Shock doctrine from the left?
This remark by chief of staff to President-elect Obama, Rahm Emanuel, made in an interview the day before yesterday, got me thinking that maybe the incoming administration has understood what Naomi Klein is talking about in The Shock Doctrine.“Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” Mr. Emanuel said in an interview on Sunday. “They are opportunities to do big things.”
Klein's argument, in brief, is that the right has for a long time acted during times of national trauma and disarray to push through unpopular reforms. They have pieces of ideology lying around in think-tanks and contingency plans in lawmaker's offices around the country. Then when the crisis hits, these plans are pushed through while the opposition is disoriented or immobilized.
I've heard the argument put forward in any number of fora these past couple of days, the last time at the Globalisation conference in Oslo this weekend: the left should use the financial crisis, which has put the free-market thinkers of the right wing on the defensive worldwide, to push through market reforms and try to take the first steps in reforming the capitalist system. This argument is never put in these terms, but it is in essence the same strategy Klein is talking about. People are arguing for a reverse shock doctrine.