Can We Go Back to Ignoring Naomi Klein Now?

In her wild and somewhat bizarre polemic aimed at Milton Friedman, Naomi Klein argues that major historic crises have always been manufactured by capitalists to slip free market principles into action against the wishes of the socialist-leaning masses. 

Really?  In what crisis, ever, did the government end up smaller?  What about the current crisis and the government response to it carries any good news for free marketeers?  History is a series of problems created by government intervention but blamed on the free market, which can supposedly only be solved via more government intervention.

Update:  Critique of Klein here.  Seriously, it is amazing that this rings true with anyone:

Klein's basic argument is that economic liberalization is so unpopular
that it can only win through deception or coercion. In particular, it
relies on crises. During a natural disaster, a war, or a military coup,
people are disoriented, confused, and preoccupied with their own
immediate survival, allowing regimes to liberal-ize trade, to
privatize, and to reduce public spending with little opposition.
According to Klein, "neoliberal" economists have welcomed Hurricane
Katrina, the Southeast Asian tsunami, the Iraq war, and the South
American military coups of the 1970s as opportunities to introduce
radical free market policies. The chief villain in her story is Milton
Friedman, the economist who did more than anyone in the 20th century to
popularize free market ideas.

As is typical, Klein confuses support for capitalism with government support of individual capitalists.


  1. Anonymous:

    Sometimes I wonder if she's a troll out to expose socialism for what it is. The only other option leaves me wondering how she maintains the dexterity to brush her hair and wipe.

    The thread or two over at reason magazine's Hit & Run about her recent remarks are kinda funny. Even Left-libertarian types know the meds ran out a long time ago.

  2. Christer:

    From Johan Norberg's blog, 5/8/2008:

    The Swedish reviewers love Naomi Klein and her Shock Doctrine. So today, in a one-page advert in Metro (pdf, last page) Boris Benulic and I name seven of her reviewers and challenge them to a public debate about a book that we claim is a fraud.

    One libertarian and one Marxist who believe that facts still matter on stage vs seven reviewers about the ideas, assumptions and evidence in a book that they praised. Preferrably at the Göteborg Book Fair in September, but they can choose the date, location and moderator, and Boris and I will arrange it all.

    You are challenged, and we await your response:

    Ann Charlott Altstadt, Aftonbladet

    Jan Arnald, DN

    Stefan Jonsson, DN

    Katrine Kielos, Expressen

    Ulrika Kärnborg, DN

    Sverker Lenas, DN

    Per Wirtén, Arena

    From his blog today:

    13:47 - KLEIN UPDATE:

    No, no reviewer has so far accepted our challenge (pdf) to debate their praise for Naomi Klein here at the book fair, but we continue to challenge them and talk about it here every day. At Voltaire (B 07:42) after 15.00 today (revised time!) and 14.00 tomorrow.

    I'm not surprised. The reviewers are all Very Important People, not used to having their views challenged, especially not by people who have done their homework.

  3. Jim Collins:

    I'll kick in $10 for Naomi's Lithium prescription.