In a TIME interview, Naomi Klein explains the connection between Chicago-School style economics and the rise of “Disaster Capitalism” in the Southern Cone countries.
Milton Friedman is held up as really the guru of the modern global market. But my view on Friedman is, I don’t think it’s his fault in the sense that the role he played was more dictated by history and forces far more powerful than him. I think he was a gifted popularlizer and a gifted communicator, which is one of the reasons why the University of Chicago was so lavishly supported by Wall Street and why his own projects were very much supported by [corporations].
But the other side of it â€” and I think this is much more important â€” is the way in which the University of Chicago was used a tool of U.S. foreign policy. That’s why I concentrate so much on Friedman and the University of Chicago because in the 1950s and ’60s there was a strategy at the U.S. State Department to try to challenge the rise of economic nationalism in the developing world, particularly in Latin America. A move to the left in Latin America that was threatening the interests of U.S. foreign multinationals in countries like Argentina, and a sort of counteroffensive was launched that involved bringing hundreds of Latin American students to study at the University of Chicago under Friedman and his colleagues. When the peaceful battle of ideas didn’t defeat the left in Latin America, then you had a wave of military coups, often supported by the CIA, and many of these U.S.-trained Chicago boys, as they’re called in Latin America, rose to prominent levels of governments â€” heads of the central bank or finance ministers â€” where the economic shock therapists were working hand-in-hand with the very real shock therapists who are in control in these countries through repressive means, including torture.
What is bound to be even more infuriating (or if this wasn’t enough to boil your butt already, there is New Orleans and The Asian Tsunami, and how these tragedies were exploited (see next post, or the one above this one)