24
Sep
08

resist wall street’s shock doctrine

 

Thank goodness there is at least some debate happening in congress about the 700 billion dollar bailout proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and backed up by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Not enough questions have been asked by the media about this issue. There is a big one that would be at the top of my list: why is it so imperative that this legislation be passed by Friday?  This crash has been apparently long predicted.  Why the rush now?  I believe the answer can be found in a book I am now reading called The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein.

Though I am only halfway through (the book has 701 pages mind you), the author’s point is quite clear.  Chicago School, free market economics requires some kind of overwhelming and disastrous event (a hurricane, a terrorist attack, a coup d’etat, the fall of communism) to be accepted and implemented.  The following is a quote from the father of this free market ideology, Milton Friedman:

Only a crisis–actual or perceived–produces real change.  When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.  That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.

Check out the Wikipedia.org entry on The Shock Doctrine.  It has a brief summary and a fair description of the book’s praise and criticism.

The current economic crisis is a disaster by anyone’s measure.  Klein now warns of the rush by those in power to implement otherwise unacceptable policies.  She has written an article in “The Huffington Post” that lays out her warning and the reasons we all should take a measured and skeptical look at the deals being made between Washington and Wall Street.  This morning she was also on “Democracy Now.” I urge you to read/listen/watch these resources to get an alternative perspective on this bailout.

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