Tag Archives: free markets

Running on ice + Naomi Klein and when “being against” is better than “being for”

Yesterday I got up thinking: this snow ain’t got nuthin on me.  I’m running today, no way I’m not running.  Well, some things got in the way, like a broken furnace (now fixed, happily) and a number of other tasks.  It all worked out well, though, because in the back of my mind I was plotting my escape.

I figured that if I could just get down to the beach walk in the park near our house, I’d find a sun dried stretch of running ground that I could just loop back and forth on.  That plan was true–but getting down there was a trick.  What I found was that the process of running in ice and snow makes the run intense and focused–no gawking at scenery–but a real meditative eye towards where your next step will land.  Once on the dry walk by the beach, I could take in the sights, but getting in and getting out was a mind focusing exercise–and lovely!  3.75+ miles, my first good run since my cold.  Can’t wait to repeat today.

Naomi Klein is profiled in the New Yorker (Dec 8th) and it’s well worth spending some time on.  She’s an amazing woman with an honest, clear eye on the scoundrels who would fix the game of life in their favor at every turn. I first learned about her way back with her first book, No Logo and really resonated with her approach. Her new book, The Shock Doctrine, takes apart the Milton Friedman theory of “free markets” (good lord, has there ever been a more insidious example of double speak?) that has evolved over the last 30 years into a manipulated game in which disruptive events are either created or alternately seized upon in order to push through a whole slew of market deregulating legislations and market focused actions.


Southeast Asia post-tsunami: the shoreline which was once inhabited by local populations is now sold off to Resorts, with a capital R.  Ditto Katrina.

Terrorist attacks of 911: the list is too numerous, but think broadly about the Patriot Act, the stike-first declaration of war, the appointment of czars and outsourcers like Blackwater.  Too numerous.

The subprime and Big Three bailout: we’re in the middle of a very nasty hostage crisis wherein we’re being told the end of the world will come if we don’t pay up.  To some degree, of course, very bad things will happen if these companies collapse, and those bad things will hit us hard.  But the thing is: seems like those bad things are happening anyway and we’re getting hit hard–so, what’s up?

Klein believes we’re beginning to learn, we’re beginning to recognize and pay attention to that little voice that says, Hmm, haven’t we been here before?

The New Yorker article reflects on her life and approach, and there’s an interesting section which explores the benefit of recognizing a bad approach and working to change it, while avoiding the trap of being stuck in “favor” of anything.  That alone is worth meditating on.

Her new book, which is definitely on my wish list, is The Shock Doctrine.