Naomi Klein's Disaster of an Anti-Milton Friedman Case

Was Milton Friedman some kind of grave-dancing disaster capitalist, as the inexplicably popular Naomi Klein has been alleging? The L.A. Times' Paul Thornton takes a look at the longer context of Klein's favorite gotcha Friedman quote, and concludes: nu-uh.

Michael Moynihan puzzled at Klein's Friedman Derangement Syndrome last September, and took on her Friedman-was-a-Pinochite accusation two months later. I called Klein a burn-the-rich economic illiterate in a recent rant, and Julian Sanchez probed the vagaries of anti-consumerist capitalism back in 2003.

Speaking of my ex-colleagues' underappreciated Opinion L.A. blog, don't miss this tale of a Rambo charticle gone horribly wrong, plus Tim Cavanaugh's apt warning to his own colleagues: "People on the wrong end of the plummeting-circulation continuum should show some humility, and maybe even gratitude, toward the customers who are still showing up."

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  • ||

    Naomi Klein: The worst thing to come from Canada since Bryan Adams.

  • Episiarch||

    If I get as stupid as Naomi can I make as much money? I'm willing to do the drugs necessary to achieve this, paid for by my stupidity millions.

  • ||

    John Mueller wrote a tablicle not a charticle - charticles require charts or graphs; tabular data does not rise to level required.

    "John Mueller holds the Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies at Ohio State University." Three peer reviewed papers and a cloud of dust?

    Naomi Klein: The worst thing to come from Canada since Bryan Adams.

    Mark Steyn belongs in there somewhere.

  • ||

    Still nibbling around the edges of the book, I see.

  • ||

    Naomi Wolf, Naomi Klein. Is there something about the name Naomi that makes you into an upper class leftist twit? It amazes me the low standards it takes to be a hard left pundit. There are leftwing writers like Michael Kinsley who, while I disagree with, I have to admit are really smart people. But Klein is just dumb. Only someone of truly limited imagination and intelligence could make the argument this guy links. I know the LA Times editors are leftists and don't see the world the way I do. I got that. But, I don't understand how anyone with an IQ above 80 could have read her article on the guy who was tazered to death in Canada and not thought "this is dumbest thing I have ever read in my life". How does she continue to get published?

  • ||

    Epi,

    Drugs cost money. I'd hit you in the head with a hammer for free.

  • Dave W.||

    Still nibbling around the edges of the book, I see.

    Regular HitnRunners will be happy to know that I find myself coming here a lot less than I used to. I just find this place less interesting lately than it was a couple years ago. I just don't engage with, or even disagree with, the posts like I used to.

    Like you said before, joe, there was a time when this would have been THE cyberplace to bash it out over this controversial book. Now? Not so much.

  • Episiarch||

    I appreciate the offer, but what am I going to do with my stupidity millions if not drugs? I can't buy consumer goods, because, being as stupid as Naomi, I will see them as evil and forced on me by mind-controlling advertisers.

  • robc||

    de stijl,

    Three peer reviewed papers and a cloud of dust?

    I was thinking he slugs Clemson economists.

  • ||

    Apparently, Klein so stupid that no one is willing to make a serious effort to debunk a book that has become a significant political tome by firing a shot directly at the political philosophy espoused in Reason.

    Julian Sanchez would have been all over this with one of this uber-long blog posts. But then again, Julian Sanchez would have acknowledged that Klein is not, in fact, stupid, and acknowledged her legitimate points.

    Can't have that now.

  • ||

    My favorite part of the Opinion L.A. comment board?

    If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.

    Also, Klein should put her money where her big mouth is and not charge anything for her books.

    Facile? Childish? You bet.

  • ||

    Ah. Dave W. withdraws his imprimatur from Hit and Run. It's a real shame, I tells ya...

    (And when are we going to hear from the guy who holds the John Cooper Chair of Remedial Mathematics?

  • Episiarch||

    Julian Sanchez would have been all over this with one of this uber-long blog posts.

    Drink?

  • ||

    John,

    don't forget Naomi Campbell

  • oh||

    So where is Mr. Sanchez and what's he been up to?

  • Roger Maltz||

  • ||

    Epi,

    No, in all that, this is the drink trigger.

    a book that has become a significant political tome

    Of course, that assumes you can keep from snorting the drink out of your nose.

  • ||

    Counterargument: Naomi Watts

  • ||

    Yeah, Reason was better before Gillespie and Postrel took over years ago. I remember how exhilerating it was to read 10 page articles detailing regulation policy fine print.

  • ||

    "Apparently, Klein so stupid that no one is willing to make a serious effort to debunk a book that has become a significant political tome by firing a shot directly at the political philosophy espoused in Reason."

    To do that I would acutally have to read the book. I only have so much time on this earth and there is a finite number of books I can read. To read Klein means I won't read something else. Something of more intellectual value, like the compilation of Penthouse Letters I have meaning to get around to reading. Come on Joe. There are smart people who agree with you. Defend them. Don't bother with Klein. You are better than that.

  • ||

    I'm not sure where Naomi Judd fits in.

  • ||

    "I'm not sure where Naomi Judd fits in."

    Wherever it is. I am sure it is a tight sqeeze.

  • ||

    I'm missing something here. Why should anyone care if some ignorant commie twat doesn't like Milton Friedman?

    -jcr

  • ||

    If Lindsey had his way, Wal-Mart, rather than lose sales, could just loan out money to keep its customers shopping, effectively turning the big-box chain into an old-style company store to which Americans can owe their souls. -Klein

    Real (union-label progressive populist demagogue-lovin') Americans would rather sell their souls to Big Nanny than to those evil bastards at WalMart. Everybody knows that.

  • ||

    Naomi Russell

    from wikipedia

    Naomi Russell aka Naomi (born on September 25, 1983 in Los Angeles, is a pornographic actress. She has performed varied acts but her trademark is rough anal sex.


    I love wikipedia.

  • ||

    "If Lindsey had his way, Wal-Mart, rather than lose sales, could just loan out money to keep its customers shopping, effectively turning the big-box chain into an old-style company store to which Americans can owe their souls."

    Of course Klein will be the first one to raise hell if banks don't lend to poor people. I guess also I missed the part where Wall Mart loaned only company script to be used at Wall Mart.

    You is so obvious Klein has no clue what it is actually like to live paycheck to paycheck in this country. People, who actually do that, don't care about that cute locally owned organic co-op down the street. They care about feeding their kids and paying the rent and shop at Wall Mart because it is cheap and they can't afford to shop anywhere else. If Wall Mart ceased to exist, they would be a hell of a lot worse off than they are. Klein is a classic hypocritical leftist. She loves the People. What she really can't stand are the people individually with bourgeois tastes and bad habit of not doing what she tells them to and living as they are supposed to.

  • Episiarch||

    SugarFree, now we're talking.

  • ||

    Don't worry, John, I don't expect anything more elevated from the commentariat than "stupid commie twat" about ANY book that takes excepton to your political notions.

    But once upon a time, we would have seen Reasonoid, who actually are supposed to be engaginig with the opposition's ideas on the level of ideas, put forward something more relevant than "Naomi Klein hates capitalism, and her interpretation of this quote is ambiguous."

  • Brian Carnell||

    Okay, what I don't get is why Thornton and other seem to think that the "out-of-context" quote is so awful. Hmmm...we have a disastrous government policy that is going to remain in place until it reaches a crisis, and Friedman sees his job as keeping alive alternative ideas that are available when those crises occur.

    As Klein herself celebrates, some of the progressive ideas she loves so much were instituted as the result of a crisis (the Great Depression).

    Klein's problem is she doesn't really seem to have any sort of argument beyond "free trade bad" and "high taxes good."

  • dhex||

    joe, i'll assume you've read no logo, right?

    she's maybe not steyn dumb - if such a thing be possible - but she's not exactly bright either.

    if you want to buy the book and mail it to me, i'll read it and write a long-ish review. but i'm not going to give her any more of my money.

  • ||

    I keep hearing this term "disaster capitalist" tossed around as an epithet.

    Without making me actually read an FA (unless its a short one, with pictures), WTF is it supposed to mean?

  • Steve Horwitz||

    Frankly, Joe, anyone who makes the accusations about Friedman that Klein does has not demonstrated the good faith necessary to be taken seriously in a discussion of the issues she raises. The thesis of her book rests on an ad hominem, or at the very least an *extraordinarily* uncharitable reading of the quote in question. Put in the context of Friedman's whole life and work, there is simply no way to read that quote the way she does and to draw the conclusions from it that she does in the book.

    I'm happy to take on anyone who raises objections to libertarian ideas, as long as they can do so in ways that are clearly good faith efforts to argue the ideas, not sensationalistic bashings of the people they disagree with.

    FWIW, I posed a couple of questions to Klein here.

  • Dave W.||

    Dave W. withdraws his imprimatur from Hit and Run.

    Oh, I am sure I will still check in from time to time. Mr. Balko is still doing topnotch work. joe still posts here, etc.

  • ||

    Nowhere in my Hit and Run commentariat contract does it say anything about "engaging with the opposition's ideas on the level of ideas."
    Sometimes it happens, but for me, that's just gravy.

  • ||

    Joe,

    Follow the links and read her article about the guy in Canada. It is the dumbest thing I have ever read. There are lots of reasonable critiques of capitalism. I don't agree with them, but they exist. Read Ha Joon Chang's Bad Samaritans. Klein's just isn't one of them. I really think she is stupid and gets attention by making outrageous claims. Sort of like Ann Coulter without the sense of humor and long legs. Coulter is just putting on half the time. Klein really believes the goofball things she writes.

    As far as ideas go, Wall Mart is the best thing that has happened to rural America in the last 40 years. If you don't believe me, go ask the people who live there and are old enough to remember the good old days when you had to drive two or three hours to get to so much as a JC Penny. Klein has no understanding of how people actually live.

  • Neu Mejican||

    A good place to start a serious discussion of the book?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/books/review/Stiglitz-t.html?_r=3&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=books&adxnnlx=1191080508-xgqHp+i170M7vW5X5Q4Yeg&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

    Klein is not an academic and cannot be judged as one. There are many places in her book where she oversimplifies. But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification, basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed perfect information, perfect competition, perfect risk markets. Indeed, the case against these policies is even stronger than the one Klein makes. They were never based on solid empirical and theoretical foundations, and even as many of these policies were being pushed, academic economists were explaining the limitations of markets - for instance, whenever information is imperfect, which is to say always.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I guess the author of the above quote will not meet the high standards of "economic literacy" demanding around here, but at least he passed ekon 101.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_E._Stiglitz

  • ||

    dhex,

    Why would you assume that I'd read No Logo? I certainly haven't written anything to suggest that I did.

    Steve Horowitz,

    The thesis of her book rests on an ad hominem, or at the very least an *extraordinarily* uncharitable reading of the quote in question. No, Steve, it doesn't. That is one quote she uses to back up her case, which is mainly based on the observed evidence of how global capitalist institutions have operated. I can understand how you could draw this conclusion based on Reason's treatment of the book, though. That's sort of my point.

  • ||

    basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed perfect information, perfect competition, perfect risk markets.

    Isn't that pretty much exactly backwards?

  • ||

    It is a horrible book. She leaves out so much in regards to Freidman that it is almost a joke. First Friedman was invite to Chile by a PRIVATE university to speak not by the Chilean government. Second, he turned down several lecture offers by Chilean schools to be a visting professor. Third, Klien implies that Chile was this great worker's paradise under Allende which we all know was not true. Fourth, she tries to imply that Friedman's policies can only work in a dictatorship or during war yet never mentions that Friedman's policies have been implemented in Iceland,New Zealand and Estonia with popular consent. The former prime minister of Estonia has said several times that the only book that inspired his free market reforms was "Free to Choose"....

  • Steve Horwitz||

    And I address some of those other arguments about her supposed "observations" in the link in the previous post.

  • Neu Mejican||

    http://cafehayek.typepad.com/hayek/2008/01/naomi-vs-milton.html

    Uncle Milt take Naomi mano y mano

  • ||

    "Fourth, she tries to imply that Friedman's policies can only work in a dictatorship or during war"

    Of course if Klein knew anything about history, which she doesn't, she would know that most of her most cherished progressive policies came about under dictatorships or during war or both. If you look at what Klein actually advocates, it is pretty damned close to the German war socialism of World War I, just without the war. But in terms of government control over industry and commerce it is pretty close. Further, when you consider the fact that economic affluence translates into political influence, it is hard to see how Wolf's policies could ever be implemented absent a dictatorship or a national emergency like a war. It is funny that she claims that about Friedman. Talk about projection.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Apparently, Klein so stupid that no one is willing to make a serious effort to debunk a book that has become a significant political tome by firing a shot directly at the political philosophy espoused in Reason.

    joe, I'm not familiar with her work. Can you summarize Klein's most salient criticisms of the "political philosophy espoused in Reason"?

  • ||

    By their fruits ye shall know them. How many times must I pay attention to someone who performs sloppy analyses or reaches unsupported conclusions before I can dismiss him/her? Criticizing Friedman is fine--certainly, he made his share of mistakes--but my problems with Klein are greater than just disagreement. She certainly isn't doing anything to effectively challenge my views. She's just writing for an echo chamber. Frankly, joe, there are better critics of capitalism (and consumerism, whatever that is) more worthy of your support.

  • ||

    Steve,

    Good for you!

    One would think that the flagship publication of libertarianism in the America would consider it worthwhile the engage in a similar undertaking, given the significant audience Klein's book is reaching and the influence it is having over our public discourse.

  • Episiarch||

    OH NOES, we're making fun of Naomi! joe, please set us straight and slay our humor like the knight in sanctimonious stodginess you are.

  • ||

    Mike L,

    I'm not familiar with her work, either.

    Isn't it interesting that, for all of the attention Reason has given to this book, and the way they write about having debunked it, you don't know what the book's thesis is?

  • ||

    Pro Libertate,

    Pointing out that Reason's coverage of this book has been shallow is not defending it.

    It's amazing how many people seem to be under the impression that I've ventured an opinion about Disaster Capitalism.

  • Episiarch||

    Maybe you can yell at us to get off your lawn as well, joe.

  • ||

    One would think that the flagship publication of libertarianism in the America

    For pity's sake; can't you at least wait 'til noon? It's 9:45 AM here.

  • ||

    How about the Earle Bruce Chair of Fashion Design?

  • ||

    Joe,

    Andrew Murphy above made some very good substantive points illustrating how the book is both poorly written and dishonest. You want a serious discussion so badly, there is your chance. What is your response to his points?

  • dhex||


    Why would you assume that I'd read No Logo? I certainly haven't written anything to suggest that I did.


    cause it was pretty popular?

    i mean, i fucking read it, broseidon.

  • ||

    John,

    OK, I'll repeat it again: I don't have a response to his points, not having read the book.

    Why is this such a confusing point?

  • ||

    joe,

    Come on. If Reason were dismissing a work you agreed needed dismissing, I hardly think you'd call them out on it.

  • thoreau||

    joe-

    Just get it over with:

    "For a magazine called Reason..."

    Drink!

  • PantsFan||

    Joe's asking us how we know its a crappy book without having read it.

    Joe> Does that mean you can't say that dropping an anvil on your head won't hurt until you've actually tried it?

  • thoreau||

    BTW, I love that the latest "Reason is going to hell in a handbasket" complaints look back fondly on the Julian Sanchez era.

    I'm old enough to remember when Sanchez was a sign that the magazine was going to hell in a handbasket. Ah, 2004. Good times, man. Good times.

  • ||

    "Don't worry, John, I don't expect anything more elevated from the commentariat than "stupid commie twat" .

    Oh, I assumed we were discussing this Naomi Wolf:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Wolf

    Is there some other Naomi Wolf who isn't a stupid commie twat who's written a critique of Friedman?

    As I recall, you're more than slightly pink around the edges yourself, aren't you?

    -jcr

  • ed||

    the significant audience Klein's book is reaching and the influence it is having over our public discourse

    The only time I ever see her mentioned or discussed is here, but I don't get out much. Take a poll of "average" Americans and I'll bet maybe one in a hundred has heard of her, if that.

  • ||

    "Of course if Klein knew anything about history, "

    You can't be a commie and know anything about history, unless you're utterly depraved.

    -jcr

  • Mike Laursen||

    I'm not familiar with her work, either.

    Then what basis did you have for declaring "book that has become a significant political tome by firing a shot directly at the political philosophy espoused in Reason." All you're going on is that it's sold a lot of copies, and is part of some vague "public discourse"? But you, yourself, don't know much about what her books say?

    Isn't it interesting that, for all of the attention Reason has given to this book, and the way they write about having debunked it, you don't know what the book's thesis is?

    Hell, I read a lot of stuff in reason. I can't remember it all. That's got nothing to do with whether reason has done a good job of covering these books that have had such a profound impact on the "public discourse" that you haven't bothered reading them.

  • ||

    "Apparently, Klein so stupid"

    Yep, it's about like trying to debate with creationists. They both start from a fundamentally irrational, emotional position, making them impervious to logic.

    -jcr

  • stephen the goldberger||

    Joe is absolutly right. Reason needs an economics commentator who can show the fallacy of Klein's important (sadly) book, instead of just saying she is stupid over and over again. Just showing one of her recent moronic opinion pieces as evidence does not do the trick.

  • tarran||

    I watched her do an interview on some PBS show recently (I think it was Charlie Rose but am can't remember with any certainty).

    It really bothered me. Not that she was making points that were difficult to refute. What made the interveiw almost impossible to bear was that her "logic", the way she organized her thoughts, reminded me so much of George Bush II, except she had better diction and lacked that fake Texan accent & mannerisms.

    In the end, her thesis was that evil free market supporters use crises to trick/force governments to adopt free market ideas, and the poor are hurt. And no matter how little the actual evidence of history supports this thesis, she was determined to hammer the square pegs into the round holes.

    But, she, or her publisher, is a marketing genius, so she'll make a pretty penny from peddling her snake-oil policies to a gullible public.

  • ||

    Mike/ed,

    She has appeared on various tv outlets to discuss the book, include the Daily Show and CSPAN, and it is one of the better-selling political books on the market.

    Yes, Mike, this is observation about the SIGNICANCE of her work, and not the QUALITY of her work. We can call this cleared up now, right?

  • ||

    PBS? Oh, that can't be, tarran.

    Since I haven't read the book, that means it isn't making any splash in our political culture at all.

    Ask Mike L. He'll explain it to you.

  • ||

    ed,

    The only time I ever see her mentioned or discussed is here, but I don't get out much. Take a poll of "average" Americans and I'll bet maybe one in a hundred has heard of her, if that.

    The reason it's "influencing discourse" is because the converted love being preached to.

    Keep wiggling joe, you'll get out from under it eventually.

  • dhex||

    klein, not wolf.

    seriously, if you're going to play the "You can't be a commie and know anything about history, unless you're utterly depraved." card, you might want to be a wee bit informed about the subject at hand, like with uh names and stuff.

  • tarran||

    Oh, and she kept conflating crony capitalism, mercantilism, corporatism and free market capitalism.

    According to her, California's energy "deregulation" what with its managed markets and strictures forbidding long term contracts was "free market capitalism" of the sort Milton Friedman supported.

    I guess if I call every shape I see a square, I could "prove" all kinds of things about squares too.

  • Taktix®||

    Joe is absolutly right. Reason needs an economics commentator who can show the fallacy of Klein's important (sadly) book, instead of just saying she is stupid over and over again. Just showing one of her recent moronic opinion pieces as evidence does not do the trick.

    What is the point of debunking these long-argued screeds against capitalism just because it has a new champion.

    Collectivist opinions like Klein's have been repeated, without much alteration, for over a century now. To have to go back and debunk them for the umpteenth time would only make the Naomi "broken record" Klein's opinions more valid.

    If she were to pose a serious argument, I'm certain many would pose a serious response. But why dignify such echo-chamber tripe with a thoughtful response, when the premise itself was not thoughtful?

    Save your time and refute those that matter; ridiculing idiotic twits is all they deserve...

  • ||

    I haven't budged, SugarFree.

    In fact, I'll repost my original comment, just for you:


    Apparently, Klein so stupid that no one is willing to make a serious effort to debunk a book that has become a significant political tome by firing a shot directly at the political philosophy espoused in Reason.

    Julian Sanchez would have been all over this with one of this uber-long blog posts. But then again, Julian Sanchez would have acknowledged that Klein is not, in fact, stupid, and acknowledged her legitimate points.

    Can't have that now.


    Yep, I sure have wiggled away from that point.

  • ||

    Appropriate response to red-meat-for-true-believers pop-economics or pop-political books like Klein's or Goldberg's Liberal Fascism?

    Read them if you want. I won't.

    They are intended for a core audience who already believes or wants to believe the thesis, and books of this type give the readers exactly what they're looking for.

  • ||

    Now if she gets a show on the new Oprah Winfrey Network, well, then maybe I'll take her seriously.

    Yeah, that's right, OWN. What used to be Discovery Health is going to be all Oprah, all of the time.

  • ||

    Since we're drinking early, Taktix just did a good job laying out why libertarianism is approximately 1/1000th as important in our society as Naomi Klein:

    "Why should we have to argue against such ideas? Everyone with a brain in their head already knows we're right."

  • ||

    In the end, her thesis was that evil free market supporters use crises to trick/force governments to adopt free market ideas, and the poor are hurt.

    I'll take that as a definition of "disaster capitalism." Thanks.

    Of course, any government that has to adopt free market ideas presumably wasn't following them in the first place.

    Show of hands - who here is surprised that governments that are blocking free markets in their countries experience economic/social crises?

  • robc||

    One would think that the flagship publication of libertarianism

    I always considered Liberty the flagship publication of libertarianism. Its Reason? Huh.

    BTW, I havent had a subscription to either in years, but I had my Liberty one for much longer than Reason. However, I just heard a few months ago that Bradford had died (in 2005).

  • Taktix®||

    They are intended for a core audience who already believes or wants to believe the thesis, and books of this type give the readers exactly what they're looking for.

    Like ReganBooks?

  • ||

    The problem is not a lack of ideas "alive and available" -- to borrow Friedman's phrase. There are plenty available, from single-payer healthcare to legislating a living wage. Hundreds of thousands of jobs can be created by rebuilding the ailing public infrastructure and making it more friendly to public transit and renewable energy. Need start-up funds? Close the loophole that lets billionaire hedge fund managers pay 15% capital gains instead of 35% income tax, and adopt a long-proposed tax on international currency trading. The bonus? A less volatile, crisis-prone market.

    "Legislating a living wage" is not an idea which requires much in the way of debunking. Ask Nixon.

    "Closing the loophole" et c, are likely to produce an effect substantially different than that anticipated by Klein. The "bonus" is likely to be a much easier time finding a parking space in lower Manhattan.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    What is the point of debunking these long-argued screeds against capitalism just because it has a new champion.

    Because people listen to her, she is culturally relevent, and a new generation has not heard all the arguments and counter-arguments regarding capitalism. The new generation doesn't remember Soviet communism, and is relatively naive.

    Also a lot of what she's attacking is what happened in the transitional period for these countries, relatively recent history. Its important to distinguish what was caused by market forces and what was poor gov't policy.

    By Ignoring Klein you are letting her control that debate.

  • dhex||

    joe, i assumed you'd read klein because you'd so readily defended her instead of just walking away from a fight you had no dog in.

    i know that this is your thing and all, but still.

    i also assumed you'd read klein because, well, everyone i know has, and most of them are closer to you politically than they are to me.

  • Sam Grove||

    But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification, basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed perfect information, perfect competition, perfect risk markets.

    I was not aware of any claim among free marketers that there is a 'perfection of market economies'.
    Being a free marketer, you would think I'd be aware of such.
    Perfection is an ideal and, like value, usually lies in the eyes of the beholder.

    The implication of ascribing this 'fault' to free marketers is that there is something better...ah, yes, democratically optimized markets. Now that sounds of perfection.

  • ||

    [L]ibertarianism is approximately 1/1000th as important in our society as Naomi Klein. . . .

    Yet you clearly read Hit & Run (and presumably Reason) about a 1,000 times more than you read Klein.

    Feel the distrust of government flowing through you. Turn away from the Dark Side. Learn the value of closing HTML tags. Levitate various objects. ☺

  • Taktix®||

    Since we're drinking early, Taktix just did a good job laying out why libertarianism is approximately 1/1000th as important in our society as Naomi Klein:

    "Why should we have to argue against such ideas? Everyone with a brain in their head already knows we're right."


    Perhaps I was unclear. I didn't mean that refutations of Klein's old, tired rhetoric are absolute truth.

    My point is that if you want serious responses to things being repeated over and over, look to the zillion or so times they have been refuted.

    Let me give you an example:

    If I came on here and asked you, joe, to refute that the Earth is flat, every day, would you:

    A) continue making thoughtful, researched responses every time I repeated it, or...

    B) grow tired of having to refute the same stupid-twit points over and over again, and eventually just lighten up a bit and poke fun at me?

  • ||

    What stephen the g said.

    And I'll add, "because Naomi Klein isn't actually making the same argument that the CPUSA was making in 1955, as dear to your heart as it might be to tell yourself she is."

  • ||

    Oh, I see, joe, it's about the significance of her work, not the quality... so why not demand an article from reason about leftist gullibility and dogma and not an in-depth analysis of easily and oft-refuted claims she makes?

    But I guess that wouldn't highlight what awful people we are, would it? Confirmationbiasgasm imminent. Attain minimum safe distance.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    I just want to say this shows the fundamental problem with Reason which is that it is a cultural commentary magazine. It cannot attack Klein, because its main attack on Klein is "She is a cultural critic with no background/understanding in economics". Which is exactly could be used to describe what anyone writing the rebuttal to Klein would be.

  • ||

    Dave W. withdraws his imprimatur from Hit and Run.
    [thunderous applause, toasts all around]

    Oh, I am sure I will still check in from time to time. Mr. Balko is still doing topnotch work. joe still posts here, etc.

    Damn, damn, and double damn! I'm wearing out my page down key skipping moronic posters and Dave W. inanity is part of the solution.

  • ||

    And you know that her argument sre weak, and have been oft-refuted how SugarFree.

    Oh, right. Because everyone who disagrees with you about politics is exactly the same, so that you can look at the refutation of something somebody wrote in 1972 and just assume that Klein must be making exactly the same arguments.

    Such lazy, flabby, self-satisfied reasoning - I don't have to answer what she says, and don't even have to know what she says, because all of those people are just the same and are wrong - I have not seen since the welfare debates of the late 80s.

  • robc||

    I will use an example to illustrate why it isnt necessary to read her:

    Before I read Atlas Shrugged, I read Anthem to see if I wanted to spend the time reading a brazillion page novel. I liked Anthem, so I went ahead.

    On the same level, many of us have read Klein's shorter works and have determined that reading the larger work is a waste.

  • ||

    Like ReganBooks?

    I was thinking along the lines of Regnery Publishing and whatever the left-wing version of that is. But in looking at the Regan Books line-up, yeah it fits, in that it is basically a polemics and apologia publisher but with some juicy bits thrown in like the OJ "If I did it" book and the Jenna Jameson autobiography.

  • ||

    Off Topic- Romney drops out! Got sick of spending his own money-doesn't have thousands of supporters who are willing to contribute like Ron Paul does!

  • Taktix®||

    On the same level, many of us have read Klein's shorter works and have determined that reading the larger work is a waste.

    Thank you.

  • ||

    Whoa--I thought you were kidding! That's odd. Will Huckabee pick up a lot of votes? I doubt Paul will, not from Romney supporters.

  • ||

    Apparently, Klein so stupid that no one is willing to make a serious effort to debunk a book that has become a significant political tome by firing a shot directly at the political philosophy espoused in Reason.

    joe -

    I've a confession to make. I haven't read the latest Holocaust denial tome. Maybe it has new reasoning that has heretofore not been presented.

    I've also been neglecting to read the latest intelligent design biology textbooks. Maybe there is convincing evidence there that I should consider.

    Hell, having not read his work, I'm completely unable to criticize Erich Von Daniken.

    Call me out if I ever again call any of those subjects absolute nonsense.

  • fling93||

    Not that anybody here disagrees about the quality of her work anymore, but if Tyler Cowen and Steve Horwitz aren't enough, here's another critique of Klein, this time from the left.

    It basically says that it's clear that she didn't do her homework.

  • ||

    The world's largest retailer said Thursday it will open "The Clinic at Wal-Mart" as a joint venture with local hospital systems in Atlanta, Dallas and Little Rock, Ark., starting in April.

    Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart is among several U.S. supermarket and drug store chains that in the past couple of years have begun opening store-based health clinics, which are staffed mostly by nurse practitioners or physician assistants and offer quick service for routine conditions from colds and bladder infections to sunburn.

    About 7 percent of Americans have tried a clinic at least once, according to an estimate by the Convenient Care Association, an industry trade group formed in 2006.

    That number is expected to increase dramatically, as chains like Wal-Mart, CVS Corp., Target Corp. and Walgreen Co. partner with mini-clinic providers like RediClinic and MinuteClinic to expand operations. The trade group estimates there will be more than 1,500 by year-end, up from about 800 in November.


    -from the AP

    Those perfidious DisasterCapitalist bastards- driving down the cost of health care. It's outrageous!

  • ||

    J sub D,

    Has the latest Holocaust denial tome been featured on several major-media outlets?

    No?

    Have fun with your cult, and don't pay any attention to what the nonbelievers think.

  • ||

    joe,

    By that measure, the mental health of Britney Spears is the greatest issue facing America today. I wonder where the remaining candidates stand on this (Romney dropping out--Was ist los?)?

  • ||

    You certainly seem to be having fun with our cult, joe. I often enjoy your comments and always am entertained by your battles here, but sometimes I wonder -- what's in it for you?

    And what about "The John Wilce Chair of Intestinal Fortitude"?

  • ||

    Off Topic- Romney drops out! Got sick of spending his own money-doesn't have thousands of supporters who are willing to contribute like Ron Paul does!

    Rick Barton,

    I heard that, too, but I didn't see any press releases about it. My Google is broken, maybe?

  • javier||

    Reason needs an economics commentator who can show the fallacy of Klein's important (sadly) book, instead of just saying she is stupid over and over again

    what is the thing that the african tribes do to promote peace?? Like a family member exchange with the other tribes. I think reason and the LvMI should exchange people so that reason gets someone whom actually knows something about economics and the LvMI will get someone to make them more tolerant.

  • ||

    smacky,

    Looks like it's true--it's popping up all over in the press. He's "suspending" his campaign, whatever that means. I guess if McCain dies during the rest of his nomination run, Romney wants to be ready.

  • T||

    joe,

    Try this, it works better:

    Klein so stupid that no one is willing to make a serious effort to debunk a book that has become a significant political tome by firing a shot directly at an incoherent political philosophy imagined from whole cloth by Klein that purports to be what she and her readers think people they disagree with believe.

    I have read parts of No Logo and Shock Doctrine. I don't need to comment on it because it's fantasy. That some people want to believe it is fine. People started a Church of the Jedi, too. When somebody cites either one as a evidence or support for policy, I'll take them off at the knees. In the meantime, she can go about her business of selling books based on fantasy just as George Lucas can. It don't confront me one way or the other.

  • ||

    Has the latest Holocaust denial tome been featured on several major-media outlets?

    joe, Erich Von Danikens work was. So was Velikovsky's. That didn't preclude them from being complete bullshit.

  • Sam Grove||

    From what I have seen of Ms Klein, from her own mouth, in her own hand, in her own words, like mu ch of the left, they are adept at burning their capitalism straw man.

    Ms Klein is obviously not dumb, but she is emotive and unable to engage in intellectually honest discourse on the object of her articulate (puts words together in coherent sentences) rant.

  • First Little Pig||

    I have not read the book, but I did listen to two interviews with her about it and I think I heard enough to call it crap.

    Her argument boils down to the idea that evil capitalist scum either use disaster as a pretext (natural as in earthquake, political as in revolution/assassination/coup, economic as in hyperinflation, currency run, commodity collapse) to impose the Friedman, monetarist, capitalist, exploitative, model onto the backs of poor brown people with the help of the US Govt and the IMF. If there is no extant disaster, they create one of their own as in Chile.

    She believes that the poor brown people are tricked into this economic model and that it makes their lives worse and enriches rich people. What she fails to see is that in the vast majority of cases where structural economic reform (what we disaster capitalists would prefer to call it) is implemented it is 1) due to the fact that the previous economic model did not work and made the vast majority of people miserable; 2) that while the economic reform does make some people much better off, it tends to make all boats rise; and 3) every alternative to fiscal and monetary discipline, efforts to reduce official corruption, and the imposition of legal reform (especially dealing with property rights) leads to a return to the mess that the so-called "economic shock" therapy was meant to address.

    She fails to recognize that capitalism has improved the living standards of most who toil under it and that those who do indeed end up in "sweat shops" volunteered for it as a better alternative to starving in the countryside.

    I don't know if it is in the book, but I doubt that she understands the rise of Asia and the vast improvements in Eastern Europe are because capitalism-with-structural-economic-reform has worked there.

    BTW I have an advanced degree in economics and used to work as an economist on Wall Street. I know, I know, that automatically makes me a "disaster capitalist"

  • Mike Laursen||

    Ask Mike L. He'll explain it to you.

    joe is ostensibly a liberal, but likely a closet libertarian, who likes to hang out on a libertarian blog and argue with other commenters for the fun of it. Many of us enjoy arguing with him, primarily because he has a unique and entertaining ability to twist the logic of his original point into stranger and stranger contortions as he refuses to ever concede defeat.

  • ||

    "Not that anybody here disagrees about the quality of her work anymore, but if Tyler Cowen and Steve Horwitz aren't enough, here's another critique of Klein, this time from the left.

    It basically says that it's clear that she didn't do her homework."

    And neither did that guy.

  • fling93||

    Juan: "And neither did that guy."

    Curious. That you chose the word "neither" indicates that you agree with the underlying point about Klein, but chose to voice that agreement in troll-like fashion.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Jeez, you guys can talk all day and miss the point:

    Naomi Klein: Hot
    Milton Friedman: Not

    Is that so complicated?

  • ||

    http://www.smh.com.au/ffxImage/urlpicture_id_1062901943879_2003/09/07/naomi_klein,0.jpg

    Maybe you have met her in person Tim and if so I defer to your judgment, but frankly she doesn't do a whole lot for me. At least not in the pictures on the web.

  • ||

    Hot? Well, much more attractive than Friedman, anyway.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Actually, the main flaw in Klein's pathetic argument is that the vast majority of disasters result in larger government and more government spending, not more capitalism. So, at best she comes across as whining that capitalists are finally using disasters to advance their policies in the exact same way anti-capitalists have for decades.

  • Russ 2000||

    Freidman was quite hot for a while.

    When he was being cremated.

  • ||

    Tim--Stop hanging around ugly women. It's skewing the curve for you.

  • ||

    Not ugly, but there's a steep curve if you're in the public figure realm.

  • ||

    "Naomi Klein: Hot "

    Dude,

    Have you visited an optometrist lately?

    -jcr

  • economist||

    John,
    Not cool. My grandmother's name was Naomi, and she wasn't a leftist twit.

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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