The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein

Comparing economic theory to psychology and CIA torture, Klein argues that neoliberalism’s rise was intimately intertwined with the notion of ‘shock’, of exploiting populations reeling from man-made or human disasters to implement reforms beneficial to capital. Klein charts the global progress of such ‘shock treatments’ and argues a new form of economy has arisen in recent years: disaster capitalism. It’s a neat formulation but it’s ultimately unconvincing; many of Klein’s examples actually undermine her thesis. Nevertheless, with her customary tight prose the ‘No Logo’ author marshals an impressive array of facts which serve to make this a frequently fascinating history. SS

Picador USA; 2008; 720 pages

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