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Most Helpful Favorable Review
8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.
A chilling and eye-opening read
The strategy? When the population is in a state of shock and trauma, quickly push through your desired economic policies: privitization, deregulation, and cuts in government services. If some brutality is required along the way, so be it.
While this topic has been covered by others, Klein offers a detailed chronicle of "shock treatment" doled out by Friedman and his friends from the Chicago School of Economics (with help from the World Bank and the IMF) over the last several decades, beginning in the wake of Pinochet's bloody coup in Chile, then moving on to other South American countries, followed by countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In case after case, she offers a peek at the players behind the scenes and the heartbreaking human costs.
Klein gives nods to Keynesianism here and there (wish that would have been explored more), but her own orthodoxy does bleed through in parts, thus the deducted star. It's only a few pages before the end of the book that she briefly acknowledges, for instance, that pure socialism has also often been implemented and maintained using brual methods.
Still, it's a compelling book and a must-read for anyone who wants to understand more about the innerworkings of this ongoing phase of history.
posted by kimbakristin on September 21, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
8 out of 42 people found this review helpful.
One of the worst books on politics and economics I've ever read.
posted by Andre-D on May 9, 2009Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 4, 2007
Absolutely brillant. It will reinforce what what many of us only suspected. For too long we have regarded the new prosperity of the few in the developing world as evidence of the success of the free market forgetting the majority whose living standards have often been diminished. The true effects of the trickle down theory are laid bare. Eric
7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 2007
An Ugly Reflection in the Mirror
Klein uses historical research, as well as anecdotal descriptions and interviews, to bolster her thesis that America's often hidden foreign policy has systematically supported brutal, undemocratic dictatorships and carefully used its clout with the IMF and the World Bank to extort US-friendly policy from other nations, even when it is not in the best interests of those nations' populations. For those of us who would like to be proud of our country, it's an ugly reflection in the mirror. For those Americans who can't understand why so many around the world hate us, it's a wake-up call.
6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
A lot of material
I thought the book was very informative. The topic covered filled in a lot of blanks that I had in history. It completely explains why most of the world hates America and rest doesn't trust us. But that more than echos my personal opinions of corporate America. Pure greed, with the money squeezed from the lives of its workforce and customers. Hopefully more people will read this book and others like it. So if you are one of the 1% of Americans that own 95% of the wealth of this country, you probably wont like this book.
5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 28, 2008
Best book I've read in years
For decades, we've been baraged with the idea that the free market is a force of nature, as incontestable as the law of gravity, and that it somehow represents the natural extension of free democratic societies. We've heard this so often, we've all but ceased to question it, yet the history of unfettered free market policies fails to support empirically their proponents' idealized predictions. This is the blindfold that Naomi Klein's work seeks to lift from our eyes. Ms. Klein chronicles the repeated efforts of free market advocates to impose radical free market policies around the world and observes that, in stark contrast to the joyous choruses of freedom on the march offered by the architects of such policies, the reality has been far less promising. In every instance, 'free' market policies have been forced upon populations which did not desire them, and with the uniform and predictable consequence of making a tiny minority richer than kings, at the expense of impoverishing the majority of the population. Critics fault the quality of Ms. Klein's eocnomic analysis, which I find telling. Ms. Klein is not an economist, nor does she pretend to be. Rather, she is a journalist who is chronicling events, none of which, interesting enough, do her critics wish to discuss. I also am not an economist and I do not presume to speculate whether Milton Friedman and his disciples are as sinister as Ms. Klein suggests, but it matters little to me what their intentions may or may not have been: what does matter is that their experiments in radical free market policies have produced catastrophic human costs. It is therefore far from having reached the level of an established truism that the 'free market' represents some benevolent force of nature and thus the only sensible goal of every policy maker. Quite the opposite: the costly and bloody track record of such policies demands a serious evaluation of the theory's basic assumptions. Yet, as Ms. Klein points out, proponents of radical free market economics share with other fundamentalists a faith in their ideology which denies any admission of error. Like religious fundamentalists, they have created a logical closed loop, whereby any evidence conflicting with their world view, no matter how overwhelming, is invariably dismissed as the fault of external influences and tamperings with the idealized workings of the free market as they understand it. I find it ironic that these economists like to think of themselves as scientists describing a natural phenomenon, when the first rule of the scientist is to find hypotheses which can explain what they empirically observe, whereas the first rule of the free market economists seems to be to begin with a hypothesis, and then try to force reality to conform to it, no matter how poor a fit it may be. That Dr. Friedman and his followers are unable or unwilling to acknowledge the reality of their misguided hypotheses is regretable. If the rest of us are to have any hope of avoiding repetitions of the same mistakes and failures to which those flawed ideas have led us, it is crucial that we begin to look rather more critically at what fruit those policies have in fact born. Ms. Klein's work is an important first step in that direction.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2008
The most important book on the bookshelf
This gripping, fast-paced book is probably the most important book anyone can read right now. It explains why Washington will stay the course no matter what and fly our democracy straight into a cliff. They've done it for many other countries - I had no idea 'economics' was such a bloodthirsty subject. Just read the introduction - you won't be able to put this book down even if you can barely balance a checkbook.
4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2008
This is an exceptionally researched book that for the most part provides a great depth of information about the history of 'shock treatment' going back to the 1950's and detailing through today. The beginning of the book is quite disturbing reading about various torture treatments performed in the 50's and carried on today. Kline does a great job of exposing the governments of the world for changing laws to benefit the few, while taking advantage of the poor and average joes. Shock Doctrine makes you disgusted about the things that went on and continue to go on. A must read.
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 6, 2007
Should be required reading.
Naomi Klein has done an outstanding job researching, documenting, and writing the unbelievable history of what she has termed 'The Shock Doctrine'. Much of what she reveals comes from Senate investigations and other public documents - and yet it is one of the most underreported stories of our time. The United States CIA has worked with proponents of Milt Freidman's free market theory to overthrow democratically elected leaders, and then to install brutal dictators. These leaders then followed the advice of certain US-trained economists,and allowed global corporations to come in and develop their oil and other natural resources. It is a tale where free market only means that the profits went to the giant corporations leaving the leaders of these countries rich, the countries themselves despoiled, and the people impoverished and oppressed.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2010
This book was really great and in debth with detail. When buying this book another book "Life After Foreclosure" by Dean Wegner came up and together I feel both books have taught me so much about the nation we live in.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2009
From the start it is stimulating to find someone who shows you the other side of economics. Those who are unaware of real business tactics and what has almost decimated the economy read this. It is not too difficult to understand. She is very good in explaining the process of naked capitalism.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 14, 2013
Naomi Klein isn't a stylist. Her sentence at the opening of Chap
Naomi Klein isn't a stylist. Her sentence at the opening of Chapter 12 ("The Capitalist ID") is about as close as she gets to stylistic writing: "On the day I went to visit Jeffrey Sachs in October 2006, New York City was under a damp blanket of gray drizzle punctuated, every five paces or so, by a vibrant burst of red."
No, she's not an English-language stylist. She's a Canadian journalist. And a damned good one, at that! And one who'd put a lot of journalists -- assuming they'd not simply been told to look the other way on the possible cause of a virtually worldwide financial crisis -- to shame in papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post, not to mention in magazines as august as The Atlantic. (Let's not even mention the networks, shall we? They're better at expounding upon popular trends and telling tragic doggie stories.)
Could it be that the party (for many, though certainly not for all of us) here in these United States was just too long and too good from the end of WW II until now? Even Eisenhower -- a conservative if there ever was one -- publicly recognized the arrival of the military-industrial complex. Is this new brand of disaster capitalism really anything more than the "logical" evolution of that complex?
I have a confession to make: I of course knew the name `Milton Friedman' and something about his reputation; I also knew the reputation of the University of Chicago (albeit more for its History Department than for its Economics Department); I, myself, am a graduate of the Philosophy Department of Columbia University. All of this notwithstanding, I was absolutely ignorant of any of this economic shock treatment -- from Chile and Argentina, to Poland and Russia, then on to Asia, to Iraq (where our behavior has been beyond despicable) and the Middle East, and back home again to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
I owe Ms. Klein a humble vote of gratitude. And it was only thanks to a fellow Greek writer, whose own country is now on the verge of financial collapse, that I even found out about Ms. Klein's book.
Don't make a comparable fool out of yourself through similar (and similarly unpardonable) ignorance. Buy this book and read it cover to cover! Yes, we're talking history here; but we're also talking current events -- events that could bring not only the entire developing world to its knees, but also these hallowed United States and our gracious neighbor to the north. And all because of one man, one misbegotten ideology, one group of protégés, acolytes, disciples -- and yes, I'll say it -- intellectual toadies known as `The Chicago Boys.'
And the IMF and the World Bank, many of whose policy makers are obvious lackeys in the service of that same `School of Chicago' ideology if not to something even more sinister? Pfff!
One caveat to all of the above: I've never read the original works of Milton Friedman. Nor did I ever attend any of his classes while he was still alive. I trust Ms. Klein to have reported as accurately as she has documented. If not, shame on me for being so gullible and impressionable.
And one last thing: we all know the wide gulf that exists between the original teachings of Jesus and the way Christianity, through various churches and sects, has chosen to interpret and propagate those teachings over the centuries. Would Jesus Christ call himself a Christian by today's standards of Christianity? Karl Marx once famously said he was no Marxist. Would Milton Friedman, given the demonic evolution of his economic theory, still call himself a Friedmanite? I fear, given his comment in the Op Ed section of The Wall Street Journal as recently as September 15, 2005 (p. 410) that he would.
The news in the concluding chapter ("Shock Wears Off: The Rise of People's Reconstruction") is good: all is not lost. Let's hope that Ms. Klein's optimism is not as much in error as my original ignorance. Let's hope that society -- and Rousseau's original concept of the social contract -- are not yet lost.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2013
Over the course of the last 40 years I've watched via the media
Over the course of the last 40 years I've watched via the media a number of historic changes unfold like the end of apartheid in South Africa, Allende's election in Chile, and the fall of Poland's Communists. Given the people taking over I was very surprised at the outcomes. Ms. Klein brings a new lens to this history and suddenly these events not only make sense, but they are clearly linked together. This book is an eye-opener.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 2012
Posted July 6, 2012
She says what we're all thinking
Every now and then a liberal economist will write about some evil of globalization, some manner in which Western financiers stole something of value from a poorer nation by imposing a depression on it, and will hedge against the obvious conclusion with "But they didn't mean to, it's just an unfortunate byproduct of their ideology."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
But she goes beyond making the accusation and provides tons of proof that the "they're evil" approach explains random, seemingly unrelated events better than the "they're stupid" explanation. Klein takes the reader through events in countries all over the globe, explaining how economic pain was used to drive through reforms that the countries themselves didn't want - reforms that the richer countries had often already rejected - in an attempt to get their hands on the long-term wealth of the country in question. Sure, you can still try to believe that all this looting, occurring for decades and performed by hundreds of people in disparate locations, happened just by chance, but that would be ignoring the most obvious explanation.
The title comes from the strategy for changing Russia from a communist to a free market economy, which resulted in billions of dollars being taken out of Russia and put in Swiss bank accounts, a loss of 1/3 of GDP, and a massive increase in poverty. Even the IMF has admitted to mistakes in its advice to Russia, but if they're admitting to that much, how bad were things from the inside?
It's a long book but you don't have to be familiar with economics or global 20th century history to get the point. In fact, its biggest strength is that its willing to explain everything for newcomers to these discussions.
Posted February 15, 2012
An Important, Necessary book
One of the most important book of the 20th century. Klein's researchis impeccable, and though some of her conclusions aren't necessarily where I mighthave thought to go, it doesn't change the fact that she proves the overall thesis of the book. This is a horrifying look into the twisted results of glorifying greed, the people who benefir from it and the people qho ultimately pay for it. I am, of course, over simplifying things, but this is the kind of book that is changing the way people look at the world and waking them up fro ma long slumber.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 26, 2009
Klein puts the pieces of America's recent history and involvement in the dirty wars of South and Central America, globalization, the spread of free market ideology, the Iraq war, and the corporatization of the global economy. It's a riveting story that all Americans should read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2009
Posted April 28, 2009
Noami Klein has written a superb book,with god research,with quotes from official documents,from actions and expressions of CEO's of companies that benefit from privatization and the role of the U.S. government granteeing exploitation in the Thirld World and within the U.S. itself.It also exposes the intelectual role of the "School of Chicago" assisting totalitarian governments and U.S. corporations in exploitation of human beings around the globe.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 9, 2009
Posted January 11, 2008
Useful study of capitalism today
Naomi Klein, a Canadian journalist, has followed No Logo with this useful book on key aspects of capitalism today. Capital sees disasters ¿ acts of terrorism, hurricanes in Central America and New Orleans, the tsunami in South Asia - as market opportunities for `for-profit¿ relief and reconstruction. Since 2003, terrorist attacks have multiplied sevenfold, but Wall Street now soars with each new attack, and the US `security industry¿ is worth $200 billion. Yet the relief and rebuilding are just covers for profit-making: capital creates free-fire economic zones marked by privatisation and pillage. Even the military is privatised, promising limitless war: in Iraq the US and British governments are hiring more mercenaries than soldiers. Klein draws an analogy between the `shock doctrine¿ of the CIA¿s torture techniques aimed at remaking human minds and Milton Friedman¿s free market economics forced on Chile in 1973 and on Bolivia, Argentina and Britain in the 1980s. Thatcher launched her counter-revolution, crashing the economy, on the back of the triumphalist Falklands war. Klein describes Yeltsin¿s 1993 coup when his forces killed 500 people in Moscow, burnt the parliament (Yeltsin¿s own Reichstag fire) and imprisoned the opposition. Clinton and the EU¿s leaders vigorously supported it all. Yeltsin then enforced the free market, since when Russia¿s population has fallen by 6.6 million. Between 1989 and 1997 the number of poor people rose from 2 million to 74 million. In the 1990s, Poland too got the shock treatment, and now has 40% youth unemployment. 59% live below the poverty line, compared to 15% in 1989. In South Africa, `Just call me a Thatcherite¿ Thabo Mbeki was in charge of the economic negotiations when the ANC let apartheid¿s rulers keep control of the economy. The ANC adopted Friedman¿s policy of central bank `independence¿, which means independent from democratic control, responsible only to finance capital. This key policy is in South Africa¿s Constitution, as is the protection of private property, exactly as in the EU¿s Constitution. Both Constitutions make the rule of capital into legal duties. The ANC also accepted the World Trade Organisation¿s rule that it is illegal to subsidise industries and accepted `wage restraint¿, the International Monetary Fund condition for loans. Who gains? South Africa¿s whites still own 70% of the land and four giant firms own and control the banks, mines, industries and 80% of the Stock Exchange. Who loses? Since 1990, black people¿s life expectancy has fallen by 13 years and between 1991 and 2002, black unemployment doubled to 48%. Klein rightly praises the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a fair trade system of barter between the peoples of Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela, which is a great example of people taking responsibility for rebuilding their lives. But she fantasises that the IMF, World Bank and WTO are `withering away¿. And she writes that disaster capitalism ¿will remain entrenched until the corporate supremacist ideology that underpins it is identified, isolated and challenged.¿ Like some of her reviewers, she seems to think that (her) books will change the world.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 3, 2011
No text was provided for this review.