marijuana | Law | Economy | Investing | Marketing | Entrepreneurship | Economic Policy | Globalization | Emerging Markets

Naomi Klein: Disaster Capitalism

More from this series:

Commonwealth Club of California

More videos from this partner:


  • Info
  • Bio
  • Chapters
  • Preview
  • Download
  • Zoom In
There are 20 comments on this program

Please or register to post a comment.
Previous FORAtv comments:
rwillems01 Avatar
Posted: 10.26.08, 08:11 PM
Really toosinbeymen, keeping the government in check is the last thing Klien wants to do. She is a Marxist (read her book, don't rely on the New Republic). The last thing a Marxist wants to do is keep government in check.
toosinbeymen Avatar
Posted: 10.26.08, 07:36 PM
Wait a minute, you are going to believe what you read in the New Republic? It should be called the neocon republic. Could you find a more thoroughly discredited rag? It's obvious why Naomi Klein attracts trolls, the fact that she's informing people of how to keep our governments in check, especially the right wing governments, is very enlightening.
RoyalWe Avatar
Posted: 10.26.08, 08:53 AM
And also - what in the world does any of this have to do with shooting "the messenger." Read more closely. It's all about her message, which is comically underesearched. If you don't have the time or inclination to read all of Chait's piece pls read what I've excerpted here. It's nearly impossible to read it and retain any respect for Klein's work. "Her ignorance of the American right is on bright display in one breathtaking sentence: Only since the mid-nineties has the intellectual movement, led by the right-wing think-tanks with which [Milton] Friedman had long associations--Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute--called itself "neoconservative," a worldview that has harnessed the full force of the U.S. military machine in the service of a corporate agenda. Where to begin? First, neoconservative ideology dates not from the 1990s but from the 1960s, and the label came into widespread use in the 1970s. Second, while neoconservatism is highly congenial to corporate interests, it is distinctly less so than other forms of conservatism. The original neocons, unlike traditional conservatives, did not reject the New Deal. They favor what they now call "national greatness" over small government. And their foreign policy often collides head-on with corporate interests: neoconservatives favor saber-rattling in places such as China or the Middle East, where American corporations frown on political risk, and favor open relations and increased trade. Moreover, the Heritage Foundation has always had an uneasy relationship with neoconservatism. (Russell Kirk delivered a famous speech at the Heritage Foundation in which he declared that "not seldom has it seemed as if some eminent neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States.") And the Cato Institute is not neoconservative at all. It was virulently opposed to the Iraq war in particular, and it opposes interventionism in foreign policy in general. Finally, there is the central role that Klein imputes to her villain Friedman, both in this one glorious passage and throughout her book. In her telling, he is the intellectual guru of the shock doctrine, whose minions have carried out his corporatist agenda from Santiago to Baghdad. Klein calls the neocon movement "Friedmanite to the core," and identifies the Iraq war as a "careful and faithful application of unrestrained Chicago School ideology" over which Friedman presided. What she does not mention--not once, not anywhere, in her book--is that Friedman argued against the Iraq war from the beginning, calling it an act of "aggression." It ought to be morbidly embarrassing for a writer to discover that the central character of her narrative turns out to oppose what she identifies as the apotheosis of his own movement. And Klein's mistake exposes the deeper flaw of her thesis. Friedman opposed the war because he was a libertarian, and libertarian conservatism is not the same thing as neoconservatism. Nor are the interests of corporations always, or even usually, served by war."
RoyalWe Avatar
Posted: 10.26.08, 08:45 AM
Hi Farber - remind me, which Neocons got into power in the 1990s? To the extent that Tony Blair is a neocon you might be right. The amusing fact is that no true "neocon" has ever been in power in the US - they have been in influence but not in power. Thanks to half-assed journo dropouts like Naomi Klein who have been embraced as public "intellectuals" by a gullible public there is very little accurate information out there on what a "neocon" is. The Neocons are largely an offshoot of the Democratic party - and originally made up of people who sympathized with the foreign policy of the Kennedy-Truman years but were disillusioned (some would say disgusted) by the evolution of the Democratic Party's foreign policy identity in the late 60s and 70s. Where the Bush admin is concerned (who's apologizing for those incompetent __cks?) there was really only one true neocon with inside influence, Paul Wolfowitz. Cheney is not a neocon. Rumsfeld and Rice are definitely not neocons. And Bush is only what his closest advisers tell him to be. Neoconservatism is primarily defined by its foreign policy agenda which asserts that the wealth and power (not just military) and influence of advanced democracies should be used to overthrow dictatorships and encourage participatory democracies. Of recent world leaders the one who comes closest to fitting the neocon mold is Tony Blair. George Bush only adopted SOME of these principles after 9/11 but he originally rejected them - and associated them with Bill Clinton, who in total was at least as close to neoconservative foreign policy thinking as Bush ever became (remember - Clinton was the original in dancing around the UN to intervene in the affairs of another state... see: Kosovo, 1999). The problem with poser "intellectuals" like Klein is that they exploit a popular hypothesis and then rely on the gullibility of the people that want to believe their claims to ensure that no one ever calls them on it. Our thanks to Jon Chait for this valuable service in exposing Klein for the lightweight that she is.
rwillems01 Avatar
Posted: 10.25.08, 11:38 PM
Well, I don't consider people "flaws" but I think I know where you are going with the thought. I see the central problem with socialism/communism is that it demands the individual to relinquish control to an absolutely powerful state. The state will tell you what to do and when to do it. In exchange, the state provides you security from failure (no risk). Reguardless of what you do, the state will "protect" you. In capitalism you are free to fail but you will fail bcasue of your actions not somebody elses actions. The more risk you take (small business owner, entrepenuer, investnt banker, whatever) the more you stand to make - but if you are wrong, you fail and your out of the game. Fear of failure is a huge incentive, it drives people to excel, it makes people think, it makes people take risks which in turn, help us all move forward. The lack of the ability to fail in the socialistic system takes away the incentive for people to do better. Why take the risk of devoting my life to developing a new computer chip when it will me nothing to me if I succeed? For the "glory" of the state? That works for the young and impressionable but not for most others. Hence, if you look at the countries that have try are or still experimenting with socialism, you will see a pretty stagnant society. Yes, in either system people can get into positions of power and "rig" the game. In either case (capitalistic societies or socialistic societies) it is the government that gives these individuals the power to cheat. It may be by means of laws or by means of regulations. A lot has been said about how the "deregulation" of the banking industry led to the current financial problems we are facing. In reality it was the government supported Fannie and Freddie, the manipulation of the money supply by the Fed, and the anti-competition regulations of the SEC which gave power to people who had not deserved it. And, as soon as they got that power, they rigged the game to keep everyone else out. That is not capitalism and it is not a free market.
farber2 Avatar
Posted: 10.25.08, 10:09 PM
socialism and capitalism have the same flaw. people. can socialism work if you can't trust it's leaders? no. can capitalism work if you can't trust it's leaders? no. which is worse, the downfall of the soviets, or our current downfall, neither type of system can work if it is based on greed and cronyism.
rwillems01 Avatar
Posted: 10.25.08, 08:31 PM
RW, Thanks for the link to that very interesting and inciteful article on Naomi Klien. farber2 you should read it. As for apologizing for Bush -- no way. He was (and is) a horrible President. But to try to link neoconservativism and the economic disaster we are currently going through to Milton Friedman -- give me a break! Has she ever read (or understood) Milton Friedman. As one of the many out of touch socialists, she just can not see that the current economic crisis (or anything else that seems to be bothering them) is not the result of a free market, but rather driven by attempts of the government to "social engineer" --- aka centrally plan --- our lives. The economic crisis was brought on by two massive government established and protected organizations (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). It was these organizations along with thier supporters in Congress who doled out mortgages to anyone who wanted one reguardless of thier means or ability to repay the loans. A social experiment some would say, to help the poor get housing, "just like the rich". But as Milton Friedman would pointed out, these government programs often resulted in unintended consequences. In this case, as Fannie and Freddie flooded the mortgage markets with a lot of cheap money, they provided the pump that inflated the housing bubble. Instead of making it easy for poor people to buy homes, it resulted in home prices becoming inflated to the point where the poor (and everyone else) were now buying homes tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars more expensive than they would have been. In the end we are all going to take a beating on this, and as often happens with many well meaning but poorly thought out programs, the poorest members fo society will be hurt the worst. They will be the first to lose thier homes and jobs. It is a shame that the committed socialist (or communists, fascists, Marxists, etc), like Ms. Klien, can not see how bankrupt thier economic philosophies are. There is not one example of a successful application of a strong centrally planned economic program (and a central planned, stong state control is at the heart of all those 'isms). Whereas in every case where the fmarket has been allowed to work (and there have been few true free market experiments) the result has been prosperity for all involved from the poorest to the richest. This is recognized throughout the world (except for maybe in San Francisco) as nation after nation take hesitiate steps to free thier people and thier econimies from the terrible burden of socialism (China and India being the two largest).
farber2 Avatar
Posted: 10.25.08, 06:58 PM
apologizing for bush is next, right? attack the messenger, and maybe we will for get the message. neoconservatism started when one of these people got into power, about the 90's. of course there is no sign of any disaster in capitalism right now.
sactownjudge Avatar
Posted: 10.25.08, 08:46 AM
Well RW - like Klein I am from Toronto. And I will agree with you that her background as a University of Toronto journalism dropout hasn't equipped her with the strongest qualifications for pontificating to the world on economic issues that are clearly well beyond her grasp.
RoyalWe Avatar
Posted: 10.25.08, 08:41 AM
Naomi Klein is a good laugh. As Jon Chait of The New Republic shows here her research is sometimes hilariously spotty. She seems to not know the first thing about neoconservatism (writing that it got its start in the 1990s when it was already well-developed by the 1970s) even though it's the object of some of her most focused criticism. She somehow pegs Milton Friedman as part of the Iraq War cabal - in spite of the fact that Friedman vocally opposed the war from the beginning. The whole theory of "disaster capitalism" is a farce - the predictable outcome of someone who knows nothing about economics and who is apparently incapable of thorough research writing books on the topic.

Advertisement ticker