Monday, September 24, 2007

Book Du Jour: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

From the publisher's website:
This is a book about shock, and the way it's applied to countries and people. It is the unofficial story of how the 'free market' came to dominate the world from Chile to Russia, China to Iraq, South Africa to Britain.

It is a story radically different from the one usually told. Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that 'free markets' lead to 'free people'. She reveals that our world is increasingly in thrall to a little understood yet hugely influential ideology: the shock doctrine. This is a doctrine that sees moments of collective crisis as a 'window of opportunity'. With societies too terrified or disoriented to protect their own interests, the free market advances, using the trademark tactic of rapid-fire economic shock therapy. Often, a refusal to comply results in distinctly more corporeal shocks: the shock of the Taser gun, or the electric cattle prod. Our history is littered with events that have provided opportunities for the shock doctrine. From the 1970s dictatorships of South America, through the Falklands War, Tiananmen Square and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Naomi Klein reinterprets our past to trace the rise of disaster capitalism, a program of social and economic engineering advanced through shock. Playing out today around the world in Israel, Iraq, New Orleans and South-East Asia, The Shock Doctrine reveals the true beliefs that lie behind global policy and in doing so reframes our history and our present.

To hear a podcast interview with the author, click here.

Don't trust self-promotion? Here are a handful of reviews from GuardianUK, NYTimes,, BlogCritics, Third Estate Sunday Review

And lastly, a brief commercial (artfully disguised as a documentary/sound bite pastiche) for the book by Klein and 'Children of Men' director Alfonso CuarĂ³n: