The Shock Doctrine is a book by a Canadian social activist Naomi Klein, who advocates that free-market policies are of great popularity in various countries because of the strategy of “shock therapy.” The book itself seems to be controversial since it received both positive and negative comments from the critics. Therefore, in this reflection paper, I will briefly summarize the main points of the reading and discuss what struck me the most.
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The shock doctrine is used as a theory to explain how crisis and force are used as a means to establish economic policies of neoliberalism. As Klein mentioned, “It is precisely because the dream of economic equality is so popular, and so difficult to defeat in a fair fight, that the shock doctrine was embraced at the first place”. Throughout the book, the author explores how neoliberal policies emerged in countries with the help of “shocks,” which refer to natural disasters, crises, or wars. It is necessary to indicate that Klein believes that such policies are used against the majority since they relocate power and wealth from the population to the corporate elite.
According to the concept of dependent origination, every phenomenon has its source. Therefore, dependent origination highly relates to shock therapy since it also requires something to happen before any changes can be made. A prime example, proposed by the author, was electroshock therapy done by the psychiatrist Ewen Cameron. With the use of shock therapy, the doctor returned patients with severe psychiatric conditions to a state when he could rebuild their personality. This example was what struck me the most in the reading since it gave a different perspective on “shock therapy” and proved the concept of dependent origination.
Overall, in this paper, I mentioned the main points provided by Naomi Klein in her book and analyzed what struck me the most in the reading. The The Shock Doctrine is essential for understanding how governments achieve neoliberal policies in their states with the use of “shock therapy.” Consequently, this book brings knowledge for people interested in the social issue discussed and gives a chance to analyze its effectiveness.
Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Knopf Canada, 2007.