Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine"

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Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Coyote:
[b]Stephen was not saying that Stiglitz was critisizing Klein; he was citing Cowan who critisized Stiglitz for not critisizing Klein.[/b]

And just who is Joe Stiglitz, really? He's a Liberal economist who's had a personal epiphany that capitalism is broken. Any one of us could have told him the same thing before he railed against the World Bank and The Fund.

Erik Redburn

quote:


Originally posted by Coyote:
[b]Stephen was not saying that Stiglitz was critisizing Klein; he was citing Cowan who critisized Stiglitz for not critisizing Klein.[/b]

Pardon me, let me rephrase slightly, if Stephen wants to criticise either author then he should familiarize himself with their works first. The failings of "globalization" has been plain to everyone but its priesthood for some time now anyhow.

Fidel

I think it's true that the those countries which were wired for Friedman's economic torture never voted for quack treatments in the first place.

The Tiananmen Square protests were not about a desire for western capitalism.

The Polish solidarity movement wanted socialism not a distorted version of it.

And a majority of Russians, Bielorussians and Ukrainians polled in 1999 said they'd prefer a return to the way it was before 1985.

In 1990, The Economist urged Gorbachev to adopt "strongman rule", and be another Augusto Pinochet even if it involved "blood-letting." The Washington Post supported the idea of a coup and thought Russia needed a "dictator like Pinochet." It's obvious that our own stooges have been reluctant to tape the highest voltage electrodes on Canadians and Americans and let'er rip. The ideologues have backed off certain deregulations of public services and health care in the U.S. and Canada out of fear for their political lives. Even the doctor and the madman knew that Friedman's economic shock therapy was incompatible with their hopes for re-election in the 1970's. So they foisted it on Chileans who didn't vote for it either.

I think we need electoral reform in the last three most politically conservative, English-speaking western nations. We need to fight these bastards with democracy and everything left in the tank. It's time to bring down the evil empire with our own pro-democracy movements around the world.

And it's time that ordinary people refuse to be spoken down to condescendingly by academics who don't know their asses from holes in the ground. It's time working poor North Americans began talking back to and speaking out against despotic leaders manouvering behind the scenes with phony baloney electoral majorities. We should dare to be like the French, and cause our stoogeocrats to fear the electorate instead of the other way around. There's no rule that says we have to be polite to politicians and respect every rule they put down infront of us like an imaginary line in the sand. Sometimes lines are nothing more than bullying tactics, and there is only one way to deal with autocratic paper dictators who take voters for granted.

[ 30 December 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Fidel

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZNYZz8oc68]Shock is the new Enabling Act for fascism[/url] MSNBC interviews Naomi Klein (YouTube)

NeoFascism in three easy steps, or "PEE":

1. Shock Crisis(ten year-long medieval siege followed by bombs away over Baghdad, Fallujah etc)

2. Economic shock, price shocks etc And if that doesn't work ...

3. Electric shocks, torture

Richard Armitage, former Secretary of State said about Shock and Awe: [i]"The Iraqis would be so shocked that they will be easily marshalled"[/i]

The problem was that Iraqis didn't perceive what they were supposed to. Iraqis were supposed to understand that their country was undergoing "economic restructuring" as some kind of improvement to the quality of their lives. Rather, the Iraqis saw shock for what it really is, which is a smokescreen for the looting and pillage of their country by transnational corporations seeking primitive accumulation of wealth beyond their wildest dreams and rawest of gangster ambitions.

Bubbles

Only having read half the book sofar (a Christmas present) it put a lot of past events in context for me.

I am curious as to what she will have to say in the second half.

How does one deal with these problems?

Keep currency local?
Rely on community rather then money?
Is it self-destuctive?

A lot of work and critical thought seems to have gone into putting this book together.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

So far, so good. Here are my personal notes so far, recording some of Klein's terminology, some expressions she has quoted, and so on.

- blank slate
- scorched earth
- "calm is a form of resistance" John Berger
- neo-liberal (in Latin America)
- neo-conservative (their [i]self[/i]-description)
- corporatist (similarity to Mussolini's idea)
- capitalist fundamentalism
- free market trinity: privatization, deregulation, and limb-severing cuts to social spending
- Gail Kastner: Canadian victim/survivor
- coexistence, or "inner harmony" (Orlando Letelier) of economic "freedom" with political terror "without touching each other".
- plan of social extermination (Argentina) or genocide
- planned attack upon trade union leadership, a common and practically universal aspect of the shock doctrine's enforcement
- privatized torture squads [i]inside the factories[/i]!!
- "People were in prison so that prices could be free." Eduardo Galeano
- "As a means of extracting information during interrogations, torture in notoriously unreliable, but as a means of terrorizing and controlling populations, nothing is quite as effective." Naomi Kline - and "Bravo" to her for saying so. Just as a side observation ... the steady stream of propaganda, drama, and "entertainment" on television designed to justify torture on the spurious grounds noted above is reaching the level of a river of vomit. Or blood.
- crises as "democracy free' zones. These are also called "technified democracies" or "protected" democracies ... meaning protection [b]from[/b] democracy. aka "insulation from politics"
- lack of mandate to implement neo-liberal atrocities

I've left out critical remarks and questions for Klein in my notes. For now.

"... one day we will triumph. In the meantime, I know who the enemy is, and the enemy knows who I am, too." Sergio Tomasella

[ 03 January 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

TheIronist

The problem with Klein's book is this: Klein, an impressive enough investigative journalist, can't be content with publishing an espose of capitalist excesses over a certain period of time. She has some need, most likely acquired by reading too much critical theory while in university, to play the Great Thinker, a role for which she is not well suited.

Having read too much Benjamin, too much early Sontag, too much Marcuse, she simply cannot resist the tempation to make sweeping mataphysical claims that seek to establish a kind of organic connection between such otherwise unconnected phenomena as CIA-funded psychological experiments at McGill University in the 50's--experiments which sought, through a variety of sensorial, chemical and shock therapies, to efface all personal history as well as, well, all personality, and replace it with a newly written narrative--with friedmanite economic experiments such as what Chileans underwent with Pinochet. In so doing, Klein does a disservice to her readers. Not only does she fail to establish this purported connection between the abovementioned phenomena, but she manages to draw attention away from the shamelessly opportunistic and ruthlessly exploitative ways in which foreign capital, usually but not exclusively American, actually manipulated events.

One could just as easily construct a narrative purporting to establish a connection between, say, Kleinian disaster capitalism and the raptures of religious conversion. Or more to the point, between North Korean experiments in brainwashing (so deliciously parodized in the novel, The Manchurian Candidate), with the pretense, common to revolutionaries, that the regime that they would usher in somehow represents a wiping clean of the historical slate (insert palimpsest metaphor here).

Klein's book is a classic example of the failures of otherwise gifted writers to resist the temptations to upper-case "T" Theorizing, when what is most needed is a solid, clear-headed analysis of events.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Clearly, you couldn't be bothered to read the book.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by TheIronist:
[b] Not only does she fail to establish this purported connection between the abovementioned phenomena, but she manages to draw attention away from the shamelessly opportunistic and ruthlessly exploitative ways in which foreign capital, usually but not exclusively American, actually manipulated events.[/b]

Anglo-American countries were the one's following Milton Friedman's economic shock therapy, not just the U.S. and it's Latin American guinea pig nations. Naomi is fairly clear about this in her book.

And the "psychological experiments" of Ewen Cameron carried out on Canadian citizens were part of a larger CIA mind control experiment known as MK Ultra said to have been conducted on a scale of the Manhatten Project. One American doctor doing similar experiments in West Germany returned to the States due to his having [i]psychological[/i] and personal issues with his designated duties. He was one of dozens of scientists who "committed suicide"(thrown out of tenth floor windows) by the CIA.

eta:A bit of background reading on these subjects is sometimes required. I'm afraid our largest trading partner has been accused of waging not just conventional but: [b]economic, psychological, chemical, and biological warfare[/b] in Asia as well as Cuba during the cold war, and since Nagasaki and Hiroshima, through to the illegal bombing and military occupation of Iraq.

[ 03 January 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

TheIronist

Clearly, you couldn't be bothered to read the book.

In all truthfulness, I did not finish the book. After reading some 270 pages of it, and coming to the conclusion that she would never be able to establish her thesis convincingly, but would nevertheless progress as if she had, I put the book down, disappointed.

Again, I think that Klein is a first rate investigative journalist and critic. It's just too bad for us that she decided, for whatever reason, that she wanted to write more in line with, say, Negri/Benjamin/the Frankfurt School, when a nod in the direction of Orwell would have been more to the point.

That's all.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


TheIronist: Klein's book is a classic example of the failures of otherwise gifted writers to resist the temptations to upper-case "T" Theorizing, when what is most needed is a solid, clear-headed analysis of events.

This is your most ridiculous claim. Klein's book, which I haven't yet finished, is broken into chapters detailing the specifics of the application of the shock doctrine in particular countries. The pattern that emerges is unmistakable. The free market trinity of deregulation, privatization, and limb-severing cuts to social spending emerges each and every time. So too, does the use of violence and, often, torture. It's like variations on a theme.

The only person that's discussing the Frankfurt School is ... you. Perhaps you were reading too many books at once and got them mixed up. Try reading one book at a time.

If you're actually antagonistic to Klein's claims and you wish to refute them then the first thing you've got to do is to honestly and properly recapitulate them. And you've done a miserable job of that.

[b]Supplemental:[/b] If you're going to give an approving nod in the direction of George Orwell then how about being truthful and acknowledging that Naomi Kline, despite the absence of a police or military background like that of the author of [i]1984[/i], understood the whole issue of [i]the purpose of torture (and the violence outlined in her book)[/i] better than Orwell did? Barbaric violence, senseless at first, suddenly makes sense in Klein's book ... as the component of [i]enforcement[/i] of the shock doctrine.

Many of the ideas in her book I've come across before. But I've not seen them brought together in quite the same cogent way. That's usually an indicator of the author having done an enormous amount of work and begun to see patterns emerging where once was disconnected factoids.

[ 04 January 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

Fidel

Book reviewer [url=http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_25753.shtml]Juan Santos[/url] and Zapatistas Subcomandante Marcos say that because the book is well written and researched, Shock Doctrine represents a danger to bourgeois Liberal democracies.

quote:

Book Reviews
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A review of The Shock Doctrine: The Face of Fascism in a Global System Heading for Collapse
By Juan Santos
Jan 1, 2008, 07:51

"The signs of war on the horizon are clear.

The war, like fear, also has a smell.

And now we can begin to breathe its stench in our lands.

In the words of Naomi Klein, we need to prepare ourselves for the shock."

- Subcomandante Marcos, EZLN

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Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas is a poet, but he is not just any poet: he’s a poet armed not only with words, but with bullets – and not only with words and bullets, but with the heart of the Mayan people of Chiapas. He is a poet and a revolutionary who abandoned the ivory tower for the jungle – for the Selva Lacandona - to live with, to fight with, and to die with los de ‘bajo – the people on the bottom, who lives are crushed beneath the weight of the pyramid of Empire. He has taken their part, their lot, their future as his own.

Naomi Klein is a writer, one who sees with the eyes of her heart, one who backs the knowledge and vision of the heart with the most rigorous research - research she uses to build the sharpest and most aggressively articulated and documented of cases, a case developed as if our lives depended on it. They do. And Klein, like Subcomandante Marcos, has taken sides, the side of the poor. Marcos has said her latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, “is one of those books that is worth having in your hands. It is also a very dangerous book.” (continues below the film)

The Film (less than 7 minutes)

The Shock Doctrine by Alfonso Cuarуn and Naomi Klein

“Its danger,” he says, “resides in that it is possible to understand what it says.” In the clearest terms, The Shock Doctrine lays bare the vicious nature of capitalist globalization, and shows us how and why our world has been so radically transformed over the last half-century; Klein spills the blood of the lie that “free markets” mean free people. She builds and proves a solid - often breathtaking– case that the global “free market” has been imposed around the world through terror. She calls it “shock” – with all the graphic undercurrents of electric shock treatments, torture and deep trauma that the word implies – spelled out in exquisitely researched detail. Her tale is the tale of the rise of “corporatism” – a technical word for the economic and political system called fascism – on a global scale.


Hmm, the rise of fascism? That's a fairly significant event in world history, and I think billions of people struggling just to survive around the world will want to know why they are being displaced from the land, war and sometimes proxy wars waged on them, and even tortured to bloody death by a vicious empire. Political upheaval, war, and torture rein merrily while multinational profits are at all-time highs. If this isn't fascist aggression, I don't know what is.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

It is probably worthwhile to draw attention to the manner in which (liberal) Charlie Rose handled Naomi Kline on his show. When he finally ran out of right wing arguments, Rose tried another approach. Our own Professor Gordon hints at this bankrupt approach with some of his own remarks but not so barefaced as Charlie Rose.

Unable to refute the detailed and factual elaboration of the application of the shock doctrine in country after country, example after example, Rose then tried to mock Klein's argument by asserting that she was, in effect, claiming that all the shock doctrine practitioners were evil. "How can you claim they're all evil?" said Rose, or something pathetic like that. His assertion was accompanied by a lot of finger wagging, disruptive and speech-making but that's just his bullying style. Klein stayed cool for a future invite although I must admit that I would have liked to see her tear him a new one (and I'm quite sure she could have).

Of course, Kline made no such argument. Her book is on actual capitalism and economic history and not a philosophy text. People are quite entitled to form their own moral conclusions. But it's interesting to see this bankrupt approach in response to Klein's cool-headedness.

In fact, I am struck by how much a lot of the criticism of Klein's book mimics the sort of criticism that was, and is, directed towards a writer such as Karl Marx. Bourgeois apologists just don't get it. It goes in one ear and out the other because it doesn't match their world view or [i]weltanschaunng[/i] and therefore can't be absorbed. Furthermore, if you have a moral view that claims capitalism and all its "manifestations" are "goodness" incarnate and then come across a lengthy and detailed elaboration of horrific atrocities inextricably tied together with recent capitalist strategies on a global scale ... why then your "moral compass" will start spinning like a real compass at the magnetic North Pole. Spinning in circles, that is.

I agree with the Subcomandante. Klein's book is a dangerous book. And [b]the world needs more dangerous books just like this one. [/b]

Bubbles

I am not sure if we are helping by calling it a dangerous book. Maybe from a neo-cons perspective but from my perspective it is an eye opener. I think most of us probably had an idea that things where far from being fair in the world, but she put it in a far clearer picture then I had at least. But I have not finished the book yet.

spillunk

quote:


Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
[b]He reads her book. He doesn't think it meets minimum intellectual standards. I think he is right: now I can borrow Tyler's ideas and have an informed view:
[i]If nothing else, Ms. Klein's book provides an interesting litmus test as to who is willing to condemn its shoddy reasoning. In the New York Times, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz defended the book: "Klein is not an academic and cannot be judged as one." So nonacademics get a pass on sloppy thinking, false "facts," and emotional appeals? In making economic claims, Ms. Klein demands to be judged by economists' standards — or at the very least, standards of simple truth or falsehood. Mr. Stiglitz continued: "There are many places in her book where she oversimplifies. But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification." Have we come to citing the failures of one point of view to excuse the mistakes of another?[/i]
[/b]

But Stephen, Cowan never attacked the heart of Stiglitz's argument in defense of Klein. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the rest of what Stiglitz had to say:

quote:

There are many places in her book where [Klein] oversimplifies. But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification, basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed perfect information, perfect competition, perfect risk markets. Indeed, [b]the case against these policies is even stronger than the one Klein makes[/b]. They were never based on solid empirical and theoretical foundations, and even as many of these policies were being pushed, academic economists were explaining the limitations of markets — for instance, whenever information is imperfect, which is to say always.


N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


Bubbles: I am not sure if we are helping by calling it a dangerous book. Maybe from a neo-cons perspective but from my perspective it is an eye opener.

Yea, OK. It's a dangerous book [i]for some.[/i]

What Klein outlines in the chapter(s) on South Africa after the destruction of the Apartheid regime is, perhaps, a good example in this regard. I don't want to spoil your first read of this section; however, suffice it to say that Klein's analysis of South Africa is very helpful on the question of post-revolutionary societies and how they get constrained by their enemies. I'm going to have to read this book at least twice.

Fidel

One of the very undemocratic things that the Washington-based IMF imposes on client nations is that they sometimes insist on installing their own finance ministers and even central bankers post NATO bombing or after years of crippling trade sanctions have reduced the economy to a stand still. And then there's the [url=http://www.comer.org/2006/bisz.htm]Bank for International Settlements[/url], a lesser known-about cabal of bankers existing outside the general bounds of democratic control of any elected government.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Not to belabour the point but Klein's analysis of South Africa is a great read, on its own, and a concrete example of what happens with such institutions as the IMF.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Naomi Klein has [url=http://www.nofactzone.net/?p=2885]refused to cross the picket lines[/url] to appear on Stephen Colbert to promote her book.

Michelle

Good for her!

Fidel

quote:


[url=http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/enter... is why[/url] this book, angry as it is, deserves such a wide audience. It reminds us that the purpose of government is to serve the most people as best it can. Under the shock doctrine, Klein argues, the opposite occurs: One class of people comes up with the plan, another does the fighting, and a third, way at the bottom, deals with the fallout.

If you accept this assessment, it's not hard to see why such policies earn what the CIA calls [url=http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/DiscreetSilence_B_CS.html]"blowback."[/url]


Naomi Klein will be on TVO's Allan Gregg in Conversation, Friday January 18th.

George Victor

When I asked (way back when)about the meaning of the Chicago School for the average Canadian (or American), I meant to ask the individual babbler where they thought they stood in the great ethical scheme of modern capitalism.
Naomi has accomplished wonders in showing us the effect of capitalism (using our pension funds, mutual funds, etc.) on the developing world. That was the huge threat that appeared out of Chicago in the early 1970s. It was clear that countries and regions would have to waltz to the tune of international capital (yours and mine), now circulating the world , currently more than $4trillion daily looking for the best place to land (exploit?).
Corporations that don't meet dividend or growth expectations to the nickel are shed from portfolios the next day.
For those who cast doubt on Naomi's empirical findings - or the nasty outcome of the "Chicago boys" involvement, I point to Robert Reich's "Supercapitalism",just out, which shows how we have all fared by adopting the economics of Milton Friedman and his followers.The middle class is disappearing, the poor are poorer, and the super wealthy somehow continue to get wealthier in a dumbed-down democracy.
He shows how democracy has in fact "declined" in the process, a hardly adequate word when looking at the destruction of budding self-government in the developing world.But, then, Reich remains a Democrat in the Clinton mould and is not talking about the effect of U.S. capital (or Canadian, or Chinese)on those who don't have capital to invest.
Anyway, there you have it - Reich supports Klein in showing us the existence of the Chicago School of economics.
He says "We are all consumers and most of us are investors, and in those roles we try to get the best deals we possibly can."
If we start acting as "citizens", not just consumers and taxpayers, we can have our cake and eat it too says Reich (in not quite those words).
I don't believe we can,not for a minute, not without halting economic growth and population growth in defense of all life on a finite planet.

But how do we get off the growth (investment) merry-go-round without cashing in our fine lifestyles?

[img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Bubbles

quote:


What does the democratic socialist do if his/her pension fund is helping to destroy environment and people, buy up public utilities in Timbuktu?

What does the Ontario teacher say to the Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan administrator, for instance?

George Victor


By establishing a direct link between investment and consequence. For example the teachers from one highschool invest their pension contributions into the students they taught. How is that?

Fidel

Voting NDP would be a good start. [url=http://www.ndp.ca/page/1695]CPP Needs Real Ethical Guidelines Not More Window-Dressing[/url]

Michelle

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/columnists_full.shtml?x=73203]Disaster capitalism, oil, and Iraq[/url]

quote:

Once oil passed $140 a barrel, even the most rabidly right-wing media hosts had to prove their populist cred by devoting a portion of every show to bashing Big Oil. Some have gone so far as to invite me on for a friendly chat about an insidious new phenomenon: "disaster capitalism." It usually goes well — until it doesn't.

For instance, "independent conservative" radio host Jerry Doyle and I were having a perfectly amiable conversation about sleazy insurance companies and inept politicians when this happened: "I think I have a quick way to bring the prices down," Doyle announced. "We've invested $650 billion to liberate a nation of 25 million people. Shouldn't we just demand that they give us oil? There should be tankers after tankers backed up like a traffic jam getting into the Lincoln Tunnel, the Stinkin' Lincoln, at rush hour with thank-you notes from the Iraqi government.... Why don't we just take the oil? We've invested it liberating a country. I can have the problem solved of gas prices coming down in ten days, not ten years."

There were a couple of problems with Doyle's plan, of course. The first was that he was describing the biggest stickup in world history. The second, that he was too late: "We" are already heisting Iraq's oil, or at least are on the cusp of doing so.

It's been ten months since the publication of my book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, in which I argue that today's preferred method of reshaping the world in the interest of multinational corporations is to systematically exploit the state of fear and disorientation that accompanies moments of great shock and crisis. With the globe being rocked by multiple shocks, this seems like a good time to see how and where the strategy is being applied.

And the disaster capitalists have been busy — from private firefighters already on the scene in Northern California's wildfires, to land grabs in cyclone-hit Burma, to the housing bill making its way through Congress. The bill contains little in the way of affordable housing, shifts the burden of mortgage default to taxpayers and makes sure that the banks that made bad loans get some payouts. No wonder it is known in the hallways of Congress as "The Credit Suisse Plan," after one of the banks that generously proposed it.


Slumberjack

quote:
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"I think I have a quick way to bring the prices down," Doyle announced. "We've invested $650 billion to liberate a nation of 25 million people. Shouldn't we just demand that they give us oil?....Why don't we just take the oil?"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Using this logic, I suppose the case could be made for the complete and wholesale handover of our own natural resources, due to the fact they believe their military might shielded us from the 'commies' during the entire cold war. A small price to pay by this estimation. But we'd never let such a thing happen here, would we?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Interesting review of the book, with criticism from the left, published in [url=New">http://www.newsocialist.org/index.php?id=1530][u][i]New Socialist No. 63[/url] by Toby Moorsom. Here's an excerpt:

Quote:
According to Klein, disaster capitalism is a perverted form of capitalism rather than something inherently tied to market-based societies. Thus, Klein thinks capitalism could otherwise be much kinder. So she suggests “it is equally possible to require corporations to pay decent wages, to respect the rights of workers to form unions, and for government to tax and redistribute wealth so that the sharp inequalities that mark the corporatist state are reduced.”

Yet the Keynesian state was clearly not capable of maintaining such an order—or even creating it for that matter, as it was always something that existed amidst massive racial and gender inequalities. Capital has an insatiable need to grow and, in that process, it must continually destroy to build anew. What Klein describes as the “disaster capitalism complex” reveals the degree to which capitalism is willing to invade and impose its logic.

Historically speaking, it is more accurate to suggest, as Ellen Wood does, that Keynesianism was the anomaly and that what we are seeing now is a return to capitalism as it has always been. That it is horrendous is exactly why Engels, and later Rosa Luxemburg, suggested the choice would ultimately come down to one of Socialism or Barbarism.

  

George Victor

Right on, MS.

But I just wish that Naomi could have drawn the connect between the lifestyle so many have enjoyed (found in Robert Reich...who is now one of Obama's advisors) and the Chicago School's rampage around the planet that she explains so well.

Same economics at work...it's been (up until very recently) the latest face of capitalism, and from the surprise at  today's collapse of finance capitalism on pensions funds, which were to have kept all happily tripping to the Carribean, obviously not  perfectly understood by critic and consumer alike.

janfromthebruce

 Toby from Queens wrote a great critque of Klein's book. When I read this

Quote:
While there are differences in periods of primitive accumulation, he
notes that they always rely on brute force and employ the power of the
state “to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation.”
(Rosa Luxemburg marvellously expanded upon this history in Accumulation of Capital)
, it brought this to mind: restructuring of unemployment insurance to employment insurance in Canada, under the Chretin/Martin neoliberals.

The idea was to ensure that folks couldn't collect what they paid for and enduce mobility from hearth and home and take lessor paying jobs. Women who mainly worked in part-time work were exempt from collecting and seasonal workers couldn't collect. The state then used the money collected in the EI fund as pay off debt and reduce the deficit, a deficit partly caused by and maintianing of high interest rates, which banks made out like bandits.

Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

George Victor

Predicted on Nov. 30, 2007 by Frustrated Mess, as a result of the building sub-prime mortgage crisis:

"The free market chickens are on their way home to roost. God help everyone." 

 

Including all who depend on the world's banks and investment houses to "do the right thing" by their savings. And as Christmas approaches, we can, like Tiny Tim request, "God bless us, everyone." But I'm not sure SHE  does not expect a little input from the investor (large and small) as to where their money is invested.

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Most prescient, FM. Hope your forecasting skills are not so accurate regarding the natural world.Undecided

 

George Victor

By George, I refuse to erase this bloody double post.  It's the result of another long wait for the bloody server to recognize "post comment".

Is there hope on the horizon?

 

George Victor

Predicted on Nov. 30, 2007 by Frustrated Mess, as a result of the building sub-prime mortgage crisis:

"The free market chickens are on their way home to roost. God help everyone." 

 

Including all who depend on the world's banks and investment houses to "do the right thing" by their savings. And as Christmas approaches, we can, like Tiny Tim request, "God bless us, everyone." But I'm not sure SHE  does not expect a little input from the investor (large and small) as to where their money is invested.

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From a quote used by jan:

While there are differences in periods of primitive accumulation, he
notes that they always rely on brute force and employ the power of the
state “to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation.”
(Rosa Luxemburg marvellously expanded upon this history in Accumulation of Capital)

It may be, jan, that this is how "capital" has functioned, but what is being quoted relates to a day when "capital" was wielded only by the "capitalists", whereas today, we're all co-opted and mostly silent, fearing the worst for our own savings.

See the evolution of capitalism since Rosa's time, and specifically since Friedman's emergence on the scene.

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Most prescient, FM. Hope your forecasting skills are not so accurate regarding the natural world.Undecided

 

janfromthebruce

 Yes George, I am quite aware that capital is different now, and yes friedman and neoliberal friends included. And yes, we are all in the capitalist system in some way, and thus are silenced. And yes, fearing the worst for our savings as I am my dad's "banker" and it concerns me in that regard. 

It also concerns me re in job security.

 

Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

Fidel

M. Spector wrote:

Interesting review of the book, with criticism from the left, published in [url=New">http://www.newsocialist.org/index.php?id=1530][u][i]New Socialist No. 63[/url] by Toby Moorsom. Here's an excerpt:

Quote:
Historically speaking, it is more accurate to suggest, as Ellen Wood does, that Keynesianism was the anomaly and that what we are seeing now is a return to capitalism as it has always been. That it is horrendous is exactly why Engels, and later Rosa Luxemburg, suggested the choice would ultimately come down to one of Socialism or Barbarism.
  

I think it was a very short period in time, yes. But I think Toby Moorsom is wrong if he believes that capitalism can return to what is breaking down today, or what broke down after 30 years in 1929, or a similar capitalism in Chile built around "financial services" and collapsed in 1985, or the neoliberalism which failed during Russian perestroika, South Africa etc etc. As Greg Palast, a former student of Milton Friedman, once said, they wanted to create an ersatz genesis fable with regard to self-regulating markets but are, in fact, still without one. It appears now that financial capitalism is a dead end for even the capitalists themselves. I that, technically, this isnt even capitalism anymore. It's some sort of distortion resembling something between fascism and socialism for the rich. Keynesian economies were actually more stable for a longer period of time. In Canada, from about 1938 to mid 1970's. Our national debt was a measly $18 billion dollars in 1974, and neither lavish social spending nor government-created money was the source cause of rising  inflation as rightwing economists led everyone to believe then.

George Victor

 And now, from a review of Bernard-Henri Levy's new work, Left in Hard Times comes word that he also criticizes  Naomi Klein and others opposed to globalization.

"He devotes a total of one sentence to the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, bot only in passing, and then only to excoriate critics of the United States."

Looks like it might, actually,  help bring understanding to  those who may be in doubt as to the importance of Naomi's impact on a politically confused world.  He apparently  called himself a "man of the left, and then, muses: What is the left? This book is an attempt to answer that question," writes Emran Qureshi, reviewer for The Globe and Mail.

Spectrum Spectrum's picture

Money is Debt.  We are all slaves of the monetary system.  Printing money from thin air and creating interest? Creating indenture, wil not know a race black or white, to see it is slavery at it's best that currently rules the society?

Why would governments(run by banks) in the states that are tied to the federal reserve lend money to themself? Who does  the federal reserve represent?

Baracks word use, and use of Lincoln's "better angel," should also apply to what is understood when Lincoln printed the green back. If Barack goes against the Federal Reserve, he will become a target?

Why would banks let there be any change in the conditons  of the monetary system as we know it today?

Best,

See:

Creating Something out of Nothing

Also See:

Zeitgeist Addendum

George Victor

 Repeating something of the quotation posted by MS a couple of days back:

Historically speaking, it is more accurate to suggest, as Ellen Wood does, that Keynesianism was the anomaly and that what we are seeing now is a return to capitalism as it has always been. That it is horrendous is exactly why Engels, and later Rosa Luxemburg, suggested the choice would ultimately come down to one of Socialism or Barbarism.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

I think that Naomi  is more hopeful than events at home warrant, and perhaps that is why she fastidiously avoids mentioning structural changes at home, resulting from the new economics, that Reich, for instance, brings forward in Supercapitalism.

 

What bugs me is that  babblers are also "fastidious" in not mentioning the effects of Chicago School teachings over the past quarter century (post Reagan).  Or confronting the emergence of climate change truths that demand our attention - cannot be sluffed off as "externalities" as practised by the bloody bean counting  economists of that (and other) schools.

 

Anyway, breaking out  (and as they've been saying there is nothing like a good crisis to aid in bringing about change) has to allow for capital accumulation - but directed toward pensions and in the "real economy", not through finance capitalist inventions.  Investments directed into projects for the sustaining of life on a "shrinking" planet. And beyond the silly, so-called "ethical" investments so attractive to church groups.

I don't know how people can discuss ANY economic change without that in mind.

Jacob Richter

In regards to the mentions of Rosa Luxemburg's take on imperialism, I prefer David Harvey's.  The notion that the capitalist states "play by the rules" at home and "interventionistically" rape the colonies abroad, plus her emphasis on physical goods, is a bit obsolete.

One could argue that the export of service commodities as a "dumping" response to service glut may be more relevant, but in this day and age the circulation (both export and import) of das finanzkapital is the key.

Fidel

George Victor wrote:
What bugs me is that  babblers are also "fastidious" in not mentioning the effects of Chicago School teachings over the past quarter century (post Reagan).  Or confronting the emergence of climate change truths that demand our attention - cannot be sluffed off as "externalities" as practised by the bloody bean counting  economists of that (and other) schools.

 I think various rich countries have implemented neoliberal policies to varying extents and degress. In certain central banking polices, our Conservatives and Liberals of the last 25 years were further to the right than what occurred in the U.S. under Reagan and in Britain under Thatcher and Major. And several Canadian provinces and U.S. states were forced to abandon deregulation in certain sectors - one being electrical power generation and distribution.  But banking and finance were far more deregulated in the U.S. than most other countries. Money creation was fully privatized here in Canada in 1991. And now we have hundred billion dollar infrastructure deficits, housing deficits, and persistent child poverty.

Canada's banks were bailed out from their gambling losses a few years after deregulation. Pressure from the NDP and other groups stopped at least one big bank merger several months ago. Canada's banks, too,  desired to attain a status of becoming "too big to fail", and large enough to gamble alongside their U.S. counterparts.

Spectrum Spectrum's picture

I 've update again "my comment" to better reflect the need for understanding how the economic situation has allowed for implementation of further indenturing of society.

I Hope I was complete in the assessment and contribute to the awareness of what happens when you apply it in your "daily watch" over the happenings in the building of social constructs.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The Shock Doctrine has won the inaugural [url=Warwick">http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/prizeforwriting/about/][=me... Prize for Writing.[/][/url]

Naomi Klein will receive £50,000 and the opportunity to take up a short placement at The University of Warwick.

NorthReport

I never heard of the Warwick prize before!.Laughing

 

Good stuff!

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Neither has anyone else. This is the first time it's ever been awarded.

The £50,000 prize is big: it matches the Man Booker Prize for fiction. 

Fidel

Stratford upon Avon is in Warwickshire.  Shakespeare and theaters etc. I was at Warwick castle when a lad. A few photos is all I have to remember of Warwick.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

George Victor wrote:
It is one helluva conundrum isn't it.
I've already lost a couple of friends by presenting it to them. They were rather dependent on their investments for the long haul, I guess. Who isn't though?

But that is the heart of the difficulty in getting off our market dependency, not just to slay the neo-con, Chicago School dragons that Naomi describes so well, but the problem of environmentally destructive growth. In economic terms, no growth means recession or depression.

Jimmy Carter had the answer back in 1979 - put our economy on a wartime footing. Wild Bill Clinton is perhaps ready to go that route, you never know. FDR had the late John Kenneth Galbraith introduce price controls even before the U.S. got into the act, back in 1940.

I would really like to know what folks out there in "Canuckistan" think about all this. Or are lifestyle-endangering considerations something for the Gods to handle, something beyond the logical outcome to infinite growth, as the neo-con today seems to assume?

[img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

 

Quite the post, almost 2 years ago, working my way through.

vaudree

What ever you all think of Avi Lewis, he seems very proud of his wife's latest book.  In fact, very near the beginning of his piece on California for Aljazeera he refers to what is about to happen there as "Shock Therapy" and uses the phrase "Shock Therapy" again in the title of the short article he wrote for Common Dreams (video better than article). And just like something out of Naomi Klein
, he actually found footage of Arnold Schwarzenegger introducing a series on Milton Friedman for PBS. What did Naomi Klein say about Milton Friedman again?

Fault Lines - California: Failed State - 11 June 09 - Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj200NUQOFo

Milton Friedman (1990) - Schwarzenegger
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4gpjt9Guhc

"California is facing a $24.3 billion dollar budget gap, and the governor wants to attack it with cuts to social programs alone." - Avi Lewis, Schwarzenegger's Shock Therapy - Poor Pay For Sins Of The Rich - Common Dreams, Thursday, June 18, 2009

That was not the first time that Avi plugged the ideas presented in his wife's book while doing pieces for Aljazeera, but it is the most blatent. In fact, you get an eiry feeling of deja vu.

 

I think that Naomi has stated in an interview with Kim Elliott that Avi is more politically oriented than she is. Also, we learned on The Hour that Naomi Klein's family had historically been communist while Avi's has historically alway been anti-communist. If so, Naomi Klein has moved closer to the Lewis family views on communism in Shock Doctrine and away from those of her grandparents. In fact, Klein, like Linda McQuaig, tends to see more similaries between communism (as practiced by the Soviet Union and China) and fascism than differences. Neither see communism inconsistent with capitalism - in fact both point out examples of the two co-occuring.

 

 

George Victor

Paul Krugman brings Naomi Klein's perspective in Shock Doctrine home to neo-conservative America:

Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.
By PAUL KRUGMAN

 

February 24, 2011

Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

 

By PAUL KRUGMAN

 

Here's a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn't Cairo after all. Maybe it's Baghdad - specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.

As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular - in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to "corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises" - Mr. Bremer's words, not the reporter's - and to "wean people from the idea the state supports everything."

The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein's best-selling book "The Shock Doctrine," which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.

Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.

------------------------------------------------------

But unfortunately the liberal economist is not up for analysis of the underlying driver of neo-conservative successes:

I began this thread concerned with the absence of self-analysis on the part of the individual citizen: " I just wish that Naomi could have drawn the connect between the lifestyle so many have enjoyed (found in Robert Reich...who is now one of Obama's advisors) and the Chicago School's rampage around the planet that she explains so well.

Same economics at work...it's been (up until very recently) the latest face of capitalism, and from the surprise at  today's collapse of finance capitalism on pensions funds, which were to have kept all happily tripping to the Carribean, obviously not  perfectly understood by critic and consumer alike."

 

Still nada, two years after that observation and three years from the beginning of this thread.

 

500_Apples

This was my review of Naomi Klein's book:
http://davidnataf.blogspot.com/2010/06/review-of-naomi-kleins-shock-doct...

Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" is a journalistic tour de force. Over nearly 600 pages of text, she traces the rise and implementation of neo-liberal economic ideology in many times and places: 1960s Indonesia under Suharto's coup and his allies in the Berkeley Mafia, in the Southern Cone in the 1970s and in particular in Pinochet's Chile, in Brazil, in Thatcher's UK, 1980s Bolivia, in China following Tiannamen, in Germany, Poland and Russia following the collapse of communism, in South Africa following the fall of Apartheid, in the Asian financial crisis, in post-9/11 USA with the homeland security bubble, in post-9/11 Israel with the same homeland security bubble, in the Iraq war, in New Orleans following Katrina, and in places like Sri Lanka that were victims of the 2005 Tsunami. The cases that get the most attention are Pinochet's Chile, Russia under Yeltsin and Iraq under the USA. As the book was put out in 2007, it does not include the current American financial crisis, it does say later on that the USA is headed toward economic collapse, something Klein might wish she had elaborated on.

The narrative, which is primarily descriptive rather than analytical, is informative if nothing else. Readers will learn of the "Chile Project", a plan to have Chile's brightest economic students receive their graduate education at the University of Chicago. The plan was so successful that Pinochet's finance minister, Sergio de Castro, was one of the alumni, and it would be further implemented to impact the rest of Latin America. The reader will learn that Margaret Thatcher seemed unlikely to hold on to power, up to and until she decided to fight a war over a previously marginalized and neglected piece of land: The Falklands Islands. Following the war, Thatcher would go on to use the same propaganda tactics against coal miners, referring to them as "the enemy within", while the Friedmanite Junta in Argentina lost power.

The comprehensive historical referencing is necessary for Klein's thesis. Her thesis is that neo-liberal economic philosophy has not been able to win support democratically, and that it has been implemented throughout the world via the use of shocks. Over time, the promoters of neo-liberalism have grown aware of this and have taken on an approach to incorporate that into their long-term planning, "instability is the new stability" and allow shocks to take place. She brings up the use of torture and makes it not only relevant but integral. She points out that many of the most economically "liberal" regimes were also the most repressive, and her argument is that it may be impossible to run economic liberalism without a police state to enforce it. Milton Friedman is quoted dismissing this notion as silly. Following his visit to China in 1989, he wrote a letter to a student newspaper asking them if they would critique him for supporting a regime like China, implied to be different from that of Pinochet's Chile [Friedman had visited Chile in 1975 and had said Pinochet's regime was off to a good start]. A few months later the Tiananmen massacre took place. Klein introduces the reader to a narrative of the massacre ignored by the North American press. An alternative narrative, advanced by - among others - Wang Hui in his 2003 book "China's New Order", is that it was not merely about "democracy versus communism," the protesters were against the corporatization of China's economy under Deng Xiaoping. Milton Friedman was in fact supporting a regime much like Pinochet's Chile.

Torture is not just used as a supporting device to neoliberalism, to keep dissidents in line. Klein argues that it's also a metaphor to the shock doctrine, what torture does to the individual, the shock doctrine does to societies. It was found in studies, conducted in the 1940s and 1950s, that an optimal interrogation strategy was to shift from sensory overload to sensory deprivation. With these methods, as opposed to rote sadism, victims might suddenly regress to behaving like children, crawling on all fours, being incontinent at both ends and sucking their thumb. Psychologists like Ewen Cameron believed that this was the blank slate, a fantasy neurological state of behaviorist psychology on which any psychology could be imprinted. By destroying the old individual, a new better individual could be built. Cameron achieved great success at destroying individuals, but never anything other than failure in rebuilding newer, better individuals. Upon destroying the individual, rubble and ruins are left behind, not a plain field. While this was shown in the case of individuals, it was not shown, or rather it was shown and not widely understood, in the case of societies. When the USA moved into Iraq with its aptly named "Shock and Awe" campaign, one of the leaders dismissed accusations of "nation building". He said it was "nation creating", the implication that Iraq was a blank slate. Another major figure, John Agresto, director of higher education reconstruction for the occupation, commented that he had never read any books on Iraq, because he wanted to lead with as open a mind as he could have. A Mormon missionary thought that the Book of Mormon would open eyes in Iraq, and that he would eventually be a hero of Iraqi history for spreading his gospel. The reader is informed that the military knew that museums, holding ancient Mesopotamian artifacts, might be looted, but that the leadership deliberately chose not to protect them. The National Museum of Iraq lost 80% of its 170,000 objects. Meanwhile, some saw the looting as a form of rapid privatization... it would accelerate the destruction of the country, allowing a new country to be rebuilt on Friedmanite grounds. "I thought the privatization that occurs sort of naturally when somebody took over their state vehicle, or began to drive a truck that the state used to own, was just fine," said Peter McPherson, the senior economic adviser to Paul Bremer (Klein, page 427).

The Iraq war ties into the Homeland Security Bubble, a Bush-era source of "economic growth" in the USA which is never mentioned in the mainstream media. Both Rumsfeld and Cheney had at least tens of millions of dollars of assets coming into their positions, with many of those held on. This gave them a direct interest in privatizing the military, a position Rumsfeld advocated in a September 10, 2001 speech to US generals, where he compared the Pentagon bureaucracy to the Soviet Union. As of the book's publishing, the Pentagon sends US$ 270 billion to private contractors. Washington became the next silicon valley. There were 2 security-oriented lobby firms in 2001, but by mid-2006 there were 543. Cameras, data mining, image recognition are a tough business. The CEOs of the top 34 defense contractors enjoyed a 108% compensation increase between 2001 and 2005, compared to a 6% average at other large American companies in that period.

As an aside, the book also benefits from the best explanation I've seen of the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. What is known is that there was some popular support for peace in Israel in the 1990s, and that this support went away and was replaced by a more hardline outlook. I've never seen this explained in a satisfying manner in the mainstream press, and I was interested in Klein's two points on this regard. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, ironically caused by "Washington Consensus" shock policies such as privatization, there was an influx of nearly 1 million Russians into Israel, equivalent to a ~20% increase in population. At this point, Israeli businesses no longer needed Palestinians for cheap labour. The borders would often be closed off, leading to catastrophic economic problems in the Palestinian territories, amplified by Israel's refusal to allow Palestinians to trade with other countries, which in turn fed terrorism. Additionally, following the 9/11 WTC bombings, there was a homeland security bubble throughout the world, a bubble I've also never seen mentioned in the mainstream press (only the housing bubble is discussed) but well documented in The Shock Doctrine. Israel's leaders, who previously had a vision of themselves as the Singapore of the Middle East, now had another vision, that of a futuristic fortress. Israeli corporations benefit from the media analysis of their anti-terrorism dealings because it is free marketing for their police state technologies. In its December 12th, 2005 issue, Forbes magazine declared Israel "the go-to country for anti-terrorism technologies". Here's a link to the article: http://www.camero-tech.com/pdf/forbes_121205.pdf

This comprehensiveness is depressing. The book was a page turner, in my case, but also a teeth gnasher. The dominance of neoliberal philosophy appears to be total, and it succeeds virtually wherever it goes in the period 1965-2005. Solidaire was hijacked in Poland, and the African National Congress turned its freedom charter, which it had held on for nearly forty years, into a joke once it achieved power. It's begun undermining the very apparatus of its enforcement, the united states military, an entity that was largely privatized under Rumsfeld. Every so often when individuals do end up leaving the fold, they don't go very far, for example Jeffrey Sachs going to debate war with his former friends to argue that more foreign aid is the solution... as if there are no complete ideological alternatives. Perhaps there aren't.

* In the 1980s, Sachs was a young Harvard celebrity professor, who brought the shock doctrine to Bolivia, where inflation went down and unemployment went up, which he calls a success.
* He was brought to Poland in the early 1990s. They liked the way he was able to raise foreign aid with his connections. He did the same in Poland, moving the Soldaire party to the right, though it took time to convince them.
* He tried to do the same in Russia, they got the shock doctrine but to his surprise he wasn't able to raise foreign aid this time. In her interviews with Sachs, he apparently believes that they (the IMF economists) were lazy in not analyzing the Russia situation, which he thinks warranted a Marshall Plan. Klein implies that Sachs is blind, and that the IMF crowd didn't give aid to Russia because they wanted it to fail.
* He is now in open ideological disagreement with the IMF crowd and advocating debt forgiveness. He has moved from Harvard's economic department to Columbia's.

If I had written a book like this I might have contemplated suicide. I suspect this is where her last chapter "Shock Wears Off" originates... perhaps her publisher told her that her text was too gloomy, and she needed at least some bloomy to compensate. In her last chapter, she argues it is difficult to pull off the shock doctrine on the same population multiple times. She argues that the current socialist successes in Latin America are largely due to the excesses of the Juntas in the 1970s and 1980s. If true it's a nice story, but I wonder if there's more. Are there truly more successes in Latin America now than there were in other parts of the world in other decades? Is the region better protected than South Korea, Thailand, etc were before the Asian Financial Crisis hit? If Venezuela is such a beacon of socialism, how has the US military not yet bombed the country? I guess history will tell. I do want to believe Klein's final conclusion, that shock wears off, but it is hard to do so following her encyclopedic cataloguing of their skill at manipulating the world over the previous four decades.

George Victor

quote: "This comprehensiveness is depressing. The book was a page turner, in my case, but also a teeth gnasher. The dominance of neoliberal philosophy appears to be total, and it succeeds virtually wherever it goes in the period 1965-2005."

 

 

Yep, it's all depressing, 500 Apples. But do you think that if we managed our wealth, properly, the neo-con would not be able to rack up majorities at election time by appealing to everyone's fear of economic mismanagement?

 

To repeat my central question from three years back...aren't our savings being used to further the very political agenda we hate? (I try to overcome depressing thoughts with attempts to fashion explanations and a means of escape. And Krugman, the liberal, does not get to the nubbin of the problem...

500_Apples

George,

I don't think there is such a thing as opting out of capitalism. By participating in this economy, whether we buy gas, food, magazines, et cetera we contribute to global imperialism. When the government forces you to pay taxes, you help finance the war in Afghanistan.

Yes, our savings, our spendings, and our investments are used to further the political agenda we oppose.

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