Naomi Klein has written a book, Shock Doctrine, whose premise is that a formal strategy for forcing social change began evolving on the right as long ago as the 1950s, based on an extremist view of conservative free market capitalism.
As Eric Klinenberg wrote in his Book Forum review, “Why do so many nations have economic policies more laissezfaire and social programs less generous than their citizens prefer? Naomi Klein argues that the answer lies in a simple two-step strategy, honed over three decades by an international cabal of freemarket fundamentalists: First, exploit crises—whether due to economics, politics, or natural disasters—to advance an agenda that would never survive the democratic process during ordinary times. Next, create a ‘corporatocracy,’ in which multinationals and political leaders align to promote their interests at the public’s expense.”1
In her extraordinarily well-documented work, Naomi Klein describes how the tactics of this strategy have now reached a level of sophistication such that in settings as disparate as Iraq and Katrina, it has forced change that would otherwise have been unacceptable through normal democratic processes. A change wrought under the guise of responding to some kind of social catastrophe, whether natural, like a hurricane, or man-made such as the early policies under Paul Bremmer in the first days of the occupation of Iraq. Klein points out that often this occurs with disastrous consequences, as anyone familiar with Katrina’s aftermath, or today’s headline on Iraq can see. If you have not read this book, I urge you to do so. It will give you a perspective through which much that seems chaotic and disconnected will be revealed as not only connected, but deliberate. The book is so disturbing that it forced me to consider if an alternative life-affirming strategy existed that had proven it could work. A kind of counter–Shock Doctrine.
Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing
January 2008 (Vol. 4, Issue 1, Pages 15-17)