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Customer Review

on May 11, 2008
This book is important, excellent and deeply moving. I think it's best read as an account of the origins of neoliberalism plus an inventory of the ways that neoliberal governments have undemocratically imposed unpopular, harmful economic "reforms" over the angry objections of their populations. Since almost all our politicians are neoliberals now, and since most Americans don't know what neoliberalism is (amazon.com's spell checker claims it's not even a word), this book should be widely read, though it may not be. It tells the story of the rise of the world's reigning economic ideology, and Klein zeroes in on what is perhaps that ideology's greatest contradiction: while neoliberals extol freedom of choice, populations that are free to choose reject neoliberalism. Thus, in a succinct, poignant and accurate formulation of Eduardo Galeano's that Klein repeatedly quotes, "People were in prison so that prices could be free." However, I found Klein's thesis-type thing, the parallels she draws between electroshock therapy and economic shock therapy, shocks to the body and shocks to the body politic, to be shallow and unconvincing. It's an analogy, not an analysis. With that said, Klein gave me a clearer understanding of the ANC's sellout than I had after studying abroad in South Africa, and her first 128 pages is the most powerful and moving passage of political writing I've ever read. So get it, read it and think about it: this is the history of the present.
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