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SHOCK DOCTRINE, THE (directors: Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross; screenwriter: based on the book “The Shock Doctrine – The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein; cinematographer: ; editors: Paul Monaghan/Michael Winterbottom/Mat Whitecross; cast: Naomi Klein (Narrator), Milton Friedman, Paul Bremer, Salvador Allende, General Augusto Pinochet, Ronald Reagan, Boris Yeltsin, Margaret Thatcher, Donald Rumsfeld; Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Andrew Eaton; KimStim/Zeitgeist releases; 2009-USA/UK)

In a lucid way clears up how America is now in the midst of a severe financial crisis through questionable free market policies.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An informative and persuasive muckraking documentary based on the controversial book “The Shock Doctrine – The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein. The political message pic was right on the money, and in a lucid way clears up how America is now in the midst of a severe financial crisis through questionable free market policies. Codirectors Michael Winterbottom (Welcome to Sarajevo/The Road to Guantanamo“/”The Trip”) and Mat Whitecross (“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll“) direct this enlightening documentary about how in modern times the rich are getting richer and their amoral power plays of putting into place their privatization and deregulation programs for free trade during critical times while the citizens are in shock and have their guard down to protect their interests. These greedy capitalist promoters are followers of University of Chicago’s economic professor Milton Friedman’s free-market policies, who provides the unscrupulous with voodoo economic policies designed to tear down FDR’s New Deal programs and limit what government can do to help the masses. The result is greater strains on the middle-class and more poverty.

Over the last 40 years Klein explores how Friedman’s bogus economic policies were used by the Republican presidents Nixon, Reagan and both the father and son Bush administrations to counteract the John Maynard Keynes economic policies that actually worked in keeping a balanced economy. It tells of the overthrow of the democratically elected Popular Unity socialist President Allende in Chile in 1973 to promote Friedman’s failed program of removing price controls and selling off for a song state-run industries to create more money for the rich few and make more people poor; Thatcher in England and Reagan in America follow the same Friedman economic models of cutting taxes and not raising taxes when they led their respective countries; in Yeltsin’s Russia it shows how Friedman’s brand of capitalism created a splurge of oligarchs and a break down in law and order, while creating an increase in poverty the more the government sold off its state-run industries and farms to private concerns; the unwinnable “War on Terror” in the post-9/11 world, that led to the unnecessary and costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the playing on fear to pump over 100 billion dollars into the hands of private contractors to keep us safe even if the money spent proves to be of little help in solving our problems; and finally to the financial crisis caused by deregulation of the banks that led to the election of Obama, in a call for change by the people. But who has so far disappointed by not overturning the Republican party’s low taxes for the rich and not providing jobs through government programs. Obama is seemingly not fighting effectively enough to protect the New Deal programs, one of the main reasons America prospered until the W. administration carried out to an extreme Friedman’s ‘Shock Doctrine.’


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”