Naomi Klein demonstrates that in totally unconstrained capitalism, the richest and least scrupulous do best. Why? They are able to eliminate government restraints and taxes and establish monopolies by pushing aside those with fewer resources and more self-restraint to make huge profits from charging everyone more and paying poor people less. This result has occurred consistently in Latin America, Asia, and now Iraq whenever a country needs an international loan from the United States or the international agencies that it dominates.
As demonstrated in this book, the policy of the U.S. government has been to provide such an economic environment wherever possible. This result is often accomplished by subverting democratic governments to put military dictators in power, supporting the dictatorships with the latest military toys and training in torture, and making the economic changes be permanent so that later democracies cannot change them.
With the Bush administration, the policy has been accelerated to include direct invasions such as occurred in Iraq. The effect of these policies has been worsened by the Bush doctrine of outsourcing as many military and government functions as possible to high-priced private firms without holding them accountable for results.
The effect has been to subject nation after nation to widespread murder and abuse of citizens who don't agree with the economic policies, sale of valuable businesses and resources at way below market rates to rich companies and people, and to reduce economic activity levels by depression-standard amounts for 10-20 years.
Only recently have people interested in placing democratic interests above those who wealthy companies and people begun to strike back by refusing to accept U.S. policy when it comes to requiring unfettered capitalism.
The latest application of this U.S. policy is to use natural disasters to produce similar results as we observed after the Asian tsunami and hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
The intellectual fig leaf for this doctrine belongs to Milton Friedman and his academic heirs from the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley. The economic analysis behind these ideas seems to have never considered the way to implement the ideas. Instead with each new powerless country or group, the limits of rapid change are pushed harder. Why? It's really a class war of the ultra rich who can buy politicians and put them in office who need something to tell everyone else about why it's all a good idea. Naive economists make good front men for this effort.
When democracies work well, there's pendulum of public opinion that eventually swings well away from any extreme. Well, we are at such an extreme now in favor of letting the powerful grab whatever they want . . . as demonstrated in this fine book. I hope the pendulum swing will begin soon!
The main weakness of this book is in repeating its arguments a little too much without providing enough new evidence each time. The evidence is there, but the better stories are actually in the second half. If you feel in the beginning that Milton Friedman is being run down too much, wait. You'll eventually be convinced that Friedman's ideas had all of the appropriateness of Marx's on how to run a country to create a healthy society for all. Save us from theorists!
am 5. November 2007
Want to know what the neocon plan is? Then read this book, but don't blame me if you feel sick afterwards. Naomi Klein makes a tour through the "Free Market" capitalist philosophy as championed by Milton Friedman and practiced by Thatcher, Pinochet to Yelstin to Bush, Rumsfeld and Co.
Basically the doctorine described is: Smash and grab while everyone is too shocked and awed to notice. Actively creating a crisis is great for business. Rumsfeld & co have followed this concept to the extreme of instigating wars for private gain. Now he and his cronies are stinking rich, while 700,000 people lie dead in Iraq.
Get wise and rise up against this before it really is too late.