Friedman's back

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RussB's picture
RussB
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Friedman's back

After Sunday's unusual and widely commented upon column where uber-globalist and cornucopian growth-booster Tom Friedman seemed for the very first time to question whether growth itself may be coming to an end:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/opinion/08friedman.html

it seems today our old Friedman is back:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/opinion/11friedman.html

I'll just cite a few passages:

Quote:

I understand that he doesn't want his presidency to be held hostage to the ups and downs of bank stocks, but a hostage he is. We all are.

It's this defeatist dogma which holds us hostage. If a president and a country, as hostages, sought to escape or to destroy their captors, rather than meekly sending for the ransom, or working it off as slaves, they'd certainly have excellent prospects of success. I can see clearly the course if I was president, and it wouldn't involve bailouts for the bankers (though thousands would desperately be trying to make bail).

Quote:

Second, we need to get a market going that would bring fair value and clarity to the "toxic mortgages" crippling the balance sheets of our major banks. This will likely require some degree of government subsidy to private equity groups and hedge funds to get them to make the first bids for these toxic assets by guaranteeing they will not lose. This could make great policy sense, but be a nightmare to sell politically. It will strike many as another unfair giveaway to Wall Street.

Unfortunately, the president may have to look the American people in the eye and explain that "fairness is not on the menu anymore." All that's on the menu now is whether or not we avoid a system meltdown - and this will require rewarding some new investors.

Aside from the fact that this president was not elected to do anything like this, why should it be "fairness" (which is Friedman's term here for justice, I guess trying to make it look frivolous) which is not on the menu? If we weigh in the scales: a sane, human response to the crisis, which would require financial devolution and deconcentration as we face the reality of the end of growth, as well as both requires and provides ample range for the operations of justice; versus Friedman's growth fundamentalism, the propping up of this cancerous financial "industry", which by his own admission requires the complete abrogation of justice, fairness, rationality, and law, and which cannot be sustained anyway (as Friedman himself had that momentary inkling a few days ago), which should we choose? Which, if we are to have a livable future at all, economically AND morally, MUST we choose?

But look at Friedman's fondest dream:

Quote:

Which is why I wake up every morning hoping to read this story: "President Obama announced today that he had invited the country's 20 leading bankers, 20 leading industrialists, 20 top market economists and the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate to join him and his team at Camp David. ‘We will not come down from the mountain until we have forged a common, transparent strategy for getting us out of this banking crisis,' the president said, as he boarded his helicopter."

A cabal which might look over the top in fiction. A pure cartoon. No environmentalists, no energy experts (it's ridiculous to even say, "no Peak Oilers"), no economists who aren't insider "market" economists (my goodness, guys like Chris Martenson are so marginalized I can't even think of a name for them!), no small bankers, no small businessmen, no labor activists or union reps, no NGO reps, no press observers, no voter ombudsmen, evidently no farmers of any size period, I could go on...

Here Friedman has laid bare his vision of utopia, what he wakes up every morning from having dreamed about all night: as centralized, secretive, and authoritarian a corporatist elite as you could possibly imagine, convening as a kind of master coven to concoct a Master Plan for the complete redistribution of wealth to the tiniest fraction of super-rich possible, this Plan to then be imposed by force from the top down.

joe2baba's picture
joe2baba
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Re: Friedman's back

sorry for the double click

joe2baba's picture
joe2baba
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 17 2008
Posts: 807
Re: Friedman's back

does anyone have a copy of the constitution or has it been completely flushed down the toilet?

mainecooncat's picture
mainecooncat
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Joined: Sep 7 2008
Posts: 488
Re: Friedman's back

Friedman's a putz.

Even his last article that sent shivers down many people's legs he doesn't normally excite I found typical. Why was it typical? Because he presents a non-new, non-original idea (maybe endless, break-neck growth isn't good for the economy) as his own (he's always been very good at subtle idea plagiarism) and describes it as radical when it's not -- this does two things: it's self-congratulatory from the perspective of those who agree with him (wow, see, Friedman is a radical intellectual) and partially discredits the very idea he's presenting for its doubters via its labeling as "radical" (basically a massive hedge then).

For those who will disagree that Friedman presents this idea as his own, again the man's very good at selling people. For example, Friedman would never say this, "Even though oodles of people over the last several decades have been saying far more articulately what I'm about to summarize in two fourth-grade reading level paragraphs, and I've always adamantly disagreed with, well, now, I'm fully on-board and was wrong."

Instead he tosses it out there like it's some hot new idea that's so intense he's just mulling it over for the first time, knowing that most of his mainstream readership will be unfamiliar with the history of the topic. This, of course, is one of the benefits of being someone who has a readership of an uninformed millions -- you can always come off as being original and groundbreaking when actually you're a behind-the-times gatekeeper. Friedman's most apt descriptor would probably be subtlely dishonest.

As one can see by now, I have very little use for the man or his supposedly profound observations.

pleaseremoveme's picture
pleaseremoveme
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Re: Friedman's back


Quote:

Which is why I wake up every morning hoping to read this story: "President Obama announced today that he had invited the country's 20 leading bankers, 20 leading industrialists, 20 top market economists and the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate to join him and his team at Camp David. ‘We will not come down from the mountain until we have forged a common, transparent strategy for getting us out of this banking crisis,' the president said, as he boarded his helicopter."

You know, they did something like this in Germany, back the thirties. Work out really well for people like Friedman (rich banking jews)!

 

Kaisdad's picture
Kaisdad
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Re: Friedman's back
woupiestek wrote:

Quote:

Which is why I wake up every morning hoping to read this story: "President Obama announced today that he had invited the country's 20 leading bankers, 20 leading industrialists, 20 top market economists and the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate to join him and his team at Camp David. ‘We will not come down from the mountain until we have forged a common, transparent strategy for getting us out of this banking crisis,' the president said, as he boarded his helicopter."

You know, they did something like this in Germany, back the thirties. Work out really well for people like Friedman (rich banking jews)!

 

 

I think they also did that on Jekyll Island in 1910 i think...? ...and we got the federal reserve banking system out of it.....we have been screwed ever since.....Cry

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