Where many see disaster, some see opportunity. This is an admittedly simplistic summary of one theory brought forth in Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In it the award-winning journalist takes an unflinching look at how opportunists exploit shocking moments in history (such as terrorists attacks, natural disasters, and war) to push unpopular and unreasonable laws and policy changes into effect—policies that had sufferers not been vulnerable or in a "shocked state" would have enraged the public. The privatization of the war on Iraq is an obvious recent example, but Klein also explores how preying on disorientation has enabled leaders to change economic policies in Russia during the 1990s, as well as in 1970s Chile during Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. Though Klein has received significant attention in Canada and the U.K. for her previous book, No Logo, it remains to be seen how her suggestion that capitalism and democracy are not wedded concepts will be accepted in the U.S. To drum up interest, she collaborated with director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) and his son Jonás to create a short film teaser for The Shock Doctrine, available online at www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/short-film.
Wed., Dec. 5, 7 p.m., 2007