Thursday, May 22, 2008

You Can Have Any Economy You Want, As Long As It's Capitalism

Cam doesn't like Naomi Klein's criticisms of capitalism, but his criticisms don't stand up.

His analogy of today's China to the Detroit of yesteryear (and post-NAFTA Mexico, for heaven's sake) is telling in its aptness. The old US auto industry was the very picture of thuggish capitalism, working in concert with the state to commoditize labor and squelch potential competition. No, "[t]he police state is not necessary for the efficient delivery of capitalism" of this sort, but it certainly does help, as the fascist Henry Ford certainly recognized.

It is customary, when extolling the virtues of classical liberalism (which actually is "predicated on free markets and economic liberty"), to overlook such gross capitalistic excesses as are represented by Fordism and contemporary China. To hold them up as exemplars is mystifying.

To be sure, Klein is mistaken in her article, but her mistake is in the same vein as Cam's: "free markets and free people" may well "go hand in hand," but neither one has much to do with capitalism.

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