Marshall’s Plan

Last week my friend Caroline got us tickets to see Naomi Klein here in Amsterdam. Some of you will have heard about her new book, the shock doctrine. It is all about how the government, in this case I believe the US government, uses traumatic events and tragedies as an opportunity to push their agenda’s of privatization and private contracting for the benefit of the corporations that support them. We can surely talk about the doctrine itself in a future post, my focus is slightly different today.

Over drinks at the bar, following the talk, there were people everywhere debating the shock doctrine and who agrees or does not agree with Klein. One particular guy walks up to me, recognizing me as the guy who raised his hand but was not called on, and strikes up a conversation. During that conversation he mentions the Marshall plan.

What about the Marshall Plan? It seems like it was a huge success? In the four years following WWII, the US spent some 14 billion to support many European countries in their rebuilding. Four years later almost all those countries had managed to kickstart their economies to a higher level than ever before.

Yet nowadays we have the shock doctrine. We have blackwater shooting innocent people. We have disappearing palettes of money. A post war rebuilding that never seems to really rebuild anything. What makes the Marshall Plan so different? This is something I want to look into and I would actually like to speak with someone that knows the plan well.

In her talk Klein talked about how what happens after a major traumatic event depends not only on money but also, ideas that are lying around. What were the ideas lying around in post war Europe, and how do they compare to the ideas lying around in Iraq? Or are there more powerful forces than ideas on the ground that prevent a new Marshall Plan from being laid out?

Until I can answer these questions, I’ll keep searching. I’ve also got some audio of George C. Marshall speaking in 1947 at harvard. Perhaps it will help.