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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making the Connections, 29 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Paperback)
This is an excellent work of synthesis, drawing together many apparently disparate examples from the real world, and making a strong case for identifying the Neo-Liberals (as personified in Milton Friedman) as being a movement dedicated to oportunistic re-modelling of nations in the interest of the international rich.

A lot of dubious nonsense has been written in the negative reviews of this book so perhaps it is necessary to clarify some issues that those reviewers have brought up in order to discredit this book. The connection between torture and Neo-Liberal shock doctrine is in part a analogy though in some instances, especially in Latin America, the two have went hand in hand. It is an analogy in so far that during torture a person is isolated, disorientated, de-humanised and subjected to cruel practices up to and including death. A country that has suffered a natural calamity, or a political coup or war is in an similar position, disorientated, cut off from the wider world, and in the literal sense those members of that country such as left political figures, community leaders and trade unionists are isolated, tortured and on occasion killed. I dont think this is too difficult to grasp, and I do think that the evidence Klein has collected in The Shock Doctrine backs up this assertion in a clear and powerful manner.

One reviewer, who claims to have an interest in social justice, likens the book to "The Elders of the Protocol of Zion" on the basis that Milton Friedman and the Chicago School are being identified as a sinister and all powerful "cabal" that runs the world. This is a grotesque distortion of Kleins well documented case which is that Friedmans ideas and his disciples Neo-Liberal dogma have been taken up by powerful interests, promoted by the think tanks of the wealthy right wing, have demonstrably became recieved wisdom in important international bodies (IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organisation). That these organisations use disasters whether in politics and economics, after warfare or natural disasters as leverage to implement a set of policies, championed by the likes of Friedman and his ilk, which in normal times would be more or less regarded in the not to be touched with a barge pole category. Klein convincingly proves that amongst the politicians who implement these policies, and the economic advisors who design them, there is a wide spread belief that these policies can only be implemented in times of shock when normal restraints are seriously curtailed and any real prospect of Democratic processes intervening is at a minimal level. This isn't a conspiracy theory, unfortunately its a description of reality.

Klein takes her examples from a wide variety of countries, from Latin America in the 70's through to the 90's (Argentina, Chile, Brazil & Bolivia primarily), to Russia and Poland, China and Sri Lanka. The opportunism of the Neo-Liberals in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and the catastrophe that the U.S. visited on post-Saddam Iraq are also covered in detail. The re-curring theme is a destruction of democratic institutions, the public sector and welfare spending in favour of a State thats function appears to be that of a trough for large private sector corporations to get their ample snouts into. when natural disasters such as the Southern Asian Tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina occur, the Neo-Liberals have viewed them as a god sent opportunity for policies including the demolition of public housing, privatising public education, removing people from their homes and places of work and handing over the land to rich developers. The actual people of the states in which these policies are implemented are swept to the margins while technocrats and their political collaborators run the show at their expense.

Its not all doom and gloom, the final chapter gives some idea of how people and nations are resisting and in some cases have started to turn back the Neo-Liberal agenda and discredit the policies of the Chicago School, as exemplified by Milton Friedman and others, and take real democratic control of their lives at the local and national levels.

This review gives only a very general idea of the merits of this exceptional book which I would strongly recommend to anyone with a real sense of the importance of Social Justice and ordinary people having a say in how their societies are run.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Mar 2010 21:53:44 GMT
Splisbury says:
Good review. I will buy it! I trust the negative marking mob will note you have given an very good review to one of theirs...

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2010 16:55:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Mar 2010 11:51:29 GMT
S Wood says:
Thanks for the +ve feedback and I hope you enjoy, if that's the correct word, the book. I seem to have lost a large tranche of my -ve votes (& a few of my +ve ones except for those on the lists). I don't know if Amazon decided to clean up on what they call "campaign voting". I'm missing them already lol! They were a badge of honour!!
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