Today, I would like to introduce you a book called The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, written by Naomi Klein. This book criticizes Milton Friedman’s free market doctrine. It argues that the free market policies were pushed through without considering citizens’ welfare, letting them confront some social upheavals or disasters. In doing so, some of the unfortunate events were intentionally pushed in order to make unpopular reforms accepted by citizens.
In the first few chapters, Klein compares capitalist economic policies to shock therapy. Shock therapy seems to make a person’s personality fonder, but is, in fact, distorting it. This is same as the economic policies that only strive for economic growth disregarding other social values. Although it may seem effective at an initial phase, rising economy and improvement would be limited and temporary only. Darker side of such growth model exists within the economy. There are some previous cases of shock therapy, for instance, during Asian Financial Crisis in late 1990s and the US occupation in Iraq. Particularly, the author depicts that the occupation in Iraq is considered the most comprehensive and full-scale implementation of shock therapy.
Naomi Klein gives us comprehensive interpretation of the terms ‘disaster capitalism’ and ‘shock therapy’ in her book. Her explanation reminds readers of the previously understood knowledge about free market economy, by explaining how the market economy has been exploited in shocking and extremely violent moments of history. I guess what we can learn from this book is not a mere argument of how desirable capitalism is, but a new conceptual thought on capitalism.
I hope you get a chance to read this fascinating book and share your thoughts with us!