Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Schlock Doctrine

Stole the following content from Damian, just to use the title. I started doing a youtube parody but ran out of energy and finally get a chance to use it.

...it soon becomes clear that free- market ideologues, though genuflecting to Chicago, include virtually anyone who has expressed any doubts about central planning, state ownership, or any aspect of the regulation of modern economies. This no doubt adds vigour to the polemic, but it makes this book about as useful a guide to modern economics as a book on the state of contemporary religion written by an atheist for whom there is no real difference between Catholics, Quakers and Bible Belt fundamentalists.
Cherry-picking the evidence is particularly important for Klein's favoured strategy of guilt by association, when she implies, for instance, that since many torturers have been keen on free markets, free-market ideology leads intrinsically to the use of torture. It is not clear what, on this theory, explains the use of torture by Communist or otherwise anti-capitalist governments. Since she never mentions it, she may not be aware that it has ever happened.
Klein is not shy of moralizing. Amnesty International comes in for scorn for concentrating on torture in its 1976 report on Argentina and failing to see that the real problem was capitalism...She cannot quite pin the 2004 Asian tsunami on the Chicago School economists, but she implies that they must have greeted it with a round of applause. This is not, it should be understood, a book for those who like nuance.
There are moments of unintentional black comedy when, on her tour of the world's hot spots, Klein jets in to Baghdad to tell the inhabitants that their real problem is capitalism and finds, as the bombs explode around her, most of her interlocutors wishing they had a little more capitalism and a little less civil war...
Nowadays Naomi Klein's business is selling books, and she uses morality as a branding tool with a deft glibness that many corporate executives must envy. She has learned her trade well.

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