Sunday, October 5, 2008

Book review

Book reviews will often be included on my blog (because reading is as important as writing!)

About a year ago, I picked up a book by Naomi Klein, having heard some buzz about how good it was. I read several paragraphs and decided it was a "must have" for the library I am in the process of cultivating. Little did I know what an awakening I would have as a result of Klein's work.

Opening with an interview Klein had with a woman who had been subjected to electric shock therapy, Klein explains the psychological damage that had been wrought upon the woman as a result of a specific branch of extreme psychological treatment that was being developed by a Dr. Ewan Cameron. Initially, it seems that Klein's book is a critique on electric shock therapy and a study on the psychiatric community... it is not.

She introduces Cameron as way to explain the tactics of the CIA and other investigative organisms in using torture even while all indicators show that torture in fact does not work. She reveals that there is no real intent on the part of the torturers to gain information or cooperation-- and ultimately it does not matter if the person that is being tortured is actually connected to the revolutionary or terrorist organization. These methods are used to break the opposition and shock them into submission.

Eventually these methods came to be used, not only as counterrevolutionary/ counterterrorism tactics in military operations, but applied to economics: and would be used in the ongoing war against socialism and those who oppose a free trade (or trade with the US) society. What follows is a brief albeit extensive and comprehensive look at the ideology of shock therapy directed toward the economies in Chile, Argentina, Poland, China, Russia and ... where else? Iraq. But not excluded from such harsh therapeutic treatments is the US (collapse of the housing market and banking systems). The Chicago school ideology tends to be less harsh toward the American economy which is why bailouts and government handouts are encouraged by these Friedman followers. Preparing us for the future-- or really today, Naomi Klein shows a keen understanding on the economic philosophy that is driving the foreign policy of the U.S.-- not just a critique of the current administration, but a connect-the-dots look at our relationships to other countries for the past fifty years.

Highly recommended to all who are preparing to vote!

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