Shock Doctrine

March 26, 2021

The most effective time to impose drastic change on a system is when it is disoriented due to an unexpected shock. During this period events are unfolding faster than information is made available to explain those events, thus leaving people vulnerable to accept any remedy to their condition. With people at their most vulnerable the shock period becomes an invitation for drastic change. The change applied depends on the ideas that are present during the shock. Though these ideas would be considered unconscionable during normal times, the shock period leaves the door ajar for their implementation.

It is the job of ideologues to have these ideas lying around so that when an opportunity to implement them comes, they are ready. In these brief time periods all may be permitted as democracy is suspended. With people reeling from the shock (e.g., Iraq invasion, military junta takeovers, tsunamis, terrorist attacks), they are not able to assess their own self-interests and are easily susceptible to accept policies and programs which cause them great harm.

Unfettered and unchecked "capitalism" is more akin to cronyism than it is a pure form of capitalism. The latter can work to the people's benefits, the former never does benefit the masses but only a select few. When countries are in shock they are ripe for Chicago School ideologies to implement their policies: privatization, deregulation and cuts to social spending. This effectively results in job losses, selling of national assets at pennies on the dollar, and multinational corporations making massive profits with no trickle-down economic effects.

When opposed, this ideology is met with fierce economic and physical violence. The IMF, World Bank and other financial entities create "rescue" plans which lend to distressed countries in exchange for an agreement to implement Chicago School policies, thus crippling societies in the name of rebuilding. Violent implementations of these include Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Russia, Indonesia and most horrifyingly, Iraq. The direct effect of these forced economic policies is generational poverty and radicalization of youth.

The goal is often a hollow state - a phenomenon where the government isn't governing but outsourcing its responsibilities to private entities. In Milton Friedman's utopia the government is seen as a competitor to the private sector and is thus interfering with the free market. The effects of the elimination of the "interference" leaves the vast majority of the public with little to no protections against price increases or employment opportunities since foreign multinational corporations dominate the landscape.