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Review of the Shock Doctrine

posted by dru Topics: Naomi Klein

September 23, 2007

Review of the Shock Doctrine

"Her specific exposes across six decades of infamy are often excellent, but in her larger ambitions her metaphors betray her."

You have to read to the end of Alexander Cockburn's review of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine to find that line, which summarizes the case he makes in the preceding pages. Which is, I think, intuitive, though I haven't read the whole thing: Klein's is good journalism, but "shock doctrine" is too tidy to be a lasting theoretical contribution. As a slogan, though, it's brilliant.

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metaphorical misgivings

No need to ask; I mentioned above that I have not yet read the book, though I did attend Klein's talk in Montreal. And there's no need to worry: that something isn't a "lasting theoretical contribution" isn't damning criticism, it's just an observation.
I wouldn't have called the book anything else, it's a fine name for a book.

the shock metaphor

Did you actually read the book? The metaphor isn't hers, dude. It comes with the ideology -- it's strewn across hundreds of documents dealing with this particular brand of market fundamentalism. If you don't believe me, log on to the Guardian website and sift through a few of the book's secondary sources posted there. So, what would YOU have called the book?