Shock Of It All

A discussion followed an early-evening screening at Park City’s Eccles theatre of Mal Whitecross and Michael Winterbottom‘s The Shock Doctrine, a smart 80-minute doc based on Naomi Klein‘s 2008 book. The panelists were Whitecross, Winterbottom, Robert Redford, Klein and a writer from The Nation whose name I didn’t get. I huddled with other photographers at the foot of the stage and shot two or three portions.

The doc explains Klein’s “disaster capitalism” theory, which perceives that neo-liberal Chicago School capitalism (the seed of late economist Milton Friedman) feeds on natural disasters, war and terror to establish its dominance. The doc didn’t turn my head around because it more or less says what I already suspected or agreed with. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

15 thoughts on “Shock Of It All

  1. ElstonGunnAICN on said:

    According to articles in The Guardian and The Independent months ago, Klein was “disowning” the film after seeing early cuts, going so far as to ask that her name be removed from the credits. I take it she’s changed her tune?

  2. I like how none of the right-wing social-darwinian boobs who frequent this site have nothing to say about Klein and her book and the doc. Figures. I don’t think someone like Crabtree could even make it through Klein’s book.

  3. MilkMan – Haven’t seen the doc, but alas I am one of those “right wingers” who has some familiarity with the book. There’s plenty of room for criticisms of unbridled capitalism and I certainly don’t discount some of the light she shines in this area. However, books that hold up some over-arching theory to explain a bunch of disparate historical events start to strain the credulity even of the most sympathetic.

    In other words, pull your head out of the sand (or your ass?) and peruse a critique or two of your dear Naomi. This essay from the New Republic – well known right-wing zealots??? – is a good place to start:

    http://www.tnr.com/article/books/dead-left

  4. The biggest problem with Klein is that she ignores the overwhelming positive effects of free trade. Since China drifted more towards capitalism, hundreds of millions of people were lifted out of poverty. This is not something that she can just ignore. It’s an objective fact and her philosophy offers no explanation as to how this could occur. Again, we’re talking hundreds of millions of people. If you read modern defenders of capitalism (Fareed Zakaria, Tom Friedman, among others), you’ll find that they all embrace a mixed market economy. You take the best of capitalism, the best of socialism and put them together. It’s what the “socialists” and “commies” in Europe have been doing for decades and it’s made their economies far better than ours.

  5. Unfettered capitalism does not work, Tancred. You’re the one who needs to get yr head out yr ass and look around the world. It didn’t work in the Soviet Union after the collapse, it isn’t working in the Middle East, and, most of all, it isn’t working in the United States, not anymore. The Myth of the Market is just that, a myth. Markets are not a better way of gauging the will of the people, just the latest way, and when I say latest, I mean since the end of World War 2 and the start of the Cold War. That’s the world we have been living in for the last 60-plus years; a world born out of paranoia and distrust and a belief that numbers don’t lie. Clearly, numbers can be made to lie just like anything else. It’s the American way or you will be destroyed. That’s the logic of a bully, which is what the U.S. is.

  6. And read the book, tblues. China was not a victim of Shock Therapy. The US doesn’t have the balls to mess with China, not yet. The book is concerned with how the United States has gone into underdeveloped countries, raped them in the ass, and then installed despots and other creeps to run the place with a eye towards maximizing profits for the elites, elites who have been bathed in the ideology of the Chicago School and who answer to no one but the US.

  7. Though I’m sympathetic to Klein’s point of view, I have to admit I haven’t read Klein’s books because I’m not a fan. Before she devoted herself to writing books like “The Shock Doctrine,” she was an entertainment columnist for The Toronto Star, and she was one of those writers who would never let facts get in the way of a good argument.

  8. I’ve read The Shock Doctrine. Naomi Klein is not in proponent of unfettered free trade, but she’s not advocating communist either, which is the first thing opponents hiss out. She states that she favours regulation and could describe herself if anything as a Keynesian.

  9. tblues: “Since China drifted more towards capitalism, hundreds of millions of people were lifted out of poverty.”

    Too bad their houses weren’t up to code and they can’t drink their own milk…

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