Turning Pain to Gain - Naomi Klein
Naomi Klein in one of those remarkable people who make us think in a different way. She makes us look at what we are doing and questions entrenched believe systems. In her book No Logo for instance, she questions the Chicago School doctrine championed by Milton Friedman, which is a kind of "fundamentalist form of capitalism". This doctrine according to Klein, "always needed disasters to advance".
Photo: "What happens to democratic rights in a time of war", St. Andrew's Wesley church, Vancouver.
Claire Black, Scotsman, October 6, 2007
Two years ago, sitting in a draughty, leaking industrial building in a suburb of Buenos Aires, I listened as a group of factory workers explained how they had "reclaimed" their former place of work after being laid off, casualties of the economic collapse of 2002. The factory was operational, there was a crèche, some shelves of dog-eared books for workers to borrow and, although the building was dilapidated, there was a palpable sense of pride.
It was while Naomi Klein was living in Argentina, seeing first hand this response to economic crisis, that she was inspired to write The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, her ambitious, persuasive and damning critique of neoliberal, or unregulated, capitalism. Her most significant book since the revered anti-globalisation treatise, No Logo, it is an excoriating examination of the economic project exemplified by the Chicago School, a group of economists spearheaded by the diminutive Milton Friedman - Nobel Prize winner, policy adviser to a succession of US presidents and inspiration to, among many others, former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Friedman's free-market doctrine - a "fundamentalist form of capitalism" - demands deregulation, privatisation and radical cutbacks and has, according to Klein, "always needed disasters to advance". In a passionate and informed book, Klein bulldozes the link between deregulated capitalism and freedom, the notion that "unfettered free markets go hand in hand with democracy". Instead she posits that the neoliberal project depends on catastrophe - natural disaster, military incursion, terrorist attack - to provide a blank canvas upon which the new doctrine might be inscribed. Once imposed it leads to economic and social breakdown on a massive scale.
First tested in Latin America in....