The Shock Doctrine
Naomi Klein's controversial best-selling book which explores how both natural and man-made disasters are used to force disadvantageous political and economic changes on unwilling governments is brought to the screen in this documentary from filmmakers Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross. Using electroshock treatment as a metaphor -- a harsh jolt to the body and brain that, after being embraced as a healing method, was in turn discovered to cause more harm than good -- The Shock Doctrine explores how the United States, with the help of the C.I.A., became enamored of Milton Friedman's interpretation of free-market capitalism and attempted to persuade developing nations of its value. However, since fully unregulated markets tended to create an unbalanced economic climate in which a small number of people became extremely wealthy and vast numbers were plunged into poverty, the United States was only successful at selling free market deregulation to countries in crisis who had no practical choice than to do what the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth demanded. The results led to both widespread privation and violence in Russia, Poland, Chile, South Africa and the Middle East, and The Shock Doctrine explains how this happened, where it's still going on, and what can be done to stop it. The Shock Doctrine was an official selection at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival.