The Shock Doctrine.

by matttbastard and Sarah J

We’re watching the collapse of capitalism in real time, slow motion.

The economic crisis was largely the result of a vast speculative bubble, one that inevitably had to burst, and those in charge of U.S. and global economic policy knew this, but did nothing to prepare for the impending crisis. The effect was magnified thanks to a deliberate ongoing campaign of ideologically-motivated deregulation for the sake of deregulating. In other words, this didn’t just happen in a vacuum. It didn’t sneak up. It was very much deliberate.

Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine details exactly how we got to this point. The book came out in 2007, but right now serves as kind of a ‘how did we get here,’ with ‘here’ being the new Depression.

It’s a fairly well-known and well-read book in progressive circles, and yet neither Sarah nor I had read it yet. With the bottom falling out of the economy, and inspired by Erik and Rob’s posts on From Colony to Superpower, we decided not just to read the book, but to blog it, reading chapter by chapter, in two places, to see what we each draw from it.

Reading The Shock Doctrine allows us to examine a series of cataclysmic events that have occurred over the past 50 years, so we can hopefully avoid repeating the same mistakes (or allowing the same warped, Utopian ideals to usurp the public debate).

Most importantly, to prevent the same tactics from being applied now, in the wake of the biggest global economic shockwave yet.

Because the more we read, the more imperative we think it is to tie Klein’s thesis and investigations into what’s happening right now, as Friedmanite ideologues continue to preach the doctrine of deregulation and tax cuts as panacea.

So, starting tomorrow, we’ll have posts up once a week, mine here, Sarah’s at Alterdestiny. We agree on lots of things, but come from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to draw different readings of the book. We’re inviting all of you, whether you’ve read the book or not, to join in the discussion, and hope we can cross some of our audiences back and forth and gain some insight into the global economic mess.

(x-posted @ Alterdestiny)

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Read this Now or the Fat Cats on Wall Street Will Eat Your Cake

by matttbastard

Echoing Maddow above, Sarah J  (h/t for the vid) shamelessly drops the ‘p’ word (no, not that one–pervs) in what is (hopefully) the kickoff post to a timely series examining populist renewal and class consciousness in a time of economic crisis and political revitalization in the US:

In one of my courses last year, we read [Tom] Wolfe the same week as we read Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson was the kind of populist that we should be looking at now, moving forward. The consummate outsider, constantly angry at the powerful, constantly on the side of the little guy.

When I get angry at NPR’s Science Friday for being completely clueless about the purpose of an auto industry bailout, it’s that spirit that I’m invoking.

It’s not condescendingly taking a whiskey shot or implying that your audience is racist. It’s much more than that. Obama managed to ride populist support into the White House without ever attempting to change who he was. Because he gets it. He knows what it’s like to be broke, to have to decide between paying your heat and buying food. And yeah, it’s been a long time and two Ivy League schools since he’s had to make those choices, but I don’t think he’s forgotten.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

No, seriously, gonow.

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