The Shock Doctrine
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The Shock Doctrine

Ratings: 8.26/10 from 31 users.

The Shock DoctrineA documentary adaptation Naomi Klein's 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine. An investigation of disaster capitalism, based on Naomi Klein's proposition that neo-liberal capitalism feeds on natural disasters, war and terror to establish its dominance.

Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism – the rapid-fire corporate re-engineering of societies still reeling from shock – did not begin with September 11, 2001.

The films traces its origins back fifty years, to the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman, which produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today.

New, surprising connections are drawn between economic policy, shock and awe warfare and covert CIA-funded experiments in electroshock and sensory deprivation in the 1950s, research that helped write the torture manuals used today in Guantanamo Bay.

The Shock Doctrine follows the application of these ideas through our contemporary history, showing in riveting detail how well-known events of the recent past have been deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine, among them: Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

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Ola Kinberg
9 years ago

Just read the book or see the film. Since I red it when it still was new I always thought it really should be mandatory in schools to at least try to grasp it somehow. Today I see how its beginning to become forgotten. At least in Sweden.

10 years ago

havnt seen this yet, but will watch it very soon... this is extremely relevant to my city, Christchurch, New Zealand. Which experienced 3 major earthquakes in the space of one year, the worst being Feb22 which resulted in 180 dead and the later & ongoing demolition of over 3000 buildings including all but a few of the CBD high-rises (15+ storey buildings), and the red-zoning of 10,000 houses, with many still to be assessed, & some homes still without a flushing toilet more than 2 years later. all this plus just about every pipe & sewer main in half of the city needing repair/replacement.

The Shock Doctrine becomes relevant when our prime-minister is an ex Merryl Lynch exec (one of the principle inventors of "derivatives") and the whole rebuild is basicly a neo-liberalist agenda with only the connected few getting a say. With one major construction co (that runs 70% of our entire building industry already & is pre-invested by both the govt & the disaster insurance scheme) given priority of project management & insurance contracts, and up to 1000 businesses & homeowners threatened with compulsory acquisition (& consequent demolition) for the buyout of a "Green Frame" around the new smaller CBD area, to be be re-sold at a later date to chosen investors, with original owners having no right of refusal. All this with the rebuild ideas such as a $300million convention centre that no one wants & other such plans, while grass-roots & small businesses are declined, and the threatened closure of 30 schools (an obvious ploy to get people out of affected areas & continue with mooted plans for charter schools) the whole thing points to an obvious wealth transfer from collective to connected, and a neo-liberalist agenda. Infact if this doco was made 5 years from now i say my city would definately be in it.

Infact as a whole my whole country is facing such an agenda, with Christchurch being the "reason" given for it, with asset sales accross the board, govt hiked power prices to make power co SOEs more popular for investors, no letup of milk prices despite us paying some of the worlds highest prices for our own produce, an obvious plan for a low-wage economy, welfare cuts, education cuts, health cuts, plans to mine our national parks, consents for fracking operations & deep sea drilling given behind closed doors where even councils dont even know, and ofcourse pay rises for politicians & tax cuts for the rich, resulting in NZ having the fastest growing disparity in the world. Yip especially in my quake damaged city, where the worst disaster has been the obvious neo-liberal rebuild of it, but in our whole country, we are living and breathing the Shock Doctrine.

10 years ago

I was shocked by this documentary, it made me investigate more... here's some of what I found out...

A lot of the footage used comes from "Commanding Heights - The Battle for the World Economy" (PBS) (2002) - by the same team who made "The Prize".

I warn you, the Commanding Heights version of events is VERY biased towards Hayek and Freidman's free market and economic globalisation (which I am not), but the upshot gives an insider view of those that promote it, i.e. the other side of the coin.

What Naomi's documentary leaves out though, is that the so called 'shock treatment' was a term given by Milton Freidman, to describe the horrific economic events needed to be ENDURED in order to reverse hyper inflation that was CRIPPLING the likes of Poland and Chile. This programme doesn't mention the this at all, nore the fact that it (the shock treatment) worked:

In order to fix hyper inflation (as a direct cause of government intervention), drastic cuts to government spending and removal of price fixing needed to be implemented in order to stem the tide and bring INFLATION stability back. Shock treatment was the term used for that period of things getting worse before they would get better. IT WORKED, those economies were turned around and stability returned.

This documentary rightly shows though, that the new wealth creation was not spread to all and inequality became rife. Don't be fooled by the bastardisation of the term 'shock treatment' as it was originally intended, and subverted here to mean something else. Naomi makes an EXTREMELY good case for her own interpretation of what the 'shock treatment' actually turned out to be, but the suggestion that it was preconceived that way by these guys is, to me, conveniently misleading.

Watch both sides of the argument and you will see what I mean.

11 years ago

The wealthy will 'Always' take advantage of the poor.

Dominique van Luijt
11 years ago

Absolutely a must see documentary !
Some interesting insights in history I think everybody should know..the events in Chile officially refered to as "the miracle of Chile".. maybe that should be reconsidered after seeing this doc..

11 years ago

An Awesome film that every citizen of the World should watch and learn from.

robert olson
11 years ago

Explains alot. how the dems are talking over the world. while the system in the usa has the fall guy (rep). they also work with dems. fool proof system. now. Obama is pushing electric solar to power farm tractors just like lincoln did. lincoln had mechanical though. both had the effect to deal with over population. lincolns and obama system starve the sought to death. what work will illegal have? what work would the confederate have? same thing. i don't even know why African americans or fellow blacks don't stand up to slavery of other people? makes you thing will history repeat its self? porel harbor was about Japian not getting anything out of WW1 after they pay the highest price. Japain then took what it thought was there ownership of WW2. Wars arn't free. Then the USa blockcaged them. Starving Japain of food and energy. So Japain then did Hawwii.

12 years ago

I like these doc it was real in to the point. "We made a mistake"...

12 years ago

This is a really good doc. It reminds me when I was in El Salvador during the 80's and my mom used to take pictures at an army barracks and I used to see a few American officers. Looking back after this makes me wonder how many might of been present during the tortures that happen their throughout the civil war. I wish the US would have a different approach to their foreign policy. I remember when I was younger I used to hate the US and the people in it. But coming to Canada did show me that it is the foreign policy that I hate. Anyways just a personal opinion. Great Doc and I love TDF keep up the great work you do here.

12 years ago

sad, they didn't include the part about indonesia in the movie

12 years ago

With the risk of sounding 'unamerican' (whatever that means) ... I'm just torn...I'm so happy to have come upon this reckoning (a little more than a year or so ago) but ashamed, appalled, embarrassed (insert ANY demoralizing adjective here) to have fallen, for all these years for the BS we've been fed & eating for so long.

I knew, I just KNEW once old bush, w, cheney & rumsfeld claimed the reigns again that something very evil and corrupt was happening you could smell it and see it in their sneers --- I didn't know how right that gut feeling was or how bad it would be..........the disgusting old men could barely stand there with a straight face, it looked so painful but amusing for them...

...and for anyone that wonders why things never get better no matter what stuffed shirt is behind the podium in front of the seal ......... just see that they are ALL the same - the B&W, the Red and Blue, the 50/'s just more of the same food we've been stuffed with. I wouldn't be the person to start a revolution but I'd join it - "we the peons" have no money and they the all mighty & powerful have all the money - how ever will this change without one?

12 years ago

It stopped at 28:53 for me

12 years ago

This is a must see for all US Citizens. We must get educated to the truth so we stand up and save our democracy.

12 years ago

Anyone else annoyed the extremism around this topic? Certainly there is are some markets that should be free and some that are government regulated or government run. Would we really want privatized roads? All the main roads you use would be have the highest price. Then the only way to bring the price down would be to let competition turn the country into a sea of asphalt all going to the same places. Talk about inefficient allocation of capital. Would we really want to regulate what goes on the internet? It would be thought control and it would be terrible. I'm not reading another comment from an economic extremist.

In short I think the government should intervene economically when there are externalities, natural monopolies, cartels, asymmetric information, and price manipulation.

As for financial markets, there are huge externalities both ways when the financial markets are doing well most get richer when they go wrong everyone get poorer. Most regulation will affect the scale to which those markets affect the rest of us, both good and bad. However, if we had competent politicians we could have the government seize control of a dying firm and prevent the risk from spreading. While allowing the firm to slowly shut down so have time to take it's place. One thing we missed in the bailout was not punishing firms that would have failed. We need to maintain market discipline while preventing the damage from spreading. Its a hard but there is no excuse for republicans trying protect the failing companies from all punishment and for democrats being such idiots.

12 years ago

This is a good old, highly partisan, but very well put together and entertaining documentary based on an alternative view of economic history. Basically, not the "politics of fear" but the "economics of shock."

There were some points where I totally agreed, others where I was skeptical.

But overall, the whole concept of shock therapy is ridiculous to never works. Why would you think implementing any radical social and economic engineering with such rapidity work? Radical change isn't inherently wrong or doomed to fail, it's only when you snap your fingers and try to change everything overnight that it ends tragically.

12 years ago

Free Enterprise:
Ownership of the means of production by ordinary citizens.

Democratic Socialism:
Ownership of the means of production by a democratically elected government.

Marist-Leninist Socialism:
State ownership of the means of production in a dictatorship.

Ownership of the means of production by corporations.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."
~ Benito Mussolini

12 years ago

i think allot of you misinterpreted my comment i think that if we want to move forward we have to look at the whole scope of things, it all comes down to trust, we all know that every one has a price and that government aswell as corperations are corupt.
i think with the technology we have today that government could be run for the people by the people using a sort of wiki program were every citizen has a say in all areas of government if they choose too, and break free of this obserd two hourse race that's policies are 88% the same.
and as far as capitalism a free market is the best way to consolidate supply
with demand, its not the market thats the problem its the money that runs the whole thing.
money should be simply be a information system keeping track of your
position in the system ie (how much you have put in / how much you have taken out ) it should not be sought after on its own accord.

12 years ago

What this doc states is true. But, I like to break things down to more easily digest them, rather then a 2 hr convuluted lecture. (Although that is what it takes as human behavior can seem complex... but it really is not. )

1) It is about OIL/Energy. Bottom line.
2) The way humans go about it is this Free Market Deregulation.

If you de-regulate... you get mafia style behavior. People on huge scale taking advantage of the weak to enrich themselves. It is not hard to understand.

This is why there needs to be some regulation to prevent this.

Nature regulates itself... it is called Gia. markets should not be allowed to be chaos and wild west. Simple when you think of it this way. At least that is how I have come to rationalize this whole mess.

12 years ago

this doc disgusts me. they don't talk about any "perfect" marxists systems like yugoslavia, or russia. where everyman's freedom was robbed. i can give a good account of yugoslavia since im from serbia. both my parents were beat and put in jail for simply going to church. my dad was expelled from school and then beat by the police for simply writing a paper on marxism, comparing it to fascism. and the economics in the 60's-70's probably looked good to everybody in the west, but in truth we were hanging to life by a shoestring. almost all our GDP came from families living in Western Europe and America. There was a period in the late 70's that Deutch Marks were the most abundent currency circulating in the country. there was so much government owned businesses that all the Dictator Tito could do is turn to the American's for help with freeing up most of the economy, thats why the Soviets began to stop being such close friends and the US moved in. My point is whatever direction you go will not solve our problems. I prefer free markets because no country deserves my money i sweat for, especially not to redistribute it while they are cashing in on other half-way illeagal ventures. Its the bearacracy we live in thats the real problem, istead of regulating businesses, why won't they fight for regulating the shit out of banks? why won't they regulate their own spending? our military should stricly be used for defense, not to conquer other nations since it gives no benifit to us, the citizens. health care should also never be forced upon us by the government, people need to wake up and realize the left isn't regulating the market for our benifit, it's regulating it to fill their pockets. since obama care, every citizen has to pay for everyone else's health care thats at best sub-par, no one in the world should have the power to make me give my money up for someone else, and then have me recieve something s***ty in return. people need to wake up and realize that the taxes we pay to the government isn't helping us, its in reality a donation we are handing the beauracrats who run this country to be able to play with. Our GDP alone can payback all our debts but everytime you turn liberal bulls*** media thats feeding the masses they tell you WE NEED TO RAISE TAXES TO SAVE OUR GOVERNMENT! WRONG!!!! THEY NEED TO STOP BLOWING THE MONEY THEY MAKE ON SHIT THAT DOESN'T BENIFIT IT'S PEOPLE. Its best explained by imagining if you made 10 dollars, and now you blow 10 dollars on something like cigarettes, but now your hungry, so you ask you parents, the ones who have supported you your whole life prior to adulthood, that your hungry and need 20 dollars to get something to eat, you then go buy cigarettes and some booze for 15 dollars, and only use 5 dollars to buy the food YOU NEED. just think about that and tell me you still support obama, or even the republicans. im telling you, we need someone like Ron Paul to change this whole system, and restore the constitutional values everyone came here to live in, thats the "american dream", not a little house on the prairie where big brother is gonna still read through all your emails, and take every extra bit of money you make.

12 years ago

thank you Naomi,Very good doc,honesty and truth.God bless you.

12 years ago

The rich get richer & the poor get poorer The rich get richer & the poor get poorer The rich get richer & the poor get poorer The rich get richer & the poor get poorer The rich get richer & the poor get poorer The rich get richer & the poor get poorer The rich get richer & the poor get poorer The rich get richer & the poor get poorer. Thats a free market for ya!

12 years ago

Very good. Everyone should see this. America is often a force of evil and oppression. It is hard to grasp. And we are right in the midst of a maelstrom at this moment-one that requires us to stand up and revolt or be totally subjugated in every way....

12 years ago

i know, before I've watched this documentary, that all this is either THE truth or as close as anyone is going to get. Only have to look at all the turmoil in largely middle eastern countries right now to see what the real agenda is.

12 years ago

I support the free market because I don't believe in violence to solve social problems. Laws and regulations are opinions backed by guns. Government is inherently evil, if you don't pay taxes you are kidnapped or shot. There is no choice. Capitalism is about choice and responsibility for your choices. War, fiat currency, Keynesian economics, etc are not capitalism, they are the initiation of violence against people and their property. Corporatism is not capitalism. In my opinion you'd be better off picking up an economics book rather than watch this (actually watch it to keep your mind open). I recommend Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, Man, Economy and State by Murray Rothbard and Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises. All available for free @ or google them.

Gary V
12 years ago

Recently we have all seen the people in some Middle Eastern & North African countries fight back against the corrupt, oppressive, unjust & immoral regimes that they are forced to live under, well maybe it is about time that we here in the West took the same stand against our own. Through the correct democratic process I hasten to add, I'm not saying that we should all take up arms & take it by force (not yet at least).

12 years ago

Sorry, I was reading the comments on this while thinking it was a different documentary! ha! I'll check this out.

Gary V
12 years ago

It never fails to amaze me, the depths that some Human beings will stoop to in order to get whatever they want (usually money) at the expense of other Human beings & we are supposed to the most intelligent species on this planet, yeah right. We are more like the most selfish, intolerant & uncaring species on the planet & we never seem to learn from our mistakes.

12 years ago

How did this conversation get turned into a discussion of regulation? Did you watch the video?

12 years ago

We're clearly being run by a group of lunatics. I'm sure if these evil monsters had to put their lives on the line, or be subjected to torture, in their grand plan for 'shock' tactics, they'd be tearing up the pages of their insane doctrine. They treat people like they are expendable objects, no respect for human life. Even if these ill gotten gains do ever lead to anything much, do we really want a world build from violence and aggression? What's to stop them repeating their mass murder and violence whenever they want any changes?

12 years ago

Very good watch.Thanks,Vlatko!I plan to share this with as many as I can.When the American people awake to how they have been betrayed,Heads will roll.Of course,It takes a crisis,unbearable pressure,a point of critical mass to rupture the complacancy and unleash the fury of the people.I was inspired by Naomi Klien's reporting and started playing my Rage Against the Machine CD(only have one. to be honest,they were'nt really that good)

12 years ago

There are exactly the same amount of facts out there that prove government regulated systems are just as detremental to society. learn from history's mistakes don't revert back to systems that were obviostly changed for a good reason.
I beleive a true free capitalist system with a true democratic system is the only way to go, give the people there own debt free money system and then maybe we can have real democracy, lincon knew it and so did jfk americas last semi real president.

12 years ago

Well produced, I enjoyed this one.

12 years ago

This is exactly why I preach against unregulated capitalism, brilliant documentary. Of course those that support deregulation will say its all lies and propaganda, but history says different. The facts in this documentary can easily be checked, knock yourself out. In my opinion it shouldn't take anything more than common sense to know that unregulated capitalism is a monster, to know that we have an obligation to our fellow less fortunate citizens, and to understand we must take care of our elderly. These are the very things that have always separated the US from other countries, our principles and the fact that we stood behind them until the end. Not any more though- no, now we through our principles under the bus as soon as they are not convenient.
Freedom of religion- compromised to get rid of the Muslims, Freedom of speech- compromised under the guise of national security, right to privacy- compromised by the neo-con fear campaign, right to assembly- again compromised by the neo-con fear campaign, etc., etc. the list goes on and on. When will we stop it? When is enough enough? Must we wait until they have us in the same shape as the South American countries featured in this documentary? Stand up for regulation; stand up for your civil rights, stand up for the idea that people matter more than profit, just stand up!! Turn off two and a half men, turn off your cell phone, pry your eyes from the festering neon distraction they have created to keep you pacified and look at what’s happening all around you.

Gary V
12 years ago

Has anyone got another link to this doc ? We can't watch it here in the UK because it has been blocked by Channel 4 on copyright grounds. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help us out here.