My intention to write a review piece about Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine (published by Penguin - rush out to get a copy) was reinforced by the behaviour of a rich multinational company like those she describes in her excellently-written analysis. Being human, I tend to focus on personal matters, even when the world is in such a dreadful mess with so much famine, cruelty and slaughter. And my personal matter of the moment is the conduct of America On Line, known as AOL, or Absolutely Outrageously Lousy, so far as I am concerned. I live in a small village of 280 people in Burgundy in France, just over two hours by rail from Paris (we have a tiny station) in the centre of a bountiful wine-producing area. The only problem is that we don't have a high-speed internet connection. But this didn't matter too much until a few days ago, because as a ten-year customer of AOL I have (well, had) worldwide dial-up access. AOL boasted words to the effect that "We're in scores of countries; just dial" Easy. But the other morning when I went into my study at 8 o'clock to read the sub-continent newspapers, as I do every day, I couldn't get online. Up came a message to say that AOL was sorry but I couldn't access the service "by this method." In fact I couldn't get on to AOL by any method until I drove to the nearest town and signed up to a local internet provider. Then I got on to AOL by email and asked What the Hell? AOL emailed back that its 'service' (I use the word ironically) was unavailable by dial-up in France. Well, thanks a ton, AOL. The problem is that my Website is in the tender hands of AOL and I can't access it to amend it. With my new book about to be published this is, to put it mildly, a trifle vexing. And I can't get on to a thing called 'Favourite Places' which has been a painstaking building of research sources, mainly concerned with the sub-continent, over the past ten years. All has vanished. So I have been severely inconvenienced by AOL, which is one of the companies to which Naomi Klein does not refer in her book, but whose attitude is entirely consistent with those of almost every other multinational company she mentions, whose executives screw the consumer and deliver minimum service while treating employees like serfs and making massive profits. Her point (to quote from the book's write-up) is that "there are people with power who are cashing in on chaos; exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally remake the world in their image...these global dominate our world. Raking in billions out of the tsunami, plundering Russia, exploiting Iraq - this is the chilling tale of how a few are making a killing while more are getting killed." Naomi Klein explains how Bush America supports creation of world-wide corporate supremacy, and her revelations are illuminating and terrifying. She describes the Chicago School of Economics which influenced a horrible orchestra of very clever people whose instruments were and are mechanisms of profit and whose conductor was the noxious (but charming and terribly well-meaning) Milton Friedman who designed the Shock Doctrine. The First Violins of this enormous academic ensemble that encouraged multinational companies' domination of the world economy were in the beginning the two most important men in the Eisenhower administration: the terrible duo, the Dulles brothers of the CIA and the State Department, whose influence went far to destroying tolerance in America. Eisenhower was a decent man, although manipulated by a combination of Big Business and the malevolent Dulli, and at the end of his presidency warned of what would befall the world when the 'Military Industrial Complex' assumed control of America and then sought world domination by exercising economic and physical brutality. The Shock Doctrine, in other words. Eisenhower sought stability for America. He wanted America to never again experience the time of his youth when he lived through the Depression, the terrible years of despondency that were alleviated only by President Roosevelt's New Deal which was such anathema to the rich industrialists and the Wall Street profiteers who delighted in making money out of people's misery. They still do. In fact they are getting better at it. The economic philosophy of these cold-hearted zealots, few of whom had or have any experience of real life (it is amazing how few American intellectuals have travelled the world in other than conference-attending, plastic-hotel-room, cotton-wool antiseptic cocoons) is savage and uncompromising. They seek to destroy nations so that they can direct their economies according to their agenda of unmitigated greed. To them there is no greater priority than profit. They worship only at the shrine of Mammon and are energetically supported by another terrible duo, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank who between them have wreaked havoc in so many developing countries. Klein calls their agenda the doctrine of "disaster capitalism" which seeks to destroy public ownership of all industries and enterprises save those public services that cannot be operated for a colossal financial return. The story of the 2005 tsunami is a heart-breaking example of disaster capitalism at its most malevolently effective. The villages of thousands of fisher-folk were destroyed and they were prevented by force from returning to their seashore lands because the priority forced on governments was construction of tourist hotels, theme parks and similar vulgar monstrosities that would make profits at the expense of the livelihoods of peoples who had made a modest living for generations. The advice - in fact coercion - of the Monetary Fund at the time of the Asian Klein's assertion that war has been privatised is difficult to counter. There are more foreign mercenaries in Iraq than there are US soldiers. The entire Iraq disaster was based on privatisation of its economy by US enterprises, and the country's constitution, imposed by Washington, reflects the emphasis on war for profit. War is good for some - and the some are the scheming executives of cunning and depraved business enterprises and banks that make their profits from despair and desolation. Their God is the bottom line. But the world-wide bottom line of misery is grim, and of course gets no publicity whatever from the media, most of which is in the hands of people who energetically support the doctrine of the Chicago School which has impoverished millions and reduced so many governments to mere ciphers, to puppets jiggling and jerking to the tweaks, taps and tugs of the Washington-sponsored Military-Industrial Complex. The sheer evil of the Chicago School zealots and their adherents is difficult to understand, but it is all-pervasive, and affects us all. And Naomi Klein describes it in horrific detail. And my treatment by AOL - Absolutely Outrageously Lousy - is but a tiny example of how the little person can be thoroughly done over by remote, unaccountable, soulless, fanatical and profit-crazy multinational companies. At the moment, Pakistan is in a condition that makes it attractive for the Chicago School zealots to get in and destroy the country in order to impose their own hideous economic rules. It might be appealing for Mr Zardari or Mr Nawaz Sharif (or whoever is in charge in Pakistan at the moment) to accede to the seductive enticement of the fanatics who see a wonderful opportunity to create even more poverty in Pakistan (as they have in so many other countries) while enriching the powerful minority. Such is the Shock and Horror of modern economic imperialism. But these monsters must be resisted. Be warned. The writer is a South Asian political and military affairs analyst E-mail: