Monday, March 14, 2011


Watching Channel 4's Dispatches: Britain's Secret Fat Cats while blogging. I read and was very impressed by Naomi Klein's No Logo; however I missed out on her next book The Shock Doctrine when it came out. It seems to be cited more and more frequently these days though so I ordered it in from Amazon.

Basically, it appears to be Cameron and Clegg's playbook (with truly staggering amounts of Blairesque mendacity and spin of their own on top). Dispatches is showing, quite methodically and clearly, how government cuts will force privatisations which will enrich a very few at the expense of decent public services for all. One could perhaps argue that Reagan and Thatcher had genuine hopes of their "free-market" ideology actually working. However, 30 years later, after an economic apocalypse brought about by the very deregulation Thatcher and Reagan initiated, with middle and lower-class incomes over that time stagnating and even retreating while the top 1% soars exponentially ever higher, imposing the same policies without an explicit mandate is crassly stupid, if not criminal.

"A more accurate term for a system that erases the boundaries between Big Government and Big Business is not liberal, conservative or capitalist but corporatist. Its main characteristics are huge transfers of public wealth to private hands, often accompanied by exploding debt, an ever-widening chasm between the dazzling rich and the disposable poor and an aggressive nationalism that justifies bottomless spending on security. For those inside the bubble of extreme wealth created by such an arrangement, there can be no more profitable way to organize a society. But because of the obvious drawbacks for the vast majority of the population left outside the bubble, other features of the corporatist state tend to include aggressive surveillance (once again, with government and large corporations trading favors and contracts), mass incarceration, shrinking civil liberties and often, though not always, torture.

From Chile to China to Iraq, torture has been a silent partner in the global free-market crusade. But torture is more than a tool used to enforce unwanted policies on rebellious peoples; it is also a metaphor of the shock doctrine's underlying logic."

- Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, 2007

No comments: