Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Hmm...for being "No Logo" oriented, Naomi Klein sure treats her "Shock Doctrine" as a logo...

The sort of thing you expect to see ®™ after.

5 comments:

Lorraine said...

Maybe she throws it around like a buzzword, which is the next best thing to a trademark, but why not? I think of it more as a 'meme.' The two words say so much. The country-in-a-can® concept rests on the politics of fear (or shock) and the underlying theory is nothing if not doctrinaire.

John Madziarczyk said...

I'm not sure what you mean by the country-in-a-can concept. The concept of the Shock Doctrine isn't harmful, and may even be good in the long run for popularizing some ideas, but the problem I have with it is that it's presented as if it's a new concept, which it isn't. Folks have used crises to push their agendas for a long time. The unique thing is that the "Shock Doctrine" examples tend to come from Reagan/Thatcher-esque thinking, or outcomes of it, that started out by suggesting that the pre late '70s liberal state was obsolete and that austerity had to be addressed by fiscal conservatism and pro-business values.

In that way, the idea is representative of a particular use of ideology rather than something that's universally new.

John Madziarczyk said...

Ah, country in a can.....you mean the basic program for structural adjustment.

Lorraine said...

Yah and they denounce the left as planned or command economics. I know Klein, like Chomsky, gets a lot of flack from anarchists for not being explicitly anti-statist, but I'm more sold on fighting the Power, and at this particular moment in history, the truly shocking concentration of Real Power is obviously in the private sector. Sure it involves 'statist' tactics like rent-seeking but it is obvious enough to me that business is the dominant partner in the business/government relationship, and therefore the more legitimate target. The 'separation of economy and state' rhetoric and even the 'negative liberty' rhetoric can only strengthen the right, which is to say, the already powerful.

John Madziarczyk said...

My position is that people shouldn't cut off their nose to spite their face. I'm in agreement about it being silly to oppose Naomi Klein or Chomsky because they aren't anti-statist enough.

The separation of economy and state thing is a big one, and really misleading. I don't think that many people on the right, and maybe some people on the left, who oppose state programs really know what kinds of things the U.S. federal and state governments actually do. Our system of government is eminently liberal in the sense of going back to ideas about state intervention flowing from John Locke about not intervening more than is necessary.

But we do have intervene, regulate, have programs, if we want to live in any sort of decent society, as long as corporations and capitalism in general have lots of power. Even the most benign regulations put the state into the economy, so there's no way of avoiding it if regulations are going to have any meaning whatsoever. Other government programs extend from that but aren't necessarily different in kind.

Locke's liberalism, which has been absorbed unconsciously or not by folks wanting limited but at least some government, is based on the idea that there are certain things, certain problems, certain issues, that arise through people living together in society that need to be addressed by some sort of body going beyond individuals. Corporations and people who are very pro-capitalism look at the way the country is right now and refuse to acknowledge that there are any problems that government intervention, whether you think it's benevolent or not, could potentially address.

I mean, if capitalism is perfect, why need regulation?