The Shock Doctrine
Michael Winterbottom's documentary based on the book by Naomi Klein about the influence of the theories on free markets by Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys (most famous for their part in the creation of the free market systems in Chile under the US backed Pinochet) and the theories on "coercive techniques" as shown in the KUBARK manual
and the work of the psychiatrist Ewan Cameron have had on the creation of free markets around the world for the last forty years. Basically it claims that these free markets, where everything that can be denationalised is sold off to private companies, are only able to be created under periods of national shock, everything from military dictatorships to periods of war, anywhere were the populous can be coerced, were the people are either too distracted or too intimidated to stop it from happening.
The documentary covered a lot of the same ground as John Pilger's War On Democracy
, about the US's role in oppressive regimes in South America, and a lot of what's covered in the documentaries of Adam Curtis, most notably The Trap
, whilst not actually being as informative or as entertaining. Considering this was made by a bone fide movie director it's surprisingly bland. There isn't too much evidence for a lot of what is claimed, instead we are given information pretty much on faith. And certain things are rushed through, were things like Thatcher's privatisation of national institutions were initially met with anger but were then able to go through under the distraction of the Falklands War are supposedly the same process as the torture of dissidents under military juntas.
It does however come up with some interesting things like the rise of the disaster capitalism complex in the wake of 9/11 where capitalism has flourished because of the Gulf War, the South Pacific Tsunami and possibly even Hurricane Katrina. It also had nice little tidbits like the growth of the national security industry in America to where it is now bigger than Hollywood and the music industry combined, or that Iraq under Saddam had almost double the literacy rate of New Mexico.
But for all it's claims it just sounds like good old fashioned capitalism, just now it's evolved into a much leaner machine. The rich have always screwed the poor, it's just now they're even better at it. I mean, after the biggest economic crisis in nearly a hundred years we're in a situation were people are paying taxes that are going to some of the wealthiest corporations in the world, the very people who are responsible for the crisis in the first place, now that's kinda clever.