The Shock Doctrine

Naomi Klein’s book is really opening my eyes.  Perhaps the most edifying thing I’ve gotten so far is how skillfully economics and politics have been separated by the free market fundamentalists.  It explains why I never really understood how China went from being a repressive communist country to a repressive capitalist one, and why Russia disintegrated into a cesspool of capitalist slime. I never knew much about the history of Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, but I have been horrified to learn of the way the U.S. intervened in their burgeoning democracies to try and create a fundamentalist capitalist economy, which invariably always needed a dictatorship or repressive state in order to enforce it.

Klein is no anti-capitalist – in fact, she spends quite a bit of time talking about the Keynesian mixed capitalism that Milton Friedman and Jeffrey Sachs think is so messy.  Yet the only people who fare well in a strictly free market society are the top corporations and politicians who support them.

I am so glad Obama is president. I was skeptical at first. After all, I thought Clinton would be different than he turned out to be.  He was just as guilty as Reagan, Bush, and Bush II about deregulating and privatizing parts of the American economy, which has led to much of our problems today.  Did he do it because he had a change of heart or because he was always more centrist than he talked? I don’t know.  One of the things Klein chronicles is the disturbing trend of politicans getting elected on one promise and then making backdoor deals the with the IMF and U.S. government to operate in a very different way – it happened in Bolivia, in Poland, in Russia, and in China.

But I have been encouraged by Obama’s first month in office. I think he might actually mean the things he said in his campaign.  I hope so.

You should read this book. It’s much easier to read than I thought it would be. It will blow you away. Seriously.

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~ by realsupergirl on March 6, 2009.

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