Naomi Klein: I Support the Shock Doctrine!


In her best-selling book The Shock Doctrine, left-wing writer Naomi Klein denounced those "free-market economists who are convinced that only a large-scale disaster—a great unmaking—can prepare the ground for their 'reforms.'" This, she says, is the "shock doctrine" or "disaster capitalism," and its greatest proponent was, of course, the economist Milton Friedman.

Let's ignore the defamation of Friedman (but make sure to read Johan Norberg's brilliant evisceration of Klein here and here) and focus on the hideousness of the "shock doctrine"—i.e., using economic crises to impose upon a country policies they otherwise would reject. Caleb Brown flags this quote from Klein, in this month's issue of The Progressive, advocating disaster socialism:

Do we want to save the pre-crisis system, get it back to where it was last September? Or do we want to use this crisis, and the electoral mandate for change delivered by the last election, to radically transform that system? We need to get clear on our answer now because we haven't had the potent combination of a serious crisis and a clear progressive democratic mandate for change since the 1930s. We use this opportunity or we lose it.

I spoke to Norberg about Klein's book and her misreading of Friedman last year for