November 8 2007
The Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is the new book
of Naomi Klein.
About her book No Logo
I wrote that it contains a lot of interesting information but that
it fails to make a link between information and action. It describes
the disasters caused by capitalism but it gives no solutions.
Naomi tells in The Shock Doctrine again horrendous and very true
stories about what happens in "higher circles". Again the masses
only play the role of victims.
In the last chapter she utters a few optimistic words about
initiatives of masspeople but just as in No Logo these initiatives
are restricted to the playing grounds that are enclosed by the
barbed wire that is controlled by the "higher circles". The rich and
mighty only permit actions that do not attack their very existence.
Naomi Klein writes about Disaster Capitalism but does not understand
that capitalism is always a disaster for the underlying people.
Capitalism maintains a fundamental inequality between the haves and
the have-nots and is always aimed at the improvement of the
situation of the people at the top. That sometimes the masses also
get an improved life is not in contradiction to the goals of the
elite that always tries to maintain and improve the own privileged
position. This egoistic behaviour is the basis of the capitalist
Naomi Klein tries indeed to give the masses hope on a better and
autonomous life but fails because she does not question the
On page 27 she applauds the (leftist) words of Sergio Tomasello, an
Argentinean leader of landless farmers: "The structure has to change".
That is the wrong idea, that is exactly the reason why the Left
never can stop the subordination of the masses. The people have to
get their own power. When a new structure is implemented, new "higher
circles" will come into being and the situation will resemble very
much the old situation. The development after the leftist (sometimes
communist) revolutions of the past have proven that the masses are
as powerless as in capitalist countries.
The "high gentlemen" in the governments, the army, the industry and
other sections of society are only interested in the continuation of
the idea of the "free market", a system that is based on unequal
Power relations and not the system must stand central in mass
actions. When the masses do not develop an own independent power,
all efforts for a better world are doomed to fail. And this power
must be guided by the intention that the elite cannot anymore live
the life it lived before and that the masses do not want to live
anymore the subordinated life they lived before.
The change from the Old World to a New World will occur with a
shock. But though the Shock Doctrine seems to resemble my ideas
about Political Catastrophes it is a different concept.
The Shock is used to implement an existing theory (in this case
Milton Friedman's ideology of a free market). The future society is
already embedded in the present theory. The situation will not
change fundamentally because the masses remain subordinated and the
elite continues to rule and live from the same elevated position as
In my (political) Catastrophe Theory the present activity of the
masses grows until the point is reached that the present situation
can not be maintained. Then there will be a fundamental change. A
new situation, a really New World is reached in which the same
people (masses as well as higher circles) see the world on a
different way. Only then the possibility will arise that all people
will have the same status.
The propositions of Naomi Klein and other leftists only improve the
life of the masses within the boundaries that are built by the
privileged elite. When the importance of equal power to each
individual is denied, Disaster Capitalism can return any time.
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis