In the early 20th century, the United States came to the realization that many other nations has come to in the latter part of the Middle Ages: it is not impossible for a domestic economy to grow beyond its own borders. That is, you can only sell so many widgets domestically; you need to start selling them elsewhere. If there is a situation where a foreign nation does not have an open market then there may be a decision made to open the market through various means. Sometimes, however, the means that are employed may not be considered all that friendly.
This is the notion that Klein’s concept of “disaster capitalism” centers on. In a way, Klein’s module of disaster capitalism is a new version of stealth imperialism. That is, it creates inroads into foreign territory whether it is wanted or not. As mentioned in the article, this sounds a bit conspiratorial. Of course, the “sound of a conspiracy” is based on perception and that perception may be based on how much alarmism one sees in the work. Seeing alarmism, however, will be based on whether or not one agrees with the themes.
Those who agree with the assessment will see less conspiratorial alarmism and more of a warning in the form of a call to action. Those who disagree may dismiss it all as rantings. A major problem with this disaster capitalism module is the notion that there is such a colossal conspiracy to commit all kinds of chaos in order to sell items. This is not entirely true because it is not always very difficult to sell people anything. Even some of the most obtuse items can be sold in an open market with very little prodding.
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Opening a market, however, is a lot easier than most would assume. Provided there is a need most nations will be open to accepting products provided that the acceptance of such products will not upset domestic agendas. The notion of disaster capitalism assumes that force or coercion is used to promote free market capitalism. Part of the problem here is that it labels much of capitalism as evil when much of it can also be labeled silly. For example, one of the most idiotic products ever sold on the market was the nonsensical and completely unworkable Pocket Fisherman.
This bizarre item seeming shrunk fishing rods down to 18 inches and was promoted by a silly television commercial in 1976. The commercial (kept alive on YouTube) allowed the item to sell one million units. In fact, it is STILL selling to this very day and can be purchased in a number of retail stores. The strength of the Pocket Fisherman, like a number of other strange novelty items, was based on the inherent laziness of the couch potato consumer. In other words, it was a fishing rod that you didn’t have to “lug around” and it centered on an ad campaign was based on being too good to be true.
There was no need to “shock audiences” or to force them to purchase. So, to label all free market processes as being a sphere of militant capitalism simply is not 100% accurate. The book THE SHOCK DOCTRINE does try to craft a logical picture of the environment in which disaster capitalism thrives. It invests a number of pages of its contents to cover a multitude of historical occurrences to craft a portrait of an unending stream of dangerous globalism. The article that reviews the work paints a clear picture of the subject matter of the book but does not go so far as to recommend it.
Perhaps, this is because the author of the book doesn’t so much buy into the presentation in the book. That is, the author may see some points present in the book but doesn’t wish to endorse it due to certain misgivings about its content. In fact, the article does take a few digs at the author. (“She’s not a journalist”) Regardless of where one stands on the issue, the work does come off as entertaining as the article does make it sound like a worthwhile read.
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