Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Why the Right loves a disaster" by Naomi Klein

I know why Naomi Klein loves a disaster: it gives her a chance to twist facts in order to validate her bullshit thesis on "Disaster Capitalism" and "The Shock Doctrine". The truth is, there isn't any connection between imposition of right wing policies and disasters, and no particular reasons why this should even be true. Clinton imposed welfare reform in an era known for its stability and lack of disasters. NAFTA, passed by Clinton, wasn't prompted by any disaster in either Mexico, the U.S., or Canada. The Multilateral Agreement on Investments, which was what the WTO protests stopped and which would have made laws throughout the world subject to veto based on whether or not they interfered with business practices, was not drafted and was not proposed because of any disaster.

I don't understand why Klein can't just come out and say that capitalism is the problem. Not some gimmick called "Disaster Capitalism" which relies on the idea of a "Shock doctrine" but capitalism pure and simple.

"If this kind of crisis opportunism feels familiar, it’s because it is. Over the last four years, I have been researching a little-explored area of economic history: the way that crises have paved the way for the march of the right-wing economic revolution across the globe. A crisis hits, panic spreads and the ideologues fill the breach, rapidly reengineering societies in the interests of large corporate players. It’s a maneuver I call “disaster capitalism.”

Sometimes the enabling national disasters have been physical blows to countries: wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters. More often they have been economic crises: debt spirals, hyperinflation, currency shocks, recessions.

More than a decade ago, economist Dani Rodrik, then at Columbia University, studied the circumstances in which governments adopted free-trade policies. His findings were striking: “No significant case of trade reform in a developing country in the 1980s took place outside the context of a serious economic crisis.”

The emphasis is mine. Developing country, 1980s. So the U.S., Canada, and Mexico under NAFTA is not included in that, and neither are the WTO driven reforms that took place throughout the '90s.

...

Possibly the biggest line of bullshit in the article is this:

"The 1990s proved him right in dramatic fashion. In Russia, an economic meltdown set the stage for fire-sale privatizations."

No.

Privatization happened solely as a consequence of U.S. encouraged reforms, which in turn happened
Because the Eastern Bloc fell and the Soviet Union became a non-Communist dominated country. Nothing forced the Russians to do this.

*on edit: the next sentence is a big fabrication too: "Next, the Asian crisis in 1997-98 cracked open the “Asian tigers” to a frenzy of foreign takeovers, a process the New York Times dubbed “the world’s biggest going-out-of-business sale.”

What she doesn't say is that the crisis happened because of liberalized foreign investment in these countries, which is a form of globalizational deregulation. In fact, the reason that these countries attracted foreign investment like they did was because of the absence of labor laws and a general pro-business environment. The investment was built on sweatshops, to be frank, something I thought Klein knew about since she based a lot of "No Logo" on the realities of sweatshop labor.

All of these things are called the basic history of the 20th century. Maybe Miss Klein should familiarize herself with it rather than rewriting it in order to sell books, and rewriting the history that she wrote in the first place in order to make a new flashy concept work for her.

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