Shock Therapy

Most economics students know the late Milton Friedman as an energetic booster of the free-market system. But to Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, who appears tonight and tomorrow to benefit KGNU radio, he was a considerably more sinister figure — a theorist whose philosophies have been employed to tremendously hurtful effect in the wake of countless calamities.

Friedman believed that crises allow policymakers to institute sweeping changes that would have been politically untenable otherwise. In Klein's view, however, most of the alleged reforms pushed through following 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and other startling events have worsened, rather than improved, situations — and the evidence she provides is often compelling. Unfortunately, she tends to overreach at times, linking Friedman's guiding principles to just about everything that's ever angered progressives, from the Iraq War to the use of torture. Klein portrays Uncle Miltie as a veritable Albert Speer when there's plenty of blame to go around.

Klein speaks at 7 p.m. tonight at the First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce Street in Boulder, and at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. Tickets are $10 for KGNU listener members, $15 for the general public. Learn more at 303-449-4885 or www.kgnu.org.
Sat., Dec. 8, 7 p.m., 2007

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts