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"The Shock Doctrine" - Naomi Klein

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Klein spent many years researching this book. It is largely a series of documented cases where the US interfered in foreign countries to implement the Neo-Liberal, (far right despite the misleading name) theories of economist Milton Friedman and his Chicago School of Economics.

 

Friedman's ideas centered around full-blown laissez-faire economics and maximum privatization..... The shrinking of government and belief in trickle-down. Friedman was rigid in the conviction that the only way to effect real change was through violent trauma.... The unrestrained wiping away of the old to make way for the new, without the consent of the governed.

 

Often the vehicles for sudden, brutal change are dictators recruited by the CIA and other clandestine, US quasi military agencies to help overthrow peaceful, elected governments. One of Klein's many examples is the Salvador Allende regime in Chile which was replaced with Augusto Pinochet who, with US backing, instigated a reign of terror, designed to shock, awe and immobilize the populace into submission.

 

As one reads on it becomes obvious that in the last 40 years, much of the world economic order has been remade according to Friedman's ideas, often violently, by putting programs in place, in other countries, that democratic process would never have allowed.

 

Military coups, extreme force and torture, mass murders, wars, hyperinflation, terrorism... even natural climate disasters - these have been the destructive tools that allowed such extreme economic plans to be imposed. The goal is to develop these plans in secrecy and put them in place too rapidly for the populace to respond. What follows are massive unemployment, skyrocketing prices for essential goods, closing of factories, widespread poverty and explosive concentration of wealth among a small elite. The resulting economies work exclusively for rapacious American and European capitalism. The vast majority of the population is marginalized and impoverished.

 

I found THE SHOCK DOCTRINE difficult to digest in more than small doses at a time. The violence and wrongful abuse the US imposed on many countries, in the name of greed will distress many. For them, it is probably best to read in more than one sitting.

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