235 of 271 people found the following review helpful
Using "disaster captialism" to change society and its negative impact,
This review is from: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Hardcover)
**FYI** Please note to the best of my knowledge I am NOT related to Naomi Klein.**
If you wonder what happened to the middle class, why poverty is on the rise and what the economies in a democracracy, dictatorship and "communism" have in common, you'll find lots of food for thought in Naomi Klein's THE SHOCK DOCTRINE. Tracing the rise of the "Chicago Boys" laissez-faire economic beliefs, their impact on South America, China, Russia, Poland and South Africa and how it impacted their form of government, Klein makes a compelling argument for the flaws in Milton Friedman's economic science.
Naomi Klein's book looks at the conflict between Milton Friedman's "laissez-faire" approach to business and government where business is largely unregulated running itself and government is little more than a bare bones system. According to Klein, Friedman believed that the economic theories he espoused would be perfect and that any problems with it would be due to outside forces interferring with his free market world. His approach was in complete contrast to Keynes who believed that the prime mission of politicians and economists was to prevent unemployment and avoid a depression or recession by regulating the market place. People like John Kenneth Galbraith (heir to Keynes' mantle)believed part of the purpose of economic regulation was to keep our captalist system fair and prevent a small group of businesses from dominating the market. Galbraith also believed in bills like the Glass-Steagall act which created a firewall between Wall Street and various banking institutions (which former President Clinton helped to eliminate). The net result would be to prevent recreating disasters like the Great Depression and 1929 stock market crash (the current version of which contributed to part of the economic mess we're in today).
It's the conflict between these two economic philosphies that allows our economic world to thrive. You'll have to decide for yourself how accurately she reflects each man's philosphy based on what you know about each respective philosphy but I found, for the most part, that the book gave a pretty accurate summation of the benefits and issues at the core of each, as well as which classes benefit the most.
Klein suggests that "disaster capitalism", i.e., introducing radical changes in terms of economic and government policy when a country is in "shock" (taking advantage of the fact that massed resistence is unlikely to that change), is allowing the rise of unchecked multi-national corporations that take advantage of and damage our society in the process. She suggests that Friedman's beliefs that the market will manage itself and that free market capitalism undermined the Soviet Union is an idealized and naive belief. The impact for good and bad is that a business functions like a plant. If it receives too much sunlight and water, it will overgrow and strangle out everything else in the economic ecosystem. The net result would cause the system to become unbalanced with human suffering and economic disaster as the result if left unchecked. She traces a parallel path between the rise of Friedman's economic philosphy and the rise of human rights violations, rise and fall of various governments throughout the world and the opportunism of the business world to exploit it.
She ties all of this together looking at the economic policies and beliefs that are reshaping American society--for good and bad--into a different society where the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to expand and one where the free market society is being radically retooled. The result is a society where the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer. The pressured middle class continues to shrink. This undermines the foundation of our economic growth. This book will probably divide those along the more extreme political lines but has the ring of truth nevertheless.
Klein crafts a fascinating book. Although some of her observations might be a bit of a stretch and her arguments occasionally flawed, she provides compelling evidence to support her thesis and connects the dots of events that might otherwise appear to be unrelated. Whether or not you agree with Klein or are outraged by her evidence, you'll find plenty of food for thought in her book.
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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 8, 2009 4:30:40 PM PDT
Thank you for your excellent review. I appreciate it.
Posted on Apr 4, 2011 12:51:23 PM PDT
English Major says:
so why only 4 stars?
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2011 2:48:17 PM PDT
If you read the last paragraph of my review: "Klein crafts a fascinating book. Although some of her observations might be a bit of a stretch and her arguments occasionally flawed, she provides compelling evidence to support her thesis and connects the dots of events that might otherwise appear to be unrelated. Whether or not you agree with Klein or are outraged by her evidence, you'll find plenty of food for thought in her book. "--that's why.
Posted on Apr 8, 2011 8:14:49 AM PDT
J. Dooley says:
The 1929 stock market crash would not be so remarkable if it were not followed by the Great Depression, which the government spanning the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations had a big hand in creating. That, I think, Friedman would classify as government meddling in the market.
As for human rights abuses as a result of unfettered free market, I agree with the diagnosis but not the solution. While Klein advocates government controls on the market, Locke and Burke maintained that freedom cannot be maintained without moral restraint. I side with the likes of them.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2011 9:22:03 AM PDT
I used to agreed with this but the last financial meltdown, the greed and gall of those working in the financial markets has changed my position on this. The Stock Market and economic philosphy has changed from a fair turn on investment to an entitlement culture where everyone gets bucket loads of money regardless of the economic impact on the U.S. and the world.
Posted on Dec 20, 2011 5:05:36 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Dec 30, 2011 5:47:13 AM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011 6:04:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2011 6:06:32 PM PST
I also feel it is an excellent book but feel that some conclusions don't always have enough factual basis.
Still, it is, for the most part, well researched, written and thought out but one could argue with some of her conclusions.
For the most part though I feel she's right on the money.
Disagree? Write a review. It's the best way to explore and explain why you feel it's an excellent book.
Posted on Jan 27, 2012 8:32:34 PM PST
B. Kalafut says:
Like Klein, you construct a straw man Friedman, a sort of folk-demon who believes things the real man didn't. "Friedman believed that the economic theories he espoused would be perfect and that any problems with it would be due to outside forces interferring with his free market world." Wrong.
If you do not know a subject, don't write about it. The world doesn't need credulous reviewers.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2012 10:46:14 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Jan 28, 2012 11:03:16 AM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2012 12:13:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2012 12:24:20 PM PST
You may want to take your own advice.
I actually didn't construct a "straw man" or "demonize" Friedman. Friedman has come right out and stated this comment in interviews before. If you've missed them you haven't done your research.
Have you read the book? If so, write a review and disagree.