Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Megan hates Naomi Klein

sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much. Partially for being smarter, a better writer, more successful, far more respected, prettier, and probably a better cook, but mostly for having written The Shock Doctrine, which is only arguably the most important non-fiction book of this young century. Any one random paragraph from the book will probably teach you more than Megan has in her entire career. Go read it, along with The Omnivore's Dilemma, they're more important than me mocking Megan.
Anywho, for those who don't know, the gist of The Shock Doctrine is that Milton Friedman and the U of Chicago Economics Dept were, and are, a crucial part of American economic colonialism and active enablers of the brutal, repressive regimes we helped establish across the globe to protect our financial interests in other nations. There's a hell of a lot more to it, I haven't even mentioned the shock doctrine itself, but a book report is not needed here.
The point is that The Shock Doctrine has done a lot to publicly discredit views which are very close to those held by Megan as part of its surprising and welcome success, making her a very frustrated glibertarian. How is she supposed to pretend to be nice to the lesser, fruit hatted, peoples of the Americas if everyone knows she's enabling their exploitation?
And so we come to this post, where Megan calls a whole host of U of Chicago academics proudly ignorant for saying something she doesn't like. Here comes the stupid

Where to start with this festival of willful misunderstanding? I was surprised to hear that Milton Friedman is reviled in "The South", since I follow the Argentinian, Venezuelan, and South African economic press closely-ish, and I've never once heard the man's name mentioned. The only country that seems aware of his existence, or that of the "Chicago Boys" is Chile, and they kind of like him.
Y'hear that? The papers owned by those who benefited from repressive regimes dedicated to the economic advancement of the American companies paying them think it's all good. The people of those nations, who suffered kinda mightily, don't count. Megan doesn't run into them at glibertarian think tank functions, fuck'em.
Second, their assessment of the effects of the "neoliberal global order" is forehead slapping, head shaking, did-they-really-say that? stupid. I haven't heard such transparently wishful claptrap since my fifteen-year-old boyfriend tried to convince me that sex provided unparalleled aerobic exercise. If you put all 100 in a room with unlimited access to Lexis-Nexis and a mountain-sized peyote stash to bring their quasi-communist fantasy life into 3D technicolor, they still couldn't name a country where neoliberalism has undermined a vibrant democracy. Nor where Demon Capital has made things worse. The worst you can say for the neoliberal order is that it doesn't make things better the way we hoped it would. Any place you can name that has been deeply screwed up since global capital arrived was at least as corrupt and otherwise awful before the capital swooped in to plant garment factories in the edenic swamps of rural poverty.
Yep, all those dead people in Chile sure did benefit from Pinochet's rule. And those stupid brown people are stupid stupids anyway, they need white people to keep them in line. They were all living in the jungle in chaos without us. Megan hates Naomi Klein, because thanks to Naomi even someone as unschooled in economic history as me has some idea of how much blood was on Friedman's hands, and that drives Megan crazy, and makes her really stupid. The following quote is from the letter Megan is raging against.
Following Friedman’s lead, the design and evaluation of economic policy requires analyses that respect the incentives of individuals and the essential role of markets in allocating goods and services. As Friedman and others continually demonstrated, design of public policy without regard to market alternatives has adverse social consequences.[My emphasis]
How would you interpret that last sentence? It seems pretty clear to me that it means they think Friedman and his acolytes ignored market alternatives to the detriment of the countries they were helping to govern. Megan disagrees.
Or perhaps they merely think that we should design our policies without regard to market alternatives.
Yep, Megan got herself so worked up she forgot how to read, folks.
Update: As is gleefully pointed out in the comments, I done put my foot in my mouth here and been stupid my own self. The quote was something the group letter was citing negatively, in a jargony way that I'll admit uncertainty about. Megan did not forget how to read, I did. Doy.

She closes with more assholery designed to test my dedication to the rules about language I've put in here.
It's foolish to get enraged at these powerless twits. But someone has to writhe in shame at this folly, and clearly, their intellects aren't up to the task.
Says Megan in a post where she argued against a carefully crafted academic letter by getting indignant. Shit, she didn't even mention that the main point of the letter was to argue against letting Friedman's theories become all that's taught in the Econ dept via the muscle of his posthumous institution. Maybe there's an argument against the positions established in this letter, but Megan hasn't provided any of them. Clearly, her intellect isn't up to the task.
Nevermind that all the letter is asking for is that the school maintain academic openness in the Econ Dept. Their critique is grounded in facts Megan finds distasteful, they should be ashamed.

7 comments:

tillerman said...

LOLOLOLOLOL QFT!!!!!!

The following quote is from the letter Megan is raging against.
Following Friedman’s lead, the design and evaluation of economic policy requires analyses that respect the incentives of individuals and the essential role of markets in allocating goods and services. As Friedman and others continually demonstrated, design of public policy without regard to market alternatives has adverse social consequences.[My emphasis]
How would you interpret that last sentence? It seems pretty clear to me that it means they think Friedman and his acolytes ignored market alternatives to the detriment of the countries they were helping to govern. Megan disagrees.
Or perhaps they merely think that we should design our policies without regard to market alternatives.
Yep, Megan got herself so worked up she forgot how to read, folks.


Lol, put your foot in your mouth, dude. You're the one who forgot how to read. The part you quoted (which you obviously misread) is where the letter quotes a statement endorsing the creation of the new institute--they're saying the quote is disturbing.

So you didn't know what the quote was about. But you continue to misread the quote itself! O goodness. This is stunning.

It seems pretty clear to me that it means they think Friedman and his acolytes ignored market alternatives to the detriment of the countries they were helping to govern.

Bzzzzt. Wrong. It means they think that design of public policy without regard to market alternatives (i.e. designing public policy without considering the availablity of alternative policies which utilize markets) has adverse social consequences.

Back to high school reading with you...

tillerman said...

I can't wait to see how you respond to this. Presumably not by apologizing to Megan and talking about how embarrassed you are that you didn't read her post.

brad said...

Ehh, oops. I was wrong, which I'll now admit in the post. Enjoy.

tillerman said...

Well done, and props to you.

rickm said...

The obvious difference is that Brad doesn't get paid for this, and Brad admits errors.

spencer said...

Tillerman -

Now if only Megan would follow Brad's example, instead of constantly whining about being misunderstood.

Yeah, I know, dare to dream.

NutellaonToast said...

yeah, tillerman must be new. We've all owned up to our mistakes at least once.

I guess it's easy to assume no one holds themselves accountable when you're an MM defender