Naomi Klein, ‘The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism’

It was the end of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st when a Canadian newspaper columnist by the name of Naomi Klein published No Logo, a book that became the blueprint for activists in a brand-sponsored era and a bible for the anti-globalization movement. Now her third book, The Shock Doctrine, discusses the dirty secrets behind the modern economics that led us to that era.

Klein’s argument is that savvy politicians and their ilk implement policies that would normally cause a public uproar, except during the aftermath of natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, when they take advantage of a disoriented population. These actions can range from the seizure of destroyed fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami to the privatization of schools in a post-Katrina New Orleans. Another example would be pushing a country into a war after a major terrorist attack. The theories and supporting facts presented have garnered a great deal of attention; The Shock Doctrine has been referred to as one of the best economic books of the 21st century by some or derided as an over-simplification of greater issues by others.

Much like filmmaker Michael Moore, Klein has been repeatedly accused of attacking the issues discussed in both No Logo and The Shock Doctrine with a decidedly leftist slant, ignoring certain details that damage her argument. While there is some truth to that, there is a factual core to her arguments that can not be ignored, and as great a simplification as this is, politicians surely do manipulate circumstances to get what they want.

I don’t think anyone would be shocked by that.

3.5 stars out of 5

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