Am I At Risk Of Disaster Capitalism?

I recently saw on television a movie length documentary called ‘The Shock Doctrine’, adapted from the polemic book of the same name by Canadian journalist Naomi Klein. In the film version the argument of a ‘disaster capitalism’ model of political & and economic management following a (natural or man-made) disaster is discussed as a pre thought out plan to change whole economies following such disasters. Examples of Argentina, Iraq and Sri Lanka are put forward as changed economies (and cultures) following disasters in those countries.

The whole premise of the argument is said to be founded by Chicago University Economist, Milton Frieberg, who argues that a true democracy can only be founded on a free and open economy, unencumbered by any political intervention. This translates to the current doctrine of the Republican Party in USA meaning ‘small government’ and ‘open markets’. These policies are imposed on whole societies following a major ‘shock’ – war, natural disaster etc. – when those societies are at their weakest and most vulnerable, and wealthy companies and individuals are paid exorbitant amounts of money to fix things up – to their own liking.

At this point I am not going to critique the argument in this documentary, but will admit that to a large degree I do agree with the argument of how this ‘doctrine’ is making the rich richer.

What I do rhetorically ask now though is “to what degree are we as a society contributing to causing the next ‘shock’”? If this argument is correct, then the current increase in protest actions around the world has the potential to develop into a disaster of its own. As these protests become larger and more disruptive and destructive, it follows that our very actions against such policies are in fact providing the means (disaster) for their very implementation.

There are many protest movements active around the world at the moment. Unfortunately their activities are all too frequently marred by violence and mindless destruction, diminishing the message they wish to promote. The ‘brand’ of the protester is that of a single-mindedly ignorant radical determined to simply destroy that which they oppose. Such branding is destined to not enjoy much popularity in the wider community.

The most successful protest in history was that led by Mohandes K Gandhi. His policy of ‘peaceful resistance’ ultimately succeeded in getting the British to surrender and leave India. Maybe we should look to emulate this policy again in our efforts to resist these ‘Chicago School Economics’ policies that the world mostly objects to. Don’t bang on their front door telling them to change, resist them by quietly making them irrelevant by ignoring them.
huboo huboo
51-55, M
May 4, 2012