Seriously, What’s So Great About “The Shock Doctrine”?

OK, so here’s the thing: everything I’ve read of Naomi Klein’s, and everything I’ve read about “The Shock Doctrine”, has me convinced that it is crap.  But people who I know and consider quite smart such as Turkana and Meteor Blades think it is the best political book in ages.

So, anyone want to tell me what is so great about it?  I’ve seen it panned in great detail, but nothing but the most vague explanations of how awesome it is supposed to be.

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    • pfiore8 on March 27, 2008 at 1:33 am

    and, if not, what have you read about Ms.Klein that keeps you from reading the book. or considering her POV as one worth considering?

    i don’t know much about her. i have not read the book. i’m interested in how you formed your opinion.

    to be honest, i like that it’s against the grain. somebody was talking about loose cannons. i pointed out that i thought you were one… a suit-and-tie kinda radical. btw… i generally (okay 9 out of 10 times) root for the mavericks…

    • Turkana on March 27, 2008 at 7:46 am

    it is meticulously researched, and ties together historical threads that only after having read it are now obvious in being tied together. those on the book’s back cover, singing its praises, include howard zinn, arundhati roy, sy hersh, chalmers johnson, and anthony shadid.  

  1. boring for one thing. It is not an economic theory book. It’s a well researched overveiw of how we got to this point both economically and globally with wars and foriegn policies that   How the Chicago boys applied their theories to South America and onward. It’s about the myths of the free marketers, and their connections to torture, ruthless dictators  and any other assorted nastiness.  Strangely she agrees with you Jay on a lot of things.    

    • pico on March 27, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Not because I have anything against Klein’s politics per se, but because the reviews all seem to indicate that her book is about Grand Narrative, and if there’s anything about history that turns me off, it’s Grand Narratives.  They tend to downplay historical facts and contexts in order to give the narrative itself more cohesion, and that too often leads to oversimplification (at best) and revisionism (at worst).

    A pretty bad example of this was cited by Fred Kaplan, who dismissed Klein’s attempt to create a convenient narrative out of his writing.  He was not amused:

    Naomi Klein’s depiction of the conflict as a clash between Chicago-style capitalists and honorable, fledgling democrats is ludicrous. The day before Yeltsin opened fire, I was one of many reporters who spent an eerie afternoon in the parliament building, talking with its armed, black-booted, and stinking-drunk occupiers. Believe me-and Klein should, since she quotes one of my Globe reports in describing the soldiers shelling the building the next morning-there were no democrats among that lot. Nor, by this time, was Yeltsin a Milton Friedmanite, if he had ever been.

    Kaplan’s creds are pretty solid, so when I read something like this, I cringe: when you attempt to gloss over history in order to make a stronger ideological point, you do a great disservice both to the history and to the ideology.  

    In fairness, I have not read Klein’s book, so I’ve been disinclined to be vocally negative about her.

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