Thursday, January 03, 2008

Milton Friedman Debates Naomi Klein

(HT: Newmark's Door)


At 1/04/2008 12:05 PM, Blogger VH said...

I wish Milton Friedman could debate Naomi Klein. Klein (a Canadian)has become a darling of the New Deal left; She claims that free-market capitalists wait for the right moment (a moment of weakness or distress in a society)to impose their economic model. Therefore, capitalism per Friedman and Hayek, by and large, is not based on democracy. She cites Chile under Pinochet as a prime example (go figure)of how repressive Friedman's idea of "neo-liberalism" has been implemented. While watching her lectures on Youtube, I wondered if she is willfully trying to distort Friedman's ideas or has she completely mis-read his work.

At 1/04/2008 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would appear to be a very germaine question.

An indication would possibly be the date of Ms. Klein's remarks. Some of the critics appear to find Milton's departure from the earth to be fortuitous. It is after all far easier to debate Milton Friedman now that his unerring logic and good sense of humor are no longer able to answer the petty, dullwitted, pedestrian rhetoric of a journalist like Naomi Klein.

I imagine that it is a bit like the native that eats the tiger because he feels that he will gain the tiger's strength. Naomi Klein desires to aggrandize herself by knocking down someone. It is easier to criticize than create.

Milton would have debated her with his usual courtesy and aplomb. Unfortunately, she does offer a single argument even worth the effort to debate.

At 1/04/2008 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant to say:

she doesn't

At 1/05/2008 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon., great post! Thanks.

At 1/06/2008 2:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Numberwise, Glad to be of service.

I recently ordered Free to Choose on CD. The highlight is watching Milton Friedman debate pre-eminent socialist scholars and politicians after each program. Watching Milton Friedman deconstruct an argument and demonstrate with flawless logic the inadequacy of the proposition is pure pleasure. It makes one realize that Milton Friedman does not need our defense. His brilliance and logic are unassailable by the mosquitos like Naomi Klein.

Thought that you might enjoy watching the master.

Naomi Klein was preaching to the converted. What she was giving was equivalent to a cheerleader's chant at a football game, a purely populist message. It does, however, pay to know what tune the devil is playing.

At 6/28/2009 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

from earlier comments it sounds like you and your reader expect watching the two of them debate to be every bit as entertaining as watching a kid rip the wings off a fly.

However, Friedmans ideals and the theories he came up with to justify them seem to me to be a little too simplistic to work in the real world. He was fond of mentioning physics and intellectual giants like Newton and Einstein in the same breath he used to defend his views and theories against criticism, brushing them aside with one liners without going into much detail. I've read some of his work, watched many appearances and interviews with him and have sometimes had a hard time deciding which was weaker, his grasp of history or touch with reality. Time is fortunately exposing some of the flaws of his reasoning. As a scientist he would approve of that process. As an idelogical warrior he never would. His work will become the small stepping stone towards a greater understanding of economic and social theory it deserves to be, even if it seems today like a huge boulder. Imagine how inert and inevitably truthful the established teachings of the church must have seemed like before Newton, Darwin and Einstein. My wish, vulcanhammer, is that Friedman's disciples shake off the dogma and start again thinking for themselves. Where do we go from here? Friedman may have had a few good ideas, but as a species in its infancy that has barely learned to live together, we've got to be able to come up with some better ones. Surely there has to be a better way forward.

What's ultimately frustrating to me about your posting and the comments to it is this; If you take the time to listen to Naomi Klein and Milton Friedman you'll know that both of them come from a place of wanting to make things better. They agree on the existence of a multitude of problems and the need to solve them. It's how to solve them that they differ on, and finding those solutions will require rigorous thought and debate from all many minds. The last thing we need is dogmatic adherence to his teachings. So in short, I agree. It would be great to hear them debate. Hopefully it would spark some new ideas and move us forward.

At 10/14/2009 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow anon. If you think that Naomi and Milton are equivalent academic forces you are gravely mistaken. Milton Friedman won a Nobel Prize in Economics for his perspective on historical economics and the role of monetary policy in an economic system. What has Naomi Kline done aside from sell books? The fact of the matter is that Milton Friedman was an absolutely brilliant economist and political philosopher. Of course, he had flaws. Einstein wasn't completely right about physics either. But to say what you just did is flat wrong. You don't know what you're talking about.

At 4/06/2012 10:40 AM, Blogger Jeroensp said...

bailouts of banks would turn friedman in his grave


Post a Comment

<< Home