Corporate Welfare

Dissent's Mild Dissent on Naomi Klein

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Following up on Michael Moynihan's post on Johan Norberg's takedown of anti-globalization polemicist Naomi Klein and her book The Shock Doctrine ("hopelessly flawed at virtually every level"), I noticed (via Arts & Letters Daily) the following in the midst of an otherwise very favorable review of the book in the latest Dissent:

Klein's depiction of a monolithic class of politico-corporate elites is not tailored for every political situation. It is not particularly helpful for recognizing and exploiting the differences between Clintonian "free traders," Republican realists, and neocon fundamentalists. It provides little guidance for understanding what to make of it when the Weekly Standard opposes permanent normal trade relations with China, a key goal of corporate globalists, on human rights grounds. Nor does it allow for distinctions between different sectors of capital-recognizing, for example, that the interests of the vast tourism industry (which is currently furious about how Bush's War on Terror has adversely affected its business) may not be the same as those of Halliburton. Finally, it denies out of hand that religious conviction or nationalism, independent of commerce, might be forces in influencing Bush administration policy.

Whole thing here.

I suppose Klein's refusal to differentiate between free trade and corporate welfare isn't the gravest of her sins, but its still nice to see somebody on the left call her out for it.

More reason dissent on Klein's slipshod work here, here, and here.

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  1. hopelessly flawed at virtually every level
    That pretty much sums it up for Ms Klein

  2. It’s the damn corporate welfare/regulatory favors thing that distorts the view of Laissez-faire. If we didn’t have that damn monkey (tuesday) on our back, we’d have a much easier time explaining the benefits of a free market.

    How do we fix it? Regulate more? Pursue tougher anti-trust laws?

    No.

    Take away the power of politicians to grants such favors, and the market will work itself out.

  3. I vote take away power of politicians to grant such favors AND pursue tougher anti-trust laws. No need to choose taktix here.

  4. I have read Mrs. Klein’s “No Logo,” which was another anti-capitalist book. However, I actually liked in with regard to the philosophy of commodities and culture.
    She published it in 2000, so she must have been working on it starting about a decade ago. At that point, the ability of the new globalized capitalism to tolerate niche cultures and markets was much less obvious. When Klein talks about ‘megaindustry’ steamrolling all cultures into one and curtailing our choice, she’s actually talking about a highly regulated globalization that pretends to be much more free-market than it is. It’s her mistake for not realizing that eventually such huge things will be undermined and that while a handful of companies may control 70% of the market, that leftover 30% is where the amazing diversity and innovation really start to happen.

  5. I vote take away power of politicians to grant such favors AND pursue tougher anti-trust laws.

    Uh, Dave, do you really not see how tougher anti-trust laws are just another way for politicians to grant favors?

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