Thanks to digby at Hullabaloo for reporting that Naomi Klein, author of the books The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and No Logo, spoke yesterday at the University of Chicago about the legacy of laissez faire capitalist hero Milton Friedman.
Here's a bit from the transcript of her talk, available at Democracy Now!
"So, what I want to argue here is that, among other things, the economic chaos that we’re seeing right now on Wall Street and on Main Street and in Washington stems from many factors, of course, but among them are the ideas of Milton Friedman and many of his colleagues and students from this school. Ideas have consequences.
More than that, what we are seeing with the crash on Wall Street, I believe, should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for authoritarian communism: an indictment of ideology. It cannot simply be written off as corruption or greed, because what we have been living, since Reagan, is a policy of liberating the forces of greed to discard the idea of the government as regulator, of protecting citizens and consumers from the detrimental impact of greed . . .
I think this has been a class war waged by the rich against the poor, and I think that they won. And I think the poor are fighting back. This should be an indictment of an ideology. Ideas have consequences. . .
[Friedman] also was clearly a tremendously inspiring teacher, and he had a gift, like all great teachers do, to help his students fall in love with the material. But he also had a gift that many ideologues have, many staunch ideologues have—and I would even use the word “fundamentalists” have—which is the ability to help people fall in love with a perfect imagined system, a system that seems perfect, utopian, in the classroom, in the basement workshop, when all the numbers work out."
Note that Democracy Now! reports that Ms. Klein spoke in opposition to "the creation of an economic research center named after the [University of Chicago's] most famous economist." To view her entire 49 minute talk go right here.