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'Shock Doctrine' explored in ethics panel

Oct. 30, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Naomi Klein's assault on free-market fundamentalism, "The Shock Doctrine," will be explored in a panel discussion on Monday, Nov. 9, as part of the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's fall season.

Panelists will discuss the major argument in Klein's book--that politicians and industrial giants use periods of economic crisis, wars and natural disasters to their own ends--beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Room 159 of the Bernhard Center. Panelists include Drs. William Santiago-Valles, WMU associate professor of Africana studies; Ronald Kramer, WMU professor of sociology; and Vincent Lyon-Callo, WMU associate professor of anthropology.

Klein, a Canadian investigative journalist, published "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" in 2007. Klein asserts politicians and industrialists use disruptions to approve such policies as privatization of pubic services, elimination of regulations that restrict investors and imposition of free trade to increase their economic, political, cultural and military power.

The data reported in the book are representative of the negative consequences of these neo-liberal policies as they occurred in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Britain, the United States, Israel, Iraq, Indonesia, Poland, Russia, China, South Africa and Sri Lanka. These studies were promoted by faculty and graduate students at the University of Chicago's Department of Economics.

The panelists will discuss the context of the book, its strengths, limitations and present-day applications in conversation with the audience. The program will also include a six-minute video on the book produced by Alfonso Cuaron and excerpts from two interviews with the author, including one by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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