Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-25 of 102 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 8, 2007 1:22:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 8, 2007 6:32:02 AM PDT
N.. Martin says:
I am watching Ms. Klein on CSPAN this morning. She's fun to watch, as an attractive and vain woman, but her concept of what she refers to as "libertarianism" is such a fantastic cartoon that it is impossible not to laugh. She seems to have never actually read any libertarians other than Milton Friedman, who she apparently isn't aware has died, and who was never part of an activist libertarian movement per se.

When she talks about economics she speaks of its intellectual rigors like George Wallace used to speak of "pointy-headed intellectuals": with a sneer. Friedman was not just evil, she seems to think, but something even worse: a smarty-pants. (If you know anything of Friedman's minor role in Pinochet's Chile, her fictional recreation of it would make James Frey jealous.)

She apparently has no idea that leading libertarian intellectuals have favorable things to say about the work of some leftist intellectuals, like Gabriel Kolko, whose analysis exposed corporate evils, or that libertarian web sites publish leftist writers and liberally and favorably quote leftists.) In fact, more than once have writers at the most popular libertarian site, lewrockwell.com, referred favorably to Naomi*. She also seems unable to distinguish between neocons and libertarians, even though the two groups detest each other. Does she know that neocon roots are in the Left?

If you are going to waste an hour watching a confused Marxist, it might as well be one as cute as Naomi. (The Economist said she has the "incoherence and self-righteous disgust of the alienated adolescent.") She is so critical of wealth (Daddy is a doctor!) and intellectuals, I can't help but wonder how much money she earns from her intellectual celebrity. Naturally she's a grievance feminist (Mommy did an anti-porn movie!), but she sure doesn't eschew the conventional conception of beauty. Her many winning pictures on the Internet show that she is not unfamiliar with make-up and fashionable clothes. A Gucci Marxist? Both sides of her family have reportedly been left-wing activists, so like most unreflective people she simply adopted the family religion. Or is it a family business? (Entrepreneurial proposal: Naomi Klein and Naomi Wolf lend their names to a magazine called (what else?) Naomi!, which, Oprah-style, features their faces on the cover of each issue#. A blend of fashion tips and anti-male, anti-freedom screeds.)

My reading interests are diverse, so I enjoy a good book by a thoughtful leftist, even though I'm a libertarian. (Boo, Naomi!) After watching Ms. Klein being interviewed it is certain that she won't make my reading list. I wouldn't trust her knowledge of leftism, much less libertarianism. She's an appealing lightweight, but if you want to read a telling critique of capitalism by a leftist, Amazon stocks Kolko's "The Triumph of Conservatism." Klein's book will appeal to people who might wade through one political book a year, and only one that confirms their existing beliefs.

* http://www.google.com/custom?sa=Search&cof=LW%3A500%3BL%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.lewrockwell.com%2Flewroc1a.gif%3BLH%3A93%3BAH%3Acenter%3BAWFID%3A65dad07a461e3427%3B&domains=lewrockwell.com&q=naomi+klein&sitesearch=lewrockwell.com

#. Is this not darling? http://www.chartattack.com/pics/2000/naomiklein/2.jpg

My favorite Klein quote: "I'm not against fighting for civilization and all that. It's just that I'm still not sure where 'civilization' is... I'm still looking." http://www.quillandquire.com/blog/index.php/2007/06/10/the-kleinhitchens-switch/

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2007 10:19:12 PM PST
"After watching Ms. Klein being interviewed it is certain that she won't make my reading list." Too bad, Nicolas. You'll never know the insights that you are missing. But I guess that you won't read Ms. Klein's book on disaster capitalism because it doesn't have any pictures as you seem very interested in Klein's looks and clothing habits rather than give her ideas an airing. Rave on.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2007 10:36:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2007 10:36:37 PM PST
N.. Martin says:
As if Klein has anything meaningful to add to the endless leftist prattle that has led to the destruction of so many lives in the past 100 years. Klein's just another tedious gulag promoter; an socialist-chic enemy of freedom. Without the distraction of her appearance one is forced to confront the horror of what she believes.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2007 12:16:16 PM PST
Jon Johnson says:
I don't get that Naomi Klein is a Marxist--she's just pointing out that unfettered capitalism is bad for most of us who don't have enough capital as a bulwark. I think you are reading a lot of your own neuroses into her work--how do know she's vain? Also, there's nothing wrong with having come from a priveleged background yet standing up for the little guy.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2007 12:21:18 PM PST
Jon Johnson says:
If you had read any of her work or were familiar with any of her ideas, you'd know she is pro-democracy. Is that the horror of what she believes? I really don't get where your vitriol comes from. Bill O'Reilly? Rush? Talk about endless prattle...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2007 6:23:49 PM PST
N.. Martin says:
Capitalism is freedom. That is, it free market relations between consenting adults. If you are against "unfettered" consenting relations, do you extend this to the bedroom? Are you against "unfettered" free speech and freedom of association? Nobody has benefitted more from capitalism that "the little guy." Free markets have brought everything from year-round fresh vegetables to safe cars with lots of amenities within reach of the average person. The less fettered capitalism is, the better off people are. The astonishing irony is that the very people who object to large companies favor powerful government monopolies (e.g., healthcare), and subsidies to favored industries (e.g., ethanol producers). Confused, hypocrites, or both?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2007 10:22:47 PM PST
rocksteady says:
Nick says "Nobody has benefitted more from capitalism that "the little guy." Free markets have brought everything from year-round fresh vegetables to safe cars with lots of amenities within reach of the average person..."

Let's qualify this. The "little guy" in China, Vietnam, Mexico etc did NOT benefit from globalized capitalism, and neither have American workers who have watched their jobs vanishing for the last 25 years. It isn't a "free market" when the powerful interests collude, buy politicians and lobby for policiies that do indeed hurt "the little guy" all over the globe.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2007 5:00:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2007 6:58:19 AM PST
N.. Martin says:
I agree that it isn't a free market when "powerful interests collude, buy politicians and lobby for policies that do indeed hurt 'the little guy' all over the globe." That's why I wouldn't argue that China, Vietnam, and Mexico have free markets. Nor do the U.S. and Europe in many respects. This is not new; leftist historian Gabriel Kolko's famous book, "The Triumph of Conservatism" describes how large businesses during the Progressive Era colluded with government to prevent upstart competition. As a libertarian, I oppose all interference in markets by governments.

People in the countries mentioned have no peculiar genetics which prevents them from prospering. They live in countries with long histories of socialism. Freed from economic oppression, they are just as likely to benefit as did people in Singapore, S. Korea, Taiwan, for instance. In fact, poor people from China, Vietnam, and Mexico have great success when they migrate to countries with freer economies. The freer the market, the greater opportunity for success. I don't know how anyone could argue that, even in less than ideal circumstances, the average person in China and Vietnam is not better off than he would have been 30 years ago as those countries' governments have increasingly freed their economies.

Why are S. Koreans wealthier than N. Koreans? Better weather? Individuals prosper in direct proportion to the level of economic freedom in which they live.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2007 4:55:57 PM PST
Capitalism and so-called "free" markets do not equal freedom, unless you mean the freedom of the many to follow the economic imperatives dictated by the few. Monopolies or oligopolies, for example, permitted by if not essential to existing capitalism, work to counteract market forces, as do all corporations for that matter. The fact that "free" markets in the recent neo-liberal sense have historically been imposed rather than chosen democratically is a central thesis of Klein's book, and the case studies are not inaccurate or misleading. I don't find hers the definitive account, but it's certainly more than "leftist prattle." For my money, to use an appropriately capitalist phrase, you'd do better by reading David Harvey. Oh, and by the way, corporations and governments are not equivalent institutions. Some of the latter occassionally have elections.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2007 9:14:51 PM PST
N.. Martin says:
Every peaceful economic exchange between willing people is an act of capitalism. The freedom to engage in those exchanges is called a "free market." Unless ordered to by government (e.g., vehicle insurance), no person in a free society is compelled to do business with a given company. This is especially true in an era when the vast majority of products need not even be purchased from a local company. The Internet has propelled free markets. If I have only one book store, music store, one drug store, one clothing store, in my town, I need not do business with them. (Of course, I am prevented from obtaining many drugs, locally or internationally, by government.)

Whether or not a state of democracy prevails, do I have a choice whether to "do business" with government? If I decide to try to prevent the state from confiscating my money, what will happen to me? I will be imprisoned or put to death, depending how resolutely I resist. What will happen to me if I refuse to patronize Wal-Mart, Disney, Costco, or any other company? Nothing at all. I am free to withhold my patronage of any company (save the sort of example I gave in which the government obligates my purchase). As a consumer I have great power; I am sovereign. The most "powerful" business in the world cannot force me to buy its products. At most, the power I have in dealing with government is a futile thing called a vote; as if that protects me against government taking my money by force and regulating my peaceful behavior. Voters routinely elect to deprive peaceful and unwilling individuals of freedom and money.

Even in a democracy government is free to slaughter and destroy lives. It is not necessary to look farther than two existing American wars, one domestic and the other foreign. Countless lives have been destroyed by the prohibition called "the war on drugs," and hundreds of thousands have been lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars would not be possible without government buying the cooperation of corporations with tax dollars. Meanwhile in the free market, small and large companies obtain their profits by suasion and service, and maintain no armies.

In almost every instance where markets are freer, people end up with more political and social freedom. To destroy free markets guarantees that government becomes the monopoly supplier. Unfortunately, and senselessly, many on the Left cheer state monopolies while they heap scorn on mythical market monopolies. (I say mythical because alleged monopolies are frequently upended by market competition, while governments rarely cede power without violent resistance.)

The history of government is virtually a history of mass murder, while the history of free markets is primarily about expanding the opportunities and options of individuals, and lifting us from famine, deprivation, and diseases, to one of abundance. There is even an abundance of capitalist computers on which leftists (and rightists) now type their vitriolic attacks on freedom.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2007 10:24:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 25, 2007 1:57:49 AM PST
Bobby33x says:
Another Left-Wing Jew trying to make an apology for the worst Left-Wing Jew of all - Karl Marx...no surprise here!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2007 6:55:37 AM PST
N.. Martin says:
The most effective antidote to antisemitism is knowledge. I recommend Poliakov's massive documentation of the topic, "The History of Antisemitism." Amazon has it here: The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 1: From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2007 7:04:54 AM PST
N.. Martin says:
On her own web site, Naomi Klein includes this from a favorable review:

"Yet her [Klein's] reportage-based approach furnishes powerful examples, resulting in a peculiarly down-to-earth reworking of classical Marxism, with little of its metaphysics."

http://www.naomiklein.org/reviews/every-catastrophe-opportunity

If she is offended by the Marxist appellation, it doesn't show.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2007 8:08:24 PM PST
ignatov says:
Nic: "I am watching Ms. Klein on CSPAN this morning. She's fun to watch, as an attractive and vain woman, but her concept of what she refers to as "libertarianism" is such a fantastic cartoon that it is impossible not to laugh."

So you haven't read the book, but you come to lecture Amazon readers about free markets with a smug, self-satisfied attitude. In the second paragraph of your first (but, sadly not last) post, you call Klein a "smarty-pants" who speaks "with a sneer." Physician, heal thyself.

Nic: "Capitalism is freedom. That is, it free market relations between consenting adults."

Free trade is more properly called "laissez-faire economics." This is a philosophy which says that society will benefit if corporations are completely unregulated by government. There's nothing "free" about lassez-faire economics except the freedom of corporations to behave anyway they want. And you disdain government but ignore the fact that we the people have agreed to pool our resources to install the social structures (that is, the government) which allows the market to thrive.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2007 9:01:07 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2007 2:29:35 PM PST
N.. Martin says:
Government "allows the market to thrive" like smallpox is a boon to the human body.

Yours is the fantasy-left view of government and markets. In reality, corporations buy influence in government and use regulations to squish competition (again, can't anyone bother to read Kolko?). In free markets, or what you think should "more properly" be laissez-faire economics (as if the name is more important than the activities), corporations are held in check by the threat and reality of competition. An effective way to destroy free markets is to create the neofascist corporate welfare state that increasingly prevails in the U.S. The poor leftists, utterly oblivious to consequences, keep creating the very conditions they pretend to want to prevent. Anyone serious about preventing corporate statism embraces free markets rather than spurning them.

There are smart and knowing leftists, like Gabriel Kolko, but the sort of people who think Klein is wise are not likely to read him. Kolko writes for people who crave understanding while Klein writes for political dilettantes.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2007 3:29:11 PM PST
Erica says:
can't you make your point in a slightly less sexist way?

i bet you're one ugly m*****f*****.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2007 6:09:33 PM PST
N.. Martin says:
Let's hope I'm more elegant than your prose, Erica.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2008 9:35:04 AM PST
"--how do know she's vain?"

Gore Vidal once offered this definition of a narcissist: "anyone who is better looking than you are."

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2008 7:01:27 PM PST
N.. Martin says:
Who knows narcissism better than Gore? More interesting is leftist Marc Cooper's 2004 article about Klein.

"Sadness. More sadness than anger is what overcame me when I read the latest Nation magazine column by Naomi Klein. I'll grant it has a catchy title: "From Najaf to New York." But this column by Klein, who has earned the admiration of a new generation of dissidents with a notable intellectual keen-ness, unwittingly reveals the moral confusion that clouds the vision, even the rationality, of much of the anti-war movement.

...I had several friends call me in disbelief when they read Klein's manifesto. I read it three times to make sure I got it right.

"And, alas, I can only conclude that the column is a forthright apology for the religio-fascist militias of Muqtada Al Sadr. Indeed, it's damn near a call for the peace movement to join in solidarity with his Mahdi Army...

"Klein, nevertheless, winds up demanding that the coming week's peace marches bring "Najaf to New York." What the hell does that mean? That peace marchers identify themselves as a domestic Mahdi Army resisting the forces of the American Empire? Should they also endorse Sharia - Islamic Law-while they're at it?"

Such is the left-wing darling, Ms. Klein, that she can justify support Muqtada Al Sadr. He's way better than her nemesis, Milton Friedman, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2008 5:33:55 PM PST
C. Egan says:
Capitalism isn't defined by consenting relations, but by private ownership of productive property. The way that property came to be owned the way it is has nothing to do with consent, but rather conquest and imposed authority.

The problem with capitalism is that it creates a concentration of economic power. Certain groups of people own all the things that everyone else needs to survive, and can use that to subject others to their will. When you're dependent on a powerful group of people to receive basic resources, you'll "consent" to just about anything.

The alternative to capitalism isn't state ownership, as in the Soviet Union or Cuba, but grassroots control and economic democracy. We should be looking to economic models such as cooperatives, where workers themselves own the products of their own labor and democratically control their own workplaces.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2008 9:13:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2008 9:19:45 PM PST
Bobby33x says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2008 8:47:46 AM PST
N.. Martin says:
It is unfortunate that this person would link his anti-Semitism to free markets. Many of the great proponents of economic liberty, like Rothbard, Friedman, Szasz, and Mises, Kirzner, and Hayek have been religious and/or cultural Jews. Anti-Semitism is ugly in any manifestation, without regard to the ideology of the bigot.

The problem is not that people who oppose economic liberty are stupid, it is that many of them are smart. Many intellectuals have been apologists for the the most brutal tyrannies.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2008 9:01:53 AM PST
N.. Martin says:
Capitalism requires consenting transactions. Each party in the transaction considers himself better off with what he has obtained than what he has given.

The corporate capitalism that links business to government -- what Ron Paul calls "soft fascism" -- terminates consent and is anathema to free market supporters. In fact, we laissez-faire purists are much more firmly opposed to corporate welfare and all links between business and government than the Left, which wants subsidies for this and that (e.g., ethanol subsidies). Many on the Left are not even opposed to the military industrial complex, they merely prefer for it to be used in different ways.

Companies simply have no way of maintaining monopolies or concentrations of economic power without the aid of government. The increasingly fascist nature of the American economy is a result of increasing government involvement and support for certain businesses. Take pharmaceuticals, for instance. Small drug manufacturers have been thoroughly marginalized by regulations which serve the interests of Big Pharma. The big companies can pass along the costs of regulation, while the small companies cannot. The great regulator, competition, has been squelched.

Capitalism, free markets, laissez-faire, require a wall of separation between business and government. When that happens consumers have decisive power over businesses, which can compel no transactions.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2008 2:22:04 AM PST
C. Egan says:
Capitalism--private ownership of productive property--has always relied on coercive state power. Since the birth of that system, owners of capital have used government coercion to maintain claims to their property, which itself was always acquired by conquest. The profit motive and market competition often require that businesses use state power to secure markets, as it's in their interests to do so.

The concentration of economic power in capitalism is based on the illegitimate claims to property rights. A certain business can't compel me to buy there food, for example, but a company, or more accurately a small group of companies, can buy all the farmland so that I must rely on them for food. One way to coerce people is to use direct violence (like the state), another is to gain control of basic necessities (like capitalism). I prefer to look to model that aren't based on political or economic coercion, like grassroots community control and worker's self-management.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2008 7:38:55 AM PST
N.. Martin says:
No, capitalism has not "always relied on coercive state power." I bought some items at a small business yesterday and that store doesn't rely on coercive state power. Even in the U.S. most businesses are small businesses with little or no influence over government. However, it is true, as Kolko has described, that many large corporations have relied on coercive state power, and this is made possible only by the coercive nature of government. The solution, as libertarians argue, is to remove the coercive hand of government.

It is obvious that a "small group of companies" cannot "buy all the farmland" without willing sellers -- or an alliance with coercive government. (And in any case this is not a realistic scenario.) It is not a given that you must buy goods from that group of companies. Can you think of any group of farmers from which you are presently compelled to buy food now? The competitive choices in the market are amazing, and if one doesn't want to buy from the market one can buy from a health foods market, or from the are farmer's markets. Even in a heavily concentrated food segment, like breakfast cereals, there are many other options besides the major companies. The competition in free markets provides options. I opt not to buy a lot of processed foods so that I can have a healthier diet, and depending on the season, I have at least 10 market options for making my purchases.

I'm not against grassroots community control or workers' self management, providing they don't rely on government coercion. And why should they? Free markets -- which is the categorical term for people acting freely -- allow for any sort of ownership or management arrangements, so long as they exclude governments. I've helped to start one local consumer co-op, and shopped at many others. Sadly, consumer coops tend to suffer from the "tragedy of the commons" and are not managed well. The granddaddy of them all, the Berkeley Coop, is the classic failure in the best possible circumstances.

The irony of your comment, as with so much of the criticisms of free markets, is that it shows that when markets are corrupted by governments they become socialist. By its very nature socialism is coercive government. All governments are socialist enterprises (or collectivist, if you don't like the word socialism used this way). They all rely on coercion and they all collectivize the tax money they confiscate. There are obviously some distinctions in each case, Maoism was different than Sovietism, which was different than Castroism, which is different than National Socialism. All governments are antagonistic to individual freedom, and to the degree they can get away with it they will trim liberty.

Just as the battles for free speech, free religion, free association are never ending, so is the battle for economic freedom. Supporters of free markets oppose every effort to encroach upon economic freedom, and those of us who are steadfast libertarians oppose encroachment on all liberties. That's why the only major party candidate who is denouncing the coercive involvement of government in markets is libertarian Ron Paul (one of whose hobbies is growing organic tomatoes). It is also why he is getting a serious hearing from many who consider themselves to be on the left. (When was the last time you heard a major party presidential candidate refer to aspects of the American economy as "fascism"?)

I'm sure, as a former socialist myself, that many present-day socialists don't realize that libertarians so strongly denounce corporatism and state-business coercion. A good place to read more about this is mises.org, the site of the Mises Institute, which is uncompromisingly anti-corporate state, and an organization with which Ron Paul has long been involved.

http://blog.mises.org/archives/007574.asp
‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in
 


 

This discussion

Participants:  25
Total posts:  102
Initial post:  Oct 8, 2007
Latest post:  May 4, 2011

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 5 customers

Search Customer Discussions
This discussion is about
Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein (Paperback - May 1, 2008)
4.3 out of 5 stars   (654)