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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper XXXVII: October 22, 2007, 7:00 p.m.

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York:
Metropolitan Books, 2007).

INTRODUCTION: Blank Is Beautiful:


Three Decades of Erasing and PART 1: Two Doctor Shocks:
Remaking the World. Post-Katrina Research and Development.
conversion of New Orleans educational
system to private charter school system Ch. 1: The Torture Lab: Ewen
as an example of “disaster capitalism” Cameron, the CIA, and the Maniacal
(3-6). Friedman theorized [in Capitalism Quest to Erase and Remake the
and Freedom] about the need for crisis to Human Mind. Gail Kastner, a Canadian
produce “real change” (6-7). Chile & Iraq victim of 1950s mind experiments
(7-8). Through work on Iraq, she sponsored by CIA (25-30). Dr. Ewen
“discovered that the idea of exploiting Cameron of McGill Univ. and his work on
crisis and disaster has been the modus mental repatterning was funded by the
operandi of Milton Friedman’s movement CIA from 1957 to 1961 (30-32; 35-38).
from the very beginning. . . . Seen The MKULtra program; though it was
through the lens of this doctrine, the past research on torture, when exposed it was
thirty-five years look very different” (9). framed as mere foolishness (33-38). The
Wars and financial crises (10-11). research informed the 1963 Kubark
September 11 was exploitable for “the Counterintelligence Manual, made public
disaster capitalism complex” (11-14). in 1997 (38-41). U.S. personnel usually
“Now wars and disaster responses are so acted as mentor or trainer in use of these
fully privatized that they are themselves illegal techniques (41-42). Sept. 11 led
the new market; there is no need to wait to U.S. “in-sourcing” of torture (42-46).
until after the war for the boom” (13). Cameron’s effect on Gail Kastner was like
Telling the history of the complex is the U.S.’s effect on Iraq (46-48).
difficult because “the ideology is a
shape-shifter,” but its various Ch. 2: The Other Doctor Shock:
incarnations all advocate “the elimination Milton Friedman and the Search for
of the public sphere, total liberation for a Laissez-Faire Laboratory. Milton
corporations, and skeletal spending” (14- Friedman and the Univ. of Chicago (49-
15). The best term for the result is a 50). “A love of numbers and systems”
“corporatist” society (15). Torture as (50-51). Friedman’s origins (52). His
both “silent partner” and “metaphor of movement’s enemy: Keynesianism’s
the shock doctrine’s underlying logic” “revolution against laissez-faire (53-56).
(15-17). This differs from the official Capitalism and Freedom (1962) attacks
account of Friedman’s career (17-18). “I the New Deal heritage, advocates
will show that this fundamentalist form of privatization (56-57). U.S. combats
capitalism has consistently been “developmentalism” (i.e. economic
midwifed by the most brutal forms of nationalism) abroad by coups (58-59)
coercion” (18). Like other “clean slate” and, in the Southern Cone of Latin
ideologies “[r]ooted in biblical fantasies America, by an ideological plan devised
of great floods and great fires,” it “leads in 1956 by Albion Patterson, director of
ineluctably toward violence” and is “a the U.S. International Cooperation
danger to the public” (19). If Administration (which would later
Communism is to be held accountable for become USAID) in Chile, and Theodore
its crimes, so must free-market W. Schultz, chair of Chicago’s economic
fundamentalism (19-21). department, to sponsor Chilean students
at Chicago (59-62). Chilean politics was Judge Carlos Rozanski of Argentina found
moving to the left (62-63). But Nixon Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz guilty of
waged economic war against Chile, then “genocide” for his role in the Argentine
Allende was overthrown, using the terror (100-02). “[I]f genocide is
“Indonesia approach” (63-71). understood as these courts define it, as
an attempt to deliberately obliterate the
PART 2: The First Test: Birth Pangs. groups who were barriers to a political
project, then this process can be seen
Ch. 3: States of Shock: The Bloody not just in Argentina but, to varying
Birth of the Counterrevolution. After degrees of intensity, throughout the
the Sept. 11, 1973, coup, the imposition region that was turned into the Chicago
of “The Brick,” as the economic plan was School laboratory” (102). This was “a
known (75-77). Similar events would declaration against this entire culture [of
follow in dozens of countries, “But Chile left-leaning citizens]” (104; 102-07).
was the counterrevolution’s genesis―a Trade unionists persecuted (107-09). In
genesis of terror” (78). Pinochet knew no the name of fighting Marxism, “anyone
economics, but proclaimed the who represented a vision of society built
“naturalness” of the changes (79). Faced on values other than pure profit” faced
with difficulties, Friedman visited Chile in “preemptive attack”: agrarian leaders,
March 1975 and advocated to Pinochet a community workers, etc., both to
fuller embrace of free markets, using the eliminate opposition and send a message
term “shock treatment” for the first time (109-11). Torturers and economists used
in the context of a real-world economic the same “supremacist logic” or
crisis; in 1975 Pinochet and Sergio de metaphor of “curing,” which extended
Castro embraced the advice (79-85). The even to separating children from parents
“Miracle of Chile” is a myth; what was in the name of health (111-15).
really produced was a highly inegalitarian
corporatist country (85-86). Brazil, Ch. 5: “Entirely Unrelated”: How an
Uruguay, and Argentina follow (87-89). Ideology Was Cleansed of Its Crimes.
Torture, using Kubark methods, History has been rewritten by Friedman
accompanied the changes (89-94). In and others, so that it appears that the
“An Open Letter from a Writer to the Chicago Boys were called in after the
Military Junta” (1977) sent the day before coup, rather than being a part of it (116-
he was killed, Rodolfo Walsh, Argentina’s 17). The award of the 1976 Nobel Prize
leading investigative journalist, wrote: in Economics to Milton Friedman and of
“It is in the economic policy of this the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize to Amnesty
government where one discovers not International had the effect of
only the explanation for the crimes, but a disconnecting the two aspects of shock
greater atrocity which punishes millions (117-18). Also tending in this direction
of human beings through planned was the development of “the modern-day
misery” (95; 94-96). To justify human rights movement,” and Amnesty
repression, the myth of dangerous International in particular, which sought
Marxist terrorists and guerrillas was to avoid politicization by looking at
promoted (96-97). abuses narrowly (118-21). “It didn’t ask
why, it just asserted that,” essentially
Ch. 4: Cleaning the Slate: Terror developing “a way of engaging in politics
Does Its Work. A month before he was without mentioning politics” (121).
assassinated on Sept. 21, 1976, Orlando Another factor in this was the desire to
Letelier denounced Milton Friedman in remain eligible for the money that was
the Nation as complicit in Pinochet’s available (as a sop to their consciences
crimes (98-100). In September 2006, and as insulation from criticism) from
philanthropic foundations like the Ford Ch. 8: Crisis Works: The Packaging
Foundation: “when Ford rode to the of Shock Therapy. Two kinds of
rescue, its assistance came at a price, financial crises as a means of justifying
and that price was―consciously or shock therapy offered opportunities in
not―the intellectual honesty of the the 1980s: passing on odious debt (156-
human rights movement (124; 121-25). 58), and debt shocks (159-61). The latter
This has altered the way the history of became more common in the early
the “free-market revolution” is told (124). 1980s as the “Washington Consensus”
In essence, the Southern Cone “was expressed the “colonization” of the World
treated as a murder scene when it was, Bank and the IMF by Chicago School
in fact, the site of an extraordinarily economists, which became a clever
violent armed robbery” (125). Torture is marketing strategy to impose radical
not an aberration, but “an indicator free-trade regimes on poor countries
species of a regime that is engaged in a (161-68).
deeply anti-democratic project” (125;
125-27). The failure to hold PART 4: Lost in Transition: While
neoliberalism responsible for its crimes We Wept, While We Trembled, While
set the stage for our present “era of We Danced.
corporatist massacres . . . [a]nd once
again the goals of building free markets, Ch. 9: Slamming the Door on
and the need for such brutality, are History: A Crisis in Poland, a
treated as entirely unrelated” (128). Massacre in China. Poland embraces
Sachs’s reform plan (171-81). February
PART 3: Surviving Democracy: 1989: Fukuyama’s “end of history”
Bombs Made of Laws. thesis sponsored by John M. Olin,
Friedman patron (182-84). In China,
Ch. 6: Saved by a War: Thatcherism Tiananmen was repression to protect
and Its Useful Enemies. Thatcher and economic “reform” that has produced a
Nixon illustrate the unpalatableness of corporatist state (184-91). In Poland,
Friedman’s ideas in democratic societies Solidarity supporters experienced
(131-36). But the 1982 Falklands War betrayal, but a mythical Poland is “held
gave Thatcher the political cover to up as a model” of a peaceful, democratic
impose radical capitalist transformation radical “free-market makeover” (193).
in Britain (136-41).
Ch. 10: Democracy Born in Chains:
Ch. 7: The New Doctor Shock: South Africa’s Constricted Freedom.
Economic Warfare Replaces The ANC’s Freedom Charter (194-97).
Dictatorship. Advised by economist Negotiations between the National Party
Jeffrey Sachs, Bolivia’s newly elected and the ANC (198-205). Mandela and
President Paz imposed economic shock Mbeki embrace neoliberal shock therapy
therapy three weeks after his 1985 (205-10). The failure to pay reparations
election on a different platform; the (210-17).
ensuing economic “miracle” was
accompanied by repression, showing Ch. 11: Bonfire of a Young
“that the corporatist crusade could Democracy: Russia Chooses “The
advance by these baldly authoritarian Pinochet Option.” Russian “reform”
means and still be applauded as was really a great “crime” in which
democratic because elections had taken democracy was rejected and Yeltsin used
place” (154; 142-54). dictatorial powers to effect radical free-
market reform, then suppressed
democratic resistance in an October
1993 coup (218-30). But Yeltsin “kept demands for deeper trade concessions”
the prizes for the Russians” (231). He (279).
started a war in Chechnya (232), then
looted country by selling off assets to PART 5: Shocking Times: The Rise
oligarchs (232-34). The nature of of the Disaster Capitalism Complex.
Chicago School economics makes it hard
to distinguish idealism from cynical Ch. 14: Shock Therapy in the U.S.A.:
exploitation of the system: “pretty much The Homeland Security Bubble.
any act of personal enrichment can be Rumsfeld’s military “transformation” was
justified as a contribution to the great “simply an attempt to bring the
creative cauldron of capitalism” (235). revolution in outsourcing and
Russia a victim of “pillage” with branding . . . into the heart of the U.S.
“extreme acts of terror” (239; 236-39). military” (284; 283-87). As businessman,
Parallels between Russia in the 1990s Rumsfeld has been a “proto-disaster
and Iraq today (239-41). “Corruption” capitalist” anticipating epidemics (288-
blamed for unpleasant aspects in what is 91), Cheney, anticipating war (291-92);
really the pillage of the state by Lynne Cheney has been involved in the
“corporate conquistadors” (241-45). privatization of domestic government
functions as director at Lockheed (293).
Ch. 12: The Capitalist Id: Russia Bush, too, as governor of Texas (294).
and the New Era of the Boor Market. Sept. 11 seemed briefly to go against the
October 2006 interview with Jeffrey privatization movement, but in “a bold
Sachs; Klein concludes that Sachs evolution of shock therapy” (298) the
doesn’t really understand 20th-century Bush team created a new framework (the
economic history, in which progress War on Terror) and then “immediately
depended on “the messy, militant outsourced” (299) its functions, creating
demands of trade unionists and “the disaster capitalism complex” (299).
socialists” (252; 246-53). After Russia, The Dept. of Homeland Security is a
there emerges a “pure Chicago School “wholly outsourced mode of
ideology, letting the market do its worse” government” (300). The War on Terror is
(253). A January 1993 conference saw militarily absurd, but an “unbeatable
John Williamson discussing actively [economic proposition]” (301). It has
creating serious crises in order to make constituted a veritable industry (302-06),
reform possible (253-57). Creation of but has not been analyzed and debated
Canada’s February 1993 “debt crisis” as such (306-07).
(257-59). Charges of Davison Budhoo
that the IMF manipulates statistics (260- Ch. 15: A Corporatist State:
62). Removing the Revolving Door,
Putting in an Archway. Rumsfeld
Ch. 13: Let It Burn: The Looting of refused to divest himself of all holdings
Asia and “The Fall of a Second Berlin as secretary of defense, and left office
Wall.” The 1997 Asian financial crisis much wealthier than he entered it (308-
was regarded with indifference because 13). Cheney, too (313-14). “[A] total
it was seen as a crisis that could promote merger of political and corporate elites in
reforms (263-73). Wall Street did very the name of security, with the state
well out of the Asian crisis (273-77). The playing up the role of chair of the
costly social ramifications continue to business guild—as well as the largest
play out (277-79). In Seattle in 1999, source of business opportunities” is not
“the real rebellion took place inside the an anomaly, but rather “where the entire
conference, when developing countries Chicago School crusade—with its triple
formed a voting bloc and rejected obsessions—privatization, deregulation
and union-busting—has been leading” irrelevant, since the aim was to create a
(316; 314-16). Freelance envoys work new country (343-46). Bremer’s laws
without divesting: James Baker, Iraqi were “merely an accelerated version of
debt negotiation, and the Carlyle Group what had been implemented in previous
(317-19); George Schultz, the Committee shock therapy experiments,”
for the Liberation of Iraq, and Lockheed implementing the neoliberal project’s
(319); Henry Kissinger, the 9/11 “vision of a fully outsourced, hollow
Commission, and his secret client list government” (346 & 348; 346-49).
(319-20); Richard Perle, the U.S. Defense Though the occupation’s failure is
Policy Board, and Trireme Partners (320- commonly blamed on Arab sectarianism
21). The portrait of neoconservatives as and extremism, in fact only it
true believers is “both artificial and exacerbated these to their present level
amnesiac” (322). (350-51). In fact Iraq is “a very capitalist
disaster, a nightmare of unfettered greed
PART 6: Iraq, Full Circle: unleashed in the wake of war” (351).
Overshock. Examples of “ideological blowback”: the
disaster of de-Baathification was a result
Ch. 16: Erasing Iraq: In Search of a of free-market fervor (351-52); the
“Model” for the Middle East. obsession with writing a new constitution
“[E]xtreme violence has a way of exacerbated sectarianism (352-53); the
preventing us from seeing the interests it drive to privatize led Iraqis to regard
serves”; even the antiwar movement has economic measures as acts of war (353);
been little interested in the idea that scorn for the state led to understaffing
“war was a rational policy choice” (327; the CPA (353-55); hypocrisy about “free-
325-27). The shock-doctrine perspective market” doctrines and systematic
permits one to see that the “successful” exclusion of Iraqis fueled extremism and
war and “failed” occupation were “two produced wild scamming
parts of a unified strategy” (331; 329- (subcontracting) (355-59). “Iraq under
31). The shock-and-awe strategy Bremer was the logical conclusion of
amounts to mass torture of a society Chicago School theory . . . contemporary
(331-33). As in torture, before the war Iraq is a creation of the fifty-year crusade
the Iraqis were “shown the instruments,” to privatized the world” (359).
in this case via the media (333-34).
Cutting communications was like sensory Ch. 18: Full Circle: From Blank
deprivation (334-35). Destruction of Slate to Scorched Earth. The planners
cultural institutions (e.g. the looting of of the war were banking on shock (360-
the National Museum) was like stripping 61). Instead, Iraqis sought to embrace
the torture victim (335-38). Giving democracy, but were blocked again and
torture victims goodies as compensation again by Bremer to save the economic
in Guantanamo was like flooding Iraq project (361-65). Torture was introduced
with cheap appliances (338-40). “immediately following Bremer’s most
controversial shocks” (367; 365-70).
Ch. 17: Ideological Blowback: A Iraqis used even harsher methods (370-
Very Capitalist Disaster. The U.S. 72). Iraq is “disappearing” in lethal
brought fourteen high-level Russian and violence that was “preordained in that
East European bureaucrats to Baghdad in original seemingly innocuous, even
Sept. 2003 to speak to Iraqi officials on idealistic phrase: ‘a model for a new
capitalist transformation (341-43). Middle East’” (374; 373). But efforts to
Bremer, something of a pioneer in post- salvage the Iraq project (e.g. the oil law)
9/11 disaster capitalism, was ideal for the may yet succeed (374; 373). Thanks to
job; his ignorance of Iraq was considered
Iraq, privatized warfare (Blackwater) is CONCLUSION: Shock Wears Off: The
advancing (377-82). Rise of People’s Reconstruction.
Given the stratification it has produced
PART 7: The Movable Green Zone: everywhere it has been applied, “the
Buffer Zones and Blast Walls. quest for unfettered capitalism” finds
itself in disarray (444; 443-46). Shock
Ch. 19: Blanking the Beach: “The has worn off, and there are many forms
Second Tsunami.” Washington of resistance, some of them reactionary
imposed the “Mitch model” (after and racist (446-50). Democratic
Hurricane Mitch, which hit Central socialism is reviving in Latin America;
America in Oct. 1998) on Sri Lanka “[t]he dirty secret of the neoliberal era is
following the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami; that these ideas were never defeated in
leading to resumption of civil war (385- a great battle of ideas, nor were they
99 & 403-05). Indonesia (399). Maldives voted down in elections” (450; 450-53).
(399-401). Thailand (402-03). New strategies are being developed as a
“Everywhere the Chicago School crusade hedge against coups, like
has triumphed, it has created a decentralization in Venezuela (453-55)
permanent underclass of between 25 and and financial independence from
60 percent of the population. It is always Washington (455-57). The revolt against
a form of war” (405). neoliberalism is spreading (457-58).
Resistance in Lebanon in 2006 (459-62).
Ch. 20: Disaster Apartheid: A World Spain proved resistant to shock after the
of Green Zones and Red Zones. Mar. 11, 2004, bombings (462-63).
Katrina and the Green Zone in Baghdad Resistance in Thailand (463-64). Direct
provide glimpses of the future “disaster action in New Orleans (465). People’s
apartheid” that is emerging as the social reconstruction efforts are therapeutic
consequence of the shock doctrine (406- and represent “a way forward between
11). Paramilitaries are emerging (416- fundamentalisms” (466).
18). Corporations are poised to rent out
disaster services (418-21). Sandy Notes. 60 pp.
Springs, GA, contracted with CH2M for
government services in Sept. 2005 (421- Acknowledgments. Husband Avi
22). Lewis. Research assistant Debra Levy.
Editors at Metropolitan Books and Knopf
Ch. 21: Losing the Peace Incentive: Canada. Agent, Amanda Urban, of ICM
Israel as Warning. The connection of Books. Many researchers: Andréa
peace and prosperity has been broken Schmidt, Aaron Maté, Fernando Rouauz &
(423-26). But there is no conspiracy: Shana Yael Shubs (Latin America),
“The truth is at once less sinister and Amanda Alexander (South Africa), etc.
more dangerous”; speculation on “[t]he “The genesis of this book was a year
creeping expansion of the disaster spent living in Argentina” (529). Writers
capitalism into the media,” fostering who influenced: Kyo Maclear
public acceptance of the inevitability of (colonialism), Seumas Milne (Thatcher
disaster (426-29). Israel as a “standing years), Michale Hardt (economics),
disaster apartheid state” (428-42). editors at Nation and Guardian. Klein’s
Security as an alternative to peace as a brother, Seth Klein, is an economist.
goal (“It’s security that matters more Parents. Father-in-law, Stephen Lewis,
than peace”—Len Rosen, Israeli insisted placing AIDS “firmly within the
investment banker) (436). context of free-market fundamentalism”
(530). Many “stellar publishers and their
teams” (531). Adrienne Phillips made it
possible for the book to “come out in Iraq for Harper’s. Coproduced 2004
seven languages simultaneously” (531). documentary, “The Take,” with [her
Mark A. Fowler, libel lawyer. Activists. husband] Avi Lewis. Former Milband
National Security Archive. Hundreds of Fellow at the London School of
investigative journalists and authors. Economics. Web site:
Books. “[I]t took a global conspiracy to www.naomiklein.org Born 5/5/70 in
write this book” (533). Montreal. From activist family, like her
husband. In October 2005, Klein was
Index. 24 pp. ranked 11th in a poll on the world's top
100 public intellectuals compiled by
[On the Author. First book was No Prospect magazine in conjunction with
Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. Foreign Policy magazine, and was the
Award-winning journalist: columnist for highest ranked woman on the list.]
the Nation and the Guardian; reported on