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Change Everything or Face A Global Katrina

Change Everything or Face A Global Katrina

Naomi Klein

For me, the road to This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate begins in a very specific time and place. The time was exactly ten years ago. The place was New Orleans, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The road in question was flooded and littered with bodies.


Friedman’s self identification as a preacher is a big part of the problem. Economics is not a religion, it is a (“dismal”) science at best. Furthermore, it is better applied retrospectively than projected upon the unknown future (climate change comes to mind).

In addition to Naomi’s excellent body of work, I’ll recommend Ha-Joon Chang’s 2010 book, “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism.” It is an easy and useful read.


I’ve talked to devotees of economic ‘schools’ of thought, they most certainly are a bunch of religious nuts. Calling that subject a ‘science’ is to defame real science.

It’s like calling homeopaths doctors.


Thank you Naomi Klein for so brilliantly expressing the truth!


Great details.

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Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

In economics the majority is always wrong.
-John Kenneth Galbraith


It’s been a while since I read the Shock Doctrine and saw those horrific images of Katrina on media but Kline’s work is a clear and detailed expose of the forces that can operate on this planet based solely on self interest alone.

If the struggling majority of humanity had the time to follow the trails into the dark and disgusting corners where Kline goes and connect them with the desperate circumstances of their lives, we might soon see a real turn about on the planet. But how many people do you know that are just now getting by that have to time to follow the trails to those that are literally killing them.

While Kline’s picture is especially foreboding, I like to look to Howard Zinn’s work to remind me of what is essential and possible throughout history:

"There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment we will continue to see. We forget how often in this century we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

The bad things that happen are repetitions of bad things that have always happened- war, racism, maltreatment of women, religious and nationalist fanaticism, starvation. The good things that happen are unexpected.

Unexpected, and yet explainable by certain truths which spring at us from time to time, but which we tend to forget:

Political power, however formidable, is more fragile than we think. (Note how nervous are those who hold it.)

Ordinary people can be intimidated for a time, can be fooled for a time, but they have a down-deep common sense, and sooner or later they find a way to challenge the power that oppresses them.

People are not naturally violent or cruel or greedy, although they can be made so. Human beings everywhere want the same things: they are moved by the sight of abandoned children, homeless families, the casualties of war; they long for peace, for friendship and affection across lines of race and nationality.

Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zig-zag towards a more decent society.

We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.

If we remember those times and places- and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."


Few writers are as brilliant in scope and as meticulous in providing supportive research. God-dess bless, Ms. Klein!

On this item:

“According to the New York Times, “the top 20 service contractors have spent nearly $300 million since 2000 on lobbying and have donated $23 million to political campaigns.” The Bush administration, in turn, increased the amount spent on contractors by roughly $200 billion between 2000 and 2006.)”

Wrap your minds around THAT level of investments’ returns!

“In order to offset the tens of billions going to private companies in contracts and tax breaks, in November 2005 the Republican-controlled Congress announced that it needed to cut $40 billion from the federal budget. Among the programs that were slashed were student loans, Medicaid and food stamps. In other words, the poorest citizens in the country subsidized the contractor bonanza twice—first when Katrina relief morphed into unregulated corporate handouts, providing neither decent jobs nor functional public services, and second when the few programs that directly assist the unemployed and working poor nationwide were gutted to pay those bloated bills.”

This is precisely what Scott Walker and other Koch Brothers/ALEC/Pete Peterson funded soulless ghouls with political ambitions are STILL promoting. And the arrogance? The claim to Christian values? Makes me want to see a different kind of Inquisition–one that took aim at those who profit directly from harm done to others.

Thank you for stating the truth here. It sure beats the usual one size fits all collective WE-crap that too many people push:

“Looking ahead to coming disasters, ecological and political, we often assume that we are all going to face them together, that what’s needed are leaders who recognize the destructive course we are on. But I’m not so sure. Perhaps part of the reason why so many of our elites, both political and corporate, are so sanguine about climate change is that they are confident they will be able to buy their way out of the worst of it. This may also partially explain why so many Bush supporters are Christian end-timers. It’s not just that they need to believe there is an escape hatch from the world they are creating. It’s that the Rapture is a parable for what they are building down here—a system that invites destruction and disaster, then swoops in with private helicopters and airlifts them and their friends to divine safety.”


If you read the work and honor the author, how about doing her the justice of spelling her name correctly!

You wrote:

“It’s been a while since I read the Shock Doctrine and saw those horrific images of Katrina on media but Kline’s work is a clear and detailed expose of the…”

Her name is Naomi Klein, not Kline! You misspelled it 3 times, so it was hardly a typo. But the Zinn quotes are good.

Perfect I am not Siouxrose but yes, Zinn is an inspiration.

“Change everything” is a nice sounding two word phrase that sounds good – but how? Where to begin? Ernormous civilization encompassing systems such as energy, food production systems, financial systems and the valuation of economic holdings, management of remaining resources. All these rearrangements would have to happen in conjunction with one another, and all parties involved would have to agree on what’s being done, what are the first steps.

How could that possibly even begin to happen? Who would be in charge and would everyone be willing to follow this person’s lead?

I’m 64 years old, been disabled living on SSDI for 22 years now. It’s nice that she posted this again for us. It’s too late. It’s already here. Advice given is never taken but through my experiences I advise you all, never ever ask for help, never! All you can do is give until there is nothing left, then give some more. Look around you, open your eyes and give. The Global Katrina is just outside your door.

Aren’t you late getting to some home baked spelling bee somewhere, there little Ms. Perfect-

"five-foot-two- inch "

So Milton Friedman, like Napoleon, Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler was a short-arse. Beware small men; they are very dangerous.