Friday, 12 December 2008

Shock Resistance, Naomi Klein and the Big Three Automakers

The news this morning is that the US Senate has not passed the bailout program for the US automobile industry, and now all three of the Big Three are talking bankruptcy. Woe is me, cry many, while other observers gleefully chant "Serves them right."

I’ve been wondering what Naomi Klein, the author of The Shock Doctrine, makes about all this, so I was delighted to find an interview with her on her website, originally from In it, she talks about “shock resistance” and how it seems to be developing. Her first example is the reaction to the draconian measures included in Stephen Harper’s arrogant budget update 10 days ago. But it also applies to the ground swell of protest against big bucks for the Big Three: “You didn’t buy our shitty cars,” one mock ad reads, “so we’ll be taking your money anyway.”

Klein is featured in a New Yorker profile this month: check it out. Like Paul Krugman winning the Nobel prize for economics, the article suggests that maybe the message that free markets don’t work has gotten through.

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