The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Shock Doctrine cover
I just finished reading The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein. I quite enjoyed it but it was the sort of book that's good because it makes you angry. I've heard some criticism but none that has really rung true yet - people bitch that she's a "liberal" or a "lefty" but then don't give specifics about why she's wrong. I mean, check this out with respect to Donald Rumsfeld:
When he accepted Bush's nomination as defense secretary, Rumsfeld, like all public officials, was required to divest himself of any holdings that stood to lose or gain from decisions he might make while in office...When it came to Gilead Sciences, the company Rumsfeld used to chair and that held the patent on Tamiflu (the vaccine for "Bird Flu" or "Avian Flu")...he simply refused...Rumsfeld's defiance definitely paid off. If he had sold his Gilead stocks at inauguration, in January 2001, he would have received a mere $7.45 each. By keeping them through all the avian flu scares...Rumsfeld ended up with stocks worth $67.60 each when he left office - an 807% increase.
Now, Donald Rumsfeld's defense secretary portfolio included disease outbreaks and the response, so wouldn't that be pretty much the definition of "conflict of interest"? And you should read the shit about Cheney and Halliburton.

Klein makes a convincing case and it's certainly worth a read if you're in the vein.

3 Barbaric Yawps:

At 24/1/08 2:27 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meh. Most of what Naomi Klein writes is just thinly veiled ignorant capitalism-bashing. (

At 24/1/08 3:58 pm, Blogger BigHeathenMike said...

After having read the book, I don't think she's against capitalism, I think she's against rampant privatization of which a particularly nasty strain of large corporate capitalism seems to love.
You might want to read this review - Tyler Cowan was a little hard to swallow, in my opinion.

At 27/1/08 3:20 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I clicked your link, I was thinking, "please don't let this be a link to Joseph Stiglitz's review". :( He's just wrong, and Naomi Klein really is against capitalism.


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