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The South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Shock Doctrine" Economics Ruining America

WARNING: Reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" will disturb your sleep and haunt your waking hours. If you're a real American, it will make you want to scream — and do something to put "the bad guys" in their place. Everyone — especially Milton-Friedman, free-market lovers like Kingsley Guy — should read "Shock." If enough people do so, it could save the country. If they don't, our democratic/representative government and capitalism will be permanently replaced by the un-American, corporate-socialist state that has already taken hold — and it will be our own fault.

For 50 years, laissez-faire economist Friedman and his apostles at the University of Chicago have spread a doctrine based upon "the elimination of the public sphere, total liberation for corporations and skeletal social spending," according to Klein. Even worse is how they do it: For Friedman and his minions, widespread disasters (natural and man-made) are opportunities to make money. While victims are really or figuratively bleeding, too shocked to realize what's happening, in cahoots with lapdog governments, they impose "deregulation, privatization, and cutbacks" on economies as the formula for recovery. Promising prosperity for all, they deliver widespread poverty and oppression.

Klein will help you see how "shock doctrine" has disfigured the U.S. — from the privatization of public schools in New Orleans after Katrina to corporate takeovers today in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, across the nation. You'll understand the aftermath of the recent mortgage crisis as a made-for-free-marketers, financial windfall. Since the 2010 mid-term elections, when tea party/Republicans gained control of governships and legislatures, Friedmanites have been following the same script: using "the shock" of our current economic recession permanently to replace government with for-profit businesses. It explains why Gov. Scott Walker's budget was really about union-busting and privatization, even after workers made the economic concessions he demanded. The GOP/Paul Ryan "Path to Prosperity," that kills Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, uses "shock doctrine" to remake America as a corporate state.

Klein speaks truth to power and empowers people with truth. Of course, some people will refuse to read "Shock Doctrine" and even some who do will deny its proofs. Too many people have believed too gullibly in free-market ideology to be convinced they have been ripped off by immoral, greedy schemers. The Wisconsin uprising against Republicans proves "shock doctrine" can fail. But will it be the exception or the rule — and will Americans wake up soon enough from the shock of being shocked?

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Stephen L. Goldstein

Dr. Stephen L. Goldstein is a newspaper opinion columnist for The Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), radio and TV talk show host. He is also the author of 30 Days to Successful Fundraising, the nationwide bestseller.

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