Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Shock Doctrine Left me Sad & Angry

Last night I watched the film based on Naomi Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine" on More4, I was bracing myself for a depressing time, I've not read the book yet and will now make it a top priority but I was aware that it took on the awful free market policies of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics.

Each time there was a commercial break, I got up and went for a walk to stop myself getting incredibly angry, it reminded me of the burning sense of injustice I got from seeing "Fahrenheit 9/11" for the first time, or "Bowling For Columbine", or the excellent "Road to Guantanamo" which was directed by the same person as "The Shock Doctrine": Michael Winterbottom.

It made me angry because the current sad state of world affairs is partly down to these terrible free market ideas that have run unchecked through modern society and that they were tested out on various South American regimes with horrible effects and loss of life and liberty only adds to the horror.

I suppose what made me so sad is that it all feels so hopeless trying to fight back at something that is all pervasive in our society, that I am part of the problem due to my level of participation. But then, I suppose that is what they want, hopelessness, to give up and to let the markets run free and to self-correct themselves; self-correct themselves in the sense that they are propped up with public money after some disgusting capitalist overreach.

Inspired by Winterbottom's documentary I'm going to blog over the next week or so on the issues the piece bought up, including Chile, Argentina, Thatcher's Britain and perhaps re-visit some of my writing on Reagan and his ilk.

It won't be fun but I'll feel a lot better armed and educated on the matter.


  1. Definitely read the book, it's eye-opening. And scary.

  2. I've been avoiding reading the book, as wrist-slitting often gets in the way of enjoyment of one's dinner.

    But yeah, I get the gist of the theory, can easily see it in action, and think "Die! Ratfuckers, Die!"

    So far, to no avail.

  3. Thanks Rich, will do, it is on my wishlist and once I've finsihed 'The Doors of Perception' I'll be on it.


    Shall we read it together and form some kind of vigiliante group?

  4. I caught some of it, but decided that my life is miserable enough already and ended up watching the comedy repeat "How Not To Live Your Life" on the Sky+ box.

    Yes, capitalism is bad but everything YOU do (and that YOU is used in the broadest sense to any reader here not just DHG) is governed by the capitalist system. There isn't one aspect of your life that isn't touched by it. From your morning cup of tea to the radio station you listened to at night to drop off to sleep, it is all part of the system.

    As we know Capitalism is fuelled by the need to consume and new markets are constantly sought in order to sell product. When the US talks freedom, it means the freedom to supersize your Macky D in downtown Baghdad or order a Maxi-Choco-Frappi-Wappi-Mocha-Choca from Coffee HutTM in the Bora Bora Hills of Afghanistan.

    The only solution really is to burn your possessions, give me all your money and credit (because you won't be needing it anymore), quit your job - especially all those acting jobs and commercials that encourage people to buy, buy, buy - and go live in a tree.

  5. Darren:

    I aware of the extent to which we are consumed by it, hence the ennui to a degree but I am talking a particular brand of capitalism, not the concept as a whole.


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