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Is Obama Adopting the Shock Doctrine Playbook?

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George Washington’s Blog
Thursday, Feb 5, 2009

Everyone knows that Milton Friedman advocated a kind of “disaster capitalism”.

Specifically, as explained in the Shock Doctrine, whenever a natural, economic, war-related, or other disaster strikes, the Friedmanites pounce and use the opportunity to quickly impose a brand of economic policy which benefits the elite at the cost of everyone else (by increasing unemployment, pushing the cost of essential goods through the roof, and otherwise increasing poverty), while people are still in shock and before they can react.

Of course, the Bush administration also used the threat of catastrophe to ram through bad legislation. For example, Congressman Sherman says that Congress was warned by the Bush administration that martial law might have to be imposed if the original $700 billion bailout wasn’t passed (see also this and this).

But its not just “conservatives” who play this game.

(Article continues below)

Obama said Wednesday the recession will turn into “a catastrophe” if the economic stimulus is not passed quickly:

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future,” he said. “That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency . . . .”

And Obama’s chief of staff – Rahm Emanuel – said recently:

Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.

That is classic shock doctrine: use crises – real or imagined – to ram through your pre-packaged agenda.

Whether that agenda is labelled “conservative” or “liberal”, it is almost certain to benefit the powers-that-be, rather than the average American. For example, Obama’s “bad bank” proposal will help the banks, but not the American citizen.

Note: If any of Obama’s economic plans had a chance of succeeding, I would support them (not the use of the shock doctrine, but the economic plans themselves). However, his schemes will make matters worse, just as Bush’s did. Unfortunately, mainstream economists simply do not understand either the cause or the solution to our economic crisis. By attempting to save the status quo, they are exacerbating the severity of the crisis.

This article was posted: Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 5:30 am

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