Mankind's only alternative 6   OCT.   22  
Mankind's only alternative

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Book Review December 25, 2007
Naomi Klein Takes Down The Shock Therapy Quacks
By Alexander Zaitchik Browse author Email
Page 3 of 4

Such attitudes would reappear with a vengeance during Yeltsin’s shelling of a recalcitrant, anti-shock-therapy parliament. By then Jeffery Sachs was ensconced at Yeltsin’s side, where he supported the assault. That Sachs did not have a problem attacking democratic institutions was something he had made clear earlier in his career as a neoliberal advisor/guru in Bolivia. It was this early chapter of Sachs’ career that led one Solidarity leader at the time of the Warsaw debate to declare, “I would love to see Bolivia. I’m sure it’s very lovely, very exotic. I just don’t want to see Bolivia here.” 

Understanding why the Poles might not want to emulate Sachs’ Bolivian experiment requires reviewing what really happened there under Sachs’ tutelage in the mid-80s. In The Shock Doctrine, Klein offers a fuller version of the story than is usually presented in gushing recaps of Sachs’ career. 

Sachs was a 30-year-old academic with no experience in development economics when he arrived in La Paz with a radical plan to conquer that country’s runaway inflation. Fancying himself a latter-day Keynes, he wrote a plan calling for the usual litany: free trade, privatization, and the elimination of price controls, subsidies, and most social spending. When he and the new Bolivian government showed the still-secret plan to the local IMF office, the representative was beside himself, and replied, “This is what every official at the IMF has dreamed about. But if it doesn’t work, luckily I have diplomatic immunity and I can catch a plane and flee.” As would later reoccur in Poland, most of the government was horrified by the plan. But Sachs promised it would work, and if not, well, in Latin America there are always means to control people who get it the way of progress. 

Although the center-left government that enacted the Sachs plan was democratically elected, Klein explains that it was not elected on a platform of shock-therapy, and thus kept the plan a secret until the last minute. When the Sachs plan—known as the “brick”—was finally announced, unions and other groups spilled into the streets to oppose it. The government then fell back on other kinds of shocks, imposing what Klein calls a “junta-lite,” much as Yeltsin later would. As the reform program went into effect, martial law was imposed; schools, radio stations, and union halls were raided; and, taking a page from Pinochet, opposition leaders were flown to remote prisons in the Amazon.  

"Russia? Never heard of the place. Ask Bob Rubin."

Sachs doesn’t mention any of this when describing his work in Bolivia. Klein notes that Sachs’ bestselling 2005 book, The End of Poverty, completely glosses over the repression that accompanied his reforms (as well as the large role cocaine played in reviving the Bolivian economy). Perhaps the only thing Sachs likes to talk about less than repression in Bolivia is Russia in the 90s. 

Klein interviewed Sachs extensively for The Shock Doctrine, and probably should be given some sort of journalism award just for getting him to talk about the Russia years. Sachs is notorious for threatening to hang up on journalists who push the sensitive subject, and the colossal failure of shock-therapy in this country probably contributed in no small part to Sachs' transformation from a Friedmanite crusader into an aid and development do-gooder. Still, it took some banging on the door to get Sachs to open up. At first, the superstar academic acted as if he had no role whatsoever in the disaster that befell Russia in the 90s. “I was right and they were wrong,” he told Klein. “Ask Larry Summers [what went wrong], don’t ask me; ask Bob Rubin; ask Clinton, ask Cheney…” Anyone but Jeffery Sachs!

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
Browse author
Alexander Zaitchik is an editor at The eXile. Email him at
War Nerd -- Kamikaze
WAR NERD: Kamikaze Math : One plane for one carrier, and other lessons from Tojo’s Air Force
Rambo returns
Preview Review: Rambo IV : Nine months to the rebirth of Rambo

Russian Tourists: Betraying The Motherland : Tourists—Or Traitors?
The "bilan"
Russia's Mullet Revolution :


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442