With this week’s election in the U.S., the neofascist regime of Donald Trump is on track to be replaced by the neoliberal establishment of Joe Biden and the mainstream Democratic Party. As we arrive at this lesser of evils, now more than ever, we need to take a deep look at what neoliberalism is, how it has created the precarious world we live in, and why we’ve been taught to believe that it is the only possible system.
One informative and engaging read on neoliberalism we recommend is Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism — originally published in 2007 but highly relevant to the shocks of today.
Without vigilance from us all, the policies she details (of deregulation, privatization, social austerity, and corporate welfare) will be intensified, and with the same stealth and pleasant rhetoric with which they were originally sold to us — leading inexorably to global poverty and ecological catastrophe.
We must take extreme care not to become complacent when we see these quieter evils that have a deeper and longer lasting effect on all of our lives. Neofascism burns bright and fast; but neoliberalism burns steadily, for as long as it takes to kill us, if we don’t put it out.
Here are some of our notes from our reading of The Shock Doctrine; hope they’re helpful.
(from part 1 (1950s-1970s) — Milton Friedman and the Chicago School’s search for a laissez-faire laboratory
(from part 2 (1970s) — CIA-backed coups force Chicago School economics in Latin America)
(from part 3 (1980s) — Advancing neoliberalism in democracies)
(from part 4 (1980s-1990s) — imposing neoliberalism via the economics of debt)
(from part 5 (2000s) — the “war on terror” and the rise of disaster capitalism)
- Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, 2007