The Shock Doctrine

“Only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change.” Such is the central philosophy of what Naomi Klein refers to as “disaster capitalism,” the subject of her international bestseller The Shock Doctrine. Klein uses the ideas of economist Milton Friedman as a jumping-off point for discussing how unpopular free market policies have been sneakily implemented during times of collective trauma. During 2007, the year of the book’s release, this short video was produced as an abridged adaptation and released onto YouTube.

Cinephile Interest:
Whether or not you agree with Naomi Klein’s politics, this condensed version of The Shock Doctrine is a fascinating piece of leftist propaganda filmmaking during the internet age (it’s been viewed well over a million times by now.) Klein went so far as to enlist the services of Alfonso Cuaron (A Little Princess, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men) and his son, Jonas, who fling images of war, riots, and both natural and man-made disasters at the viewer, accompanied by flashing buzzwords and phrases (“TERRORIST ATTACKS,” et al.) Klein chose Alfonso Cuaron because she felt that “the future he created for Children of Men was very close to the present I was seeing in disaster zones.” Cuaron’s upcoming film Gravity seems to further reflect an acceptance that much of present-day society has been reduced to a dystopian state: the lead role is played by Sandra Bullock.

-Garret Kriston

Watch ‘The Shock Doctrine’ on BBC Film Network

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