The Shock Doctrine Documentary. Review by Ana García Paramio (2 Bach. D)


In this documentary, the Canadian journalist Naomi Klein talks about her book “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, which is based on different cases of government corruption after natural disasters with the purpose of establishing free market’s policies.

Throughout the years, natural disasters have struck countries all around the world, destroying cities and land and leaving people in a shock state. There are two human responses when these tragedies occur: people can either gather together and help each other or they can try to take advantage of the situation for their own profit. Even though the most common reaction to these kind of events is the first mentioned, governments have been reacting the second way lately, exploiting the situation.

Governments use these vulnerable moments to control and introduce new policies, like water or education privatization that only benefit powerful people as oil and gas owners and
politicians themselves. As the author mentions, there are innumerable examples of this economic shock therapy all over the world in contemporary history. In the documentary, Mrs. Klein focuses
on the relatively recent disasters that have struck the United States like September 11th, the hurricane Katrina or the Iraq War. All these incidents were rapidly followed by government actions like housing and education privatization after the hurricane Katrina or declaring the War on Terror after the nine eleven. Nonetheless, the Shock Doctrine doesn’t necessarily need a natural catastrophe to be applied, the Iraq War being an example of it or the continuous economic crises that the US government creates in order to privatize public services.

In conclusion, the shock doctrine is an anti-democratic vicious cycle since natural disasters have quadrupled in the past two decades as an effect of global warming (which is increasing because of using oil instead of renewable energies). However, there are solutions to this economic system but in order to achieve them, people need to have faith and confidence and remember the world history and economic patterns.


After watching this video, I had mixed feelings like anger, despair, calm and serenity. I was in a shock state for around 30 seconds, thinking about all the information that I had received and that I had never heard of and that was the moment when I understood what this whole speech was about.

It is scary and almost unbelievable to think that we people are used by our rulers in our weakest moments to fill their greed. It is scary to think that our governments can do whatever they want to us. I also think it is actually really sad losing humanity to money, and it is happening to more and more people because of this aggressive capitalism. The truth is, as Naomi Klein says that our governors try to make us think that there are only two choices: totalitarian communism and savage capitalism, eliminating all the other political alternatives, and that is how this wild capitalism and globalization have been thriving. However, not all the countries undergo the shock state mentioned in the documentary, as the author reminds us. For example, I found the response of the Spanish people to March 11th very impressing and I think that the key to that fast and courageous reply was knowing the history of their country. If all the countries that suffer tragic events could react like that, there would be no situations for our rulers to take advantage of.

Like many people refer to the book, it is despairing but also empowering, and I felt this as I watched the video. It is empowering to realize that there are groups of people that care about injustice and that try to make people see what is happening. It is also moving to see a woman as a world leader and it makes me see her as a role model.

To sum up, I found the documentary interesting but also informing. I believe that everyone should learn about this type of issues because being uninformed and ignoring what it’s going on in the world is the reason why we have these problems nowadays. As an old proverb says “Those who forget their own story are condemned to repeat it”, therefore we need to always remember our history and never stop learning.

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