Involuntary Shock Treatment
Shock Doctrine is being executed this very moment and if we have an understanding of what it is, we can listen to or read the news and know exactly where we are at in the shock Doctrine treatments as well as what is to come next. As our society experiences one shock after another, it is met with the by now expected and continued deregulation of corporations along with tax breaks, austerity measures decreasing social services, and the pilfering and abolishment of our democracy, as well as both our constitutional and human rights. Shock Doctrine effectively redirects more control over our natural resources and financial wealth to corporate institutions and those that conspire with them. Expanding the ever widening gap between the privileged and the impoverished, all right on cue.
Shock Doctrine’s best friend, known as Disaster Capitalism exploits crisis in order to move greater power and wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people. Disaster Capitalism strikes when citizens are still shocked and reeling from crisis. Some recent examples of Disaster Capitalism at work include the economic crisis of the financial meltdown necessitating the bank bailout, natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy resulting in the displacement of residents and making room for new development, and the social crisis of the Connecticut school shootings mandating gun control and regulation for all and ensuring that the right to bear arms is reserved for the ever growing paid police state (aka personal militia for the wealthy).
Exploring how Shock Doctrine employs Disaster Capitalism in times of crisis, we also find that following each shock, boom, and bust we see amplified privatization and monopolization of resources by the rich which result in further dividing us as a society. We can see this division manifest most clearly when we look at natural disaster situations. With each natural disaster it becomes more and more evident to people that ecological crisis will be the norm. For those that have economic privilege, these shocks can be weathered by simply purchasing more insurance and resources to protect themselves against natural disaster. With the privatization of fire departments, concierge natural disaster insurance, five star evacuation service, while simultaneously imposing more austerity measures on the public sector, we can be sure that only the wealthy will safely weather our unstable ecological future.
Climate change used to be viewed as the one great equalizer of the human race, giving us all an incentive to reduce climate change brought on by human behavior. Unfortunately, the increase in natural disaster and subsequent privatization of services introduce consequences beyond the division of society. The continued deregulation of industry and capitalism maintains our collective inaction and complacency towards global warming and climate change, allowing the elite to be less invested in collective action because they are less dependent on public sector services in times of natural disaster.