http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.53Change: -0.09
R/$ = 11.94Change: 0.12
Au 1193.62 $/ozChange: -0.31
Pt 1144.50 $/ozChange: -4.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jan 25, 2008

Klein versus the capitalists

Back
Africa|SECURITY|Systems|Africa|Products|Systems|Power
Africa|SECURITY|Systems|Africa|Products|Systems|Power
africa-company|security|systems-company|africa|products|systems|power
© Reuse this



Author and column writer Naomi Klein's new book The Shock Doctrine has a truly fascinating premise: influential economist and free-market guru Milton Friedman, together with his followers, have succeeded in abusing political, economic and natural disasters over the past 30 years to establish a global brand of capitalism that benefits largely the private sector.

She describes a disaster is little more than an opportunity to start again, a do-over, a try-again by Western capitalists to entrench free-market policies in countries which have long denied it in its purest form.

Published by Penguin, The Shock Doctrine argues that the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans, the Asian crisis, the US invasion of Iraq, September 11, the tsunami which hit Thailand and Indonesia, the economic crisis in South America - to name but a few - provided an opportunity to influential US economists, corporations, policymakers, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund to establish sweeping free-market reforms, while citizens and governments alike were still reeling from shock. (Hence, the book's title).

Klein calls these "orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, 'disaster capitalism' ".

She writes that these changes are often implemented to the detriment of the communities in those countries, while the rich remains largely unaffected.

For example, "when the September 11 attacks hit, the White House was packed with Friedman's disciples, including his close friend Donald Rumsfeld. The Bush team seized the moment of collective vertigo with chilling speed . . . The Bush administration immediately seized upon the fear generated by the attacks not only to launch the 'War on Terror' but to ensure that it is an almost completely for-profit venture, a booming new industry that has breathed life into the faltering US economy . . . In 2003, the US government handed out 3 512 contracts to perform security functions, in the twenty-two-month period ending in August 2006, the Department of Homeland Security had issued more than 115 000 such contracts."

Another example is the 1990s Asian crisis, providing the West with the opportunity to dismantle the protectionist trade policies of the continent's rising economies, while also enabling large corporates to swoop in and buy Asian conglomerates and previously State-owned entities at knock-down prices.

According to Klein, IMF help came with provisos, and served the agendas of Western countries - this while suicide and unemployment rates soared.

One of the most interesting chapters for local readers should be the one - even if short - on South Africa.

Klein notes that the ANC, once unbanned, negotiated for political power, while effectively giving away control of the economy.

In addition to this, the ANC's original economic policy as put forward prior to 1994 was given a complete overhaul, due to international insistence that free market principles should prevail in a post-Apartheid South Africa, and not the notion of large scale nationalisation of industries and redistribution of wealth as punted by ANC leader Nelson Mandela during his incarceration.

"Never before had a government-in-waiting been so seduced by the international community".

Klein states that the results of the replacement economic policy of "redistribution through growth" has been "scandalous", although no doubt her statistics will differ from that of the South African government.

One critique is that The Shock Doctrine is a bit short on offering alternatives to raw capitalism.

One solution placed briefly on the table is a "free market in consumer products coexisting with free public health care, with public schools, with a large segment of the economy - like a national oil company - held in State hands".

In the final chapter Klein notes that the shock from disasters eventually wears off, creating a backlash against the capitalist systems implemented, as can currently be witnessed in large parts of South America, while also ensuring that countries are better prepared for the next shock - and less willing to again be seduced by Western (read US) philosophies.

The rather hefty (558-pages), but easy-to-read book will no doubt irk staunch supporters of Friedman's capitalism, and provide social democrats with sufficient ammunition for dinner-party arguments.

In Klein's hands unchecked capitalism, as implemented by Friedman's cohort of migthy men, appears a tyranny, and one that benefits only the rich.

The recommendation is to read The Shock Doctrine, as it provides an alternative view to the mainstream financial media often focusing on those constructing the economy, rather than those affected by it.

- Review copy courtesy of Exclusive Books.

Edited by: Terence Creamer
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
Mercedes-Benz will launch ten plug-in hybrid models by 2017, says the German automaker’s parent company, Daimler. Following the launch of the S 500 plug-in hybrid, March saw the introduction of the C 350 e, the second model to feature the drive-train concept. Under...
Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson's recent unveiling of something of a road map for an upscaled and accelerated deployment of independent power producer (IPP) capacity has been widely welcomed. Besides plans to accelerate and expand the hitherto successful...
South African Airways (SAA) acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout has firmly denied reports that a stake in the airline was going to be sold to Air China. “Categorically, SAA is not in any talks with any airline to sell itself at the moment,” he stated at a media briefing at...
More
 
 
Latest News
City of Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Parks Tau
Updated 1 hour 32 minutes ago A total of 200 000 Johannesburg youths will be given opportunities to either further their education or get job opportunities by 2016, the city's Mayor Mpho Parks Tau said on Wednesday. "The Vulindlel' eJozi programme will enable them to enter work, education and...
Updated 1 hour 50 minutes ago The Department of Public Works (DPW) on Wednesday said it was “moving seamlessly” into the second phase of its turnaround strategy, following the successful implementation of the first phase. “In the first phase, we stabilised the department leading to improved lease...
Minister Rob Davies
Updated 1 hour 53 minutes ago The Department of Trade and Industry (the DTI) on Tuesday said 80% of the broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) Codes of Good Practice had been implemented on May 1. In a statement, the DTI said it wanted to “set the record straight” regarding the...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Mercedes-Benz will launch ten plug-in hybrid models by 2017, says the German automaker’s parent company, Daimler. Following the launch of the S 500 plug-in hybrid, March saw the introduction of the C 350 e, the second model to feature the drive-train concept. Under...
Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson's recent unveiling of something of a road map for an upscaled and accelerated deployment of independent power producer (IPP) capacity has been widely welcomed. Besides plans to accelerate and expand the hitherto successful...
South African Airways (SAA) acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout has firmly denied reports that a stake in the airline was going to be sold to Air China. “Categorically, SAA is not in any talks with any airline to sell itself at the moment,” he stated at a media briefing at...
Russian State-owned nuclear group Rosatom has confirmed that it is in talks with Nigeria about the construction of nuclear power plants (NPPs) in that country, but has denied that any agreement has been signed. This follows a recent report in the Nigerian media that...
HANDIGAS LPG LPG users can order products at the Afrox website or through the Afrox call centre and receive next-day delivery
Gas products and services company Afrox has launched a pilot programme to deliver its range of Handigas liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to domestic consumers to fill a gap in the market, thereby expanding its direct contact with end-users.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96