Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"milton friedman's misfortune is that his policies have been tried"

That's John Kenneth Galbraith's take on the economist whose theories of the free market are held as gospel by the right wingers and the Wall Street scum who have taken this country hostage as a result of their rampant greed.

Galbraith was quoted by Naomi Klein, whose evisceration of Friedman and his ideas was precise and thorough in her book Shock Doctrine, when she spoke recently at the University of Chicago. If you've not read Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, add it to your reading list sooner rather than later. Klein is brilliant in assessing the damage done around the globe as a result of unbridled capitalism and the free market theories of Friedman and his Chicago School of economic jackbooted thugs.

There's an effective case to be made for Chile, China, Russia and all the rest serving as warm-up for what's happening in the US right now. Chilling, to say the least, but an informed citizenry is a citizenry inoculated against the effect of massive shock and resulting chaos. Shock and chaos create a ripe climate for sweeping changes for good or for ill. In Chile, Argentina, Sri Lanka, Iraq, the changes were for ill. Economic chaos in the '30s in this country produced a state of shock which allowed Roosevelt to institute sweeping changes for good, resulting in the longest and most sustained period of economic growth ever seen in this nation. Changes for good as a result of shock and chaos.

The truth about right wing economic ideology is that it is a complete failure. Not only a failure, but it is a destructive force and should be eliminated by serious people from any further discussion about how to effectively run this country. Tried and failed. Over.

As Klein said in Chicago:

More than that, what we are seeing with the crash on Wall Street, I believe, should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for authoritarian communism: an indictment of ideology. It cannot simply be written off as corruption or greed, because what we have been living, since Reagan, is a policy of liberating the forces of greed to discard the idea of the government as regulator, of protecting citizens and consumers from the detrimental impact of greed, ideas that, of course, gained great currency after the market crash of 1929, but that really what we have been living is a liberation movement, indeed the most successful liberation movement of our time, which is the movement by capital to liberate itself from all constraints on its accumulation.

I couldn't agree more and it's time to hold these bastards accountable. Let's shake off the shock of what's happened here and use this time to our advantage: a new New Deal, a middle class resurgent, a reindustrialization of our deindustrialized economy.

These bastards are already on the move with the Wall Street crisis. Treasury's outsourcing implementation of the bailout bill, handing no-bid contracts to the same thieves who perpetrated this robbery of the American people. American citizens everywhere are recognizing that their lives have been irrevocably changed by the rampant greed of people they don't even know. Shock waves will continue to course through our nation as those who still have jobs open their quarterly IRA statements and see that their hopes and dreams for the future have been destroyed.

Information is shock resistance. Arm yourself.

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Blogger Red Seven said...

Klein is brilliant. And she's absolutely correct; it's pointless to attack the "greed" of various individuals when they are working in a system where only those who practice unethical (but suddenly legal) behavior can succeed.

October 07, 2008 8:39 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Reading Klein is like suddenly breathing oxygen again. I'm so pleased that you rate her, too.

October 27, 2008 8:12 PM  

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