A shocking investigation of “disaster capitalism”, based on Naomi Klein’s proposition that neo-liberal capitalism feeds on natural disasters, war and terror to establish its dominance.
The Shock Doctrine is the latest documentary from acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom, co-directed by Mat Whitecross. Based on Naomi Klein’s bestselling book, The Shock Doctrine argues that America’s ‘free market’ policies have come to dominate the world through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries. Read more on next page.
We’re all familiar with economic shock therapy, the idea that sometimes a massive destabilisation of the economy is the first step towards recovery. What Naomi Klein argues in her book, ‘The Shock Doctrine’, is that chaos is not just an occasionally necessary precursor of reform, but it rather exploited or at worst engineered by reform’s proponents, because the consequences of the changes proposed would not be accepted by the people if offered to them a la carte in a less pressured environment.
Both the film and the book argue that governments all over the world exploit natural disasters, economic crises and wars to push through radical free market policies. Klein calls this ‘disaster capitalism’ and in her view, disaster capitalism is as effective as psychiatric shock therapy at wiping our collective memory.
The film concludes that the result is often catastrophic for ordinary people and hugely beneficial to big corporations. The documentary also adds to Klein’s thesis – which was written before the recent market turmoil – and includes an analysis of how the financial world got into its current troubled state.