Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Other angle is provided by Naomi Kleins' new book "The Shock Doctrine". (A long review is here.) The difficulty of handling "rare" shocks can be employed in conflicts to confuse and defeat adversaries; Pentagon claimed to have adopted this philosophy in Iraq (remember Boyd's "Patterns of Conflict" and Rumsfeld's poetry).

But if shocks are so effective in confusing and reorienting people and societies, wouldn't anyone use them more broadly? According to Naomi Klein, capitalist elites are making use of all sorts of shocks to concentrate more power for themselves. Chicago school shock therapies in Chile, Argentina, Russia, Poland did nothing but impoverish small businesses and much of broad population, and gave huge profits or power to relatively few. The 1997 Asian crisis had feeble reasons and was savable, but it allowed to buy up Asian enterprises for cheap. The Katrina hurricane and the 2004 Christmas tsunami allowed to purge poor residents of New Orleans and the tropical coasts for more "effective" development. If "shock and awe" is working as designed in Iraq, their real adversary is Iraqi people. The capitalist elites make every crisis an opportunity exclusively for themselves.

Taking to the extreme, an Armagedon type crisis would suit them "perfectly", or so they may think. They see market meltdown, global warming and peak oil coming, and they may be eager to meet them soon. They will know how to manipulate confusion and fear, and they know what they want to take. They can take all over the world, and have totalitarian power unseen on Earth. Unprivileged survivors would wake up in the world without any pretence of democracy and universal rights. History would be written where George W is a great saver, and slaves would be grateful to suffer. The elite would keep selective knowledge exclusively for themselves, and may have an energetic policy to pursue any Albertians and Prometheuses. Unwanted knowledge would have to survive for long centuries to be of use again.

Why wouldn't they do it? The profit growth would stop with a collapse, wouldn't it? Or is so that no profit growth or wealth gap can beat the attraction of power dominance? Once the position of the elites is secured, they can forget profit competition and cooperate nicely, thank you.

Would they succeed? Would an Armageddon be a different kind of "rare event" than they are used to know? Would something (or someone) shock themselves into obedience?

by das monde on Tue Sep 25th, 2007 at 11:29:16 AM EST
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