Naomi Klein’s Book Review

Naomi Klein has decided to explore the planet events following an economic crisis in the last four decades. In her book, Klein explained the varied human-made shocks that are basically to create confusion among people and to also offer room for a novel policy. Klein provides an example of Milton Friedman who strived for the free economy and was not willing to follow democratic policies. Klein also stated that the universal free market was not given freely, but many peope lost their lives and property to force the policies into the varied governments. Through this book, Klein gives an elaborate account of the events that happened before a number of the prevailing economic plans created in multiple countries. This research paper has a summary of each chapter, account of China during and after the implementation of the economic policies and an abbreviated report on the country.


Chapter 1: The Torture Lab

This chapter introduces a scientist, Dr. Ewen Cameroon who experiments with electroshock therapy on mentally ill patients. The objective of the shock is to deprogram the mind of the patients so that they can then be modified afresh. Klein, however, discloses that the scientist was unable to put the patients back to their original form but instead made things worse for them. Klein also elaborates on the connection between torture and free market systems and explains that government officials tend to shock the resisting people so that they can freely implement the policies. She, therefore, likens the deprogramming of patients to that of economic policies.

Chapter 2: The other Doctor Shock

Klein presents Milton Friedman, an economist who was instrumental in establishing economic policies on human consumption and budgeting. Klein also highlights the repercussions of the Chicago school economic policy. According to her, CIA sponsored Coups made it easy for Freidman to establish and enforce policies in Latin America. Klein also mentions the exchange program which was meant to shift the Chilean students to the University of Chicago.

Chapter 3: States of Shock

Klein discusses how Milton Freidman advice general Augusto Pinochet on the relevant economic policies who after that budges in and changes the existing systems. Pinochet hence establishes a free market where the influential people have the most advantage without considering the poor people. During this time, the cost of inflation rose, and the country received cheap imports.

Chapter 4: Cleaning the Slate

Klein explains how the free market spread through Argentina and Uruguay with prevalent cases of torture and government privatization. Pinochet regularly advocated for the trial for the propagators of crimes against humanity. Klein mentions that the governments in the southern cone were brutal towards people who resisted their economic moves.

Chapter 5: Entirely Unrelated

Klein reveals how Milton Friedman sought to separate the heinous crimes against humanity and economic policies. Free market policies were put in place amidst high cases of mass terror and detention. Klein, however, mentions that the federal government of the United States supported the violence and instead blamed the leftish guerrillas situated in the southern cone.

Chapter 6: Saved by War

This chapter introduces Thatcherism where Margaret Thatcher took advantage of the Falklands and went ahead to privatize British assets and institute war against the 1984 coal miners’ strike.

Chapter 7: A New Doctor Shock

This section elaborates the effects the economic policies had on Bolivia. The inflation rate was about 14000%. Jeffrey Sachs, a Harvard economist, helped to develop anti-inflation policies. In his attempts, Sachs introduces free-market policies despite the fact that the citizens were against it. Sachs helped the inflation rate to go down by about 10% but also raised the unemployment rate to 30%.

Chapter 8: Crisis Works

Klein reveals that Milton Friedman was against the IMF and the World Bank because they could not apply some of his theoretical assumptions. The IMF solicited for the radical free market so that they could freely give out loans. Due to having low tax rates, countries were unable to pay back the loans.

Chapter 9: Slamming the Door on History

Chapter 9 elaborates the Poland’s security movement and the China’s market liberalization. This section also discusses how Jeffrey Sachs adopted Milton Friedman policies on the free market. Further, there is an elaboration of the massacre at Tiananmen Square which is linked to liberalization.

Chapter 10: Democracy Born in Chains

Klein discusses the apartheid in South Africa and its end. The African national congress (ANC) gave the whites economic control over their country. De Klerk government convinced the party to have a free market system which prolonged the apartheid.

Chapter 11: Bonfire of a Young Democracy

Klein describes the Soviet Union crumble and how Boris Yeltsin gained power illegally. The Russian monopolies were sold off to Oligarchs, and over 225,000 state companies were privatized. A third of the population hence fell below the poverty line and Yeltsin in the enforced policies citing emergency for the economic situation.

Chapter 12: The Capitalist ID

The western government put in place social democratic policies to please the leftists and sustain its military control over the European countries. The free market propagators mentioned that Canada had gotten a bad credit score so that they could have leverage over the social welfare policymakers.

Chapter 13: Let it Burn

South Korea, Philippines, Taiwan and Singapore’s economies were destroyed by the market fluctuations and poor government policies.

Chapter 14: Shock Therapy in the US

Klein criticizes Rumsfeld’s excessive control of the private assets and the fact that he took advantage of his cabinet position. Rumsfeld also outsourced military sources thus leading to more costs and freedom that overrides the justice system in place. Most people lost their jobs since the federal bureaucracy got downsized. Surveillance technology got ready market after the terrorist attack in 9/11.

Chapter 15: A Corporatist State

Rumsfeld has large shares of the company that controls Tamiflu and put policies to his advantage. Private companies now had the power to dictate the policies they wanted.

Chapter 16: Erasing Iraq

Iraq became a testing ground for the European neoconservative policies which could not apply in their countries. Paul Bremer put free-market policies and torture to ensure that everyone complied. Due to the privatization of the military power in Iraq and reconstruction, the nation lacked positive results.

Chapter 17: Ideological Blowback

Iraq had little control towards reconstructing their own country after the many shocks. Subcontracting the process became ineffective, and little progress was made. The free market system led to more poverty and violence. Bremer policies were introduced in the constitution.

Chapter 18: Full Circle

Iraq was unable to make any economic progress due to the free market policies. The skilled labor fled Iraq with little action from the human rights group on the violence in the country. The Mahdi army provided basis service and defense to the companies that had been disfranchised in the state.

Chapter 19: Blanking the Bleach

Hotels in Sri Lanka took advantage of the tsunami since it wiped away the ancestral homes and hence bought the vacant land. The hotel lobbyists enforced the Sri Lanka government to give them beach fonts while the fishermen moved to the inland. The USA government also supported the lobbyists since they wanted to benefit from tourism.

Chapter 20: Disaster Apartheid

The US government helped the wealthy Katrina victims at the expense of the poor people. Milton Friedman had advocated for the privatization of the government schools in Orleans which had adverse effects.

Chapter 21: Losing the Peace Incentive

Due to the 9/11 occurrence in America, Israel had a promising market to surveillance tools and antiterrorist equipment. Israel hence followed its selfish desires and promoted no peace thus accelerating the problems they had with the Palestine.

Conclusion: Shock Wears Off

Klein mentions that although governments keep on changing, the same policies are applied because people had selfish needs. She, however, gives hopes that the world will recover some day.

Country: China

Milton Friedman had been invited to China to speak to hundreds of senior civil servants on the right economic policies. In fact, Milton advocated for free trade and privatization of the free markets. There were however many demonstrations opposing the systems because they raised the living wage and also reduced the unemployment in the country. Following the student’s opposition in Tiananmen Square in 1989, Politburo established martial laws which led to the killing of thousands of people who opposed the proposals. Due to the capitalism, China opened up to foreign direct investments which resulted in the many cases of sweatshops.

Works Cited

Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.

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