Naomi Klein, and Haiti’s 'disaster' -

Naomi Klein, and Haiti’s ‘disaster’

Klein believes her shock doctrine theory is in play in ravaged Haiti


Naomi Klein, and Haiti’s 'disaster'

Disaster capitalists are primed to swoop in and prey on the economic wreckage of Haiti, say proponents of Naomi Klein’s 2008 book, The Shock Doctrine. The left-wing activist-author’s theory states that governments and corporations exploit disaster-shocked populations by pushing through unpopular corporatist reforms.
A Facebook group entitled “No Shock Doctrine for Haiti” already has more than 32,000 members.

“Direct corporate interests are swarming to the honey of the reconstruction effort,” says Adam Ramsay, the group’s Edinburgh-based founder “[Corporations] are pushing for the privatization of Haiti where it hasn’t already been sold off.” Ramsay’s group wants all governmental aid to Haiti offered as grants, not loans; chief among its findings is a quote from the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing Washington think tank. It issued a statement within 24 hours of the earthquake that said, “In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti offers opportunities to reshape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional gov­ernment and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region.” That was rewritten within hours, after it was posted on Klein’s website.

Ramsay and Klein have their opponents: Johan Norberg, author of In Defence of Global Capitalism and an outspoken critic of Klein’s shock doctrine theory, says, “[Klein] thinks that the reforms she offers would improve the economy and help people. It’s a terrible lack of imagination to think that her opponents do not share those intentions, ambitions and hopes.” But Klein and her Facebook army appear to be gaining traction. Last week, the International Monetary Fund approved a US$114-million no-interest, condition-free loan to Haiti, and said that it will work with donors to try to delete all Haitian debt. Klein called the move “unprecedented,” and attributed it to increasing public pressure.


Naomi Klein, and Haiti’s ‘disaster’

  1. very interesting, great article

  2. great article, very interesting read!

    • Brilliant!

  3. Oh that IMF. So susceptible to Facebook pressure.

    Doesn't the IMF approving of this loan take the wind out of the sails of Ms. Klein's 'disaster capitalism' theory?

  4. Regardless of Klein's book, US foreign policy, privatization and corporate greed have proven to reek havoc on countries that have been disrupted by major natural or political disruptions.

  5. Purest trash… astounded that is has any traction left at all. — The lady (or man) doth protest too much.

  6. I would like to know if any of Ms Klein's ideas were discussed in Montreal at the conference on rebuilding Haiti last week. It is one thing (and a good thing) to highlight her valid criticisms of recent history predatory capitalism, but are any of her concerns being taken seriously by top policy movers & shakers?

  7. Ms Klein's book is the purest trash, and has been picked apart from all angles many times. I am astounded that it has any traction left at all. Carpetbaggers are showing up in Haiti to gather up all the "aid" that is being dumped out, and whether the "aid" is in the form of a grant or a loan is irrelevant.

    Aristide and his cronies conned Clinton on the last round of "aid" in the nineties, and a similar misguided effort appears to be underway.

    What Haitians need is a real opportunity to earn a living, not the charity and condescension of Klein, and certainly not the crony capitalism that is being foisted on them by the aid agencies, IMF and other parasites. "Privatization" is not the problem; transferring government monopolies to private monopolies is.

    Stop dishing out the aid, and start to help individual Haitians by freeing up their markets, erasing corruption, and establishing law and order.

    • What Klein and others are worried about, quite rightly, is that the aid is given with so many conditions that the end result is a worse life than they had pre-earthquake. Wether the aid is a loan or a grant is absolutely not irrelevant. Interest charges on debt (loans) are huge, especially when the likelyhood of their being able to repay the debt short-term is extremely low. These are the same pressures that are facing loans to African countries that limit their countries from beign able to provide meaningful social services to their citizens.

      Whether you agree with Klein or not on the most suitable uses for the aid is a different matter, and more highly ideological. However, even if you disagree with Klein on the highly substantive issues, I think you would be hard pressed to make a case that there is no difference between loans and grants, or the motives behind the two.

  8. as Glen Beck said "arguing with idiots" what a waste of time. spewing vile at whatever good is done in the world while others rush in to save lives. how utterly pathetic. all you fools who agree with klein and her ilk need to take a long hard look in the mirror and GROW UP! you can't blame your pathetic little lives on someone else. it's of your making. get a grip.

  9. I'm a little surprised that there are some Buffoons left who actually listen to this Woman!

  10. Klein is such a sideshow, seriously Macleans. It's preposterous to think that pressure from a Kleinist facebook group is even on the radar of anyone at the IMF. It's not like debt forgiveness for hard up countries is unprecedented.

    People like Paul Romer are part of a conversation promoting ideas that have in the past made enormous differences in improving the lives of poor people around the world. What does Klein promote when she actually states her ideas wrt what sort of reforms should be implemented? Import substitution? Oh yeah, that has such a great track record. The less attention this hack gets from the media the better.

  11. I would like to see some of the hundreds of millions of aid money distributed directly to Haitian citizens in the form of cash .Maybe something like $5.00 per day . Then they can buy life's essentials rathet than rely on lineups for rice , etc.

  12. I agree with Neil Smith. It would be the right first step to start giving Haitians the choice what they need at this stage with a daily allowance to provide for themselves.
    And good discussion leaves out terms like "vile", "buffoon", "pathetic little lives". Janicemaerose strikes the best tone for an intelligent approach, whatever your believes may be on disaster capitalism.

  13. Klein and company apply the "shock doctrine" in their own way — exploiting catastrophe to promote their own brand of politics. Might this be a case of new boss same as the old boss? Is there hope we don't get fooled again?

  14. Since when is a 7.0 earthquake a "disaster"? I think that's a disaster requiring no snooty quotation marks.

    • reading it a little differently, the earthquake is a disaster, but according to Klein, the form of corporate aid provided will be Haiti's next 'disaster'. hopefully that will take some rage out of your rant.

  15. I think Klein's book should be required reading, if only to at least expose people to the sheer heights of predatory corporate greed that exist in the world. I did not sense that she was a proponent of perpetual aid to anyone.

    That said, the IMF is certainly oblivious to Facebook, and I highly doubt the loan is "condition-free". If it were, it would be a gift.

  16. Whew! Naomi is sure taking a beating from some motivated writers. What I was thinking was why not treat this targedy as an opportunity to rebuild the Haitian economy along the lines of the ideas proposed by Michael Pollan in 'The Omnivore's Dilemma', that is, not just in Haiti, but around the world, we need to start minimizing the industrial approach to providing the world's food in favor of a more sustainable & healthier approach (e.g. less monoculture). Vaclav Smith in 'Feeding the World' tells us we will never be able to escape some amount of industrial food production to feed 10B people by 2050, but we still need to change direction. Haiti, a traditional agriculture economy, would be a great place to start.

  17. Great Article!
    The shock doctrine surely should remain a topic of debate, at least to do its share in trying to prevent predatory corporate behavior in Haiti. Yet, generalized shunning of foreign investment and privatization would be wrongly placed.

  18. CW, well done and congratulations on a great article that got a lot of people talking and some but not all of them thinking.

  19. "But Klein and her Facebook army appear to be gaining traction. Last week, the International Monetary Fund approved a US$114-million no-interest, condition-free loan to Haiti,"
    You're saying that this Facebook group influenced the International Monetary Fund? Seriously? Do you have even a shred of evidence of this? Just sad.

  20. This is a very powerful image that it represents. What happened to Haiti was a very sad disaster. Hope all will be alright soon.

  21. Great article.Thanks for sharing.

  22. What is happening in Haiti reminds many natural disasters that happened in my country (Indonesia). Instructions for emergency response for countries that are in natural disaster-prone zones like Haiti and Indonesia is required. So as to minimize casualties.