Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Required Reading for Clinton and Obama: Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine

As we waited to hear how the primaries went yesterday, I finished reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. Now I'm thinkinig of sending copies to both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama because nowhere have I seen such a brilliant analysis of how disasters (economic, natural and jingoistic) have been turned into power grabs and chances to make fortunes.

Since the 1970s neo-conservatives, influenced by the school of economic thought created by Milton Friedman, have used every excuse to advance their free market ideas. Klein quotes Friedman: ‘Only a crisis--actual or perceived--produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”

Clinton and Obama must have a similar, countervailing set of ideas ready and be prepared to fight the neo-cons who may lose the White House in November but aren’t going to lose their economic clout. If they don't have time to read the book, here's the link to Klein's thoughts on the threatened recession: "Why The Right Loves A Disaster"

Klein’s book is right up there with Paul Krugman’s The Conscience of a Liberal, and Chantal Hébert’s French Kiss as must-reads for anyone who cares about the world.


Sean S. said...

but when both the democrats and republicans subscribe and support the very economic models outlined by Klein (I agree an excellent book, and about 100 pages to go for this blogger) what exactly do you hope those two candidates would get from such an excerise?

The very fact that they are even contenders in this multi-hundred million dollar quest for the oval office suggests they will only support the status quo in Washington, and hence, the IMF and World Banks.

Mary Soderstrom said...

There is a problem in that both are being sponsored by big money, but they also are not wedded to the Chicago school the way the Repoublicans all are. If I go ahead and send copies, I'll do some high lighting: the book is too long for somone who is coming on it cold, and some of the best stuff--like the chapter at the end about Israel--may be lost to readers who get bogged down.