Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recent Reading: Naomi Klein's 'Shocking' Critique of Capitalism

We prefer to stay far, far away from economics. For us, as for many others, it's the "dismal science."

But in these days of economic uncertainty and financial collapse (thanks, George), it couldn't hurt to do a little economic reading.

With that in mind, we found a provocative article in the December 8 edition of The New Yorker, which profiled Naomi Klein, a rising star on the Canadian left whose recent book, The Shock Doctrine, has made her a celebrity.

We don't know Klein's work, and we can't vouch for her "shock" thesis. But we did find Larissa MacFarquhar's article on Klein worth reading, even when we didn't buy her ideas (pun intended).

As the magazine puts it, Klein's an "agitator," the voice of the "new new left." More importantly, Klein advances a full bore argument on unfettered capitalism, especially the kind advocated by economist Milton Friedman.

She's also a realist, telling MacFarquhar, "I'm not a utopian thinker. I don't imagine my ideal society.… I'm just much more comfortable talking about things that are."

For a radically different view of the U.S. economic landscape, check out Klein's profile at The New Yorker.


Bryan Lower said...

Interesting. I'll have to read Klein.

Klein takes on Milton Friedman? That is good. I wonder how she would stand up against an economic technician like Alan Greenspan. Right or wrong, Greenspan has a mass of experience and facts to support his philosophy. I always felt Friedman was heavy on theory and light on facts... but maybe that's unfair because I have no read everything Friedman has written.

I'm into Paul Krugman right now. He is very smart, and his writing is very accessible for the layperson.

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