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Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine wins first Warwick Prize for Writing

Naomi Klein was announced as the winner of the first Warwick Prize for Writing at an evening awards ceremony held on 24 February 2009 in the Mead Gallery at the Warwick Arts Centre.

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine
About the Book

Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting, Naomi Klein explores the theory that our world is increasingly in thrall to a little understood ideology that is conquering the globe by systematically exploiting moments of disaster and trauma. This is the shock doctrine. It is a strategy that has been evolving over the past thirty-five years. Constructed by the late Milton Friedman one of the most influential economists in the world, she argues, it has been developed by his powerful followers, many of whom have been at the highest levels of government including Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

Using detailed case studies from around the world, Klein explores how the shock doctrine uses moments of collective crisis – 9/11, the tsunami, Hurricane Katrina or the Falklands war for example – to usher in radical social and economic change beneficial to Wild West corporations when people are traumatised: effectively, when they are in a state of shock. Klein coins this phenomenon disaster capitalism.

Klein charts the rise of disaster capitalism from 1970s Latin America right up to the present day and, in particular, its devastating effect in Iraq where foreign investors are ultimately trying to create a model corporatist state in the Middle East.

The aim of The Shock Doctrine is to prepare us for the next shock. Once the mechanics of the doctrine are deeply and collectively understood, Klein believes whole communities become harder to take by surprise, more difficult to confuse. It is through information, she says, that we become shock resistant and it is time to arm ourselves.

Naomi KleinAbout the Author

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker. Her first book, the international bestseller No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was translated into 28 languages and called “a movement bible” by The New York Times. She writes an internationally syndicated column for The Nation and The Guardian and reported from Iraq for Harper’s magazine. In 2004, she released The Take, a feature documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories, co-produced with director Avi Lewis. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia.