The Shock Doctrine

The Shock Doctrine


First, the disclosure: I’m about to praise a new book by a Nation columnist and a friend. This is irrelevant though because if Naomi Klein had never written for the magazine and I’d never met her, I’d still be among a large legion of her most fervent admirers.

I don’t want this post to sound like dust-jacket copy but The Shock Doctrine does nothing less than outline an entirely new way of thinking about politics, economics and society. Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how what Klein coins “disaster capitalism” -– the rapid-fire corporate re-engineering of societies reeling from shock — traces its origins back fifty years, to the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman, which produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today.

The Shock Doctrine offers an alternative contemporary history, showing how well-known events of the recent past have become deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine, among them: Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

The book will be officially released in the US on September 17. Click here to pre-order copies. And watch the video below, a six-minute visual companion to the book created by the great Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, whose Children of Men, Klein has said “was very close to the present I was seeing in disaster zones.”

Finally, see Klein talk about the book at a recent benefit event for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a social justice research institute based in Ottawa.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

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