NoisetteandtheDude’s Blog

December 9, 2008

A couple thoughts about economics

Filed under: Economics — noisetteandthedude @ 12:32 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I enjoyed the recent article in The New Yorker about Ben Bernanke, and I hope the “takes a crook to catch one” philosophy works, because Bernanke will be the head of the Fed for awhile. Seems to me that Bernanke can adapt to new realities, unlike the ideologue who preceded him; that’s gotta be a plus. One must never forget that Alan Greenspan, the previous head of the Fed, used to be the main cheerleader of the Ayn Rand fan club. No wonder he seems so baffled now.

The most recent issue of The New Yorker contains an equally fascinating (and equally lengthy) article, this one by Larissa MacFarquhar about Naomi Klein, an article that left me with mixed emotions.  

I’ve already written at some length about Klein’s opus: “The Shock Doctrine,” so you know where I stand on that subject. The background provided by The New Yorker article helped illuminate the origins of her philosophy.

I came away understanding that Ms Klein is certainly more moderate than her parents when it comes to politics, but the conclusion of the article’s author – that Kline is more anti-corporate than anti-Milton Friedmanism – is suspect, I think.

Corporations have indeed been the culprits responsible for the excesses of unregulated crisis capitalism – but the philosophy they followed was Friedman’s. And that philosophy was implemented by governments – most notably our own – not by corporations, who were “merely” the beneficiaries. I suppose it doesn’t really matter; it’s been a hand-in-glove arrangement benefiting all involved. Excepting the people, of course. You know, all us main-streeters who are sticking our grandkids with the bill.

I’m fairly certain Obama is familiar with Ms Klein’s “Shock Doctrine,” as well as Friedman’s “liberal” economics and Keyne’s prescriptions for the government’s proper role in economics.

Let’s hope President Obama shows the same balance in melding their disparate philosophies as he has in assembling his work force – with, one hopes, a whole lot of Keynesianism to counter the unbridled Friedmanism that got us to this sorry situation – and a good hard look at Naomi Klein’s indictment of Friedmanism, too.

He probably will; I’m sure he enjoys The New Yorker just as much as I do.

What do you think?

–The Dude


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