternoon, and students attend school every other Saturday.”

    New Orleans Schools

  40. coventryrm said

    “Todd Ziebarth, a policy analyst at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools”

    I am sure he isn’t biased 😮

  41. blazeheliski said

    His bias is “hope” that the charter schools will succeed. That is definately his opinion. The fact is that last year 91% of charter school 4th graders passed their State tests vs 51% of public school 4th graders. Poor black families of New Orleans had to accept this 50% success rate in the past. Now they have a choice. If you were a poor parent in New Orleans – what would you do? Keep sending your child to public school to show your support for a corrupt and lazy teachers union?

  42. coventryrm said

    “what would you do? Keep sending your child to public school to show your support for a corrupt and lazy teachers union?”

    I would have to look into the issue in more depth. It may not be so black and white maybe there was an opportunity to revamp improve the current public system. Fight against this so called “corrupt and lazy teachers union?” I am wondering who would have more power to be corrupt in the long run a “corrupt and lazy teachers union?” or a “corrupt” privatized business that starts making huge profits without offering an adequate product eventually leaving the poor behind. I am sure Halliburton looked like a good idea in the beginning and could provide you with all the support material in the world. That is the problem it is not an either or proposition as the folks that are making millions off of public funds would like you to think.

    Personally I agree the school system needs fixing I think the whole nation is aware of this, there was a time we were aware that our government infrastructure and military were in the same boat, the answer was to turn it over to private companies how has that panned out. Maybe there is another answer!

    Once again the main point I think Klein was making is that when you use “Shock” to impose your change and reform you can impose the whims and opinions of a few privileged on the masses for good or bad, however history has shown that typically when done this way it has been very devastating to many. She takes issue with your Milton Friedman because he is the one that actually used the term shock and openly talked about in letters to Pinochet in Chile. (FACT)

    Basically you have presented a great looking rebuttal but you did read the book with the purpose of finding fault and had already labeled it a “Black helicopter” on this blog before even opening it. So it is no surprise that you would take a similar approach of what you accuse Klein of in your rebuttal to emphasize the times Friedman and “Free Market reform” has had a positive impact, but I also find it interesting that ALL your “Good” examples were ones implemented without using the “Shock” style of reform and to minimize or blow off the negative ones.

    I think we actually agree on the following and would like to put this discussion to bed.

    A: “Free Market” is not accurately depicted in this book that we both believe that a Free Market system is actually a good one. Implementation is the key.

    B: Neither one of us would necessarily agree that Klein’s economic utopia would actually work and that capitalism as found throughout the US is not a perfect system but a pretty damn good one.

    I do appreciate your comments and insights, I think it helps put things into perspective I think Klein makes some valid points and I agree stretches for others, still I would not throw the baby out with the bath water because of it. I think by in large the US population is unaware of much and books such as this will at least provoke thought, research and conversation. You will have those that read this book and take it at face value and it will fuel their already anti Capitalism crusade others like myself will just learn and be aware of certain things that I wasn’t before, and others will just discount it entirely. (Of course I over generalize here as I am sure there are more than 3 scenarios)

    This will be my last comment on this thread, if anyone else finds the time to read “The Shock Doctrine” I would love to read your comments. I think I have clearly expressed my views regarding the book.

    K blaze you can have the last word if you want – go for it – or not.

  43. blazeheliski said

    Nice change to the look of the postings! They are much easier to read now. You are more than welcome to delete all my duplicate posts when I was having that linking problem.

    How is that for a “last word?” 😉

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