For almost two decades now, I’ve been studying large-scale shocks to societies: how they happen, how they are exploited by politicians and corporations, and how they are even deliberately deepened in order to gain advantage over a disoriented population. I have also reported on the flipside of this process: how societies that come together around an understanding of a shared crisis can change the world for the better.
Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I’ve had a strange feeling. It’s not just that he’s applying shock politics to the most powerful and heavily armed nation on earth; it’s more than that. In books, documentary films and investigative reporting, I have documented a range of trends: the rise of superbrands, the expanding power of private wealth over the political system, the global imposition of neoliberalism, often using racism and fear of the “other” as a potent tool, the damaging impacts of corporate free trade, and the deep hold that climate change denial has taken on the right side of the political spectrum. And as I began to research Trump, he started to seem to me like Frankenstein’s monster, sewn together out of the body parts of all of these and many other dangerous trends.
Naomi Klein in The Guardian.