The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

The idea that market crashes can act as catalysts for revolutionary change has a long history on the far left, most notably in the Bolshevik theory that hyperinflation, by destroying the value of money, takes the masses one step closer to the destruction of capitalism itself. This theory explains why a certain breed of sectarian leftist is forever calculating the exact conditions under which capitalism will reach “the crisis,” much as evangelical Christians calibrate signs of the coming Rapture. In the mid-eighties, this Communist idea began to experience a powerful revival, picked up by Chicago School economists who argued that just as market crashes could precipitate left-wing revolutions, so too could they be used to spark right-wing counterrevolutions, a theory that became known as “the crisis hypothesis.”

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